Sunday, July 13, 2008

As I Walk Through The Valley Of Death ...

With this weeks review, I encountered the age old question of what came first. The band name or the band. I can just hear the crowd at a concert for these Orange County boys saying to one another ~Wow, these guys are unashamed, who are they?~ ~Why they're Unashamed~~I know, they are bold with their Christian message, but who are they?~~They're Unashamed~~ I know ...~ And so on.

Unashamed are exactly that. They are one of the founding fathers of Spirit-filled hardcore scene. The lyrics are bold, profound yet avoid being too preachy. As in my previous review of Unashamed's first album "Silence" I coined the term angry feel good music to describe this scene.

As far as hardcore goes, Unashamed are the rawest and heaviest of the spirit-filled bunch. On Unashamed' sophomore release the band stays true to form. "Reflections" starts with a crunch on "Meet Us Here" which comes at you aggressively with hook-laden guitar riffs.

The title track is similar in its approach while "Everlasting Father" adds a touch of groove to their head-smashing riff work. "Strength Within" continues the mid-paced attack with flourishes of thrash mixed in. "The Dividing Wall" is speedy thrash-infused that slows to a crunch towards the end.

One of the things I like about Unashamed is the darker edge they bring to their music which sets them apart in the hardcore scene. "What Will Become" is bleak and dark with some killer riffs. "The Agony Of Deceit" takes the darker edge and creates a reflective feel with some acoustic bits.

"Turn" is faster and heavy with a broodiness that seamlessly transitions into my favourite track, the spitfire "Sustained" (which was also included on "Silence"). "Sustained" is pained in its approach and venomous with a slow crunch. It's dark and passionate.

"Gateway" features some fine heavy riff work and "Separated" , the heaviest song here, crushes at variable speeds. The album closer and close second for fave is a popular Praise song "Awesome God" which is a blast with heavy guitars and gang chorus's presented with punk-like intensity. A great version of a simple, yet passionate tune.

Unashamed are no longer together, but they have left a pair of heavy, aggressive hardcore albums that are brutal and stand the test of time. It's odd hearing positive, moral messages over top such angry music, but hardcore is all about passion and conviction and Unashamed have that in spades.

Up next I'll take a look at Focused' second album "The Hope That Lies Within". Till then check out my review of their first album "Bow" here.


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