Album Review :
Pistis In Him Alone - Darkness Only Is The Absence Of Light

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Artist: Pistis In Him Alone
Album: Darkness Only Is The Absence Of Light EP

1. Wonderful Spirit
2. Contentment
3. Redemption
4. Adoration
5. Confidence

By way of introduction, let me say that Pistis In Him Alone is the most intense worship band I have ever heard. That’s probably because they’re a German hardcore band. Pistis – a Greek word for faithfulness – (In Him Alone) disbanded in 2006 after six years together. But as they went headbanging into that good night, Pistis left us with their swan song EP, Darkness Only Is The Absence Of Light.

First things first. While Pistis In Him Alone could be called a metalcore band, technical hardcore might be a better term. What practical value does this have for you, the listener? Well, first, if the heaviest thing you have ever heard is Skillet, you had best steer clear. This isn’t for you. But for those more accepting of the genre, it should be noted Pistis sounds more like Beloved than As I Lay Dying. The balance that creates their technical sort of emo/hardcore is a definite plus for them. The music (sans vocals) sounds kinda like Monday In London. The hardcore vocals are reminiscent of War Of Ages, but clean vocals are sometimes used to great effect. Pistis’s main strength is in their lyrics, which are among the best of any band among their genre. Lines like “How far the breath of grace can go. How bright the light of conviction glows. How high the banner, how pure the truth…We worship You, before Your throne,” sound like they belong more in a church service than a hardcore song. And that’s a good thing.

The five-track EP kicks off with driving guitar riffs and hardcore vocals. “Wonderful Spirit” is fast, furious, and downright danceable till an incredibly slow breakdown kills the song’s flow. This is a weakness Pistis are prone to indulge. Their breakdowns detract from the songs. They aren’t heavy or thick enough, and while breakdowns are naturally slow, the lack of urgency present is in sharp contrast to the rest of the song. “Contentment” follows, marking the first presence of clean vocals. Pistis’s clean vocals are one of their strengths. They add diversity to songs which grow monotonous with only rather monotone hardcore vocals. Pistis is one of the few bands I would urge to sing more. Memorability increases tenfold. The chorus drags a little, but “Contentment” is more enjoyable than its predecessor, and the two-step part at the song’s end is one of the few tempo changes that adds to the energy. Another lethargic-feeling breakdown can be found near the beginning of “Redemption,” and again, when it is later repeated. I don’t think I’d mind the breakdowns so much if they only happened once. “Redemption” gets much better, however, when the chorus hits. This chorus is perhaps the catchiest moment of the EP, and definitely one of the most memorable. Also, the southern metal-style breakdown at the end of the song is fun, and doesn’t kill the flow of the song. “Adoration” is the best song on the CD. Variation in the screams helps it retain drive, and clean vocals again add memorability. The song later slows down for a captivating section that sounds like a cross between Isis and Explosions in the Sky. This would have been a fitting enough close to the EP, however, “Confidence” is also present. It’s the least accessible song on the CD, and it tends to drag. But lyrics such as “I don´t care, wherever the way is going…You know about, You take the lead” are the song’s saving grace.

There should be more bands playing the kind of hardcore Pistis In Him Alone played. And there should certainly be more Spirit-Filled Hardcore bands in their vein. The band has issues with flow, and vocals could have been varied a little more. But Pistis are masters of worshipful lyricism, and much fun circle-pitting will be had by all. And the EP is free to download at the band’s myspace! (Or, to save time, just save the ZIP file from the link above.) So while there may be reasons to skip Darkness Only Is The Absence Of Light, those reasons are few, far between, and simply not very good. Recommended.


-The Headless Horseman

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