Aaron Porter is frustrated with Christian Music. He is a worship leader who got sick of the current Christian music that is out there and tried to create his own. I think I’m pretty sure I know what he’s frustrated about. From what I have heard most of the Christian bands sound like bad versions of Nickleback if they just took some Ecstasy and decided to sing about Christ. Anyway Aaron Porter sounds nothing like any of this. In fact if you didn’t know about the concept of the album you would probably wouldn't have even guessed what he was singing about. Porter tries to chew off a bit more then he can handle conceptually in the same way “Tree of Life” couldn’t encompass the vastness of eternity in a three-hour film, but you have to give him credit.
According to Porter, “It is a concept album and without its main theme to hold it together is quite a bit of chaos. It is essentially a musical timeline about the history of Man and his relationship with God. From the beginning ("Dust of the Ground") to the fall of man ("Always") to the crucifixion ("What Must Be Done") to the end ("Hope is Endless") and more. I dug this album in the same way that I enjoyed Seven Swans by Sufjan Stevens in that it didn’t seem overtly preachy and had enough decent songwriting that I was able to look past my own atheist beliefs and take it in. Just looking at the music for what it is, Porter is hit-or-miss on a lot of the songs and I wish he had deviated even more from where he was comfortable. The genre hopping can be messy at times and I wanted to hear more of the post-rock tendencies that would have been a great way to tell such a grand story. Instead you get different consistencies, which in and of itself creates an inconsistency with the story he is telling.
“Dust of the Ground” starts off the album entitled VII and is a decent, somber number that moderately starts to rock out towards the end. ”Always” was one of the better songs. It had some nice female vocals and was very slow. The next song “Rivers” probably had the best music on the album. It had thunderous drums, a nice bass line and reverb laced guitar. Porter could have taken these elements and went into Godspeedyoublackemperor territory but opted instead to go poppy. The grand concepts needed a grand arena to play in and almost had it. Maybe the most bizarre genre hopping I’ve heard in quite some time was listening to “Strong and Mighty Still” which was basically an old country song with a walking bassline. If I listened to this song by itself it would have been my favorite song on the album but it literally doesn’t have anything to do with the other genres. So what are we left with after all is said and done? You have a decent album with a couple of better than average songs that needed more direction. So much better then what you would hear on Christian radio but the overall ebb and flow needs a better consistency and framework to encompass such as a powerful story.
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