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  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2006 1 Jul
Sounds like … melodic power pop and emo rock similar to Further Seems Forever, Mae, Anberlin, The Juliana Theory, Run Kid Run, and Dashboard Confessional. At a glance … the final album from Forever Changed shows considerable growth in sound and instrumental skill, but still falls a little short with generic lyricism that doesn't distinguish their songs from similar bandsTrack Listing Chapters Never Look Down Starting to Sink All I Need The Runaway Time Will Change Everything The Disconnect It's Too Late Refusal No Way Out Cradle Eyes Letting Go of You

It's only been 16 months since Forever Changed released their debut, The Need to Feel Alive, in March 2005. And now comes their second—and final—album, Chapters. After six-and-a-half years together, just when things started picking up for the band, lead singer Dan Cole felt called to spend more time with his family, and the other members decided not to continue without him, as the band played its last concert in June 2006.

A pity that they're finished as this final effort shows considerable musical development from the previous. Their emo-influenced modern rock has evolved from the heavier sound of Further Seems Forever into the more melodic styling of Mae, adding piano and keyboards into the mix almost as much as guitars. Forever Changed plays like a more finely tuned machine here, with Ben O'Rear's sophisticated guitar licks in particular a notch above the average band. In addition to the obligatory solitary ballad "Cradle Eyes," there are some excellent rhythmic accents to "The Runaway," "Refusal," and "The Disconnect." Even better is the inspired jam in the closing minute of "No Way Out," and "Letting Go of You" makes quite the anthemic swansong.

It's the lyrics where Forever Changed fall short this time, relying too much on generic themes of romantic longing and overcoming heartache. "Refusal" touches on coping with unbelief, and "No Way Out" could be interpreted as God's response to that. But while messages about embracing who we were made to be ("The Runaway") and seeking personal change ("Never Look Down") are encouraging and positive, they don't really distinguish this band spiritually or creatively—as expressed in "All I Need," it's all been done before. Chapters reveals a band that handled its sound capably and confidently, but who can say now where Forever Changed might have gone had they also grown in songwriting depth?

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