Beautiful Eulogy – Instruments of Mercy

By Jessica C on November-5-2013 | Filed under Reviews | Tags : , , , | Share

Beautiful Eulogy – Instruments of Mercy
Score: 5/5Score: 5/5Score: 5/5Score: 5/5Score: 5/55
4.4 (33 votes)

Artist: Beautiful Eulogy
Title: Instruments of Mercy
Label: Humble Beast Records
Release Date: October 29, 2013
Reviewer: Jessica Cooper

Track Listing:

  1. Cello From Portland
  2. Vital Lens
  3. Exile Dial Tone
  4. The Size Of Sin
  5. You Can Save Me
  6. Instruments Of Mercy
  7. Symbols And Signs
  8. Blessed Are The Merciful
  9. Release Me From This Snare
  10. Organized Religion
  11. According To God
  12. Raise The Bridge
  13. The Size Of Grace
  14. Acquired In Heaven

When it was announced that Beautiful Eulogy was working on a new project, there was a brief moment when I thought it couldn’t possibly top their first release, Satellite Kite. But considering who these guys are and what they’re capable of, that moment exited my mind just as quickly as it entered. Anticipation welled up, and here I am to try to serve Instruments of Mercy some justice. The Triumphant Trio of Christian Hip Hop – Braille, Odd Thomas, and Courtland Urbano – has done it again.

If you were a fan of Satellite Kite, you’ll immediately recognize Urbano’s beat stylings in the first track, “Cello From Portland”. It’s instrumental, with a few vocals, all-new organic sounds of rain and chirping birds, and the delayed ambient chime of an electric guitar. As the song progresses, the jangly beat of a tambourine enters the scene, and then the cadence of a kick drum and rim clicks. Harmonies repeat:

“This is who we are, DESPERATE / This is what we need, MERCY.”

Next is the first single off Instruments of Mercy, “Vital Lens”. It was introduced online with this video that features broken shots and split screens, unfocused and sharp quality frames, in a warehouse with foreground and background placement of the guys much like SK’s “Entitlement” video. The song speaks of humility in the desire to present the Gospel to believers and nonbelievers alike, using the clarity of displaying the glory of God through words of truth and personal revelation. “Vital Lens” is laden with bass tones heavy enough to rattle all the way into your head, and features more dripping, trickling sounds of water as well as the gentility of a wind chime.

“Because His character and nature can never be known through natural revelation / Or shown through random acts or figments of your imagination / We the Beautiful Eulogy attempt to communicate audibly and visually / To help you hear and see the glory of God clearly.”

The second verse of this song is where the concept of the whole album first takes its identity. It reveals the mercy of God in the example of the life of the speaker as well as in the act of Christ dying for the sins of mankind.

“We received His revelation so we reflect it when we breathe / And the concepts we conceive are born of spiritual seed / Manifest in the material realm as musical composition / The rhythm of heartbeats transformed by the Gospel and Godly wisdom / I’m an instrument of His mercy, unworthy but still He uses me / The beauty of the eulogy through His death we are truly free.”

The third track “Exile Dial Tone” is a bass-driven track as well, with a spacey loop that sounds like an alien aircraft, razzy synth, and more wind chime tings. Braille’s vocals seem to make any of their songs more intense and blunt, because of the way he delivers the lyrics; they hit in specific points with Urbano’s beats and create a greater impact in sound. “Exile Dial Tone” speaks of the issues with Christians trying to relate to audiences more than trying to spread the Gospel, creating a culture of acceptance and relevance rather than of mercy and love. Beautiful Eulogy stresses the importance of unity in the body of Christ, and stands against the idea of faith being a popularity contest:

“So no matter how you paint it or politically campaign it / Whether you water it down and drain it / It’s really all the same ain’t it? / It’s the same frustration, same constant segregation / Christians living like aliens trying to relate with citizens of a different nation / What always makes for a better presentation than bark and bite / Is a proper understanding of living a life filled with salt and light.”

“The Size of Sin” confronts the lie that Christians often believe about whether or not one sin is worse than another, when the truth is that sin is all the same in God’s eyes. We lead ourselves out of repentance and away from mercy when we begin to question if stealing is worse than murder.

