I doubt it will come as much of a shock to anyone when I say I’m not a big fan of Christian
Rock. It’s not that I’m against Christianity or have a metal head’s affection for Satan, it’s just that the genre is boring. Most Christian Rock bands to a great job of bringing the boredom and uptight attitude to an otherwise fun style of music instead of bringing joy and excitement to worship.
As such, most Christian bands make me want to renounce my faith, but I worry that hell would consist of a Casting Crowns concert that never ends.
Flyleaf is an anomaly in the Christian Rock genre (I’ve also heard them referred to as Christian Metal but that is a ridiculous genre; why sing about Jesus or anything worth singing about if you’re going to growl so no one understands a word you’re saying. But I digress).
For one thing, they’re a good band. I enjoy their music which I find to have pleasant harmonies, rhythms and energy. I can bob my head to it and feel the music pumping in me. It’s rare to hear Christian Rock made by people who can actually rock.
The other thing I enjoy about them is that I don’t feel like I’m being beaten over the head by a bible with their lyrics. The songs aren’t taken directly from scripture or hymns, but are about real life stories (Cassie, Fully Alive) or love songs (All Around Me, Red Sam).
After being impressed by them at Rock on the Range in 2009 I picked up the self titled EP for a couple of buck and really enjoyed it. The songs are raw and heavy. It’s nice to hear a band with something to say who have the words and notes to actually say it. A few months ago I purchased their debut self titled album and I was surprised by how different the songs sound compared to the EP.
The songs on Flyleaf are as good as they were on the EP, but they’re a lot more polished. I enjoyed the jangly guitar licks and fuzzed out bass on the EP, but here everything is much cleaner. “Fully Alive” is missing the short pre-chorus from the EP and you can tell that the band has grown and gotten a lot tighter. I still prefer the rushed and loose vibe from the EP.
That’s not to say that Flyleaf is crap. There are more songs on there. “All Around Me” is one of my favorites. That’s right, I’m man enough to say that a love song is my favorite. “So I Thought” and “There For You” are great tracks too. Plus the double tracking of the vocals works really well with Lacey Sturm’s slightly nasal voice.
The best bonus for me on the full-length album is the five acoustic versions of songs on the end. I love hearing big, loud rock songs stripped down to their bare bones so harmonies and feeling can come through without all the distortion. It also intrigues me as a songwriter who usually composes on an acoustic before taking the songs to my punk band.
If I were to recommend either to a casual listener it would definitely be the EP. I don’t think I need to recommend anything to a full blown fan because you probably already have the album. I’m just glad I have both because I’m hoping it will offset the Danzig and Cradle of Filth in my collection on Judgement Day.