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Flyleaf; New Horizons

Flyleaf
New Horizons
October 30th, 2012
AM/Octone Records

With the release of New Horizons, Flyleaf’s 3rd major label album, the band continues to spread their messages of hope and perseverance through heavy hitting rock anthems, all the while being a voice for the voiceless. Vocalist and founder, Lacey Sturm, reminds us on tracks like “Fire, Fire” and “Freedom” that, at the end of the day, life remains built on cycles beyond our control. James Culpepper, who at 17 had to have his parent’s permission to sign the band’s contract with AM/Octone records, provides the intense backdrop for the album. His drums crashing into each chorus and verse like a storm breaking on the rocks.
The songs on New Horizons show a much more mature band, one who’s spent the last twelve years touring almost non-stop and honing their own unique skills. Lead guitarist Sameer Bhattcharya lays the groundwork for some truly intense rock anthems, while bassist Pat Seals builds on those layers and provides that mosh-worthy thump. The sonic landscape created by Sturm’s growls and whimpers is featured in “Green Heart” and “Cage On the Ground”.  But each track on New Horizons also contains a message. Sometimes hidden. Sometimes left in plain sight. Lacey Sturm has gotten very well and inserting subtle hints into each track, offering a glimpse of how each note is inspired by personal struggle and overcoming tragedy. Hope can always be found around each corner. When the night is at its darkest, the sunrise will be at its brightest. And let’s not forget Jared Hartmann. Hartmann’s guitars crash into Seals’ basslines and build on the sonic landscape Sturm narrates. That narration however, is often laced with a frustration from Sturm that bleeds into several tracks. I find “Cage On the Ground” the most interesting lyrically. The track revolves around the price of fame and whether or not you’re willing to accept that cost once fame is achieved.
Which brings us to a question every fan of Flyleaf is trying to answer; What does the departure of Lacey Sturm mean for the future of the band? The announcement of Sturm’s departure could not have come at a worse time. The video for the ablum’s title track had been released and the album was set to drop in a mere eight days. It breaks my heart know that we’ll never get to hear Sturm sing “Saving Grace” or “Call You Out”. The material recorded for this album is the best that the band has created to date. Listening to each of their previous releases in their proper order, it’s clear to me that the band’s sound is evolving and continues to reach a pinnacle with each subsequent release. On no other track is this proven more than with “Broken Wings”. One of the first tracks the band wrote during their Passerby days, it’s been rewritten and spun with a heavier guitar riff and more driving drums.
I feel sorry for those of you who never had the chance to see Flyleaf, with Lacey Sturm, live and in concert. Each show was truly a moving experience. I have no doubt that the band will continue to play on though. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the messages that Flyleaf has taught us, it’s that the best rewards are reaped from the toughest trials and tribulations. But will it be the same? Kansas City native Kristen May will be replacing Sturm on vocals but can she live up to the high expectations the fans have? I’ve seen May perform several times with her band Vedera, but May’s voice seems to me to be more suited for the indie rock sub genre. Can she pull off Sturm’s trademark growls and gutteral, throaty groans? I guess only time will tell.
Another of the band’s messages played throughout New Horizons is that for every death, there is a birth. While the old Flyleaf may be layed to rest, the next incarnation of the band is set for rebirth and I have no doubt their message will remain as true and strong as ever.

 

Tracklist

Standard Edition

                   

No.

Title

Length

               
1. “Fire Fire” 3:03                
2. “New Horizons” 3:09                
3. “Call You Out” 2:22                
4. “Cage on the Ground” 3:24                
5. “Great Love” 3:42                
6. “Bury Your Heart” 3:35                
7. “Freedom” 3:20                
8. “Saving Grace” 3:44                
9. “Stand” 3:40                
10. “Green Heart” 2:44                
11. “Broken Wings” 3:34                

iTunes bonus track

                   

No.

Title

Length

               
12. “Mama” 3:56                

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