Pillar's third full-length project finds them leaving the rap elements behind and going for a straight-ahead hard rock sound, albeit with a variety of styles. Where Do We Go From Here should be a success like their earlier Fireproof. This band rocks. I saw them live on the See Spot Rock tour and got the chance to visit briefly backstage at the Dove Awards. They most recently appeared on the compilation CD, In The Name of Love, adding their signature riffs to U2's Sunday Bloody Sunday.
Frontman Rob Beckley continues to write postive lyrics that often aren't overtly Christian (although Biblical allusions are common), yet convey a very Christian worldview when sung or screamed by his powerful voice. Drummer Lester Estelle's thunderous drumming sets the tone for Pillar. His dad plays guitar in the Gaither Vocal Band, opening up some interesting--albeit unlikely--joint tour possibilities. Readers of HM Magazine voted Kalel one of their "Top 4 bassists," and guitaist Noah Henson boosts the energy level with his scorching guitar riffs and flying dreadlocks. The guys seem to genuinely like each other, which hopefully means that we'll see plenty more of this lineup over the years.
Pillar's Broken Down: The EP introduced us to Bring Me Down, which turns out to be the debut single on Where Do We Go From Here. The video for Bring Me Down should get quite a bit of airplay on Christian TV and perhaps mainstream TV as well. Shot in the prison where The Green Mile was filmed, the video carries a powerful visual impact, supplementing the song perfectly. Kalel's bass with the "blue light" fret dots adds a very cool and unusual effect.
Producer Travis Wyrick again brings out the best of Pillar's aggressive sound. We even get an early 90s pop metal vibe on Holding On. Let It Out features a perfect change-of-pace with almost gentle verses that kick into a rocking chorus:
I don't know if we ever really learned to pray / so I drop down to my knees and I cry out // Can you help me please / Let it out, can you hear me? Can you hear me cry? / Let it out, don't hold back, all this I got inside / let it out, can you hear me, can you hear me cry
Frontline is probably my favorite song on the project and will probably be a popular concert sing-along on their next tour:
It's not like I'm walkin alone / Into the valley of the shadow of death / Stand beside one another / Cause it ain't over yet / And I'd be willing to bet that if we don't back down / You and I'll be the ones that are holding the crown / In the end when it's over we can say well done / But not yet cause it's only begun / So pick up and follow me we're the only ones / To fight this thing until we've won / We drive on and don't look back / Doesn't mean we can't learn from our past / And all the things that we mighta done wrong / We could've been doing this all along // Everybody with your fist raised high / Let me hear your battle cry tonight / Stand beside or step aside / We're on the frontlines
The meaning increases when we realize that Rob's father is currently stationed in Saudi Arabia. Pillar is passionate about supporting the American troops around the world, and is probably the most blatantly patriotric hard rock band out there.
The few mellower tunes like Rewind won't detract from the CD for all but the hardcore headbangers, offering a recuperative and contemplative interlude before the next sonic assault. Where Do We Go From Here will appeal to Pillar fans, and anyone who likes hard rock with just a touch of screaming vocals at times. I'd probably have to rate them my #1 choice when I'm in the mood for something with a bit of a kick to it.