Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Wait of Glory

Here at The Night Beat we pride ourselves at calling it as we hear it. We're not going to fawn over an artist or bands release just because everybody is doing it, and, as you already may know, we pretty much adhere to a once saved always saved doctrine, musically speaking as well, where the industry is known for purges over various indiscretions.

This post is somewhat of a second look on an artist whose work I had panned in the past. Last Spring I posted a review of Thrift Store Jesus, and due to hiss and distortion, which while explained by the artist still drove me batty, I was kind of cool on the album. Add to that a level of profanity that I was uncomfortable with in a release toted by the Christian Market, and I gave it a bad rating, though not as bad as some.

Part of the re-assessment of +Heath McNease  was due to a release by P.O.D. a few months later. It created quite a stir when, though muted, the f-bomb was pretty evident on the last song. The band got away with it by the creation of a Christian Edition which omitted the song, thus depriving some of another purge.

Which brings me to two releases, one in 2012 and one this year, entitled The Weight of Glory: Songs Inspired by the Works of C.S. Lewis. Due to a number of reasons, not excluding my previous review of TSJ, the first work fell through the cracks. That is rectified here. The titles of the songs are also the titles of Lewis works.
  1. The Great Divorce
  2. A Grief Observed
  3. Mere Christianity
  4. The Problem of Pain
  5. The Four Loves
  6. The Screwtape Letters
  7. Edmund
  8. Perelandra
  9. Till We Have Faces
  10. Surprised by Joy
  11. The World's Last Night
  12. Weight of Glory.
What, nothing from Narnia. Oh well. This is a very good album, but part of the problem with it is a certain lack of direction. The album is mostly Adult Contemporary/Inspirational, with some Alternative and some Folk or Folk Rock. In hindsight, since the Third Platinum Vinyl Awards, for which this would have been eligible, are already awarded, this would have gotten a respectable 4.50 Emeralds. Unfortunately this wouldn't have been enough to win because this was the year of the Goliath. In Folk Music there was The Vespers. In Adult Contemporary you had Moriah Peters, Michael W. Smith, and genre winner Lara Landon. Then in Alternative you had four Buzz-saws. The release would have been washed away in the Current of Sarah Macintosh, The Wild Things on the Paper Route attacked it. It was drowned out by The Loudest Sound Ever Heard, before finally succumbing to he who being dead yet singeth, Abel.

That brings us to The Weight of Glory, Second Edition: A Hip Hop Remix inspired by the works of C.S. Lewis. The content is the same, though the order is adjusted. Now while the album is advertised as hip-hop, for someone who's experience with the genre is DC Talk and Group 1 Crew, I would sort of go with Alternative here, though I'll give the artist his pick. A lot of the tracks sound like Future of Forestry, which to me is a big plus but to Mr. McNease, I don't know. Not all the songs work, but since the style is consistent throughout, the album works better as a unit, so I'm giving it a nit pick perfect score of 4.75 Emeralds, just so I don't hand out 5's as candy. One nitpick that didn't affect the score. You would think a song called The World's Last Night would have been the last song, both due to the title and it feels like a perfect ending. It's the penultimate song on both albums.

Hip Hop is a little light on entries this year, so I like TWOG's chances, but we shall see about that next year. You can get both of these for a tweet through noisetrade. Click on the album titles to get yours. You won't want to upgrade. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.