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| 4 September 2015 | Reply


Label: Independent

Release Date: September 1, 2015

Rating: 7.5/10

Reviewed by: Mike Hubbard

Post-hardcore newcomers Arms For Elephants dropped their first full length recording, ‘My Judas Scene’, on September 1.  Hailing from Mankato, MN, the band lists UnderOath, Emery, and Anberlin amongst their influences, and after listening to the album I can definitely hear elements of those bands in their sound.  The quartet features dual vocalists/guitarists, leading to a unique sound.  Adding to that sound is their deep, often spiritual, positive and encouraging lyrics.

The album starts off strong with opening track ‘The Business Of Barely Getting By.’  The screamed vocals are featured prominently along with some strong guitar work.  The second track, ‘The Laws That Guide My Feet’ is the first single of the album, and picks up right where ‘Business’ leaves off.  The opening guitar riffs sound just like something you might hear from UnderOath.  ‘Charlatan’ is another upbeat tune, but with some softer interludes.  ‘In Memory’ is next.  The boys switch things up here and start showing their softer side, similar to what you might find from Anberlin, with all clean vocals. The fifth track picks up the pace and intensity.  ‘In Faith And Doubt’ is emotionally gripping, with mostly clean vocals, punctuated with screams as the song builds and explodes towards the end.  The clean vocals take the lead again on the title track, ‘My Judas Scene’.  The song speaks to someone in need of hope, “I’ll never leave you, carry on and just be still, carry on and know I’m here.”  The vocal styling on ‘This Divide’ reminds me specifically of ‘They’re Only Chasing Safety’ era UnderOath with the lead clean vocals echoed and punctuated by the screams in a way that perfectly builds and releases tension.  The next track, ‘O, Complacent Heart’ is taken from their debut EP.

The disc wraps up with two songs that are very different from the rest of the album.  There are hints of the band members’ Christian beliefs throughout the album, but these tracks almost come off as modern worship songs.  ‘Separated’ speaks right to the core of a Christians beliefs, with the lyrics ”You took the fall for me so that I wouldn’t be separated, and I won’t doubt you anymore.”  These sentiments can definitely be applied universally as well in the context of Christianity.  The last track is ‘Empty Hands’, another ballad, this time featuring a female guest vocalist.   “Honestly I’ve got nothing left to give but empty hands, and honestly I’m done fighting.  Is this the life you wanted for me?”  Again the lyrics are meaningful within or outside the Christian faith, but the Christian theme is undeniable.

I have to admit that I was a bit confused the first couple of time I listed to ‘My Judas Scene’.  Are they a metalcore band like UnderOath? Are they softer alt-Christian like Anberlin?  Or are they a modern alt-worship band?  It probably wasn’t until my third listen through that I finally started to see that the answer was a little of ‘all of the above’.    The boys deliver a positive encouraging message for people of any faith in need of a good ‘pick me up’, in a diverse package that is bound to resonate with a broad audience.  ‘My Judas Scene’ is a strong first effort for Arms For Elephants.  Check out the forthcoming video for the lead single ‘The Laws That Guide My Feet’ to experience the uplifting fun of AFE.

Tracklisting: The Business Of Barely Getting By – The Laws That Guide My Feet – Charlatan – In Memory – In Faith And Doubt – My Judas Scene – This Divide – O, Complacent Heart – Separated – Empty Hands





Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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