The Fear of God
Is it ironic or overly earnest for a Georgia-based Christian metalcore band to release an album called The Fear of God? When it's as good as this one, it hardly matters. They've moved past the breakdowns and shrieking that characterize their original genre and become a much more interesting band, throwing analog synths and treated vocals and guitar solos played with genuine skill (as opposed to a bunch of rehashed arpeggios) at the listener willy-nilly. But here's the thing: as they're knocking off With Teeth-era Nine Inch Nails, they're also remembering the importance of actually writing songs. "Out of My Mind" starts with a riff AC/DC would quite happily steal, before the keyboards come in and it all starts to sound like an attempt to recapture the magic of 1982 new wave pop. These guys are witty, creative, and frequently surprising. All of these are good things. The Fear of God is one of those albums that's destined to blindside both the mosh-pit mob and sophisticated adult fans of heavy/hard music who don't expect anything worthwhile to come from a band with members under 30. A few clunkers aside (most notably "Shepherd, No Sheep"), this is a very strong album of adventurous but radio-friendly rock.