Artist: Day of Fire
Album: Losing All
Label: Razor & Tie
Release Date: January 26, 2010
Review by: Michael Mayer III
- Light ‘Em Up
- Hello Heartache
- When I See You
- Cold Addiction
- Never Goodbye
- Hey You
- We Are No One
- Long Highway
- The Dark Hills
After Day of Fire released Cut & Move I was worried they had fallen into a rut. It was the basic definition of a sophomore slump. Most songs felt like a carbon copy of those from their debut and their sound hadn’t changed one bit. No risks were taken and they played it safe, albeit with some strong spiritual content (I’m looking at you ‘Hole in My Hand’). Of course this lowered my expectations for their third album, Losing All, and made it easier for them to impress me as much as they did. If you ever wondered what it would sound like if Alice in Chains found God you can wonder no more. Fantastic hard rock riffs no doubt influenced by the early 90’s grunge scene and addictive vocal hooks abound on this album.
From the first rocker (with a southern vibe to it) ‘Light ‘Em Up’ you can tell these songs will pack a punch of heavier riffs and impressive guitar solos. Let’s not forget that, not only does vocalist Josh Brown have a fantastic voice, but it is THE perfect voice for hard rock music. It’s rough and gritty but also varied and soft when it needs to be for the power ballads. He really would have fit right at home in the early-90’s Seattle scene and that is far from a bad thing. Josh’s voice deftly handles the addictive chorus in ‘Hello Heartache’ and it soars at the necessary points to give the song new life. This is especially true in all the rock songs that will assuredly get your heart and fist pumping to the beat of the drums. Then when a guitar solo erupts, like in ‘Lately’, it fits and adds soul to the song. There’s no doubt about it, Day of Fire know how to write rock songs that will get a crowd crazy.
The main complaint I have with this album is, though the ballads only border on the cheesy side, they are a bit predictable lyrically and not that imaginative. In fact, the lyrics here aren’t as spiritually driven as their previous two albums with only a handful of songs that are powerful. The gripping reality of ‘Cold Addiction’ is instantly relatable for anyone who has fought with addictions and, knowing Josh’s testimony, it’s particularly convincing. The first verse is filled with imagery as he sings:
“Staring through a hole blind eyes ashamed.
A blurry vision soul dying for change.
Every minute fighting with myself a fiend again.
The river of excuses I’ve been drowning in.
Lost my head again, like I want to…”
Then the addictive chorus sets in:
“Cold addiction rising up inside, white lines cover the mirror.
All the voices screaming in my mind, I wanna get out of here.
Cold addiction racing through my veins enslave me to my fear.
Premonition I see it all unwind, God get me out of here.
Line by line I run from it all, run run run run…yeah”
For every song that has a spiritual message there’s another about relationships gone wrong, heartbreak and loneliness. It’s a mixed bag that, as shown by the album title and cover of a broken compass, is about trying to find direction in a confused and broken world.
That brings us to ‘The Dark Hills’, an epic closer that deserves a paragraph of its own. It is easily their most spiritual and awe inspiring song they’ve ever written. Lesser bands could go their whole career and never write something this powerful and large. It starts off with strings and Josh’s voice comes in clearly and powerfully as he narrates a story anyone could relate to. It’s a song about questioning how worthy we are and whether Jesus will visit us in our darkest places to save us. The power in the song comes from the sweeping guitars, heavy drum beats, and Josh’s perfect vocal delivery of every line and chorus. Then when the bridge comes, after a very moving guitar solo, with drums that’ll give your heart an extra beat as Josh sings over and over solemnly ‘How heavy was the crown of thorns? I wonder if I’m too far gone’, it would be nigh impossible for someone not to be emotionally moved as the chorus erupts in fantastic fashion. I also love how in the beginning he sings “When Jesus walks the dark hills, will he come for me?” and at the end of the song the singer acknowledges “When he walks the dark hills, I know he’ll come for me. I know he’ll come save me.” Such is the progression of our thoughts as we walk with God and it’s beautifully represented here. Even if you’re on the fence about this album you need to go buy this song.
Overall: When you think of hard rock in the Christian music scene you think of bands like Skillet, Red, Flyleaf, and others. Day of Fire trumps them all with this album and shows them how you can really rock out without the completely plastic feel of some of those bands’ most recent efforts. They don’t overuse rock staples like guitar solos or power ballads to the point that they feel cheesy and forced either. Not only that, a track like ‘The Dark Hills’ has a stronger spiritual connection than any of those bands have put out in years. While Day of Fire may not break any new ground with Losing All, they have certainly created a respectable addition to the genre and the Christian music scene that will be stuck in your head for months. With some trimming of the weaker tracks I think the album could’ve been much more concise, but that’s what the skip button is for.
Gems of this album are: ‘The Dark Hills’, ‘Cold Addiction’, ‘Hello Heartache’, ‘Lately’