The Letter Black – Pain Album Review

 

Though The Letter Black has years of history in the music industry, they have been reawakened into what feels like a new band. With their new album Pain, Mark Anthony stated, “I feel we have successfully delivered the most honest and true music in the band’s history.”

What does this new and honest record look like for it’s fans? It allows the listener to dive into aggressive affliction, relieving hope, and take a journey into the internal psyche of The Letter Black. The genuine pain life brings is a center focus, but they have found it important to remind us that there is hope, a way to survive and take the pain away.

Sarah Anthony depicts these themes while demonstrating the wide range she can achieve vocally and emotionally. When mixed with the creativity and skill Mark brings instrumentally, we are given a masterfully created album of crushing, beautiful metal music that makes you feel the passion, pain or hope behind each note.

Combining these members’ strong Christian faith and being inspired by bands like Korn, Rob Zombie and Nine Inch Nails, we are offered a combination that brings a unique genre with an “extraordinary lack of a Christian alternatives” as Sarah pointed out.

The very focus of this record is clear and alludes back to the title: Pain. “We have always felt that it was very important to discuss real life issues. Life isn’t always easy.” Sarah stated. Songs like The Last Day That I Cared, Pain and Breathe deliver this point strongly with crushing guitar riffs that show inspiration from bands like Disturbed and heart-wrenching melodies similar to the band’s early days.

Even while having the central theme about life’s struggles, Sarah made it clear that “it’s important for us to show how we got out of our bad situations and to give people the same hope we have.”

In between pain and having victory is a battle. Internal struggles are showcased in songs like Kill the Devil Inside of Me and Rise From the Dead.

The only real way to get out of your pain, as their song Alive reflects on, is God. “We realized that we needed God’s strength and God’s help to bring us back to life.” Sarah stated. Each band member has been through their own moments in which they had turned from God or didn’t know God. Distress and the pain of life would continually remind them of the weakness and misery of living a life on their own.

Sarah continued to explain that “You can stay where you are and try to do it on your own, which we all know is impossible, or you can let go of control and trust God. The Bible is full of God’s promises to you. He never said bad things wouldn’t happen to you because we do live in an imperfect world, but He did say He would never leave you. He will always love. He will always be there for you to strengthen you and give you hope and a future. You just have to trust Him.”

Check out the new album Pain now!!

This article was written by Nadine Gillespie and edited by Asha Schein

As We Ascend – Farewell to Midnight review

photo used from https://www.facebook.com/AWAaudio/

“Through the greatest trial and tribulation, there is hope on the other side. We were reminded that God’s word does not return void. That the call to spread Christ’s message of love and salvation does not end with a period, but charges onward to the greatest mountains and through the darkest seas.” – As We Ascend

After watching their “dreams float away in a wasteland of smoldering ash” the members of As We Ascend have pushed past tribulation and created a faith-inspired, brutally honest, rock album in the wake of their previous band’s dissolve. Farewell to Midnight elaborates on a healing process with a light on the other side and speaks truth into the “human experience.” Besides the relatable content spoken, this band brings a high level of ability and expertise. They have carefully crafted each song musically to add breath and soul to their lyrics.

Starting with the fist-pumping song Hatchet, we are able to relate to the honest anger and vulnerability of feeling betrayed. Tracks like Expendable, Tell Me and Insulate seem to tell a story of how their original band had fallen apart allowing us to access to their hurt, pain and sadness.

Even though they may have been ready to give up, End Of Me (feat. Zach Myers of Shinedown), brings around that they will never surrender to the temptation to quit just because it’s easier. They will press on with the mission at hand.

We Fight delivers an illustration of the grieving process by showing the stronger side of healing. They sing “We fight for the sins of our fathers, this war is not for the faint of heart. We take up arms in the name of, the one who was there from the very start. We fight for our sons and our daughters. This battle will rage on into the night. We are the bruised, but not broken. We will not give up till we’ve won the fight.”

At My Door  (feat. Brad Arnold of 3 Doors Down) concludes their album with singing about “the hope I have when death comes knocking at my door.” This is the real light at the other side of trial and tribulation, when Jesus comes for us and anything we have gone through was not in vain.

I would not necessarily label As We Ascend as a Christian band, but as Christians that are using rock music to reach people. We believe this is an important mission field and you won’t be disappointed by this album! They have created a dialogue and an intimate testimony of relatable human experiences in such a way can appeal to the lost and open doors to those who may be unreachable by any other means. 

Lacey Sturm’s Music and Ministry

Lacey Sturm concert photos for Waves of the Sea

If you follow the Christian Rock music scene, there is a chance you have heard about Lacey Sturm and her encounter with God that changed her life.

Coming from a place of atheism and suicide contemplation, Lacey had such a life altering experience with the living God and His undeniable power changed the course of her life, setting into motion a powerful ministry.

Lacey Sturm concert photos for Waves of the Sea

My personal experience in following the music, writings and ministry of Lacey Sturm began in 2004. As a friend popped in the EP of a band called Flyleaf and said “you have got to hear this!” I was hooked at that very moment. It was like her music spoke to my soul without me even realizing exactly why. Later I came to realize it would be a platform God was using to shape my life. It was Jesus Christ, inside of Lacey, that was calling to me through her music. It was like I was hearing my story and a way to freedom that I was unconsciously wanting more of.

Lacey Sturm concert photos for Waves of the Sea

A few weeks after my friend and I were listening to Flyleaf in the car, I noticed they were  touring with Seether, Shinedown and Halestorm and I knew had to go!

I watched Lacey and her band get up in front of hundreds people wearing all black, dark make-up, chugging beers and yelling every cuss word in the book. As Lacey took the stage, people from the audience were screaming, “you’re hot,” wanting to get her attention. Without an ounce of judgement in her eye, Lacey stood confidently in front of them and began to explain the next song called “Cassie.”

