On Monday, May 6, I found myself at Workplay in downtown Birmingham, Alabama, for the Release the Panic tour featuring Southbound Fearing, We As Human, and RED.
When I got there (late), Southbound Fearing was already rocking out on stage. I didn’t get to hear much of their set, but what I did hear I enjoyed. It was quality rock music that reminded me a bit of rock from the ’90s. I look forward to hearing more from Southbound Fearing.
We As Human is already making an impact in the Christian music scene, and the debut album on Atlantic /Word Records doesn’t come out until June 25. We As Human’s quick rise to popularity is due mainly because they were “discovered” by John Cooper, lead vocalist and bassist of Skillet. Extensive touring with Skillet on the Awake and Alive tour and on Winter Jam, and now with RED have enabled We As Human to build a continuously growing fanbase. And their music is good. Aggressive, edgy melodies with mosh-approved choruses will please any fan of Skillet and RED; they played several songs including “Zombies,” “Dead Man,” and their current single “Strike Back.” We As Human are sure to become a great powerhouse in the Christian rock music genre.
RED’s set for this tour immersed the audience into a graffiti-filled street alley, complete with trash cans, trash bags, and street lamps. Adorning the back wall were flyers for the Accedia Corporation offering strategies for contented living. Not familiar with Accedia Corp? It’s the fictional corporation that turns everyone into “faceless” machines with “nothing wrong, nothing real inside.” In RED’s movie-like music video for “Release the Panic” (which is actually a continuation of their equally epic “Feed the Machine” music video), RED starts a rebellion that fights back against the evil Accedia Corp.
RED’s set kicked off with the aggressively heavy track “If We Only,” and then transitioned into “Damage”—one of my favorites off Release the Panic. “Take this away,” screams vocalist Michael Barnes, “it was a just a mistake! Save me!” (Seriously, if you haven’t listened to “Damage,” go do it now.) RED always performs with exploding energy and excitement. Barnes constantly jumped around the stage while guitarist Anthony Armstrong and bassist Randy Armstrong never stayed still. And drummer Joe Rickard played his heart out.
Their set consisted of sixteen songs, mostly from Release the Panic, with highlights from their previous three albums, including “Faceless,” “Let Go,” “Perfect Life,” “Death of Me,” “Feed the Machine,” and an acoustic version of “Not Alone.” RED ended the night with the single that started it all—“Breathe Into Me” from End of Silence. As always, it was a fantastic show.
After the show I got three-fourths of RED to sign my album review of Release the Panic that I wrote the March issue of HM Magazine. As I drove back to Chattanooga on a very foggy Interstate 59 at one in the morning, I realized that this concert was the ninth time I’ve see RED. I can’t wait for number ten!
Words by: Sarah Brehm
Photos and Video by: Sarah Brehm
A handful of people made their way to The Warehouse at Camp Joy last Saturday night. These were the cool people. Everyone else must be unaware that Children 18:3 and Project 86 put on spectacular, entertaining concerts. Next time, be one of the cool people and come out to see these bands.
Local metals bands Hazmat and CoveredScars kicked off the night of headbanging. Both bands write quality classic metal songs mixed with a little bit of hardcore and a bit of solid rock. This was my first time seeing Hazmat, and I liked what I heard. CoveredScars performed several songs off their debut album What Words Will Do including the title track, and “Black Train.” They also performed the fast-paced, aggressive new single “Flinch” off their upcoming record. CoveredScars needs your help to finish; head over to their PledgeMusic page to find out more.
Punk rockers Children 18:3 started their set on fire. And that isn’t a metaphor; drummer Seth Hostetter actually lit his cymbals on fire. (Want to see this in person? Children 18:3 is coming back in June.) The first time I saw Children 18:3 was at the old Warehouse location in East Ridge; then I saw them at Warehouse location downtown; and now at the largest venue location in the Warehouse’s history. “Usually when we play The Warehouse,” said bassist/vocalist Lee Marie Hostetter, “it’s a lot smaller of room. You kids are growing. The Warehouse is a little bit bigger than last time.” But the extra room just gave the fans more space to mosh and “finger dance” to their heart’s content. Lee Marie managed to continue playing with her characteristic high-energy after hurting her knee early in the set. They played a variety of songs that spanned across their three albums, including “Homemade Valentine,” “Cover Your Eyes,” “All in Your Head,” and “We’ll Never Say Goodbye,” among others.
