Reviews: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Mission Of One - Mission Of One
   
Musical Style: Hard Rock Produced By: Chris Dickens
Record Label: Independent Country Of Origin: US
Year Released: 2008 Artist Website:
Tracks: 10 Rating: 80%
Running Time: 40:17

Mission Of One - Mission Of One

Mission Of one is a one man project in the capable hands of guitarist, bassist and vocalist Chris Dickens.  Initially getting started while under the moniker Missionary One, Chris recorded the straightforward hard rock of his full length debut Take Another Swig in 2004 before renaming the project Mission Of One and following up a year later with another hard rocking effort in Show Me The WayMission Of One, the summer of 2008 self-titled third release from the artist, picks up where Take Another Swig and Show Me The Way leave off by taking a foundation of hard rock and joining it with elements of guitar driven classic rock and heavy blues rock.  The one area where Chris breaks from the past, however, is in the amount of variety found on the project.  You will find, for instance, a tasteful combination of upbeat tracks (including the catchy sounds of “Surrender” and “He’s Been Good To me” in addition to the first-rate “I’d Do It All Over Again”) and those heading in a mid-tempo direction (The Rez Band flavorings of “Give In To Him” and “Man Overboard” must be mentioned along with the Bride influenced “The End”).  Chris even gives us a couple of very well done worship rock numbers in “I Will Worship You” and “I Fall Down”.

Vocally, Chris continues to bring his trademark gritty and blues soaked mid-ranged vocal delivery.  While he might not posses the charisma of, lets say, Glenn Kaiser (Resurrection Band), he performs capably throughout the project and, most importantly, his vocal style perfectly suits the genre of music presented here.  Chris also handles the majority of the albums lead guitar duties, best bestowing his edgy and at times bluesy playing to “Man Overboard” and “I’d Do It All Over Again”.  If anything, I wish the artist had chosen to cut loose a bit more in this area.  It must be noted that Mark Breton provides the lead guitar work on “Give In To Him” and “The End”.

The albums faith based lyrics are a strength, dealing with topics including God’s faithfulness, Christ likeness, eternity and the love of God.

Production wise, Mission Of One proves the more well rounded effort in comparison to Show Me The Way.  The rhythm guitar now sounds crisper while the lead guitar and bass evenly rise above the mix.  That said, while steps and strides have been made in this area, a slight element of thinness still makes its presence felt.  By no means a detraction, I cannot help but think some room for polish and tightening up exists here.

The upbeat “Surrender” proves a fitting album opener.  With its catchy chorus hook and energetic tempo (not to mention spicy work on rhythm and lead guitar), the song sets the stage for what is to follow.  As its title implies, “Surrender” talks about surrendering to God:

I have You my heart – I gave you my soul
But Lord I failed to give You control
With me at the helm it’s no wonder I fall
So to You I surrender – I surrender all

“Give In To Him”, with its Rez Band style hard rocking sound, slows the pace down but maintains the same high quality.  The song moves through its verse portions with the rhythm guitar hammering in and out of the mix, not culminating until gaining a hold of a decisive chorus in which the rhythm guitar establishes itself fixed and firm.  “Give In To Him” expands upon the lyrical themes initiated b “Surrender”:

Give in to Him – give in to His peace
His strength & His love
Give in to Him – give in to the power
The power from above
Give in to Him – let Him lead You
And guide you – and show you the way
Give in to Him – give in to the Spirit
His Spirit today

“Man Overboard” represents another gritty and driving mid-paced hard rocker.  By far the albums heaviest track (the rhythm guitar is, again, up front in the mix), the song trudges ahead in weighty fashion prior to transitioning to a heavy duty chorus warning against getting caught up in the ways of the world:

He/She was trying to swim in a tidal wave
Couldn’t stay afloat and was swept away
Just one quick dip  Ha!  You can’t walk away
You’ll end up trapped in and early grave-
Man overboard!

Chris pulls out all the stops with his bluesy work on lead guitar

The laid back “I Will Worship You” heads in a worship rock direction.  What stands out most about the song is how Chris smoothes out his vocal deliver and sings in a lower register.  Slow placed but melodic, the song amalgamates a moving atmosphere with a lyrical direction that, once more, is worshipful in capacity:

You have shown me Your unfailing love
You’ve given me a sturdy place to stand
No enemy can ever come against me
For You hold me safely in the palm of Your hand

Non-stop energy might be the best way to describe “He’s Been Good To Me”.  The song immediately kicks in at an upbeat tempo, rushing ahead decisively prior to obtaining a sweeping chorus of the hook driven variety.  It must be noted the pronounced bass line shoring up “He’s Been Good To Me” from start to finish (not to mention a short but quick fingered stretch of lead guitar).  God’s faithfulness is the subject matter here:

