- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2008 1 May
- Play It Safe
- Save the Day
- Redemption, Passion, Glory
- Shake It Off
- Jealousy Hurts
- This Is a Warning
- Worth Fighting For
There are several words beginning with the "re" prefix concerning the latest from Dizmas. To be clear, this self-titled project is not a reinvention for the Southern Cal rockers—that already happened between the louder emo-core of 2005's On a Search in America and the more accessible modern rock sound heard on 2007's Tension. But Dizmas has since rethought their objectives and switched labels from Credential to Forefront. Though both are owned and distributed by EMI, Forefront better reflects the band's focus to reach youth through the Christian marketplace, rather than the secular indie scene.
So consider this disc a repositioning in the Christian rock world, as well as a repackaging. Six of the ten tracks come from the previous two albums, and have been newly remastered—not noticeably so, but only to maintain some sonic consistency with the four new tracks. However, the song selection reveals Dizmas' new direction—the only representative from their heavier rocking debut is also the softest on the album (the ballad "Redemption, Passion, Glory"). The band still sounds enjoyably rowdy on "Dance," while "This Is a Warning" remains their most ambitious track to date, shifting the feel between verse, chorus, and bridge, with lyrics challenging listeners to look for something deeper than the lies of the world.
The new tracks don't sound out of place, and a more melodic and radio-friendly approach is understandable, but do they have to sound so banal? The upbeat guitar rock of "Different" is especially hokey and trite, both lyrically ("I am just reaching and I want to know You") and musically (the cheesy little handclap breakdown toward the end). Similarly, the radio single "Yours" has a confident opening and a hooky chorus, but the words are more what we'd expect from Point of Grace than a band once comparable to Rage Against the Machine: "Feels like the sky has never been so blue/But that's not the way it used to be/'Cause there was a time that I was without You/Before I said that I believe." At least "Worth Fighting For" works as a slick rock anthem against spiritual complacency resembling the bravado of Jimmy Eat World and Fall Out Boy: "Wait, is easy-going the best for us?/Why is faith becoming so comfortable … We're looking for answers but we're not asking questions."
Although the disc is only thirty minutes, that's reflected in its low price. Dizmas will undoubtedly play well to the youth group demographic, but after three years, it'd be nice to see the band take a step forward—this disc is essentially Dizmas redux.