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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

Anthem for the Underdog

  • reviewed by Christa Banister Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2007 1 Aug
  • COMMENTS
Anthem for the Underdog
Sounds like … radio-friendly rock recalling Nickelback and Three Doors Down, with a couple of diversions into hard rock a la Seether and Three Days Grace.At a glance … Unlike previous efforts that didn't showcase much individuality, Anthem is a step in the right direction for 12 Stones.Track Listing Anthem for the Underdog
Lie to Me
Broken Road
Adrenaline
It Was You
This Dark Day
World So Cold
Arms of a Stranger
Hey Love
Games You Play
Lie to Me (acoustic)

As Nirvana, Staind, Korn, Linkin Park, and countless others have proven over the years, a little angst can sell a lot of records. But I've often wondered what exactly these artists were so angry about, considering how many of them have profited handsomely from their displeasure. And it's all the more surprising when an artist of faith fails to weave redemption and hope amid similarly dreary lyrics. Sure, Christian music can sometimes lose authenticity when it focuses only on the sunny side of life. But conversely, some bands seem to focus too much of their energy on the problems rather than the solutions.

That was the case for me with the first two albums from 12 Stones—their 2002 debut and Potter's Field—but with Anthem for the Underdog, the band is singing a new and, dare we say, redemptive song. Inspired by new fatherhood and the post Hurricane Katrina reconstruction efforts in their home state of Louisiana, the lyrics reflect life struggles in a far more hopeful light, particularly in the plaintive "Broken Road" and the confessional "World So Cold."

Even the bitter pill of betrayal addressed in the standout "Lie to Me" ("All the times I shared with you, were you even there at all?") rings with a feeling of triumph by the end. Rather than wallowing in hurt and misery, these songs look upward—a welcome change of pace for 12 Stones.

Also unlike previous efforts, the band's musical individuality finally begins to shine through here. Whereas it was difficult to distinguish the band from the other post-grunge sound-alikes on the first two albums, Underdog demonstrates more versatility without losing hard-rock credibility. Some songs ("Games You Play," "Adrenaline") still fall prey to the predictable sound and songwriting of pop-metal, but the title track is such a catchy, hook-laden surprise that I almost forgot who I was listening to. That adventurous spirit, both musically and lyrically, should keep new and old fans alike intrigued with 12 Stones for the long haul.

© Christa Banister, subject to licensing agreement with Christianity Today International. All rights reserved. Click for reprint information.


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