“A just judge must summons for infinite punishment / And when applying we’re undeniably liable / The smallest white lie is enough to be indictable / The size of sin is so big it causes a cosmic fraction / And hell is the only relevant response to righteous reaction / This is what our sinful actions actually earned us / But God took upon himself the weight of sin reserved for us / A weight so significant that only the blood of an innocent one is acceptable and worthy / So rather than make light of it, or minimize the size of it / We should marvel at the magnitude of His mercy.”

“You Can Save Me” presents a lot of questions that are often asked as a result of so many different claims to truth in the world, and arrives at the one Truth: that God is the one true God, and Jesus is the one true way to Him.

”So God in the second person of the trinity permanently purchases / With a perfect purpose and a death of an infinite worth / Raising from the earth to assert certain prophetic words / Serving as a legal substitution to completely reverse the curse / Earnestly pursuing love to fulfill the Father’s work / His design to save is the graciousness of His greatness / Salvation plays the center stage for the rock of ages / And by trusting in His unblemished blood we become blameless / And become pardoned for our sin because God alone can save us.”

The title track “Instruments of Mercy” blows in next (literally, it has wind in it) with xylophonic tings and acoustic strums and harmonics, hand clacks, and a steady bass thump, and features Hello Abigail on supporting vocals. It displays the whole concept of the entire album in a couple of verses that describe the way the body of Christ should be used as an orchestra, harmonizing and undergoing constant change and improvement for the glory of God’s kingdom.

“I’m an instrument in Your orchestra Lord and You are my only audience / Holding Your promises close and watching as Your plan unfolds / All for Your glory and praise playing the song that You composed / With Your hands, play Your song / Use my life, I’m your instrument / Tune my heart to sing Your song / Use my life, I’m Your instrument.”

What I love most about Instruments of Mercy is that it confronts several issues in Christianity that believers struggle with recognizing. One of those is presented in “Symbols and Signs”, the seventh track on the album. Beautiful Eulogy questions how believers relate their own desires with the will of God, in a very bold, direct manner, attributing what we believe God’s plan is for us to “signs and symbols”. I’m drawn in by the harsh, razzy tones of the synth, bass beats, and rim clicks that fit the gruffness of the song very well. And ya boi Propaganda makes an appearance on this track, so there’s all the justification you need for great hip hop collaboration.

“Are you the kind that’s completely consumed by symbols and signs? / If you are that’s fine, but don’t you find it interesting how most of the time your self-interpreting seems to coincide with what’s deep inside your heart’s desire? / Seems rather convenient, doesn’t it?”

 “Blessed are the Merciful” is my favorite (technically) instrumental song, and it builds at a near-perfect progression alongside the intensity of Art Azurdia’s dialogue that’s featured on the track. Here’s an excerpt:

The evidence of God’s mercy in your life isn’t determined by how much theology you know, by how many books you read, but by your active goodness to people in misery and in need. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”

“Release Me From This Snare” is the psalm of the album, full of desperate pleas inspired by biblical context. Psalms 32 and 139 make an appearance in this track, proclaiming the all-knowing nature of God and the depravity of mankind.

“I acknowledged my sin to You and I did not cover my iniquity / There’s no way to hide from Your all-seeing eyes / You know everything, I can’t tell you a lie / You know my own heart much better than I / You know when I sleep and You know when I rise / You know all the thoughts that go through my mind / From morning to night, every moment of pride // The old will pass away, while I’m still here You hear my prayer / Please, wash my sins away, oh Lord, release me from this snare.”

 “Organized Religion” exposes the duality of man in the context of faith and legalism, and portrays the struggles Christians face while walking with God. It speaks of the tongue as a rudder, the speck in the eye of another versus the log in your own, and what goes into your heart having an effect on what comes from your life. It’s fast and jabbery in verse and composition, featuring Jackie Hill and Eshon Burgundy.

