Monday Playlist

I haven’t done this in a while – so let’s see what’s changed!

1. Rush – Snakes and Arrows – This CD over the past six months shows up in my cd player every once and a while. Full of great songs, philosophy, incredible musicianship, and an agnostic overtone that makes me glad to know the Creator, but gives me a glimpse of what my thoughts might’ve been if I didn’t.

2. Punch Brothers – Who’s Feeling Young Now – I heard some critiques over this album; people complained that it was overproduced and didn’t have the same organic sound that previous Punch Brothers albums have had. Pfff, forget that – this is progressive bluegrass at its finest and it reminds me of how much I miss Joy Kills Sorrow being together.

3. Within Temptation – The Silent Force – I literally hadn’t listened to this album in years. I came upon it today while I was cleaning. For a pop album (according to Finnish/Swedish standards), the orchestration and development is out of this world. Within the verse, chorus, bridge, etc., form – the composers and orchestrators build their orchestrations and motifs well enough to make a classically trained composer smile. Reminds me why I got into writing metal to begin with.


… I’ll just leave this right here.

Dark But Lovely |Unearth

2010 (Photo credit: Michael Mistretta)

In writing the worship songs I’ve been regularly posting, I’ve discovered that it is my favorite way to devour scripture, research theology, and get in touch with God’s heart;  a musical instrument, pen & paper, and open Bible tend to have that affect apparently. As I’ve just begun my journey through the Song of Solomon, finishing my 1st song of the book and now editing the 2nd song – I’m thrilled to have my eyes opened to the depth of vulnerability & beauty that this otherwise awkward book has to offer. (I’ll be writing analysis and allusion from the first song “Deeper Still Than Red” shortly!)

As the bride of Christ (taking from Song of Solomon 1:5-7) we are enlightened that even though we are sinful, we are still lovely to Christ. To describe this poetically, I’ve used the terms “sinner but saint” and “unearth, but still of dirt.”  Further, I use for the refrain “Here I confess, I’m a wreck, I’m a mess” and then “Under the sun, I am undone” going along with Song of Solomon 1:7 (tell me, you whom my soul loves, where you pasture your flock…for why should I be like one who veils herself beside the flocks of your companions?) to represent our longing to be with Christ because we are through with being of the world…or “under the sun.”

Even the terminology of the vineyard representing our heart is especially powerful; Misty Edwards uses it all throughout her music. I’m thrilled to get to use the terminology from the passage  “…but my own vineyard I have not kept (Song of Solomon 1:6) as a bridge in my song representing our failure to tend to our own heart.  I use the words “This vineyard is overgrown, come make me Your own…”

While Song of Solomon 1:5-7 may seem a bit dreary or gloomy in nature at first glance, I’ve found renewed excitement, freedom, and hope from it and I think you’ll feel that excitement and optimism in my upcoming song “Unearth.”

This Past Week | ATMOSHEAR Debut, EJM Newsletter

Atmoshear - Waiting on the LordIf you missed the updates this past week via Facebook & Twitter – Here’s a recap

ATMOSHEAR debuted the full-length album “Waiting on the Lord” on NoiseTrade! You can download the album for free & experience the enormity of sound & sonic wall that is Atmoshear.

The EXPLICT JESUS MUSIC newsletter was sent out this past week! This most recent issue of the newsletter contains details on the new Atmoshear release as well as ‘Whippoorwills & Thunder’ in the studio! Sign-up! There’s always updates on Johnny Newman, Atmoshear, Merchandise,  Manuscripts or Worship. It takes only a couple of seconds!

EJM Podcast – Writing has been going on this past week – narration recording is upcoming this week on ‘Location, Disappointment, & Worship’ – Stay tuned!

Christian Progressive Music | Where is ‘more You less Me?’

Progressive music, rock & heavy metal, in Christianity has a terrible habit. It is only Christian by its themes, teaching of

Inside of Saint Ananias taken in 2006
Inside of Saint Ananias taken in 2006 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

postive lessons, condemning what’s considered bad, and mentioning God as if He’s not in the room. The terrible habit is that God is hardly ever really worshiped; which is a shame if these bands are wanting to glorify Him.

Lyrically, “You” don’t exist

I’ve heard the excuse that these musicians don’t want to come off as “preachy;” And I won’t mention what band has said this.

And I’m not saying that they all really feel this way; however, to me, this shows a lack of conviction & a fear to profess the name of Jesus as Lord & personal Savior through their craft. I’m sure these musicians, in their own personal lives have no problem worshiping God or calling out or professing His name. But, when it comes to communicating a belief & a relationship with Jesus on a mass scale (I’m assuming these artists want to reach a great multitude), it sincerely bothers me that a musician or band would be afraid of being too “preachy.”

As a Christian, this comes uncomfortably close to “But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven. (Matthew 10:33 NLT)

Is this the definition of the difference between “Christian” music and “Worship” music;

the difference between “me” and “You”?

As an advocate for progressive rock & metal -I’m saddened that these musicians and this genre as a whole doesn’t worship God directly…instead, passively.

I absolutely applaud Gungor, Misty Edwards & Rend Collective Experiment for writing consistently progressive music that worships God while being lyrically aggressive & musically creative. Are there more like you? I want it!

By the way, a couple of albums worth checking out.

Misty Edwards – Relentless

Gungor – Ghosts Upon the Earth

Monday Playlist

  1. English: A montage of the post-metal band Russ...
    Image via Wikipedia

    Amplifier – Amplifier This biggest guitar sound I’ve heard from a power trio; Simply awesome – Kinda progressive, but with a consistent guitar wall of sound

  2. Russian Circles – Enter – I heard of this group years ago and was reminded of them once again when browsing through the iTunes catalog. Impressive, innovative, and inspiring instrumental progressive post rock from a power trio. I’m going to enjoy listening to this album very much all week!

Monday Playlist

Official logo of Becoming The Archetype
Image via Wikipedia
  • Becoming the Archetype – Celestial Completition
  • Evergrey – Recreation Day
  • Meshuggah – Catch 33

I just picked up Becoming the Archetype’s ‘Celestial Completion,’ and … it is freakin epic.  Definitely among the best in Christian metal.  Definitely keepin’ on the heavy end of things on my listening list ^_^

Monday Playlist

Octavarium (album)
Image via Wikipedia
  1. Dream TheaterOctavarium
  2. Between the Buried and Me – Colors
  3. MeshuggahCatch 33

After hearing the news about Dream Theater hiring new drummer Mike Mangini, I couldn’t help but go back and revisit one of their albums….and Octavarium is an epic one indeed. Plus, my car was out of commission for a couple of days…so also added BtBaM’s Colors album to the mix, as well.