We had the honor of reviewing Relent's new album "Heart Attack" and I am just going to say this out the gate, it may be a bold statement but it is one I am fully confident and comfortable saying. "Heart Attack" is one of the smartest rock/metal albums I have heard in a long time. I will be honest, when I first came across these guys and read their bio, I noticed that they were being compared to Sevendust and P.O.D., in my mind those are some big shoes to fill. I grew up listening to Sevendust, I may be showing my age here but I remember when Sevendust first came on to the scene and their first two albums were monumental in my life at that time. So, naturally, when I see this comparison, I am immediately skeptical, first, because a lot of bands make the comparison and second, most fail to meet the high bar they have set. Relent is different.
You may be asking yourself "okay, so what makes this one of the smartest rock/metal albums you have heard in a while?" Well, I'm glad you asked! "Heart Attack" is very, very well written. One of my favorite things to see bands or artists do, is have a theme that runs throughout their album. To me, a cohesive theme demonstrates care and creativity. Sadly, this seems to be a lost art in a day and time where singles seem to rule. "Heart Attack" is clear in its message, the struggle is real but in Christ, we have victory. One of the things I love and appreciate about this album is that it's not all doom and gloom. So many Christian bands just talk about the struggle but aren't bold enough to provide the solution or give the listener any real hope. Again, Relent is different. Another reason "Heart Attack" is smart is simply in its song writing as a whole. As I stated, this album is very, very well written. There are so many great dynamics going on within each song, they are fluid in their approach. If you are looking for some punishing breakdowns that accompany some beautifully written melodies than Relent will for sure scratch that itch. Relent plays a bit with the traditional formulas but does so tastefully and in a way that the average listener can appreciate it and the more avid music fan will see its brilliance. A prime example of this is in the song structure we find in "Addicted". They start with a super sweet guitar lick which leads to a large intro, and after the intro we are dropped off into a pre-verse of bass, drums and some tasteful feedback. Now, here is where they demonstrate some song writing brilliance, they give you a super contagious taste of the verse and then immediately sore into a wonderfully catchy chorus. Then it gets better. When you come back to the verse they immediately build on where they left you by adding a more aggressive vocal line over a fantastic melody that was established in the taste, they gave you in verse one and it just continues to build. This sort of brilliance is all over the album, and is why I can say with complete confidence that this one of the smartest rock/metal albums I have listened to in a long time. One of the other things I enjoyed about this album is that they have a rap element vocally that is threaded throughout. This can be risky in my opinion because sometimes it can come of contrived, cheesy, and out of place. Relent is different. The rap parts are tasteful, they are not overdone and they make sense, and as a guy who makes hip-hop, I can totally appreciate that!
Lyrically, these dudes are on point. One of my favorite lyrics comes out of the songs Rise, it's "I don't care what they say, You paid the price for me." I think that this lyric sums up the album as a whole. As I stated earlier "Heart Attack" has a clear theme running throughout and the best part of it is that they are unashamed of the gospel. I can't tell you how many Christian bands I have listened to over the years that don't talk about Jesus. One of the first things I am listening for is the message and does the band or artist share the gospel and the name of Jesus, or, is it watered down, cryptic, or simply non-existent. There are lots of schools of thought concerning approach and many reasons are given for why a band/artist might not be so forth coming about their views but I will be honest, the best approach and view is a view that says "I don't care what they say, You paid the price from me." Lyrically the album is dealing with the "sanctification" (the process by which we are being cleansed, renewed, and being made more like Christ) of a believer, and lyrically stands out in the midst of a Christian music scene that quite frankly, has a lot of noise. Relent is different.
So, if you are in the market for a super solid album that will strengthen you in your walk with Jesus while simultaneously bringing joy to your ears than "Heart Attack" is that album. In my opinion, there is not a bad song on it and it flows extremely well. I love the heavy breakdowns and the beautifully contagious melodies that run throughout the whole album.
We want to strongly encourage you to snag a copy, dive in and enjoy! If you have something you thought I should have mentioned please feel free to leave a comment. Is there a lyric that really hit you? We would love to hear it! Leave a comment and go support these dudes as they rep Jesus to the world through dope music! As always thanks for taking the time, God bless!