21. The Violet Burning: Strength

(Bluestone, 1992)
(Bluestone, 1992)

The Christian alternative rock scene would not have been the same in the ’90s without The Violet Burning. Of course, the band didn’t go anywhere at the turn of the Millenium, and have kept making great music ever since 1990’s Chosen. And while Chosen was good, The Violet Burning’s sophomore release Strength was even better. Intimate and worship like, Strength is perhaps the album that best sums up The Violet Burning experience. It’s an emotional roller-coaster ride, that soars and falls, and hits you smack between the eyes.

As I Am may be the band’s best song ever, gorgeous, powerful and an emotionally-charged admission of how much God loves us – even in midst of human frailty. Then again, Gold is absolutely stunning, brooding and moody to begin with, than building to an electric-guitar filled crescendo. Oh, and what about the Song of The Harlot? The song is likewise stunning, a lyrical powerhouse that alternatives between hard-pounding beats and bare instrumentation. I could go on, but this is a great record from start to finish. There’s even a cover of The Beatle’s Eleanor Rigby.

One thing that makes this record so outstanding, other than superb songwriting and stellar layering and selection of sounds (guitars, strings, etc.), are the vocals. Michael J. Pritzl gets plenty of help in this regard with sensational female backing vocals from Jamie Eichler. (Check out the chorus on the closer Through My Tears. Wow.) Strength remains my favorite Violet Burning record, and the album that immediately comes to mind when I think of the band. If you haven’t heard it your missing out.

1. There is No One Like You
2. The Face of Beauty
3. Stay With Me
4. Undone
5. As I Am
6. Like the Sun
7. Gold
8. Song of the Harlot
9. Eleanor Rigby
10. Through My Tears

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