This song was about Cassie and Rachel who were killed in the Columbine shooting after they were asked if they believed in God. Lacey then said, “We, also believe in God and we would die for that,” the crowd hushed and she began to sing.

When she spoke those words, something hit me, I thought “How could someone be so bold to announce that they would die for their beliefs to a bunch of people who probably didn’t care?”

It had me thinking and that would be my first of many Flyleaf and Lacey Sturm shows I would attend.

Over time she would write more music and books that would have a deep impact on myself and I know many others. She would always talk about the words of wisdom that God would give her and experiences that God would lead her through. It was contagious to the rest of us how God would care so much.

Waves of the Sea | wavesofthesea.com

Lacey’s heart for the lost, broken and hurting also shines through as she talks directly to her fans from the stage.

Recently at a show, she described two of her songs Vanity and Rot with a story from the Bible about a rich man and Lazarus. ( Luke 16:19-31).

Lacey said, “Lazarus’s whole life he suffered [and was poor]. The rich man’s whole life he was living in luxury. They both died. The poor man was in Abraham’s bosom, in paradise and the rich man in Hades, suffering.”

The rich man, now in Hell, pleading with Abraham finally cries, “if someone could just go warn my brothers about this place so no one has to come here… Surely, if someone raised from the dead they would believe and repent.””

Abraham said back to him, “If they do not believe Moses or the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone raises from the dead.”

In continuing to explain, Lacey said, “The next songs remind me that there is still time to hear truth and come out of death and have life, tonight. I just want you to listen tonight, and if there is death in some area of your life you can make choices to change from death to life. You still have time.”

Waves of the Sea | wavesofthesea.com

When speaking with Tom Gascon, Lacey’s drummer, he confirmed that their touring life is really going into the “Rock n’ Roll world” to find people that may be unreachable except through music. “I personally take the time to minster to anyone the Lord puts on my heart,” Tom told me. “A lot of times, it results in prayer over that person and we’ve seen a lot of deliverance on the road! We also get to see many people turn their lives back over to the Lord!”

Tom knew from the beginning of his time with the band that the power of God was on Lacey, her team (Lacey’s husband and guitarist – Josh Sturm, and bassist – Ben Hull) and the message they wanted to deliver for the Lord. “At our very first practice, in a tiny basement-like room, the Holy Spirit was so thick that it was obvious that the Lord was blessing what we were doing. In that moment, I knew that He had amazing plans and purpose on this calling into the rock ministry.” 

In another message Lacey was delivering to our crowd, she would explain that she needed to talk to us, as everywhere she goes she knows there is a different reason why they are there. She knows how each person in the room was unique and had a specific purpose.

“You are God’s art!” she exclaimed.

“We all say something about who God is. You have a unique DNA for a reason. You have a purpose that no one else can fulfill the way you can fulfill it. That’s an amazing thing…There’s someone here that needs to know, you are important, significant.”

In concluding her explanations Lacey said she had already prayed for everyone in that room. She asked God for each of us to have our very own encounter with Him and that our lives would be changed.

To really sum up the impact, heart and ministry of Lacey Sturm to a single article would be impossible. She has written two amazing books: The Reason: How I Discovered a Life Worth Living, sharing her encounter with God and her drastic life change from atheism to having a relationship with her Creator and The Mystery: Finding True Love in a World of Broken Lovers. Her music written with Flyleaf (FlyleafMemento Mori, and New Horizons)  still speaks volumes of life’s truths and her latest music, Life Screams, is a perfect continuation of the creativity God pours through her and her bandmates . We here, at Waves of the Sea, hope to feature more articles about the amazing things God is doing through this group of people.

To Lacey and her team, thank you for what you do. You’re making a difference. We are big fans over here at Waves of the Sea.

Waves of the Sea | wavesofthesea.com

 

This article was written and photographed by Nadine Gillespie and edited by Lindsay Morgan Synder

If you would like to use any photos on social media please email us at nadine@wavesofthesea.com and link back to our site!

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Kat & Jared EP review

As a long time fan of Flyleaf, I was especially excited for the release of Kat & Jared’s EP. Though much different than Jared’s former rock band, the musical influences still seem to shine through in this duo’s indie/worship style of music. When you add Kat’s unique and reverent delivery, you are taken by the hand into the presence of Jesus. Our favorite part about the music they have created, is that it doesn’t matter what your style of worship may be. These songs fit in a large church setting or alone in a dark room.

Kat & Jared Music

Kat has described their music as, “anthems of hope and joy in the midst of uncertainty.” In the lyrics you hear the goodness of God’s love for us. “God brings life into everything. That’s what he’s done for us,” Kat explained.

They have been through their share of seasons learning arduous lessons, to now proudly proclaim God’s goodness in the midst of hardships. In only one example, three weeks after the birth of their baby boy, they nearly lost him due to a sudden aggressive viremia.

We were stretched in just about every area of our faith and faced with the question, What do we really believe about who God is and who He says we are?”

After battling with all the fear, anxiety and confusion that came with this and other life-changing events, they drew closer to God and had victory! Choosing to trust the Lord, love him despite circumstances, and magnify Him instead of our problems was the key to the freedom Kat & Jared declare behind each song.

When we choose to focus on God, to remind ourselves of His nature, to praise Him for His goodness despite what we see or feel, it actually releases His will into our lives. It brings us peace and joy because those are a part of His nature.  But it is a choice.”

Writing these songs is a way to help others know that love, joy, hope and peace are there for our taking if we keep our focus on Jesus! They have created a time of reflection on God’s faithfulness because this power has changed their lives and they want it to change yours. 

To Purchase their new CD please go here: Kat&Jared

Photography by Lucy Soerens

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