Project 86 has managed to stay relevant for nearly two decades because of vocalist (and only remained founding member) Andrew Schwab’s desire to create unique music that can’t be pegged onto a single genre. Intense, heavy rock melodies, dramatic movements that showcase quality songwriting, and vocals that range from screaming to practically spoken word, Project 86 is a band that’s not easily forgotten. “There’s nothing more metal than throwing up on stage,” said Schwab after, well, throwing up on stage. Project 86 played “Destroyer,” “Sincerely, Ichabod,” “Fall Goliath Fall,” and “Take the Hill,” among others. If you haven’t picked up their newest album Wait For The Siren (which was completely funded by fans through Kickstarter), stop what you’re doing right now and go buy it. It’s simply fantastic. I can’t stop listening to it.
You won’t want to miss these bands the next time they make their way to the southeast.
Words by: Sarah Brehm
Photos and Videos by: Sarah Brehm
For more photos click here
National and local news tidbits.
New This Week:
Made by Hawk Nelson
Prevailer by For Today
Lights Out by Silverline: April 9
Heroes For Sale by Andy Mineo: April 16
Rise by Skillet: June 25
Rebuild by The Letter Black: pushed back to September 10
In the Studio:
Icon For Hire
J103 launches a Kickstarter campaign for JRadio. “There are many different types and styles of music out there: Rock, HipHop, Chorale, Smooth Jazz, Rap, Metal, etc. and we want to make sure that you can find a station that plays your favorite type of music with clean or faith-filled lyrics. … To start this new collection of online radio stations we need computers, mics, monitors, software and licensing fees though, and while J103 is able to raise money and have our commercials for our FM signals, it’s just not in the budget for a project like JRadio. This is why we chose Kickstarter to raise funds for JRadio. You’re able to help initiate these online radio stations with the firs station (JRadio: Hits) and in return, get some really cool stuff for your backing.”
To read more and donate to JRadio click here: JRadio Kickstarter
Covered Scars currently has a fundraiser going “We would like you to join us and help finish the mastering of our 2nd studio album “Flinch” and manufacturing the CDs. “
For read more and donate to Covered Scars click here: Covered Scars Fundraiser
April 6 (tomorrow): The Chariot, Tir Asleen, The Good Ole Boys, The Bear Comes Home, at The Warehouse Chattanooga. Buy Tickets Here
April 11: Rigoletto CD release party at Rhythm and Brews. 18 and over.
April 20: Project 86 and more at The Warehouse Chattanooga. Buy Tickets Here
By a quarter past five p.m. on March 16, the line already snaked from the doors of City Church out to McCutchen Road. There was still half an hour before doors opened and a steady stream of fans continued to file into the line. With 700 pre-sales, The War of Change Tour featuring Thousand Foot Krutch, Love and Death, The Letter Black, and The Wedding, was sure to be an epic night.
Two local bands, Face Like Failure and CoveredScars, had the privilege of opening for this tour. Form last fall, Face like Failure already performs like a band that has been around for a while. Their blend of heavy rock and metal reminded me of Alter Bridge. And bassist, D.J. Stuman sported a bright purple and blue beard. Their set included “Overcoming,” “Pain Wreck,” “Apples and Snakes,” “Deliver,” and “Not Your Savior,” which can be heard on their Facebook and Reverbnation. CoveredScars played several rock songs from their debut album What Words Will Do including “Black Train,” “Dying Alone,” and “Skin Crawl.” CoveredScars is currently recording a new album, Flinch, and played their first single “The Lamb” as well as “Deacon.” Drummer Jackie Cox says, “We were honored to be a part of this show!”
First of the touring bands was The Wedding from Fayetteville, Arkansas. Their set started with a dark stage and “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” by Jonny Cash blasting through the speakers; The Wedding seamlessly transitioned to their popular single “Heartbreak in Melody” from their first Tooth & Nail album, No Direction (2012). Vocalist Matt Shelton launched himself into the crowd. Their set of punk rock included “The Lesser Worth,” “No Direction,” “The Raconteur,” and “In the End.”
