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Broken Down: The EP

  • reviewed by Andy Argyrakis Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2003 1 Nov
Broken Down: The EP
Sounds like … the acoustic side of nü-metal and hard rock's leading acts, such as a stripped down Creed, Staind, or Nickelback.At a glance … fans of Pillar's Fireproof project can find that disc's most popular songs performed in an MTV "Unplugged" styled format.

Following in the footsteps of P.O.D. and Blindside, Pillar has thrown its lure into the mainstream, catching the attention and distribution of MCA Records. Like its predecessors, Pillar's journey outside the church's walls came from tireless touring, late-night drives, and breathless on-stage workouts that earned an unstoppable fan base, the "Pillar Army." It didn't hurt that the group's last full-length studio endeavor, Fireproof (Flicker), hit No. 6 on the Billboard Heatseekers' charts and won R&R Magazine's "Rock Record of the Year" award. Thanks to this year's remixed and repackaged version of that same album on MCA, Pillar's high octane approach has been introduced to an even wider audience.

In keeping with the band's commitment to its fans, Pillar now releases a special EP of Fireproof's most loved songs, rearranged in a live, unplugged format. Broken Down: The EP opens with the studio ballad "Further from Myself," this time sounding like a delicate reflection steeped in prayerful cries and string swells. Consider this version (and the similarly arranged concert take) comparable to P.O.D.'s "Thinking About Forever" or a more mellow look at Incubus' "Nice to Know You." The normally attacking "Light at My Feet" and "A Shame" follow in a subdued live setting, featuring soft-spoken vocals and melodies over gentle percussion and calming guitar strums.

The potent battle cry "Fireproof" also tones down the amplifiers in favor of brisk rhythmic fills and a less staggering but still stirring series of crescendos. Besides the reworked old songs, the disc also includes one new studio cut ("Bring Me Down") in Pillar's past aggressive tradition. Like the tracks found on Fireproof, this blazing hardcore jam incorporates front man Rob Beckley's screams and the band's uncaged energy. Such a tone switch, plus the other five surprising arrangements, make this project a must for any faithful follower or anyone wanting to explore Pillar's softer side.