Pillar is one of the premier names in Christian rock music. Though they were most definitely not the first to play a blend of rap and rock, they were one of the first to really give it a try in the Christian music scene. Their debut, Above, though not a very strong release, was the alternative Christian teens needed to such acts as Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park. Their sophomore effort, Fireproof, is regarded by some as one of the best Christian rock discs of our time. I don't know if I would go so far as to make such a statement, but it is, indeed, among one of my favorites. It took the "hip-hop/rock" formula that Above was contrived of, and completely reverted it to a "rapcore" feel. It was the next logical step forward, but it still did not entirely separate them from the rest of the rap/rock bands out there. Still, Pillar has a lot more going for them than against them. So, the next logical question is obvious… "Where do we go from here?"
Pillar's third release, Where Do We Go from Here?, is by far, their most melodic record yet. You could sense it a bit on Fireproof, but it is in full force this time around. So much more emotion was poured into this release. At times, it almost seems louder and more aggressive than Fireproof, and it probably is. However, the melodic overlay of the entire record keeps it from seeming hardcore in any sense. Comparisons to other rock/rap bands will still be inevitable, but Pillar's trademark sound should be enough to silence opposition.
Of course, Pillar's third release, Where Do We Go from Here?, is not referring to where they should take their musical direction next. Rather, it speaks of the state of the American church. Pillar has always been very bold lyrically, never straying from in-your-face lyrics that demand change for the better. Expect no different here. From beginning to end, Where Do We Go from Here? goes far and beyond most Christian rock acts' attempts (or lack thereof) in the lyrical department. "Let It Out" and "Frontline" (reminiscent lyrically of "Echelon") demand we as Christians take a stand for Christ, while "Simply" lets listeners know that God "Simply [loves], despite all the stupid things I've done. It's hard to remember that You simply love, even though I know not what I've done. It's hard to remember that You simply love." "Bring Me Down," the Chris Lord-Alge Mix, and "Holding On" go out to Christians who need encouragement in their faith. But really, that is what this entire release is about. It's twelve tracks of encouragement to Christians, encouragement to live for Christ and to get out on the frontlines and live out our faith.
This CD has a little bit of everything. They even slow it down on the beautiful "Rewind," a song about regretting past mistakes. Fans of Pillar should not be disappointed with their latest outing. Those who never really liked Pillar might want to give them another listen. You may not be converted, but Where Do We Go from Here?, the third in what has been a stellar career for Pillar, is definitely worth a listen.- Review date: 05/30/04, written by Josh Taylor
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