The Letter Black, also on Tooth & Nail’s roster, was up next. Fronted by Sarah Anthony, The Letter Black always puts on an incredible show. They performed several songs from their debut album, Hanging on By a Thread (2010) including "All I Want," "My Disease," "Fire with Fire" and the title track, but it was their new singles “The Only One” and “Sick Charade” that boosted their 2013 release to my list of most anticipated albums. The Letter Black is a quality rock band that only seems to get better and better.
Love and Death, Brian “Head” Welch’s band performed next with their blend of heavy, melodic metal that is quite unique in the realm of Christian music. Welch is the former guitarist of the nu-metal, secular band Korn. Love and Death’s debut album Between Here & Lost definitely has similar sound to Korn. Their set included “Paralyzed,” “Meltdown,” “I W8 4 U,” “The Abandoning,” a cover of “Whip It,” and a medley of Korn songs. Welch will be performing full sets with Korn later this year, which has garnered some negative feedback. “I don’t need your judgment,” he says. “I just need your prayers.” His friendship with Korn has been reconciled, and you never know how God will work through that. Their set ended with “Chemicals.”
The Headliner Thousand Foot Krutch has been a powerhouse in the Christian rock scene for quite a while. Ten years ago, “Rawkfist” from the album Phenomenon, was the anthem for fans of Christian rock, and TFK continues to produce quality rock songs that make you want to mosh like crazy. (When I realized that “Rawkfist” was ten years old, I suddenly felt old!) The majority of TFK’s dynamic performance came from their current album, The End is Where We Begin, including “Let the Sparks Fly,” “I Get Wicked,” “Be Somebody,” “Courtesy Call,” and the title track, among others. They played a smattering of old songs like “Bounce” and obviously “Rawkfist” from 2003’s Phenomenon, as well as “Move” from 2005’s The Art of Breaking. Their encore featured the really old-school song, “Puppet” from 2001’s Set It Off. The crowd of over 800 eagerly sang along with frontman Trevor McNevan to every song and remained energized to the final note.
The War of Change Tour was an incredible night of rock and roll. A huge thanks to The Warehouse and to City Church for putting this all together.
Words by: Sarah Brehm
Videos by: Sarah Brehm
While local restaurants were busy with fancy, romantic dinners and lovey-dovey couples celebrating Valentine’s Day, a few hundred rock fans opted to spend the evening at The Warehouse with Fireflight and Disciple.
The members of Fireflight wore black-and-white outfits with the symbol from their fourth (and current) studio album, Now, emblazoned on shirt sleeves and jackets. They played a variety of pop-rock songs that highlighted most of their albums, including “Stand Up,” “Ignite,” “You Gave Me a Promise,” “For Those Who Wait,” “Desperate” and “Keeping Me Alive.” In the song “Stay Close,” lead singer Dawn Michele sings, “Stay close, stay close / Light up the night / Save me from the part of me / That’s begging to die.” It’s a powerful song written from the perspective of someone who is struggling with depression; this person is calling out to God to stay close and help him/her. At one point Michele held her Bible and read Psalm 27:1: “The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid? (NIV).Fireflight delivered an excellent show, and they had moms and daughters boogying down together in the crowd.
Headliners Disciple, fronted by native Tennessean Kevin Young, rocked the house down with their exceptional blend of hard rock and fun. Disciple’s been around since the early ’90s, but has been through extensive member changes; the only constant has been Young. Perhaps it was because the current line-up is fairly new that Disciple only played songs from their more recent albums. They played a few songs from the 2006 album Scars Remain, but the rest of the set was from the two most recent albums, Horseshoes & Handgrenades (2010) and O God Save Us All (2012); This included the songs “Unstoppable,” “Watch it Burn,” “Regime Change” “Once and For All,” and one of my favorites, “Dear X (You Don’t Own Me).”
About half-way through their set, Young took some time to talk to the crowd about Christianity and having a relationship with God and Christ. What struck me the most was when he compared his relationship with his daughter to God’s relationship with us. “I have a four-year old girl, and I’m getting ready to have another girl,” said Young. “And my daughter, when she was born, you know, before too long she started crawling; before too long after that she started trying to walk. And she fell down a lot. And mom and dad, we were right there every time she fell down to say ‘That’s okay!’
