STYLE: Rock RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 151740-23665 LABEL: Independent FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
In case you're still in the dark about this hugely talented team from Jacksonville, Florida, let me fill you in by explaining that they have been around since 2001, signed to Virgin where their debut album 'Don't You Fake It' was a major mainstream hit and are now into their fourth release. Free of the shackles that Virgin tried to impose on them they have taken a radical step and made this set - along with their three previous albums - available for free download on the band's website. RJA's radicalism doesn't stop there. '4' has numerous lyrics referencing their Christian faith while their refusal to be boxed into any single musical genre is clearly evident here. So whether performing a pop rock ballad like "Other Side" or offering an eight minute plus piece of progressive metal "Grimm 2.0" (a song that first appeared on the band's debut album) they joyfully move from style to style. "Grimm 2.0" begins with a gentle music box sounds then explodes into metalcore with frontman Ronnie Winter moving between cultural screaming and clean sounding vocals. Invention and musical twists and turns continue throughout. "It Was You" is haunting midtempo alternative rock while "You're The Mocking Jay" contains some tremendous jagged guitar riffing from Matt Carter and ferocious drumming from John Hartman. The album unexpectedly closes with "JIMRS (Star)" (an acronym for "Jesus Is My Rock Star", a ballad with Ronnie plaintively singing over Randy Winter's piano. Such eclecticism is not approved of by record companies and such direct proclamations of faith isn't much liked by some cooler rock fans. But it's a poignant closer to a fine album which shows that despite what some critics are saying ("a mediocre amalgamation of in-your-face Christian lyricism executed in a tasteless manner") show Red Jumpsuit Apparatus are at the top of their game.
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