He’s been good to me – so good to me
God paid the price with Jesus’ sacrifice
From my sins He set me free
He’s been good to me – so good to me
He’s always by my side through the cold, dark night
And He will never, ever leave
He’s been good to me

“Be Yourself” maintains the upbeat heading.  Showcasing an almost wave-ish or punk-like feel to its delivery (but maintaining the albums classic hard rock tendencies in the process), this one is just plain fun to listen to.  What puts the song over the top is its infectious guitar riff – guaranteed to remain etched in your mind for some time – and the all out spirited nature of its chorus.  “Be Yourself” talks about Christ likeness:

Don’t’ compare your success
To the saints who lived back then
If God had needed Moses now
He would have made you Moses’ twin
Set your sights on Jesus Christ
He will give you a helping hand
To walk by faith & preach the Word
To do all that He’s planned

“Are You Listening?” represents one of the slower and more relaxed numbers on Mission Of One.  The song actually proves an emotionally tinged piece, highlighted by Chris’ heartfelt vocal performance and poignant chorus in which a series of relevant questions are asked:

Father are you listening?
Are you even there?
Do You even pay attention to my feeble prayers?
Father can you help me?
Can You save me from myself?
There is no one I can to-
Is there anybody else?

Ultimately, “Are You Listening?” deals with the issues of faith and doubt (this is a song which stands out not just for its musical strength but lyrical depth as well):

Inside my heart is breaking
Inside I’m always shaking
As life itself just terrifies my soul
I wish the path was clearer

When questions are unanswered
And things appear unclear
I ask the Lord for answers
And a path for me appears

“The End”, the albums shortest track at just over three minutes, is reminiscent to early nineties Bride.  The “wah-wah” guitar sound throughout the song, for example, brings to mind “Mountain” or “Troubled Times” (both off Kinetic Faith).  With another forward bass line making its presence felt, the song rollicks its distance in joining a dogged chorus with a bristling stretch of lead guitar from Mark Breton.  The lyrics to “The End” focus on eternal matters:

I know that the end of my life is coming
I know that it just might be today
I know that I’m ready to meet my Savior
When I meet Him face to face on that judgment day

Another solid hook is delivered on “I’d Do It All Again”, a song sustained by a razor edged rhythm guitar backed by a plethora of tireless impetus.  The first thing that comes to mind here is one of the more up-tempo compositions from Glenn Kaiser Band or a slightly faster version of “Jesus Rides Harley Too” by Cornerstone (a group which recently changed its name to Stonefuze).  Either way it works and stands out as one of the finer numbers composed by the artist.  “I’d Do It All Over Again” touches upon God’s love:

I loved you before time began
I loved you from your mother’s womb
I loved you while I hung dying
And I love you from beyond the tomb
Although many are ungrateful
For all that I’ve done for them
Because I love you so
I’d do it all again

Closing things out is “I Fall Down”, another worship rock piece in which Chris also sings in a lower register.  While also mid-paced in tempo, I find “I Fall Down” to be the heavier of the two with its “crunch heavy” rhythm guitar sound.  What the two have in common, however, is the worshipful feel of not only the music but lyrics as well:

I fall down before You Lord with all humility
Crying, “Holy, holy, holy Lord”
As I worship at Your feet
I fall down before You Lord on this alter I do lay
Trembling at the power of God
Offering gifts of praise

I appreciate how Mission Of One reflects the growth and maturity gained by the artist in the key area of songwriting and lyrical depth.  Similar to Show Me The Way, all the songs here hold up under repeated play but feature stronger chorus hooks and melody lines.  Lead vocals and lead guitar, at the same time, complement the hard rocking direction taken here.  While a step forward has been made in terms of production, this is an area in which room for improvement still exists.  Irregardless, if you enjoy either of the artists past efforts – or are a fan of Rez Band, F.O.G. and other gritty hard rock bands – then by all means pick up the latest release from Mission Of One.

Review by: Andrew Rockwell

Track Listing: “Surrender” (4:00), “Give In To Him” (4:07), “Man Overboard” (4:19), “I Will Worship You” (4:44), “He’s Been Good To Me” (5:02), “Be Yourself” (3:57), “Are You Listening?” (3:47), “The End” (3:07), “I’d Do It All Over Again” (3:34), “I Fall Down” (3:44)

Musicians
Chris Dickens – Lead Vocals, Guitars & Bass

Guest Musicians
Mark Breton – Lead Guitar
Drums – Darren Dickens

Also Reviewed: Mission Of One – Show Me The Way

 

Reviews: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
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