The thing I like about EP’s myself is that they often offer a little something of things to come, or perhaps something a little different from the usual sound of the band. Its also open to experimentation. Or it could be a filler between full releases, to keep the fans interested. Either way, I am generally a fan of EP’s.
One of the avenues, or trends of late is for a band that might usual break the monitors or destroy the walls of a club with their distorted guitar madness is to release a more tamer acoustic experience. To be honest some music is just not suppose to be transcribed to acoustic renditions, and some bands fail miserably to translate the effectiveness of their songs to acoustic form.
So I can say I am a fan of The Great Commission, but I had my concerns of their passion, convictions and intensity if they would be translate effectively or the same as in acoustic form. So here goes….
First off I was totally surprised, I love it! You know what too, just because its acoustic they seem to steer away from the conventional acoustic mold…or in that case contemporary worship lameness that sometimes can be found in primarily worship orientated bands. Its not that I am taking a jab at contemporary music, but with so much of it out there, and so much of it sounding the same, like they all reading from the same manual, I often find my experience with contemporary worship to be a little, well boring at times. I am in fact a very passionate worshiper myself, and a desire to meet, converse and worship and praise God in a unique and non boring environment and atmosphere.
So when a band or a song is able to help create that back drop for that kind of atmosphere, I tend to get lost in worship. Drawn in to the presence of God, rather than coaxed in. Some worship orientated bands just feel or like they trying to create an atmosphere, like I feel i am being coaxed into the presence of God, when ultimately we ought to be drawn into the presence of God. This EP did that for me.
“The Great Commission hails from Southern California. They have released 2 albums, “Every Knee Shall Bow” (Facedown Records) and “Heavy Worship” (ANGR/Century Media Records). They have done countless amounts of National Tours with such bands as Demon Hunter, Oceano, For Today, Maylene & The Sons of Disaster and more; as well as being regulars on many summer festivals such as: Cornerstone, California Metal Fest, Sonshine, Ichthus, and New England Metal & Hardcore Festival. They’ve made a name for themselves as one of the “Heaviest, Catchiest” bands out today. With their relentless touring schedule and their incredible live show, they have been taking the nation by storm. They most recently caught the eye of Taylor Swift and were asked to be featured in her new music video “I Knew You Were Trouble”“ – biography section on facebook page. This EP is by no means the usual Great Commission heavy sound that some of us might be familiar with. That said, its not necessarily a bad thing at all. It could be seen as a release to tap in to main stream Christian music. I am sure it would be accepted by many in it to. My wife is not so much into the heavier stuff, but almost immediately she fell in love with this album.
When It Rains It Pours,” the first song on the EP gives the album a formidable and strong kick-off, that exudes passion and energy with great gang vocals. The addition of Angela Razo’s vocals scores bonus points and is certainly one of the highlights on the album. Angela’s vocals adds a delicacy and adds a certain balance and passion to the album, adding to the strength of Justin Singh and Victor Cota’s vocals. “Draw The Line,” for me is another great song sung with passion and sincerity, though there are significant similarities to the first track, making its identity as a song maybe a tad lacking in its own strength. Fireworks has one problem, the songs are very similar, and they also tend to be a little repetitive in composition. One thing some people might not enjoy is the overuse of gang vocals, buy I love the use of gang vocals, so the ‘overuse’ works fine for me and adds to the energy and liveliness of the album. “Weight of the World” is a great track, again the vocals shine through here and shows a strong harmonizing effort between Angela, Justin and Victor, combining it with great guitar work, makes for a solid effort, with a great message. What I like from these guys is the overall lyrical content is very much Christ centered and an expression of their faith. I love the gang vocals, they are different, and though at times not totally cohesive with the sound, they are effective. This is a strange-ish EP as it mostly consists of acoustic songs…with a softish more contemporary-ish sound. Then at the end they go back to their roots for the ‘title’ track, “Firework”, like if they were just making sure that if you perhaps were going to nod off on the acoustic tracks, they’d blast ya awake on the last track. It comes through as typical The Great Commission, and gives a raucous bang to an overall good album. I am hoping its a teaser song of what we could expect from a full release sometime in the future.
Overall the package is simpler than their hardcore stuff, yet delivers a strong and effective album that has the odd bout of repetitiveness in it, but mostly accomplishes to give the fans something at-least worthy of a good listening too. The thing is that at the heart of it all The Great Commission is a worship band. Their lyrics have a upward focus and utilize their significant talents to draw people closer to God with a heavier influenced sound. Its inspirational encouraging and relevant with a sincere message. The album musically for me won’t move mountains, but it is amazingly satisfying as a tool to just feel encouraged, and inspired by the hope and life found in Jesus Christ. If anything this is not a bad album to soak yourself in.
Written by Donovan de Necker
1) When It Rains It Pours (3:34)
2) Draw The Line (3:15)
3) Weight Of The World (3:50)
4) The Road To Damascus (3:49)
5) Came To My Rescue (Be Lifted High) (3:55)
7) Firework (3:34)
Justin Singh- Vocals
Angela Razo- Rhythm Guitar/Vocals
Robby Joyner- Lead Guitar
Chris Ryan- Guitar/Clean Vocals
Solomon Joy- Bass
Zachary Cohen- Drums
Record Label: Ain’t No Grave, 2012
The Great Commission EP, 2008 (independent)
And Every Knee Shall Bow, 2009 [Strike First]
Heavy Worship, 2011 [Ain’t No Grave]
Firework EP, 2012 [Ain’t No Grave]
Interview With ‘The Great Commission’ [March 2012]
Video below ‘When It Rains It Pours’