Society always celebrates the records that top the Billboard 200 album chart. Back of The Billboards is a Music Times weekly segment that looks at the opposite end: the new record that finished closest to the back of the Billboard 200 for the previous week. We hope to give a fighting chance to the bands you haven't heard of.
Week of 10/24/2014
WHO: Sanctus Real
WHAT: The Dream
We acknowledge at the fore that we don't listen to enough Christian rock to be a perfect guide for you. Sure, we listen to enough supposedly "Christian rock" but the definition of such a genre has always bothered us. As metalheads,w e've always been confused by the label being applied to metalcore giants like As I Lay Dying. Recent revelations about Tim Lambesis aside, the band never exactly procured a religious message. Its lyrics weren't violent and it certainly wasn't as anti-religion as many similar bands. All it took was the band members to comment outside of their performances that they believed in God and *boom*...a "Christian metal" band.
Hence our somewhat charmed reaction to the music of a band such as Sanctus Real.
The existence of rock bands that openly mention names like "God" and "Jesus" is almost a rarity, even among the dozens of so-called Christian acts that crack the Billboard 200. Your correspondent is far from Christian. Nonetheless, the sincerity of Sanctus Real and vocalist Mark Hammitt is appreciated. Beliefs are expressed less as metaphors and more as realities.
Hence the appeal in a track like "33," which is both metaphor and biography. The title refers to Hammitt's age and his development into the man he is now, and the track opening with his mother's prayer during his youth regarding how she hoped he'd end up.
This is an album, and a band, for a very specific audience, no doubt. But that audience should be pleased.