Sunday, September 11, 2011

Look, I'm conforming!!! Something for everyone :)

I am embarking on too many of these off-themed posts. It seems that the number of Christian metalheads following my blog is near zero, so I'm going a slightly different direction with a few posts.

In order to not entirely abandon my theme, I will be discussing metal, but I have good news for you plain rock fans......TriViuM's new album has something for EVERYONE!!!!!!!! That's right, I'm going to break down a few songs that I think could be enjoyed by any music lover.

TriViuM's 5th album, In Waves, is so broad, but so musically charged. I'm just gonna jump right into the songs I want you to try for me:

Built To Fall
Guitars mellow enough for any rock fan, great sounding vocals, and if you listen to the lyrics you can really feel Matt Heafy's passion. Kind of a song about inner struggle of letting feelings take control, but trying to be a good person. Possibly a good vs. evil song.  (Here is an amazing acoustic performance on a rooftop in France

Possibility of you liking it: 8.5 out of 10

Of All These Yesterdays
The first part of this song sounds like a male version of Evanescence. This song is more mellow and a little bit slower at first. Speeds up toward the middle and end, but I think anyone would love this song. Best vocals on the album.

Possibility of you liking it: 9 out of 10

Watch The World Burn
This has to be the happiest sounding TriViuM song ever. The beginning is pretty much a fast paced rock song, the vocals use a lot of major chords, thus sounding happy/hopeful. A little bit of screaming, but only backing vocals, not much. One of the best solos I've ever heard.

Possibility of you liking it: 7.5 out of 10

This song was the biggest surprise to me on the album. It is the most Metallica-esque. A little stronger than most of you might like, but a killer tune with a mean solo that gives you an idea of just how intense metal can be. However, very musical. A great example of why I like metal.

Possibility of you liking it: 6 out of 10

*The "possibility of you liking it" feature is my best judgement on an "average Joe" opinion. If you like rock, I'd add 1 to 2 points, it's that good.

I'll spare you the details, but it may surprise you how much you might also like:

In Waves
Inception Of The End
A Skyline's Severance
A Grey So Dark


I'm going to give you a few other bands to check out that steer more for more musical recordings, ones I think everyone should try:

Dream Theater - Sounds like (Rush, STYX, Muse, Trans-Siberian Orchestra)
Dragonforce - Instrumental work STILL blows me sky high, fastest guitars ever!
Megadeth - A lot of people choose Metallica over Megadeth (Just like I did before I actually listened to Megadeth). I will say this, Megadeth wins by a landslide in songwriting and musical flow. Still love Metallica, no disrespect.

To Close, I'm EXTREMELY EXCITED to see two of my very favorite bands in concert together later this month. TriViuM and Dream Theater will be playing at Kingsbury Hall on Sept. 30, and I can't wait.

Thanks, and REALLY DO give some of this music a shot.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Celestial Completion....An interesting view of the end!!!

Ladies and gentlemen, I have discovered a masterpiece. But before I get into that, I just want to say that it's been a few months since my last post, and I feel very incomplete. I love sharing my feelings, and it's very rewarding when someone I don't know likes what they have read. Even if these posts are more of a personal journal of what helps me in my life, one day somebody could stumble upon my thoughts and gain something valuable, and that is why I do what I do.

So, with that said, Becoming The Archetype released an album earlier this spring entitled "Celestial Completion." From what I gather it is about the end of the world, or the second coming of Christ (whatever you choose to believe). There are some awesome themes, which are mostly religious, but not entirely. Some of the themes just make the album epically fun and exciting. Let me point some things out to you:

I will take it easy with the lyrics (since it bothers so many of you), so I'm going to focus on the concepts. THERE IS SOME GREAT STUFF TO THINK ABOUT. When this world ends and is born again, how exactly is it going to happen?

We know that there will be famine and difficulties like we've never seen before, that's what the scriptures tell us. But what about that moment when the faithful are no longer mortal? This album gives a very interesting version of transfiguration/translation. The album cover alone depicts a person undergoing the change from mortal body on earth to celestial and eternal entity.

I have noticed a recurring theme in a lot of christian metal, and that is the use of the word "light" to represent the gospel or the word of God. Makes sense, doesn't it? I really like how it is used on this album. There are 3 occurrences in regards to "Celestial Completion" that are noteworthy:

"Father of lights
Shine upon us here
Take the darkness from our hearts
Make it disappear
Reflect, refract
Break me
Remake me
A mirror that reflects your glory
Break me
Remake me
A mirror that reflects you perfectly

We all want to become like our Heavenly Father. We are created in his image, but have to undergo the tests and trials of this world. Essentially, even if we don't admit it, we all came here to prove that we can start from scratch, and become like God, and live in his presence forever.