“Because here’s the deal / The tongue is small but still it’s strong enough to curse or kill / Destroy or build, sink or stir a ship / Lift up a man, cause a person to trip, hurt or heal // Organize, organize, organize me / If You have my heart, then You have every part of me / What I hear, what I say, what I feel , what I see / If You have my heart, then You have every part of me.”

 “According to God” is the voice of all insecurity and misidentification that believers face throughout life, whether defined by circumstance or acceptance.

“According to God, I was called from the darkness into His marvelous light / He is near, to the broken heart, and faithful to finish what He started.”

 “The Size of Grace” is a reflection of how man cannot measure the extent of that which we do not deserve, but yet receive – the grace of God.

“The size of grace, how great he size? / The gates of Heaven are open wide! / And people of all kind are welcome inside / Should have been denied but instead God replied / He said, in your place my Son has died / His death gave you life, it’s the size of grace / Innocent blood that was shed to erase / Every trace of sin for a chosen race.”

 “Acquired in Heaven” is Beautiful Eulogy’s “Revelation Song”, and the final track on Instruments of Mercy. It’s a sort of liberation from the weight of the rest of the album, allowing an opportunity to dwell on the goodness of God and His mercy as our Father. Just as they did with “Beautiful Eulogy” on Satellite Kite, Beautiful Eulogy closes Instruments of Mercy with a declaration of praise and adoration.

“Where God will be seen through purified eyes / Purged from the sin that blinded us from viewing God, glorified / Where love will be expressed with perfect affection / Until then, we will wait with expectation for all that we will acquire in Heaven.”

Overall: All of Instruments of Mercy is fresh in sound, featuring loops of new beats and sounds that stick to the lyrics like glue. Beautiful Eulogy continues to be consistent in their collaborative works and are undoubtedly blessed with the words and musical talent to produce something that’s cohesive, poetic, and undeniably beautiful from beginning to end. If you enjoy any one of their individual projects, there’s no logical explanation for why Instruments of Mercy wouldn’t be in your hip hop collection. It’s powerful, creative, dynamic, and contains the fingerprints of three men who were ordained for a specific purpose. I can see this release making huge waves in the world of music, and have no reservations in recommending it to anyone with the attention span to read everything I just wrote. Seriously, it’s amazing. And now it’s free on Humble Beast. Do yourself and favor and get your hands on this.

RIYL: Braille, Odd Thomas, beat mixing, everything awesome

Beautiful Eulogy - Instruments of Mercy, 4.4 out of 5 based on 33 ratings

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33 Responses to 'Beautiful Eulogy – Instruments of Mercy'

  1. Josh Hamm says:

    Great review. There’s so much depth to Instruments of Mercy, I can’t get over it. Near perfect musically and brilliant lyrics that tackle tough subjects, plus a nice reference to Jonathan Edwards’ famous sermon, and a powerhouse of guest artists who fit like a glove on every song.

    If Son Lux hadn’t released a new album this year, then this might have taken my top album of 2013.

    Reply

    • Earthseed says:

      Son Lux released an album this year? Thanks, I will have to check this out. BUt, this CD is incredible, I get more out of it on each listen.

  2. Jessica C says:

    Thanks. I honestly have been listening to this for a week, non-stop, and still find myself falling into a different hole of emotion and spirituality each time. Totally agree with the “powerhouse of guest artists” comment. Seriously, I’m wondering how anything can top this right now. It’s incredible.

    Reply

  3. Tim says:

    This was my album recommendation on my blog this week. I really think it’s excellent. I, however, don’t feel like they’ve progressed much musically… but probably because they set such a high bar the first time! I love that they choose to create all their sounds organically. Courtland Urbano knows how to create a great atmosphere. I think that it’s lyrically sublime, yet again! Whereas so many artists let their theological lyrics impact their flow… Odd Thomas and Braille are just phenomenal lyricists. And I agree that the guests on this album really enhance the sound.

    It is brilliant!

    So good stuff overall!

    Reply

    • Jessica C says:

      I feel like it’s better than Satellite Kite because it’s a concept album with subconcepts, so from beginning to end, it feels way more cohesive because they’re talking about the presence of mercy in so many different aspects of life. I think that adds a lot of weight to the cohesion of it all.

