My first introduction to Pillar. It was in 2001 when their video for “Open Your Eyes” debuted on TVU’s Ten Most Wanted. The video was only the studio version of the song played under live concert footage. The song was kind of interesting in that it was a mixture of rap and hard rock guitars, currently known as the genre of RapCore. What struck me the most about the video was their energy. They flew around on the stage and jumped into the audience for some body surfing. I later learned that Rob Beckley, the lead singer, was also serving in the Army reserves. I thought that was pretty cool. What a role model to the teenagers who look up to rock stars. The band was nominated for a GRAMMY for Best Rock or Rap Gospel Album for their previous release “The Reckoning” earlier this year. You can read about their adventures at the awards show here.
Pillar has changed their style quite a bit over the last three albums. Their style is solid in the modern hard rock genre. Rob Beckley has gone away from the rapping he used to do and honed his vocal talents as a rock singer. He does more screaming now than rapping. Their new release “For the Love of the Game” was released on February 26th, 2008. The title track is the first song up. “For the Love of the Game” has been used by ESPN’s Baseball Tonight program, and it was used during montages hightlighting the 2007 World Series. The song itself crunches out with Noah Henson’s patented driving riffs and Lester Estelle’s pounding drums with Rob loudly proclaiming:
Count me in, but don’t count me out,
You can’t shut me up, you can’t shut me down,
Fight through the hurt,
Fight through the pain,
Without the ache there is no gain,
We live our lives for the love of the game
The next track is “Turn It Up” and you will find yourself doing just that. The song starts off kind of quiet with the bass and drum rhythms playing and builds to the chorus that sounds more like an anthem as you crank up the volume. The song is dedicated to Christian music. You will find the song titles to popular Christian artists in the lyrics. See how many you can find. The third song “Reckless Youth” cranks up the notch to eleven. The loud bass laced guitar and drum rhythm is in an untraditional rock time but works out really well. The guitar solo in the song is well composed. Great job Noah! It is good to see the return of the guitar solo. The next track is “State of Emergency”, sounds as though Noah borrowed some licks from Chris DeGarmo formerly of Queensryche with his eerie sounding guitar intro and quiet single notes throughout the verses. I love the guitar outro. The way Noah strums the chord pattern and holds the last chord in the pattern. Sounds really cool.
Album highlights are “For the Love of the Game”, “Reckless Youth”, “State of Emergency”, “Throwdown” starts with an animated “ah yeah, you like that dontcha” and then kicks in with a lower scale guitar riff that has a killer fazer effect. The song would be right at home on the “Satellite” album by P.O.D. “Get Back” is a song about getting back in the saddle, in the ring, in the fight, and our strength comes from Christ. Sarah Anthony lends her vocal talents on this track and it comes off really good. “Forever Starts Now” is a great song to conclude this album. It has some great flowing rhythm with the drums, and hits a climax with loud distortion guitars grinding out to fade.
The album as a whole is excellent. Pillar has definitely found it’s niche in the Christian modern rock genre, if not leading the way. They are one of the most popular bands in Christian Rock right now, and this album solidifies that standing. There is quite a mixture of song styles on this album that make it more unique than their previous release. The album is definitely ear candy for the hard rock connoisseur. “For the Love of the Game” is a definite reflection of the bands passion for the young searching heart. I give it four stars out of five.
Please check out concert footage video of “For the Love of the Game” below.