I have wondered why a copious amount of “Christian” rock bands tend to veer towards metal and hard rock. I’m still not sure why Christianity and that style of music seem to dominate but it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. The case in point is Written In Red, which is a five-piece band from Gillette, Wyoming. Their debut Not My Home is a straightforward hard rock/metal album that like-minded religious folk can rejoice in. As far as comparing apples to apples, metal has come a long way in recent years. Bands like Mastodon, Pelican and Baroness have brought new style to the table that have refreshed a genre many have felt has been stagnant.
Written In Red isn’t on the cusp of what the genre can offer (like the aforementioned bands) but build on a tried and true method that plenty of people appreciate. In fact you could argue of their music is most reminiscent of ‘80s metal. You can also hear traces of ‘90s metal. Oddly enough the mainstream hyper-real Evanescence-esque metal that started to emerge around the turn of the century isn't present.
The album starts off with vocal samples from religious declarations that sounded like something you would hear from Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Although there are no orchestral strings that rise up to give the words a melodramatic essence, it goes on for two minutes and could have been wrapped up in less than a minute. Either way it doesn’t exactly meld perfectly into “Not My Home” which startled me because I knew nothing about the band at the time. It’s a hard-hitting catchy song overall that I first thought was about his ex-wife but ended up being about Jesus.
The relatively catchy hard rock/metal continues with songs such as “Pray For The Prey” and “The Reason.” “Hollow” has a ‘80s Bon Jovi feel (when he was doing his country thing) while “Battle Within” is a catchy song any way you look at it. The band gets heavy on “We Are (Broken World)” and sounds reminiscent of something you would hear at Sunday worship with “Yahweh.”
The band says on their Bandcamp page, “One thing you will get from every song on the album though, is God's inerrant and holy Word.” Truth be told this music is probably best for those who already have religious faith. The music is overt about its beliefs and every song is connected to that. There aren’t going to be many atheists or agnostics that will be spinning this album. That being said, if you are already a practicing Christian and like metal and hard rock, you will most likely appreciate Not My Home.
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