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Ember Days, The - The Ember Days EP Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 9
Musicianship 9
Lyrics 7.75
Production 8.25
Creativity 8.5
Lasting Value 8.75
Reviewer Tilt 9.5
Final Verdict: 87%
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Ember Days, The - The Ember Days EP

Reviewed by: inthemidst (10/02/09)
The Ember Days - The Ember Days EP
Record Label: Come&Live!
Release Date: January 27, 2009

Come&Live! Records label head Chad Johnson's (no, not Ochocinco) ideas stick out like a yellow fish in a school of red. He's bringing something new and fresh to the dying industry, but not for the purpose of revitalization of said industry, but actually for a higher, more benevolent agenda. He certainly is, in the truest sense of the word, a revolutionary. In a brief synopsis, his idea is to give his band's music away basically for free to reach as many ears as humanly possible, and any profit made from sales/donations beyond basic living expenses, he donates to a life-giving charity. He also labels his bands the term "musicianaries," which is basically fusing music and missionary together. The idea is to spread the Gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ through the medium of music. The first band that decided to team up with Johnson was Auckland, New Zealand's The Ember Days who released their label-debut EP back in January.

The overall sound of The Ember Days is ambient worship. Their use of atmospheric layers lavishly dawned over ethereal guitars is influenced by bands such as Sigur Ros and Thrice, whom you can clearly hear within their compositions. Their love for creating this ambience creates an indelible worship experience for the listener, truly giving you the sense that you're six feet off the ground. The goal is to set your heart and your spirit ablaze in a fire of passionate worship for the Creator God.

The EP kicks off with "Intro" in which the synths are set to low volume, and then the arpeggios start with a dueling, albeit simple, guitar filling its role. They use a one-at-a-time instrumental method, which is wonderfully executed as it simply bleeds into the next track "Shine," a more straight-forward pop-rock track with a beautifully powerful chorus: "You deserve my life/You have my heart/So shine through me/Ignite my eyes to burn with love."

"Come" is more of a worship track that starts with a piano lead and lead female vocals by Janell Belcher. She sings "Come, come, come Lord Jesus," in a passionate wave of expectation. "Run to You" has the most potential as a single, but is also a very powerful track with a great rhythm section, especially the bass line provided by Tim Peters. The verses are slowed to accentuate Belcher's more lush vocal patterns, then the rocking starts during the chorus, and then really hits when the bridge (which I can only describe as the best bridge I've heard from a worship band in a long time) begins.

"Fortress" again is introduced with Belcher and her piano, and she seems to a bit more emotional during the vocals on this track. She cries over the chorus "Love is in your arms, sweet Jesus" with the percussion in full force by drummer Jordan Mackenzie. Mackenzie then shows his worth on the following track "In Arms" which is sonically, a very powerful song. The guitars are also wonderfully layered by Jason Belcher and Matt Burrowes.

Concluding the EP is "Seven" which is, in the opinion of the reviewer, one of the best songs all year. The song starts with a rhythm guitar that seems to "walk the plank" of the fret, and is joined with an eloquently simple bass line. Then comes Janell Belcher singing "Come to me, my child, beloved/Come to me/The one I love, come." The guitar leads get a bit more technical during the pre-chorus before everything just erupts in full-fledged "WHOA!" Your heart skips a beat during that moment. The band described the meaning behind the song: seven people were killed at a local Christian college in New Zealand, and this is the band's interpretation of their initial reaction to their first vision of heaven. It's a bit of heaven on earth listening to this track, that's for sure. The guitars are absolutely wonderful on this track as the bridge is being played.

Come&Live's first roster spot was filled by an all-star player. The rest of the label's roster is great as well, but The Ember Days seem to be the leader of the pack so far. Their style of ethereal worship is beyond the work of their predecessors as they start a revolution themselves. They add to the change in contemporary worship, and the music doesn't have that gap of missing musical talent. There is no cheesiness; trust me.

