After releasing two albums on Rescue Records and one independent record, Dogwood got the attention of Tooth & Nail Records and released More Then Conquerors with Tooth & Nail. Dogwood is on top of their game with this record and they were finally able to get the production value that they deserved. For those who have never listened to Dogwood before, Josh Kemble's voice might be jarring at first, but you should be able to get over it after listening to a few songs. Josh's vocals work well with this genre, though they do limit the audience for the band.
The album opens with the rocker "Suffer," a song about a person who no one wants to be around because of all of their lying. It's a very good way for Dogwood to open this album. The extremely short upbeat punk rocker "Rest Assured" follows and is another very good track. "Feel the Burn" follows and has a killer opening and some unnerving lyrics by Kemble about a friend who died knowing the truth, but not accepting it. Another rocker follows with "Never Die," a song about someone just accepting God into his life declaring, "My faith in you will never die." It offers a great God-centered message, which is something you don't see too often in the punk scene. "Out of the Picture" has one of my favorite openings ever with all the guys singing acappella before Josh's dominating vocals take over. The song holds the energy of the opening and turns out to be a gem on this record.
The punk rock energy continues with "My Best Year," a song that is about growing up and realizing that you've outgrown one of your friends. With the next song, Sean O'Donnell writes another gem about that moment when you have to give control back over to God, which is something that every Christian has been through at one time or another. "Control" doesn't let down with the rock energy either and proves to be another great rocker that has something to say. A song about keeping alive a friendship follows in "Everything Dies In Time." While this song is another good track with plenty of energy, it blends in with the tracks before it.
A call to arms against sin follows with "We Cry Victory," which has some great drum work by longtime band member Russell Castillo. Everyone is at the top of their game with "The Pain is Gone," and the song proves to be another memorable one. Another openly Christian song follows with "Confusion Zero." On this song, Kemble proclaims "You'll find yourself when you truly believe." These are surprisingly deep lyrics for a genre that is primarily known for all of its songs about girls -- which is why it is truly wonderful to see a punk band break this trend and talk about things that are truly worth being talked about. "Left Out Cold" is another moving song with deep Christian roots. The song talks about leaving all of the backstabbing and deceit of the world for God. The album closes with the title track which is fittingly a Christian punk rocker about not standing on the sidelines and choosing which side you are fighting for.
Dogwood has crafted another great punk rock album that is not only offers a solid sound, but it is a record that has something to say. This album does have one glaring weakness and that is the lack of diversity between the songs. That is a real shame since these songs all have something to say and it gets lost in the repetitiveness of the songs' sound. Still, More Then Conquerors is an album that is a must-have for any punk fan or anyone who enjoys lyrics with a meaning behind them.JFH Reader Review: Review date: 3/8/09, written by James Chase Lamberth for Jesusfreakhideout.com
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