“She was crying, upset, ticked-off, madder than anything you’ve ever seen. ‘It’s okay. You can do this. Stand back up and do it again. Let’s go. You can do this.’
“There’d be days we’d be trying to get her to talk, and we’d get down on her level and say ‘Dadadada. Mamamama’ And before too long she’d do that. She started sounding like me. But it didn’t happen overnight. It happened because she’s my child.
“See what I’m saying? She has a relationship with me. Christianity is not a set of rules. Christianity is a relationship with a man. And when you give your life to Jesus Christ you become His child. And you’ll fall down. A lot. He’ll be right there and say ‘It’s okay. Gonna pick you up and you’ll do this again. You’ve got this. You can do this.’
“Before long you’re going to conqueror whatever that thing is. You know why? Cause he’s with you. You can conqueror all things through Him. That’s what it’s about. And before too long, he’s going to get down on your level and he’s going to start talking simple stuff and you’re going to start trying to talk like him. And before too long you’re going to start to sound like him. You’re going to start to pick up his accent. You’re going to start to talk like God. Before too long you’re going to start to walk like God. Start to want the things that God would want. Start to do the things that God would do. Start to live the way that God would live. Start to love people the way that God would love people. Start to speak into people’s lives the way that God would speak into people. Instead of judging them, reaching out your hands and loving them the way that God would love people. Why? Not because you belong to a religion. Not because you agree with a set of ideals. But because you have a relationship with God.”
The night ended with Disciple’s encore “Game On.” As long as Young continues to have a passion for sharing God through headbanging-rock music, Disciple will be around for many more years to come.
Some days are just full of awesome. When I woke up on Monday I had no idea that I would find myself in Nashville that night hanging out with one of my favorite bands. Then I saw this tweet:
So I sent a reply, and a few hours later I tweeted this:
Five fans were treated to an intimate acoustic concert with RED at, as the video below says, an “undisclosed location in Nashville.” We literally sat less than three feet from the small stage that had been decked out with candles and a large poster of the album cover of Release the Panic, RED’s fourth studio album. Blue lighting mimicked the blue hues of the cover.
RED performed three songs, two off the new record—“Perfect Life” and “Hold Me Now”—and “Breathe Into Me” from End of Silence, their debut album.
After the Livestream event ended, the band members—Michael Barnes, Joe Rickard, Anthony Armstrong, and Randy Armstrong—hung out with the five of us, chatting and posing for photos.
As for my opinion of the Release the Panic, you’ll have to wait till the March issue of HM Magazine. But I’ve been listening to the album ever since I got it, and I strongly recommend you pick it up.
I was also given an Accedia Corporation coffee mug. I know this fine corporation is trying to offer me the Perfect Life, but it’s time to Release the Panic!
Livestream event can be viewed below:
Words by: Sarah Brehm
Ten years ago I walked into a little club in East Ridge and thought “I’m home.” Walking into the new Warehouse venue space on January 19 gave that same feeling. It’s great! Concessions, band merchandise area, and awesome stage, and an indoor skate park will make this space the premier venue in Chattanooga for Christian rock and metal. As I walked around I couldn’t help but think about all the bands that are going to come through here—and all the fans (teens to the young-at-heart) who are going to be entertained and (most importantly) encouraged.
Local bands Sinai Vessel, Delmar, and Rigoletto opened the night. Delmar played a cover of OutKast’s “Hey Ya” and a circle pit started. Rigoletto’s music has a layer of complexity and musicianship that a joy to listen to.
As a group of skaters (ranging from early teens to twenty-something) continued to enjoy the ramps, Solid State’s Becoming the Archetype performed. The night ended with a reunion of local band Within, fronted by Casey Whitaker, owner of The Warehouse. The crowd busted out into a chant of “Thank you, Casey!”
I’m looking forward to many shows in this new space.