Recommended If You LikeThe Glorious Unseen, Lovelite, Sigur Ros
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 25
07:17 PM on 10/19/09
#2
Klatzke
Don't give me no hand me down love.
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Just so you know, not really important, but Holding Onto Hope teamed up with Johnson prior to this band.
12:23 PM on 10/20/09
#3
inthemidst
Grace and Peace
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Just so you know, not really important, but Holding Onto Hope teamed up with Johnson prior to this band.
According to the interview with Chad J., The Ember Days were.
01:02 PM on 10/20/09
#4
Klatzke
Don't give me no hand me down love.
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According to the interview with Chad J., The Ember Days were.
hmmm that's weird because I know HOH did something with him last year and that's how they released their album.
01:07 PM on 10/20/09
#5
inthemidst
Grace and Peace
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hmmm that's weird because I know HOH did something with him last year and that's how they released their album.
All good dude; I don't know the specifics of it, I just happened to read the interview, and used it as a source.

By the way, HOH is a great band also.
11:23 PM on 10/21/09
#6
awakeohsleeper
We never met, you and I
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This is surely one of my favourite releases this year. I love it.
11:35 PM on 10/21/09
#7
HometownHero
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This review makes me punch myself in the face
06:19 AM on 10/22/09
#8
inthemidst
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This review makes me punch myself in the face
Did you really do it? Or does it make you want to punch yourself in the face?
12:26 PM on 10/22/09
#9
HometownHero
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Did you really do it? Or does it make you want to punch yourself in the face?
Slapped myself around a bit. Comparing this band to Sigur Ros is laughable at best. The rest of the review. Well was shit. And this band, after giving them a few listens, is bad.
12:30 PM on 10/22/09
inthemidst
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Slapped myself around a bit. Comparing this band to Sigur Ros is laughable at best. The rest of the review. Well was shit. And this band, after giving them a few listens, is bad.
Well, you don't have to beat around the bush. Tell me how you really feel about it!

Sorry to disappoint you. I'll try to live up to your expectations next time around.
12:38 PM on 10/22/09
HometownHero
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Well, you don't have to beat around the bush. Tell me how you really feel about it!

Sorry to disappoint you. I'll try to live up to your expectations next time around.
I didn't even realize you were the reviewer. My bad. Maybe I just didn't like it because of the amount of times you made sure you included the "Praise Jesus" lyrics, pointed out their Christian beliefs, including the time in Christian college. All irrelevant
01:11 PM on 10/22/09
doppelganger
katy song
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good review.
01:14 PM on 10/22/09
inthemidst
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I didn't even realize you were the reviewer. My bad. Maybe I just didn't like it because of the amount of times you made sure you included the "Praise Jesus" lyrics, pointed out their Christian beliefs, including the time in Christian college. All irrelevant
To dispute that, it's quite relevant, considering this is a Christian band, and they live to serve Jesus Christ. I understand that you don't believe in that, and that may frustrate you, but the point is that they're passionate about their beliefs and they express it quite reverently within their music.

The Christian college explanation is just to explain the meaning and purpose behind the song. The comparison to Sigur Ros is based on the use of ambience as a form of instrumentation. They don't really sound alike, really they're just an influence of the band's.
01:25 PM on 10/22/09
HometownHero
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To dispute that, it's quite relevant, considering this is a Christian band, and they live to serve Jesus Christ. I understand that you don't believe in that, and that may frustrate you, but the point is that they're passionate about their beliefs and they express it quite reverently within their music.

The Christian college explanation is just to explain the meaning and purpose behind the song. The comparison to Sigur Ros is based on the use of ambience as a form of instrumentation. They don't really sound alike, really they're just an influence of the band's.
Fair enough. I just think these Christian bands can get their message across in a more accessible manner. Instead of being bluntly preachy and such they can spread the word in a more, i dont know, cryptic manner of sorts. Like Relient K who have many songs about God but I can relate to them in my own way. And ok if you were talking about influence in the form of ambience then that makes sense. I thought you were saying they sound the same
01:34 PM on 10/22/09
inthemidst
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Fair enough. I just think these Christian bands can get their message across in a more accessible manner. Instead of being bluntly preachy and such they can spread the word in a more, i dont know, cryptic manner of sorts. Like Relient K who have many songs about God but I can relate to them in my own way. And ok if you were talking about influence in the form of ambience then that makes sense. I thought you were saying they sound the same
All good bro! I know what you mean. I guess when you're really passionate about something, and you want others to hear it, it takes over your whole life which includes music. I don't think they mean to alienate those who don't believe in God, but they want to invite the listener to something deeper, and more meaningful.
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