Ivoryline – There Came A Lion
Release Date: February 5, 2008
Record Label: Tooth and Nail
It’s been a while since Tooth and Nail Records have released something that caught my attention. I’ve been mainly unimpressed with their recent batch of new signings and releases. And then Ivoryline came along, grabbed me by the collar, and shook the hell outta me. Their Tooth and Nail debut, There Came A Lion, is an eleven track journey that is destined to get your blood flowing and put a little extra hop in your step.
While the overall concept and sound of the record is nothing we’ve haven't heard before, there is enough passion and sincerity that makes Lion stand out from the majority of bands in this watered down genre. It’s evident from the beginning with opening track “Days End.” You’ll notice that, musically, the band is somewhat of a hybrid of Anberlin and Saosin (Saoberlin?), with persistent guitars and thundering drums, each track bleeds liveliness. Even vocalist Jeremy Gray sounds like a raspy Stephen Christian.
If Gray’s vocals are the heart of Lion, then guitarists Dusty Kittle and Scott Socia are the lungs, as their guitar work and intensity breathe life into each track. They pace tracks like “Parade” with riffs that needle in and out of your ears. Or they pummel your auditory senses in combination with Wes Hart’s thunderous drumming on “All You Ever Hear.”
“Be Still And Breathe” is probably the catchiest and hardest hitting track on the album. It caught me off guard with how it starts out, with Gray’s vocals being distorted, making me think this would be some horrible stab at a dance-rock song. Instead, I was greeted by vocals and music that just rip straight through my membrane. Tracks like “And The Truth Will End This” and “Bravery” keep the album up to pace, while “Hearts And Minds” starts out a little slower with Hart’s drum work and Robert Woodward’s bass lines buoying the track and Gray’s voice carrying it. It one of those songs that builds up to a climatic ending, we’ve heard the formula before, but when executed with precision and skill, it can still have an emphatic feeling on the listener, as this track stands out from the rest on Lion. And finale “The Last Words” close out There Came A Lion the same way Ivoryline opened it: energetic and passionate.
Now, the Tyler, Texas quintet aren’t changing the face of music or making something new in the genre. Simply put, they released an album that is done well: pristinely produced and executed effectively. Fans of Anberlin, Saosin, and the like will instantly latch onto There Came A Lion and Ivoryline will quickly become their new favorite band. How long they’ll stay as their new favorite band is up in the air, as the replayability plays a factor, as some of the songs in the middle of the album become stagnant and blend together a little. But these flaws do not take away from the overall enjoyment one has when listening to this album. And while the lyrics are nothing amazing and originality is lacking, you cannot deny the passion, energy, and heart of this Lion
Very accurate review there, i like it. Especially the comparisions to Anberlin and Saosin (Saoberlin?). I couldnt help think of anberlin listening to this band. Hope they can get over to the uk at some point.