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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Starfield - The Hand That Holds The World

Starfield - The Hand That Holds The World Live @ EO Youth Day 2008, Gelredome.

Christian Music News Source

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Underoath Are Blessed

A Grammy Award nomination may not be a big deal for some, but for a band whose humble beginnings were drudging around metal's underground, that's a damn big accomplishment.

Underoath have been in existence since 1998 and are on top of their career with the release of their latest album, Lost In The Sound Of Separation, though their success hasn't come without criticism.

While the band were in Toronto, ChartAttack had the chance to talk to bassist Grant Brandell about the new record and the overwhelming success the band have had.

ChartAttack: Underoath are a band that have really progressed their sound. Is it one of your goals to improve album after album?
Grant Brandell: Definitely. I think that we are always trying to progress and always trying to out-write the last album and do something better. We're definitely a band that likes to experiment and try new things. I feel like if we wrote the same album two or three times, it gets to be boring and lame and we wouldn't be into it. We're always trying to push ourselves, even with different elements of music and instruments and styles. We're definitely that kind of band.

Do you find that alienates fans sometimes?
Yeah, I think it can, but I think of it more like the fact that if I was on stage every night and wasn't really into it and wasn't really stoked on it, if I was a fan, that would be way more lame than seeing a band that maybe I liked their older stuff a little bit better, but at least they're doing what they love, you know? I think that's way cooler.

You can tell when a band is into what they're doing on stage and loving what they're doing. I think if it alienates fans and you don't have as many for the next record, that's not really the point anyway. We're definitely not trying to write music for everyone else. We're trying to write music that we love to play and if people like it, that's awesome. If they don't, that's cool, too.

You guys have definitely been getting the most mainstream attention of your career.
Yeah, which is funny because each album we've put out, at least the last two, have been heavier than the ones before it and not as radio-friendly. But it's cool, you know? I think people can tell that we're doing what we love to do and trying to push the bar and they respect that. They can sense that and latch onto it.

Has there been a negative side to the attention you've been getting lately?
Um, honestly, no, not really. I mean, I try not to read the whole message board things and forums online because, 90 per cent of the time, that's just bickering and stuff from kids anyway. That's the only thing I can think of that's negative that comes from this.

I personally think this is the best album that we've put out, so I'm stoked on it. I think every band says that. It's kind of cliche, but at the same time, it's what I believe.

At what point did you realize something was really happening for you?
Probably the year we were on Warped Tour. We had kind of played Warped Tour here and there before, but this was the first time we were doing the whole thing and you could just tell a difference in the shows. Like, the CD was selling really good, and shows started getting better and better and it was awesome. That was the first time I was like, "Wow, this is sweet."

And now you're doing massive tours. That's pretty amazing that your job, if you call it that, allows you to see the world.
A lot of times I feel bad complaining to friends at home, like, "Yeah, I've got to go out of the country for five weeks," and they're like, "Yeah, poor baby. You travel the world and do what you love. Rough." So you have to get a slap in the face to be humble about it, but it is honestly the best feeling ever. I feel totally blessed and just lucky to be able to do what I love doing for a career and see the world, you know? It's awesome.

Even just coming from the metal underground where you guys started, to be able to do it from that scene is amazing in itself.
Yeah, completely. Anything our band has done, like, five years ago started going past my expectations. Everything now is just like a cherry on top. It's amazing. I definitely feel blessed and appreciative of the chances and opportunities we've had.

Christian Music News Source

Music Review: Underoath - Lost in the Sound of Separation

For quite a while, we were told that rock and roll was the devil’s music. Ever since Elvis shuffled his hips in such a grotesquely demonic way, rock music was a good kid’s best bet for going bad. But times have changed and rock music not only is a sanctuary for Christians, but some of the little buggers are making music that shreds eardrums better than many of those old Satanic bands could ever hope to do.

Enter Underoath, the metalcore Christian band with gobs of mainstream success, slots on “secular” festivals, and hordes of ear-splitting banshee fans in tow. These guys are inked up and look like a goshdarn rock band. Better still, they freaking sound like one.

Fans of Underoath won’t need an introduction, although things have been rough as of late. Not only does the band’s current line-up feature just one of the original members (drummer/vocalist Aaron Gillespie), but lead screamer Spencer Chamberlain went through substance abuse troubles that threatened to break-up the band. Substance abuse… in a Christian metalcore band… I never!

While some Christian musical acts can be easily criticized for a holier than thou approach, the muck and mire of Underoath rings true. Chamberlain’s personal strife and struggle displays a human side, his voice betraying a solid trust between body and mind as he bleats and blasts through the band’s hard-edged arrangements. As the replacement for the departed Dallas Taylor, Chamberlain’s a good fit.