"See the darkness that conceals you
Evaporating, exposing the soul
And as the light reveals you
Let it in, let it take control
As death corrupts
Beauty is revealed
As the whole world falls apart
Broken souls are healed
We are breathing light
It sets our hearts aglow
We are breathing light
Eternal is the overflow

When I read this, I think of Joseph Smith. When he experienced Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appearing to him in the Sacred Grove, he was overcome with the darkness of the adversary, but then, he saw "two personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description." Is that the case for all of us? I tend to think so.

Again, when Joseph was visited by the Angel Moroni, he records that a light appeared in his room that "continued to increase until the room was lighter than at noonday." He also spoke of the exquisite whiteness of the robe that Moroni wore, and that he believed no earthly thing could be made to appear so exceedingly white and brilliant.

Lastly, if you watch the music video for "The Magnetic Sky," there are a few things to notice:

0 Did they really make an RPG game for the NES system just for this video?
0 The band survived because they were not alone, and neither are we.
0 The light in the end of the video is very bright, and it is clear to me what the message was supposed to be.

Becoming The Archetype is dead even with FOR TODAY as the most religious metal band that I've ever heard. The message that I take away is always a strong one that makes me want to be a stronger and better person. I think about the fact that we are running out of time in this world, but that this world is a temporary state of existence, and that if we make the right decisions, we will get to experience all that God has and wants us to share with him.

This music is fun for me, but it also means a lot to me. For you UN-Metal types, you may enjoy the following songs from the album that are not heavy:

Breathing Light
Path of the Beam
The Magnetic Sky

Thank you all, I love you as brothers and sisters. If I'm not acting like it, please remind me.

Devon Smith

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Fine....since you asked me nicely

I was challenged by some friends to write a blog post that was not about heavy metal. I wasn't big on the idea, but I am going to give it a shot.

This might actually be easier than I thought because in the last couple of days, my time listening to metal has been cut down drastically (thanks to my headphones taking a dump). I usually go to sleep listening to something nice and heavy, as if it weighs down my eyelids. All I have for a backup plan are some really crappy headphones that sound absolutely atrocious, so I've only been listening to clips from the Radio From Hell morning show from X96.

I have actually had a lot of time to re-focus, if you will, on the pre-metalhead Devon. I have been listening to a lot of alternative, classic rock, and oldies. I still love all of the other music that I used to listen to, but I've noticed that I've been very sluggish the last few days. It probably has nothing to do with the music that I have or have not been listening to.


I've had a few experiences in the past weeks that have helped me feel my worth, and also the importance of my duties as a husband, father, and friend. In some of my previous posts, I've stressed the importance of relying on others. WE CANNOT LIVE LIFE ALONE. Isolation can lead to a lot of negatives:

- Decrease in social skills
- Increase in selfishness
- Loss of self standards
- Bad habits

I could keep going with that list, but you get the point. Nothing feels better than helping someone when they need it. Whether its a friend, family member, or stranger, when we do something good, we are serving the Lord. That is why we're here.

Imagine a man. We'll call him George. George is a decent fella. He has a family, a job, and hobbies. He is happy most of the time, and isn't a jerk to people. However, we ask George when the last time he helped somebody with a problem (a real problem, not like a scratching someones back for them). He can't remember, he thinks maybe 2 years ago. Then we ask him how many chances he's passed up to really help someone. He stands in silence. No answer. We all know that he had a lot of chances, but usually made some excuse (no time, I don't know the person, someone else will do it).

Seriously, come on. If you were in a tough spot and wanted/needed help, what happens when all of the George's in this world leave you hanging. What goes around comes around. We heard in LDS General Conference a few weeks ago that you can't "give yourself poor." To clarify, no matter what, if you give, give, and give some more, you are not going to end up poor. You are only going to be blessed with many gifts, and you will become more loving and caring.

When we are standing in front of the Lord to be judged, we probably don't want to be struck with silence when asked why we didn't help others. There are a lot of scriptures pertaining to this very principle. My two favorites are both in Matthew.

Matthew 22:37-39 "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

Matthew 25:40 "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

Can't argue with that.....Wouldn't dare to.