It's been nearly two years since Pillar released their last record, the decidedly experimental The Reckoning. With that record, Rob Beckley and the boys of Pillar took to a much more raw and hard rock sound, even indulging the screaming aspect of their music. While it seemed that diehard Pillar fans weren't too happy with the change, others found the sound to be a real maturity for the band, with the guys even earning some award nominations for the record as well. The band seemed to feel the core fans' angst, and immediately got to work on another record, promising that old elements would return. So, the question is: Did it work?
As soon as you pop For the Love of the Game into your player, you'll find the elements from the old Pillar records have definitely returned in some respects. When I first listened to the album, I took it to have a mix of Fireproof and the new elements experimented with on The Reckoning. This actually works quite well for the band and showcases their true talent as artists. The title track is a rousing anthem for the band's passion for what they do, while spurring the listener's thoughts towards what it is they're living for. "Turn It Up" is a great track as well, with Rob writing lyrics using nearly every major record or song title by a Christian artist in the past few years to pay tribute to Christian music.
Much of the old Pillar / new Pillar mix is where the album shines the most, namely on tracks like "Throwdown," which even tosses in a bit of rapping on Rob's part, reminiscent of their 2000 debut, Above. Songs like "Reckless Youth" and "State of Emergency" show Pillar's love for rock and also their love for the young people of the nation, issuing a call for leaders to rise up and take back a lost generation. "Get Back" offers a fantastic bass line that just feels like a groove in your ears, making you want to do just what the song asks, get back to the way you used to live - on fire for God.
The only downside to For The Love Of The Game is its short length. Clocking in at just under 38 minutes, it feels like it's over shortly after it's gotten started. Many Pillar fans will be happy to hear that out of the ten tracks that made the record, only one is a rock ballad, and the rest are great rock jams, with the exception of the slow pace of "I Fade Away," which even enlists female vocal talents from Sarah Anthony. Overall, however, For the Love of the Game is definitely a thumbs up for Pillar, and they've done a great job at mixing what they've learned in the past with the experience they've picked up along the way. On February 26, go find out why Pillar loves "The Game" so much.- Review date: 2/1/08, written by Justin Mabee of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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