By The Grace Of God


Perspective

By The Grace Of God - Perspective ©1997 Victory
1. Boy And The River
2. Beneath The Blue
3. Dead Ends
4. No Deposit
5. Crest
6. Man Vs. Paper
7. Cole
8. Red Hand Plan
9. Anything In A Name
10. Chutes And Ladders
11. I Will Not Bow Down

By the Grace of God will forever be my favorite Victory Records band. Unlike like the lionshare of the label's denizens, the Grace specialized in a loud, stomping hardcore, but with songs that absolutely take flight with melodic, passionate vocals and occasional majestic guitar-leads that weave comfortably amongst the thrak of the rhythm section. For these reasons, I do not believe the band was ever totally at home with Victory Records, and since they're clearly too intelligent for the Fat Wreck crowd, the band seemed to flounder about aimlessly in the straight-edge hardcore scene till they split sometime a few years ago under a shroud punch-ups and pseudo-controversy.

Perspective is the band's only full-length recording and one simply crammed with ideas, be it musical, satirical, political and environmental; like somehow they knew there was only one chance to shine. They pick up exactly where their debut mini-album For the Love of Indie Rock left off with the phenomenal "Boy and the River", a sad and uplifting song about putting the pieces of one's life back together after tragedy, a potent motif of all their songs. It is heavy, intense and sheened with a searingly melodic vocal. In other words, precisely the space vintage Grace thrived in. A comparison to Guy from Fugazi is apt, although here, Jon tends to holler more and while this can tend to manifest atonally, it is nonetheless the flagship feature which separates this album from 97% of what the rest of the hardcore community is producing. Although the album is bookended by the aforementioned track and the excellent "Chutes and Ladders", nowhere does the overall quality of the music sway; in fact, "Cole", a song of unrequited love, may well be their best.

Inside the booklet there is a myriad of pointers and roadmaps to consumer awareness resources, activist and Beat literature, including a poem by Southern Beat poet Ron Whitehead, "I Will Not Bow Down" that is also recited at the end of the CD, espousing personal freedom, passion, compassion, empathy, helping those in need, and resurrection of the heart. Punk is alive. Pay By the Grace of God a visit.

Review by Lee Steadham

Review date: 06/2000

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