Thursday, October 12, 2006

Put Your Knee In The Dirt ...

Focused are one of the other early spirit-filled hardcore bands on tooth and nail records, another pioneer of sorts for Christian hardcore music scene. Though I find Unashamed a rawer and more aggressive hardcore band, I like Focused more. They incorporate a lot of groove and more of a thrash sound with their riff work. The vocals are gruff and punk like, but more legible and very fitting for the heavy riffing.

If I may quote the opening and title track ~You've made yourself your God and now God will make you a vessel of wrath. Wipe the tears from our eyes, erase the fear from your heart put your knee in the dirt and bow to the God that holds your blood red destiny in the palm of his awesome hands.
Pretty heavy stuff spoken with conviction accompanied only by some wind and ambient sounds and pretty much establishes the focus of the album. The music kicks in with "Forever" which is a mid-paced groove laden thrashy tune. It's a passionately dark tune and pulls you right into the album. It's one of the stand out tracks. The album is considered hardcore, but the music features an number of acoustic bridges/interludes which is not that common to hardcore and adds a lot of melody. I feel this is more of a thrash metal album.. "Forever" is a fine example as is "Falling Down" and "Perfect Will".

This becomes more apparent on songs like "Forward", "Behold" and "Strain" which adds a little eerie guitar riffing for atmosphere, but these tracks are solid headbanging thrash tunes. Things get sped up with "Walk Beside Me" and "Blinded" along with various tempo changes. Not a lot of variant here and what separates this from the thrash metal category is the lack of solos. Just flat heavy metal riff work to pound your fist and bang your head to. The albums closing track "absence" is a dark angry tune with mid-paced heaviness and vocal repetition of ~The Knowledge of God~ which kind of wraps up what they have been saying throughout the album. Many things change in your life, but faith in God you keep with you always.

The 2 stand out tracks here are "Perfect Will" and "Blinded". "Perfect Will" (my favourite)is a dark aggressive tune with a touch of Suicidal Tendencies in the opening. I love this song because it's powerful and heartfelt. The lyrics are stirring and for me represent my own way of life. ~I will no longer conform to the patterns of this world~ is a bold statement and as someone who does not conform, but walks to his own tune, it speaks volumes. You can be strong in faith and not be weak of mind. ~Lord you are my Healer, Provider, Redeemer~ I am imperfect and I look to God for peace and guidance. The passion of this song is immense and I find solace in it.

Though "Blinded" is not my favourite track, it is the song I find myself humming to cause it's stuck in my head. This is the fastest song on the album and is groove-laden and thrashy. It is also technically rapcore. Halfway through the song, it breaks down into one killer guitar riff and then the vocalist breaks out a gruff rap styling verse which then passes off to another member who passes off to a third party before bringing the song back into some mid-paced heavy outro. It's very catchy and reminiscent of the Beastie Boys. I'm not adverse to rapcore as long as it's driven by some killer guitar work.

Focused have put out a heavy memorable album here and as their name states are focused on their job. To spread the word of God. They are directed youth ... as are The Crucified who are coming up next.


Blogger Chana said...

i think it is a wonderful thing for the word of God to be shared and if it's through fun and good music all the better.

7:45 PM  
Anonymous SkeptiC said...

Nice blog. I havent heard of Focused, but for some reason, the christian Heavy music doesnt seem to get the same notice as Heavy music that doesnt embrace Christianity. I have a few christian metal CDs in my collection. Even one that is in the style of some Norwegian style black metal. Its very good stuff actually.

Im going to save your link so i can come back and visit your site some more. I am a huge metalhead, and love to hear new stuff and share my opinion on music in general.

Take it easy.

9:49 PM  

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