Album Review :
I Built The Cross - Bridging The Gap Between Mind And Heart
Band: I Built The Cross
Title: Bridging The Gap Between Mind And Heart
Label: Open Grave Records
Release Date: 2009
Review By: Scott L
- The Narration
- Minus One Star For Christianity
- Hatred From The Religious
- Misguided Ministry
- Stand Together
- To Deface Grace
- Heart Of A Servant
- Romans 1:20
- Head High Heavy Heart
- Borrowed Parts
Dale told me that this CD would be too heavy for me. He told me that I might not be able to handle it. Like maybe my ears would bleed and my cranial fluid would congeal. But that’s kinda like a double dog dare on an elementary school playground to me. I smiled, “We’ll see.” He smiled back, “Yes, we will.” He told me that this was a test of sorts to see if I was truly ready to take music to the next level. To go beyond, way beyond, my comfort zone and into the world where he spends a good deal of his time. So here it is. Pass or fail… no dragging by with a C-. This one’s for all the marbles. But I’m up for it. I hope.
And then I actually put the CD in and ran through it the first time. Wow. I, uh… wow. What, uh.. wow. I felt kinda like the scientist from that old movie ‘From Beyond’ when he turned on his machine and realized that he could see into another dimension. Wow. The first inkling of doubt entered my mind. Maybe Dale was right. Maybe I can’t candle this. But then on the second listen through, something clicked. And I thought to myself, “Hmmm. I think I’m starting to see. Wow! I do see.”
I Built The Cross is a 5-piece out of Gardenerville, Nevada that plays a fast and frenetic brand of technical death metal along the lines of Burning The Masses, Earth From Above, or The Red Shore. It’s brutal. It’s chaotic. It’s like the front man’s mom replaced his Listerine mouthwash with boric acid… accidentally of course. At first it comes across as if they just pick up their instruments and someone announces, “Alright, on the count of three, everybody just start playing… really fast.” But the more you listen, the more you begin to appreciate exactly what these guys are doing. There is a certain undeniable symmetry to the storm that rages out of your stereo’s speakers and backs you into the corner of the room. It’s sharp. It’s abrasive. It’s almost deafening. But there’s also a strange curiosity that it generates. That same sort of curiosity that causes drivers to slow down and stare when they pass by a traffic accident. You kinda want to look away… but then again, you kinda don’t.
To say that this music is fast is an understatement of epic proportion. Granted, not all of the songs on “Bridging The Gap Between Mind And Heart” are breakneck speed… but most are. And when they are, they are. Check out the song “Romans 1:20” to get a bit of a taste of the tempo these guys set. And given the fact that not a single one of the band members is over 19 years old… they’re most likely only gonna get faster.
Lyrically, well… let me start by saying that I was glad that the lyrics were included in the CD booklet because there’s no way I’d be picking out more that a word here and there. However, as far as the lyrics themselves are concerned, these guys’ message is as sharp as their musical chops. I Built The Cross certainly isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. Even when it means stepping on some toes. I for one appreciate musical integrity and in your face boldness when it comes to the message of the gospel of Christ. Consider the song “Misguided Ministry” which rails against deceitful and underhanded ambition within ministry. It says, “a spiritual giant for the crowd / who are you when shrouded in secrecy / spewing hateful words about the God you never knew / you spit in his face / do you not realize what you’ve done / a sugar-coated message wrapped in ambiguity / desacralized, a watered-down gospel / decontextualization runs rampant / unmitigated autonomy is the only goal / a life for Jesus, but only for a paycheck / only for the worship of others / the politics have consumed your mind / tradition rules over doctrine”. Later in the song they bring it full circle, not only decrying the bad… but offering the hope of change as well. It goes on, “we are the generation that must change this / the lukewarm church / breathe into them life / return God to these Halls / return worship to the sanctuary / renew the fire that used to burn / replenish your heart in love / show the world the real Christ”. Or how about the song, “Borrowed Parts” which says, “oh Lord, breath within me the warmth of Your holy light / Your Word is the knife by which I carve this journey of life / set forth with blessed talents so carefully endowed / brothers and sisters, our task is begun / this is the crucible we were meant to overcome / we do not rest in a city upon a hill / we will not fall upon our knees and tremble at the pit / the world plunges deeper, all-consuming and sparing none / oh the mercilessness of its iniquity / unabashed we stand, no longer bound by our world / we are set free by Yours / for Your Grace so sufficient and Your power made perfect in our weakness, we pray / Your promise is our sanctity / Your forgiveness is our hope / to give up our hearts to You / to live in You / to be as Your example / to do Your will by our own sacrifice / that is our ministry”. What’s not to love. These guys craft a mean riff, and an even meaner message.
The standout track for me was probably “Ascension”. Just kidding. “Ascension” is a super mellow instrumental that closes out the CD. Seriously, the track that stood out most for me was “Head High Heavy Heart”. This song was by far the most readily accessible to me as a lot of it had an almost old school thrash type of vibe. It’s a cover from the band, Charlatan, with a great finish. “To Deface Grace” was a close second.
As far as I Built The Cross’s ministry focus, their MySpace says this, “First and foremost, I Built The Cross is a ministry, and our utmost priority is to disperse, expand, and clarify the love and grace that Jesus Christ has so freely given to us. Secondly, we like to play Spirit-Led Technical Death Metal, with a little hardcore influence sprinkled here and there.”
Overall: I Built The Cross packs quite a punch. Actually, it felt more like a couple of punches. And maybe a kick as well. “Bridging The Gap Between Mind And Heart” will leave your ears ringing and your head spinning. This is not date music. This is not fanboy party tunes. This is the raw and ragged edge. A glimpse past the status quo and into the realm beyond. So be forewarned… once you enter through this doorway, you may never want to find your way out again.