For Today - Prevailer EP
Record Label: Razor & Tie
Release Date: April 2, 2013
When For Today pops up in forums today the discussion is no longer about the quality of their music, the sermon-like style of their concerts, or their steadfast Christian beliefs. No, due to the distasteful tweets from former rhythm guitarist Mike Reynolds in January, the band has been discredited, criticized, and altogether unintentionally created a slew of haters, both from within the scene and from outside. As a christian myself, I can't help but compare this to the life Jesus lived day to day, as he was continually challenged by the opponents to his teachings. Jesus was crucified on a cross and left to be ridiculed as he slowly bled to death. But on Easter Day all those years ago, he rose from the dead to save all those who believe in him. Whether you believe in the Easter story or not, the overall tone of this album brings it to mind at almost every second of its five songs. This EP is For Today's resurrection.
The first thing noticed with the EP is the fierceness found in almost every song, save the acoustic re-imagining of "Fearless" from their previous effort Immortal. The opener, "From Zion" displays this best when lead vocalist Mattie Montgomery declares, "Every living thing will bow down at his feet / And every enemy will suffer their defeat / Our deliverer has come / This is war." The EP also features great guitar work from Ryan Leitru. It's demanding, unrelenting, and, frankly, pitch-perfect for the mosh-pit. The drums, brought to us by David Puckett, also convey a sense of urgency that hit just as hard as they're meant to. "Crown of Thorns" pushes both of these talented men to their greatest heights yet, keeping up and raising the intensity as Montgomery (along with Leitru taking reigns of the clean vocals better than ever before) belches, "The less will be the first to inherit the earth / It should have been me, with the nails through my hands and feet / Facing the wrath of God." Montgomery's highs and guttural lows throughout the entire run are always great, and it is apparent in this delivery that what he sings about, he truly believes.
The last two songs on the album that feature the core For Today sound keep the intensity sky high. While "Flesh and Blood" is ultimately forgettable, it still manages to impress with, once again, great drum work from Puckett. "Open Heaven" features an almost infectious chorus section, which is interesting since For Today usually relies on their lyrics and hard-hitting instrumentals to keep listeners coming back, not catchy choruses. The last song on the album, breaks the fierce mold entirely, but in no way deters from the resurrection focus of the album. This acoustic remake of, "Fearless", from their Razor & Tie debut Immortal,features a change in tempo from the original, completely clean vocals, and even a gang vocal section near the last thirty seconds. It's a mix-up for For Today, that is for certain; but it is exactly what this band needs to come back fully charged for a new release in the future.
For Today has explored the gracious, Lord of lords persona of Jesus before. But, in this release, it becomes evident that there was more to Jesus that just the stained-glass windows portray. He had a temper. He was demanding. He didn't back down. Neither, it seems, will For Today, as this release shows that they can bring the heaviness only glimpsed at in previous records.
Ryan Leitru – lead guitar, clean vocals
Brandon Leitru – bass guitar
Mattie Montgomery – lead vocals
David Puckett – drums
Sam Penner – rhythm guitar