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Diamonds in the Rough 12.005.08 The Chritian Rock Edition Pt.2

December 5, 2008 | Posted by Leo Rivera

Last week I began to touch on Christian Rock music, and the impact that Pillar has had on the genre. This week, I am going to shine the spotlight on not one but two Christian rock bands: Thousand Foot Krutch and up and comers Fireflight.

Thousand Foot Krutch are veterans of the Christian Rock scene and have been formidable players on the scene since forming in Canada back in 1997. These canucks have made such an impression that they have shared the stage with non-Christian acts such as: Three Days Grace, Finger Eleven, Chevelle, Egypt Central and even the almighty Sevendust were impressed enough to take then on tour.

TFK (as their fans refer to them) initially hit the ground running back in 1998 when they made an immediate impact, plowing through the Indy scene with their self-released debut: “That’s What People Do” which sold over 5,000 copies. The song “Rhyme Animal” became a local hit in Ontario, Canada, becoming one of the top requested songs of 1998. TFK’s unique way of combining rock/hip hop and gospel helped pave the way for their early notoriety on the Indy scene. In 1999, TFK were selected by 7 Ball Magazine as one of the top 25 indie bands in North America. This was in addition to receiving the Wire Magazine Best Indie Recording award and Trevor McnNevan the “Vocalist of the Year” award.

In late 2000, TFK released Set it off an album that was obviously influenced by the hip hop/nu-metal sound of the time. (In an interesting side note: while touring behind Set it off, Three Days Grace, whose drummer is Trevor’s cousin, served as the opening band.) After building a reputation from the ground up for over 5 years thanks to self-promotion and word of mouth, TFK finally caught a big break signing with Seattle based Tooth and Nail records in 2003. They released the critically acclaimed Phenomenon that year. Phenomenon was a departure from TFK’s hip hop sound and was more of a straight up rock record filled with infectious anthems like the title track and “Rawkfist.” Phenomenon proved to be an incredibly well rounded album that appropriately thrusted TFK into the mainstream and sold over 200,000 copies (making it one of the best selling albums in Tooth and Nail’s history).

TFK continued their accession to the top of the Christian rock heap with the 2005 release of The Art of Breaking. This album saw the band completely break away from any hip hop influences that they still had and geared their musical talent towards a more melodic modern rock sound. The change in musical direction was accepted with open arms as The Art of Breaking sold more than 200,000 copies, thanks in part to the addictive single “Move” which climbed up to #16 on the Billboard modern rock charts. Embracing their newfound popularity, TFK hit the road to inject some of their rock to the masses. Their diverse style allowed them to tour with a Hodge podge of rock acts, hitting the road with bands like Korn, AFI and Dashboard Confessional, Kill Hannah, Relient K and Paramore (if that is not a mixed bag, then I don’t know what is). In the spring of 2007 the band toured as direct support on the Toby Mac Portable Sounds tour along with Building 429 and Family Force 5. The tour was such a success that Toby asked them to do the fall tour as well with Barlow Girl.

TFK’s latest release is The Flame in All of Us which was released in September of 2007 and was produced by Ken Andrews (Beck, Chris Cornell, Tenacious D). The album features catchy rock tunes like “New Drug”, “It Falls Apart” and the sing along anthem “What Do We Know.” Thousand Foot Krutch are no doubt here to stay and make an impact for a long time to come as they continue to grow as a band with every passing year, they also prove that you can have Christian beliefs but not necessarily talk about that in EVERY song, like some acts do.

When you think about who will be the band to carry the flag of the Christian Rock genre into the next decade and beyond, one band in particular comes to mind…. Fireflight!!. Fireflight hails from Orlando, Florida and can best be considered a Christian Post-Grunge band.

Fireflight is comprised of vocalist Dawn Richardson, Bassist Wendy Drennen, drummer Phee Shorb and guitarists’ Justin Cox and Glenn Drennen. The female fronted band has been around since 1999, and despite playing a grueling 140 live shows a year for five years, they would not make their big splash on the scene until 2006 when they released their highly anticipated Flicker Records debut The Healing of Harms. Which showcased the promise that Christian Rock fans that had seen the band live knew was there, the singles “Waiting” and “You Decide” were standout tracks that both hit #1 on the Christian charts and showed mainstream crossover potential as well. The song “You Decide” even features guest vocals from Josh Brown from A Day of Fire.

Fireflight have a distinct sound that makes them sound a little familiar (think Flyleaf) yet completely unique (think nothing you’ve ever heard before) their latest album Unbreakable proves that Fireflight is indeed poised to be the future stars of Christian Rock music (if they are not stars already). The album’s title track is catchy as hell (no pun intended) right from the sonic guitar opening lick, you know that it’s going to be good. Unbreakable is the type of song that lets people know that this band has arrived, it’s what “Give It Away” was for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, if you have not heard about this band…please do yourself a favor and listen to Unbreakable you will not regret it.

Fireflight has toured with Decyfer Down, Thousand Foot Krutch, Skillet, and Sevendust among others. Have played close to 1,000 shows in their career, all for the love of music and for the man upstairs. Fireflight and Thousand Foot Krutch might praise hard but you better believe they rock hard.

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Leo Rivera

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