Written By: Ben Millikan
Label: Essential/Sony – Rating:
Usually, a band’s lineup is indicative of their longevity and overall success. A Band that is able to stick together through thick and thin with its original members is usually one that will go a long way in the music industry; whereas bands that consistently have to go through lineup changes inevitably end up faltering. But there is an exception to every rule, and in this case the exception is Christian alternative/metal band Pillar.
Led by founder/frontman Rob Beckley, Pillar has endured five different lineup changes over their successful twelve-year career. But despite this, Pillar has managed to forge ahead with nearly one million albums sold to date. Now, with five studio albums under their belt and two more new faces, Pillar has put together what they believe to be their best album to date with Confessions. Despite having a new bass player (Rich Gilliland) and drummer (Taylor Carroll), Beckley believes that the current lineup is the best that Pillar has ever had: “We’re still a guitar-driven band, but now, for the first time, we have a tight rhythm section with a serious groove. Musicianwise, this is the strongest lineup we’ve ever had.”
Although fans will have to get acclimated with the new faces, the deeply personal and thought provoking lyrics of Beckley are still the focal point of the band. Whether it be confronting the destructive cycle of hiding secret sins (“Secrets and Regrets”) or discussing how God’s plan in his life rescued him from his partying days in college (“Better Off Now”), Beckley’s thoughts expressed on Confessions have no shortage of emotional appeal or deep-rooted empathy. Just as Beckley has done so in the past, his faith-inspired lyrics on Confessions will continue leave an indelible mark on listeners.
Musically, Pillar has taken a more direct, mainstream approach with Confessions, while still following the formula that got them to where they are: heavy, over-driven guitars mixed with catchy, melodic vocals. The epitome of this description can easily be heard on the album’s opener, “Fire On The Inside.” Loaded with plenty of punch and bottom end, the track really sets the tone for the record with a heavy, old-school metal guitar riff that is full of thrash and aggression. But Pillar has expanded their sound to include a more anthematic and symphonic feel with tracks like “Will You Be There” and “Better Off Now.” It should also be noted that they put together an amazing cover of Collective Soul’s “Shine.”
Once again, Pillar has proven why they are the pioneers of the Christian hard-rock scene with their work on Confessions.
Rating: 4/4 Gunz