There was a time when Christian music consisted primarily of gospel or pop-based tunes. There was a feeling among Christian music purists that any sort of hard rock sound — particularly metal rock — was inherently too close to “devil music.” But the past decade has brought a swell of various musical genres to the Christian music mainstream, and when it comes to metalcore bands, none are more influential and respected than For Today.
For their fifth album, front man Mattie Montgomery decided that he wanted the band to do an album with a deeper meaning and one that tackled the serious and pressing issue of human trafficking. That idea evolved into Fight the Silence, an album that marries a traditional metalcore sound with lyrics that are much more than the typical metal song.
When it comes to the music on the album, Fight the Silence sounds a lot like previous efforts by the band. There are a lot of chugging guitars, heavy drumbeats and vocals that border on screeching. That having been said, there is also some subtly to the music and a fair number of surprises. The song “Break the Cycle” features guest vocalist Matty Mullins of Memphis May Fire and that addition stretches the sound of the band.
“Fatherless” is pure metalcore, with interweaving guitar lines and a reckless abandon that makes it a fun song to listen to. On the other end of the spectrum, “Reflections” is a much more restrained song, with a seriousness that you don’t often hear from the average Christian metal band.
But it’s the lyrics of Fight the Silence that really make this album something special. The title track was released several months ahead of the rest of the album, and lyrically, it’s by far the strongest track. The tune lays out the mandate for the rest of the album. The band wants to talk not just about their faith, but what faith can do to bring about real change in a society. Montgomery’s very public plan to have the album focus on human trafficking is very evident in the lyrics of every song, even though the connection is not always an obvious one.
“Fatherless” discusses the challenges of growing up to become a good person when you’re raised without a dad or a strong father figure. While that sentiment isn’t obviously about human trafficking, it’s not a large jump to see the band is talking about two sides of the same sad coin. “A Call to Arms,” “Resonate” and “One Voice” are songs that tackle the album’s theme head-on, and while this isn’t a concept album, even the more traditional Christian tracks such as “Pariah” and “Hated by the World” seem to all fit together in a way that creates a real arc for the tracks. The lyrics cover everything from loneliness to income inequality, all of it surrounded by music that is not that different from the traditional For Today release.
In fact, if there’s a weakness to the album, it’s that while the lyrics move the band in a new direction, the music that goes with it isn’t all that different than what fans heard on previous releases like Immortal or Prevailer. So if you’re looking for a new take on the band’s metalcore sound, you might find Fight the Silence to be a disappointment. But for most fans, this album will be just the project they were hoping to hear.
As part of its commitment to the album’s focus on human trafficking, For Today has also decided to donate all the proceeds from the album and its current tour to the A21 Campaign that works to fight human trafficking.
Have you heard For Today’s new album? What was your favorite track on Fight the Silence? Get caught up on the latest in Christian music here.