Words by: Sarah Brehm
Photos and Video by: Sarah Brehm
Murdered Love by POD
It’s only been four years since POD’s previous album, When Angels & Serpents Dance, was released; but really, fans have been waiting 11 years for an album with as much power as Satellite (2001), POD’s explosive record that helped catapult them to national stardom. Murdered Love is this album. It’s quintessentially old-school POD, and it’s also their most spiritually explicit album—just look at the lyrics to the title track, “Eyez,” and “On Fire.” But there are some misses; “West Coast Rock Steady” and “Bad Boy” don’t seem like they fit into this album. And of course, there’s the controversial track “I Am” that uses the f-word, though it’s bleeped out. (Personally, I don’t mind the song, but I can understand people’s disappointment in POD’s choice of words).
New Horizons by Flyleaf
Flyleaf’s third studio album, and last one for front-woman Lacey Sturm, New Horizons can’t seem to decide what genre it wants to be in. There are epically heavy songs like “Green Heart,” “Freedom,” and “Call You Out.” Then there are catchy pop/rock tracks like “New Horizons,” “Cage on the Ground,” and “Stand.” These songs work separately—they’re musically intricate and Lacey’s vocals are spot on, whether she’s melodically singing or aggressively screaming—but thrown together on the same album creates a bit of discord and lacks continuity. It is two different styles without any transitions in between to tie them together. Flyleaf’s at their best when they push into the realm of heavy rock and let Lacey scream her heart out; we’ll see what new vocalist Kristen May can do.
The End is Where We Begin by Thousand Foot Krutch
Okay, I’ll be honest; I think it was nostalgia that made me buy Thousand Foot Krutch’s eight studio album, The End is Where We Begin. I saw them earlier this year when they toured with RED, and when they played old-school tracks “Move” and “Rawkfist” I remembered my high-school years (“Rawkfist” was pretty much the anthem for any teenaged fan of Christian rock back then). There are some fun songs, like “Light Up the Sky,” “Let the Sparks Fly,” “Courtesy Call,” and the title track. But for the most part TFK’s style of rock is a bit generic. They have a handful of songs that are incredibly fun to mosh to at a concert, but for the most part, their music (at least for me) falls just short of being great.
Gravity by Lecrae
I think it’s safe to say that Gravity is the best Christian rap/hip-hop album to date; it sold 72,000 copies in its first week, surprising the mainstream world! Raw, emotional, and complex, Gravity delivers an album that requires multiple listens just to soak it all in. “Fakin’” “Power Trip,” “I Know,” “Tell the world,” and “Lord Have Mercy” are the best tracks on the album.
Milestone by Gideon
Metalcore, with its characteristic breakdowns and screaming lyrics that are nearly impossible to understand, isn’t for everyone. But Milestone, Gideon’s sophomore album, slowly grew on me as I listened. Experimental guitar-work, and a mixture of time signatures, sets Milestone apart from the mire of mediocre metalcore albums. Also, the title track is simply instrumental—and it’s acoustic—something completely unexpected; it servers almost as an intermission. Like, okay, you’ve been hardcore moshing for seven songs, relax for three minutes, take a breather, get a drink of water. Ready? Okay, here’s three more heavy songs; mosh to your heart’s content. Take a listen to “Gutter” “Maternity” “Faceless,” and “Prodigal Son.”
Other notable albums of 2012:
On the Run by Children 18:3
Miracle by Third Day
Vital by Anberlin
O God Save Us All by Disciple
True Defiance by Demon Hunter
Young Man Follow by Future of Forestry
The Good Life by Trip Lee
World We View by Nine Lashes
Albums I'm looking forward to in 2013:
Release the Panic by RED
Untitled by Skillet
Untitled by Icon for Hire
Untitled by The Letter Black
Words by: Sarah Brehm
When I started Forte Chattanooga, I had in mind that it would
become more of an online magazine, rather than my blog. I was planning to
eventually lean back in my comfy office chair and wear the Editor hat while
several others contributed articles and concert reviews. Some of you have
contributed, and for that I am appreciative. But I’m learning that this
original model isn’t going to work (at least for now).
Instead, Forte Chattanooga is going to become my blog.
For you, the reader, that probably means you won’t notice
much of a change in content, except (hopefully) a dramatic increase in
posts—like a multiple-posts-per-day kind of increase.
