When thinking of Michigan, the first thing that comes to mind would probably not be music. But with the help of Lansing's StrongBox, that name is slowly climbing the chart. Opening for bands such as Skillet, The Newsboys, Relient K, and John Reuben as well as being ranked as one of the Top 25 unsigned Christian artists by Atlantic Records make these guys a hard act to blow off.
To be honest, though, I had every intention of blowing them off. Word had it that there was a slight resemblance to Creed and if anyone knows me, Creed and I don't mix. But still, I decided to push through the stereotype and check these guys out anyway. This album impressed me, especially for a debut by a band with no label. The things that make this album good are the small things. One song may have chimes, then there will be three or four part harmonies, or maybe some heavy guitar riffs. Each song kept me guessing, even wondering what was to come. My personal favorite is "This Place," which is an anthemic rock song that could easily climb high onto a Rock or Contemporary radio chart. Another major highlight is "Midnight," with some heavy metal riffs and a melodic chorus; this makes for a remarkable song. Their eye is focused directly on ministry but they don't compromise musical freedom for this release. I wouldn't have it any other way.
Each song has it's own personal feel and that's something extremely hard to bring to any album. There are great vocals, simplistic worship filled rock tunes, and amazing music. And safe to say, this is no Creed. StrongBox is better. With the right record company and just a little production tweaking, these guys will hit it big and never look back.- Review date: 12/24/01, written by Blake Garris
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