- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2002 1 Apr
Juggernautz is the latest creative project from Jyro Xhan, the musical mastermind behind alternative bands Mortal and Fold Zandura. Since the break-up of Fold Zandura, Jyro has been working more behind the scenes, playing with several L.A. bands and most notably playing keyboards for Crystal Lewis at her concerts. He's also been busy programming and producing several albums, gradually honing his own skills with electronic music. With a fresh collection of songs and an all-new band, Jyro and the self-titled debut from Juggernautz are poised to capture the attention of electronic rock fans.
Combining thick electric guitars, techno drum programming, and a host of sound effects and samples, Juggernautz draws closest comparisons to Skillet and Earthsuit, with a little bit of Chemical Brothers, Nine Inch Nails, and Prodigy thrown in. Jyro's production is first-rate — loud and noisy, yet clean and rarely overwhelming. It's extremely radio friendly for Christian rock and mainstream alternative stations, especially the songs "Believing" and "You Are the Light." Certainly not for all tastes (what albums are?), especially those who like their music quiet and organic,
The general themes of the album are wrestling with the fear and despair of a world that's slowly falling apart, and craving for the love and grace of the almighty God who's promised to reclaim it. Essentially it's a soundtrack to Romans 8:18-27. Check out the chorus on "The Reach," the album's opener: "Higher than the fever blue atmosphere / Farther than the throw of ultrasilver light / Wider than the stretch of the horizon / Deeper than the atom's heart is the reach of God's love." It's peppered with a bit of geek-speak, but the message is clear and original, expressing the penetrating reach of God's love. Likewise, "UR" comes across as a modern psalm that praises God's eternal presence: "You are the measure of eternity / before the afterglow / before foundations once proved unshakeable." The song "Everyday" is a modern stream-of-consciousness prayer for mercy and peace. The album is probably best summed up by the song "Fury": "Return in majestic fury / Come down like an avalanche / Transform with your love eternal / Come alive in our hearts."
Musically, this isn't exactly one of the most original electronic-music albums ever made, since it's reminiscent of so many other groups. But it's an incredibly well-crafted album, in both production and songwriting. The superb production and poetic lyrics are enough to rank this among the top of its genre in Christian music. Jyro has a lot to be proud of here, and fans of electronic rock definitely should seek out the Juggernautz debut.