For me, it means I’m not going to worry about the things I
did—like should I write about this band? Can I write about that band? Do I even
dare write on this topic?
I know, incredibly vague, but I was afraid there were things
I could and couldn’t do. On my website. It’s
a silly way to think.
So, yes, there will be an increase in posts. These will
still include artist interviews, concert reviews, album reviews. The same sort
of stuff you’ve come to expect from Forte Chattanooga. What’s going to be new
are things like this: I might post a link to a youtube music video and write a
quick paragraph about the particular song; I might talk about a certain Bible
verse; or whatever is on my mind concerning Christian music.
Also in the works is a new design.
I’ve had this design up with little variation since the
beginning, nearly two years ago. It’s time for an update. I’m thinking about
making specific tabs for artist interviews, concert reviews, album reviews.
Everything else will fall under “exclusives” or “general” or something. This
way, you can quickly find the article that you’re looking for. At least, that’s
the plan. I’m not sure how that’ll affect the articles currently posted.
Be looking for these updates sometime early January 2013.
Change is good, right?
Words by: Sarah Brehm
"If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we aren't really living." Gail Sheehy
For nearly three years, the band Pillar has been relatively
silent, leading to speculation that the successful Christian rock band had
finally come to an end. But a sudden update to Pillar’s Facebook and Youtube on
October 27, ignited fans into a frenzy, not only because it revealed a new
album was in progress, but because the lineup reunites Rob Beckley, Noah
Henson, Michael ‘Kalel’ Wittig, and Lester Estelle Jr., the group from Pillar’s
most booming years.
Beckley and Wittig started Pillar in 1998 with several
friends. After releasing two independent albums, Metamorphosis and Original
Superman, Pillar signed to Flicker Records. The album Above was released in 2000, and the track “Open Your Eyes” won a
Dove Award in 2001 for Hard Music Song of the Year.
Henson, known for his iconic dreadlocks and masterful
guitar-work joined Pillar in 2002, the same year Fireproof came out. Not long after its release, Estelle Jr. joined.
Extensive touring with Skillet on the Alien Youth Tour contributed to Pillar’s
fast rise in popularity. Fireproof
sold over 300,000 copies and received a Dove Award for Hard Music Album of the
Year, winning over Demon Hunter’s self-titled album and Project 86’s Truthless Heroes.
In 2004 Pillar released Where
Do We Go From Here. It had multiple hit singles, including “Bring Me Down”
and “Frontline” and also received a Dove Award nomination for Rock Album of the
The Reckoning came
out in 2006, debuting at number 70 on the billboard top 200, and giving the
band its first Grammy nomination for Best Rock or Rap Gospel Album. This
was followed by For the Love of the Game
in 2008, which saw more success and more Dove Award nominations. It was after
this album that Estelle Jr. and Wittig stepped out of Pillar to pursue other
things and spend time with family.
Pillar’s most recent album, Confessions came out in September 2009, receiving yet another Dove
Award nomination. Interesting fact: Joe Rickard, now the drummer for RED,
recorded all the drum tracks for this album.
As Pillar updates and tour dates slowed down, and eventually
came to an end, it seemed that Pillar had closed this rock and roll chapter.
But it seems that God had other plans.
“This is our official announcement to you guys, our fans,”
says Beckley in the video update released last month. “We are going to put
another Pillar record out with the four members that you know and love.
“Just so you guys know, our hearts have been just completely
restored as friends and with our relationship with God and just where we are
right now. We are all in great places, and we are incredibly thankful where we
are. Thank you to the fans for giving us this time to be able to regroup and
solidify our lives to be better husbands, to be better fathers, and to be
“And now it’s all on you guys to go conquer the world just
like the Underground Army that you were in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006—all those
years that we were able to do this. It’s time to reenlist and go do this!”
And just like that, Pillar’s back!
Words by: Sarah Brehm
Photos by: Sarah Brehm
Album Review: A Fire Before Him by Beyond Bethel
Kill the Machine Tour featuring RED
POD at Mercy Lounge in Nashville
Skillet Headlines Winter Jam at McKenzie Arena
The Warehouse is Family
All photos from a Pillar show in 2006 in Chattanooga.
Video created by Trinity's Apprentice Studios