    • Tim says:

      Having a lyrical theme doesn’t make it a concept album for me. Nor does it take away or add to the fact that it’s a brilliant album but an album that, in my opinion, is only equally as good as the album before. I think that the lyrics for Satellite Kite are pretty consistent and have an underlying theme in a similar way to this album.

      Have they said it is a concept album? I hadn’t heard that.

      Still, incredibly high quality release.

  4. Jessica C says:

    No, it hasn’t been said that it’s a concept album, but I’ve always believed that can be left up to the interpretation of listeners, since music is essentially made for an audience. What I meant by that is that there is definitely a central theme throughout Instruments of Mercy, and is something that I picked up on personally.

    All my opinions, haha.

    Reply

    • Tim says:

      I respect your opinions and you! Thanks Jess! :)

    • Lucas says:

      It depends on what you consider to be a “concept album”. There’s albums like Mae’s “The Everglow” and Oh, Sleeper’s “Children of Fire” that have an actual story woven into then (and directly referred to as “concept albums”) and then there are albums like Relient K’s “Forget and Not Slow Down” and Gungor’s “Ghosts Upon the Earth” which have blatant reoccurring themes. I’d say this album fits within the second group, but I’m not sure I’d call them concept albums necessarily… I don’t know though. :)

    • Jessica C says:

      Yea, I was speaking more in the realm of the second option, since mercy is the recurring theme throughout the album.

  5. Definitely my top album of the year. The chorus of the title track gets me every time.

    Reply

  6. taras91 says:

    Bought it on iTunes. Great piece of work.
    Love the album.
    Finally some awesome hip hop and its not Lecrae.

    Reply

  7. Lucas says:

    Album of the year. Hands down. I’ve been holding out for My Epic and Everything In Slow Motion all year, and I’m still confident those will deliver in spades, but I just don’t think this can be beaten. The music and production are fantastic, the lyrics are absolutely astounding, and as a whole this album has blessed me more this last week than I could’ve ever imagined. I just gotta talk about it…

    I’ve never liked rap/hip hop before but this is a lot different than anything I’ve heard. I’ve never been able to relate musically to the urban aspects of hip hop music so I like the indie/organic approach here and I really love how melodic it all is as opposed to a lot of artists who focus solely on the beat. But most of all, the lyrics are just incredible. The aforementioned passage in “The Size of Sin” absolutely breaks me. And I’m still getting so much new out of each song. I gotta give it to rap… concerning the Gospel you can fit a whole lot of details in if you know how to deliver and these guys DELIVER! Man what an incredible album!

    Reply

    • Jessica C says:

      I wasn’t really into hip hop either until I saw the video for “Entitlement” on my FB feed one day. Then of course, it led me to the Humble Beast website, and I discovered the slew of creative minds that are part of the label, and now hip hop has become a recent obsession of mine. I don’t know much about it to properly relate what makes a good sample, but since I’m a writer, I’m always open to words (I say this quite frequently, haha) and try to let that be the first thing that has an effect on me…Instruments of Mercy is no exception to that rule.

      I’ve always been a loud listener when it comes to music, and this album has definitely made its way through my car speakers several times. I love the diversity of sounds, and how Courtland Urbano mixes organic noise in with synthesized sound. The lyrics have hit pretty hard with me, and it’s funny that the way Braille and Odd Thomas rap is with so much detail. It’s almost as overwhelming as reading the Bible itself. There’s so much reference and content, it’s hard to wrap my mind around it all at once. It’s like there’s so much in every song that each time I listen through, I hear something new. I LOVE that about music, especially when it’s a favorite artist, because you never want to get bored with something they’ve made. I don’t see myself getting tired of this any time soon.

    • Lucas says:

      Yeah I can’t begin to take everything in even though they enunciate clearly and I can hear it all. While the music/production is outstanding, that aspect of the content will probably be what keeps it in my stereo for the foreseeable future. I’ve downloaded Satellite Kite as well and given it a couple listens and it’s similarly superb, but I can’t stop listening to Instruments of Mercy yet so I have something to look forward to! The Lord is surely working through these guys in tremendous ways.