Since Chamberlain joined Underoath, the band has released three records. 2008’s Lost in the Sound of Separation is the third, marking the sixth studio album overall.

The sextet roars out of the starting gate with the aptly-titled “Breathing in a New Mentality” to get things going. “Clean me up, show me how to live, tear me down, let me start again,” Spencer screams over crunching guitars.

And that sense of replenishment through devastation really marks the theme for Lost in the Sound of Separation. Spencer’s yelling and coarse shouting comes off as a grand form of catharsis and we’re along for the psychotherapy, experiencing rare moments of stability in the weariness of self-torture.

That sense of balance comes in the form of Gillespie, who offers moments of remarkably gentle singing to offset to Chamberlain’s angst-ridden boulevard. There is odd frailty, such as when Gillespie balances Chamberlain on the potent “A Fault Line, A Fault of Mine.” Witness: “Bear with me, this is all I have left” as Gillespie’s offering to God, perhaps on Chamberlain’s behalf.

“Emergency Broadcast: The End is Near” is the album’s best track, a driving rock track with nice pace and solid construction. “At the end of it all, we will be sold for parts,” Chamberlain posits. The tune features a tremendous breakdown as well, as the band plays lightly (for them, anyway) over Gillespie’s drums.

Lost in the Sound of Separation works because it goes beyond what a metalcore record should do and turns into a full-on confessional of sins. It is Underoath’s most deeply personal record, built in the fires of ache and self-torture with the ultimate goal of refinement never far from view. It is genuinely spiritual, yet avidly relatable to those among us who may not share the band’s views. There is more substance here than I expected and the band is willing to take risks, proving their worth in an ocean of Christian metalcore sound-a-likes.

Plus, when a metalcore band has the balls to wind things up with a track (“Desolate Earth: The End is Near”) that sounds like it belongs on Kid A, you gotta freaking give it up to them. Amen?

Christian Music News Source

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Starfield Seeks to Stir Americans to Action Through U.S. Tour

Christian rock band Starfield will be returning to the United States this month to kick off their first headlining U.S. tour.

After successful “I Will Go” tours in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Europe, the award-winning Canadian group will be hitting more than 20 cities across the United States over the next two months including Sacramento, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Denver, Kansas City, St. Louis, Nashville, Pittsburgh, and Minneapolis.

“We’ve taken this tour out in Canada twice, once with Shane and Shane and a second time with Will Graham, the grandson of the great Billy Graham. It will be great to finally bring this show to our friends in the U.S.,” commented guitarist Jon Neufeld.

Joining Starfield on the U.S. tour will be their newest label mate, Above The Golden State, which signed with Sparrow Records earlier this year and released its self-titled label debut on July 22. The upcoming U.S. tour will be the band’s second in 2008. Earlier this year, Starfield joined Christian music duo Shane & Shane on their “Vision of You” tour.

While the “I Will Go” tour will feature a focus on worship with the aim of creating a family-friendly show, more than that, the band hopes it will encourage people to give time and energy, and not just money, to help those in need – as the song “I Will Go” sets out to do.

“This is a media-influenced generation, so for this tour we invested a lot of time and energy into the video, lighting and those kinds of elements,” commented lead singer Tim Neufeld. “But our real hope is that at the end of the night, people are left with a tug on their hearts to find new ways to love and serve the world around them.”

Before making landfall this month in the United States, Starfield visited 12 Canadian cities last month and took part in seven festivals in Europe before that.

“The shows have been amazing, uplifting, and humbling,” testified Neufeld during the tour in August.

Since the release of their second album, Beauty In The Broken, Starfield has achieved their best radio success to date, sold twice as many records in half as much time, and had their best touring season in their six-year history.

Originally formed by brothers Tim and Jon Neufeld, the four-man team has come to be today’s most awarded Canadian Christian band.

Their latest album, I Will Go, was released by Sparrow Records in North America on Mar. 25 and in the United Kingdom on Mar. 31. Singles from the album include "Reign in Us" and "Hosanna."

Christian Music News Source

People injured in Abbotsford church floor collapse taking legal action

ABBOTSFORD, B.C. — Two people injured when a floor collapsed at a church in Abbotsford are taking legal action against the city and the operators of the church.

Elwin and Julia Witzke of Surrey were hurt when the dance floor at the Central Heights church gave way during a Christian rock concert on April 25.

In a writ filed in B.C. Supreme Court, they say the Mennonite church and four other defendants were negligent.

Seventy people crashed through the floor and 44 were reportedly injured during a concert by the band Starfield.

A class-action lawsuit filed shortly after the collapse is also making its way through the courts.

No statements of defence have been filed and the allegations are unproven in court.

Christian Music News Source