After spending time tearing up the stages of Paso Robles, CA, hardcore act See The Light has joined the ever-increasing roster of Come&Live! and is now giving out their 2009 EP, Maranatha, through that very website. See The Light's music is grounded in hardcore, but is very diverse and has what I can only refer to as a chaotic structure. It doesn't follow the lines of The Chariot's chaoscore debut album, but the songs still do their own thing. With their brand of "heavy worship," Maranatha is five songs of hardcore excellence.
During the first song, I thought See The Light was going to be a run-of-the-mill worship band. "The Invitation" sounds like we came into the middle of a church service while the worship band was still playing, including someone praying and asking Jesus to meet them there. About two and a half minutes in, I thought the next song had started when some gritty guitars and double bass had come in, but it was still "The Invitation," giving me my first impression of what I was in for with the next four songs. Gang vocals repeated "Worthy! Worthy to be praised!" Then the drums for "Sights Set Dead Ahead" came in, followed by a metal-style guitar riff. The song retains the metal/hardcore aspects, but about halfway through, a classical style piano melody is incorporated in the midst of rough death metal screaming (similar to The Devil Wears Prada), pounding drums and riffs, and even gets a few seconds to itself.
"Brave The Seas" takes over for more than seven minutes of progressive metal, with a section of acoustic guitar, with "Maranatha" coming next with excellent instrumentation leading the song off. Though it's another long song (exceeding eight minutes), it and "Brave The Seas," don't drag at all, as they change things up frequently, continually throwing the listener for a loop and keeping their attention instead of the same thing the whole way through. Beautiful piano is again an aspect in "Maranatha," which lyrically keeps the focus on what the word "maranatha" refers to, the return of Jesus Christ. The latter half of the song sings, screams and speaks of His return. The song culminates and finishes out with some really pretty piano, which also starts the EP's closer, "Readers Beward...You Choose The Scare" (the title of which is a reference to a series of Goosebumps books from R.L. Stine). The piano continues throughout the song as the intense hardcore music plays atop it. What's great is that the guitarists, drummer and pianist almost seem like they're competing with the piano to see who can rock their instrument the hardest.
The lyrics of Maranatha are right up there with Come&Live!'s purpose: to worship and to share the Gospel. "Sights Set Dead Ahead" is about the dangers of what is considered "the American dream," saying "Caught up, entangled in this repeated cycle, searching, searching, the next best thing is what we're after, the quest for satisfaction in these earthly riches." It leads to "Conformed to this world, open our eyes Lord, we long to see, seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you, You are my treasure." What's cool is that, while it says a lot, they didn't feel like it took a lot to say it. Those are the song's lyrics in their entirety. See The Light seems like a band that doesn't feel the need to drown their songs in a lot of lyrics, as the EP's two long songs also don't have a lot of lyrics. They aren't short by any means, but compared to most seven- and eight-minute songs, they seem that way. But despite any of the songs' shortness in lyrics, they're definitely chock-full of substance. Whether it be worshipful or evangelical, See The Light has a firm grasp on the knowledge of their purpose as a band.
See The Light have something special in Maranatha. Aside from the gorgeous album cover, the music is fantastic. Again, it almost seems like chaos, but each song is entirely structured, with so much in-song progression that it's almost as if one of the band members is just playing by ear and the rest are following. And if that's true, they do an awesome job creating their songs. Admittedly, See The Light's music is, at first, a little hard to get into for fans who prefer traditional song structures (like verse-chorus-verse structures or something similar). But give it several tries and the beauty of the each track presents itself. Fans of The Devil Wears Prada will particularly enjoy Maranatha, but anyone who enjoys a nice, harsh, screamy album will find themselves enjoying it as well.
- Review date: 5/31/10, written by Scott Fryberger of Jesusfreakhideout.com