Sunday, December 4, 2011
In The Midst of Lions: Shadows Review
Last August, death metal group In the Midst of Lions delivered their record The Heart of Man, a project that dealt with being sincere in your walk with the Lord. Now, the group, also known as ITMOL, returns with their third studio project, Shadows, which is also their sophomore project with Facedown Records. This time, ITMOL addresses the issue of action, reminding us that we need to make a change in the world and live for Christ. And although the death metal listener will definitely enjoy the heaviness of this project, the Scripture-packed lyrics are no doubt the highlight of ITMOL’s music!
A slightly haunting intro starts off “False Idols,” which also sounds a bit chaotic at the beginning, but soon hits off into a steady metal track with grunge guitars – easily the best track off Shadows. The roaring vocals are based on Exodus and the people worshiping the golden calf. The emphatic and repetitive lyrics strongly state: “Smash your idols/ destroy distraction/ exchanging truth/ for a lie.” A lead guitar instrumental near the end of the track is very enjoyable as well! With plenty of guitar screams, “The Call” strongly encourages listeners to answer the call God has placed on their life, and reminds them that they can do all things through Him who empowers them through His Spirit: “Will you answer the call/ or will you fall?/ You were meant for so much more than what this world has told you in the past./ Will you step up, or will you stand down?/ This is The Call.” The first set of songs = totally amazing, and some of the best death metal I’ve ever set my ears on.
“Take Your Place” sounds very much like “The Call,” only with more fast-paced screamo lyrics. Lyrics that will no doubt get stuck in the listener’s head are the most forceful lyrics of the bridge: “He lives within, so set Him free. This is where the change begins/ now turn the tide! Turn the tide.” “Overcome,” another powerful metal track, is a screamo prayer that God would shape us into who He is calling us to be.
“Cry of the Oppressed” speaks of the troubles of this life, but how God hears our cry and promises to deliver us, while “New Creation” speaks of making changes in our life because Christ has set us free from our old man. Guitar riffs, guitar screams, and of course the screamo deliver these messages powerfully and honestly in only the way that death metal could!
“An Offering,” simple lyrically is one of the most chaotic, upbeat tracks on the record, simply pleading with God to take the offering that we have to give Him, even though it comes nowhere near to what He offered for us. This track also has a high-pitched guitar instrumental half-way through that is almost a highlight of the whole album Shadows as a whole! “Hardened Hearts” is a prayer that God would soften the hearts of those who see the signs but refuse to believe in Him: “Stretch out your hands to these hardened hearts and humble those who stand against You.” The majority of it doesn’t sound much different than the opening tracks musically, but it is outstanding lyrically and does become a little more fast-paced near the end.
“Prepare the Way” has a more catchy beat to it, one that makes me want to head-bop every time I hear it! Lyrically, we again hear the message of answering the call of God on our lives, as the influential rhetoric is this: “You were born for this! He has prepared your way, now be the one to rise up!” And lastly, “One For All” is based largely on Isaiah 53, how Jesus kept His mouth through His pain, and He gladly took it so our relationship with Him could be restored. Reminding me of Becoming the Archetype’s “Breathing Light,” this closing track stands out for it’s mostly Scriptural lyrics.
As can be seen, In the Midst of Lions has amazing, Scriptural, and faith-building lyrics that shine through the grungy death metal. These above reasons make ITMOL one of the best bands in the genre, in my opinion. ITMOL has managed to deliver another outstanding project, one that every Christian heavy metal fan should add to their collection!
Release date: November 22, 2012
1. False Idols
2. The Call
3. Take Your Place
5. Cry of the Oppressed
6. New Beginnings
7. An Offering
8. Hardened Hearts
9. Prepare the Way
10. One For All