  8. John B. says:

    I really enjoyed Satellite Kite, and Braille is my favorite rapper (his solo stuff is excellent), but I couldn’t get into this album at all. I don’t know why, it just failed to grab me. I liked the lyrical concepts, but none of the actual lyrics actually stood out to me. I’m glad everyone else is enjoying this record so much, and I’m bummed I haven’t been able to have the same reaction.

    Reply

  9. MrM says:

    Musically this seems flawless. I only previewed the songs, but they are just incredibly powerful and immersive. When I’m in a hip-hop/rap mood again, I’ll definitely be looking into this

    Reply

  10. Graham says:

    I am very happy that this album doesn’t include a song like “Motive 1, 2″ … I’m sorry, but that song was not that great (in my opinion). It was a blatant overdose of … spunk? The way I see it, it was much too peppy for its own good, and DID NOT fit well with the rest of the songs on the LP.

    I think I like this album better than “Satellite Kite” :)

    Reply

    • Lucas says:

      Been listening to “Satellite Kite” a lot this week (since I’m ever so slightly off the high of “Instruments”) and I gotta agree with you about “Motive 1, 2″. Song drives me crazy and it’s completely out of character with the rest of the album. Otherwise, Satellite Kite is pretty fantastic.

      Instruments of Mercy is still being played every day though. I can’t get enough of it and I find something new for my soul with every listen. AotY for sure.. although my two most anticipated have yet to be released still.

  11. Graham says:

    On the topic of “The Size of Sin” I haven’t seen one verse in the Bible that supports the idea that all sins are equal. At this point, I disagree with that idea.

    Here’s an interesting article on the topic:

    http://marshill.com/2013/01/06/all-sin-is-equal-is-that-true

    Reply

  12. Jessica C says:

    Maybe the Ten Commandments are a good example of the concept. I didn’t explicitly say that was a specific verse. Sin is an offense or misdeed done against an individual. It all comes down to how something is revealed to you as an independent believer in God’s word. The argument is not whether God is more offended by one sin than he is by another; it’s simple whether or not he is offended. The degree isn’t a factor when a person goes against the his commands. What’s important is that we acknowledge what God tells us not to do, and when we disobey, that is known as sin.

    The most closely related term we have to the word sin is “Hamartia”:

    “Hamartia (Ancient Greek: ἁμαρτία) is a word most famously used in Poetics, where it is usually translated as a mistake or error in judgment. In modern discussions of tragedy, hamartia has often been described as a hero’s “tragic flaw.” The word hamartia is rooted in the notion of missing the mark (hamartanein) and covers a broad spectrum that includes ignorant, mistaken, or accidental wrongdoing as well as deliberate iniquity, error, or sin.” (Wikipedia)

    So it’s not that I was saying the Bible says there is no degree of sin; more specifically, there are categories of sin. But all are judged in the same way, by the same God that the offense was committed against. :)

    Reply

  13. Jessica C says:

    James 2 says a lot about the subject, if you’d like to do some reading.

    Reply

  14. David M says:

    Not that anyone asked, but there’s definitely a difference between the gravity of consequences between different sin and the price paid on the Cross; that is, some sins are more severe than others in how they temporally and spiritually manifest, but all sin was dealt with on the Cross (defeated, thankfully), so in that sense, we should never try to elevate one sin above another in the way others live. That completely defeats the purpose of loving one another.

    That being said, I’m excited to listen to this album. Just have to stop being lazy.

    Reply

    • Jessica C says:

      Agreed. That’s why I felt it was necessary to reference James 2, because it talks about committing one sin resulting in being guilty of the whole law. There’s a reason why the Ten Commandments were listed in the order that they were – based on severity – but the principle of “thou shalt not” still resides within each one, ultimately converging at the same basic point: that Jesus paid one price for all degrees. It’s covered.

    • Lucas says:

      Amen to everything above.

  15. Micah Mouw says:

    I believe the song says that in Gods eyes sin is sin. It’s in mans eyes that sin has different levels.

    Reply

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