|Musical Style: Hard Rock||Produced By: Randy Von Allmen & Kurt Schreitmueller|
|Record Label: Independent||Country Of Origin: USA|
|Year Released: 2006||Artist Website:|
|Tracks: 12||Rating: 75%|
|Running Time: 41:35|
TriPart is a new Christian rock band hailing from Rochester, Michigan. Playing a combination of hard rock, melodic rock, blues and AOR on its 2006 full length debut Beneath The Surface, TriPart delivers a diverse sound certain to appeal to fans of not only Petra, Idle Cure, White Heart and Daniel Band but those into Stryper, Angelica, Guardian, Shout and Slav Simanic as well. The album is divided into three distinct parts. The first features two straightforward hard rockers in “One Thing” and “Thy Kingdom Come” and the second four “mellower” tracks that move in a slower and more acoustic based direction (with the better being “Lamb And The Lion” and “Double-Minded Man”). At just the moment the album begins to lose your attention, however, Beneath The Surface satisfyingly transitions to its guitar driven third part, which starts with the bluesy rocker “Take Me Away” and ends with four quality hard rockers in “Addicted”, “Jerusalem”, “I’m So Glad” and “What You Feel”.
The driving force behind this talented power trio is vocalist and guitarist Randy Von Allmen. I enjoy how Randy adorns the albums heavier material with his edgy and metal laced riffs while, at the same time, lacing the atmosphere with a lush trace of acoustic guitar whenever needed. He turns the area of lead vocals into a legitimate strength, contributing a mid-octave ranged vocal style with a classic rock feel heavily rooted in the 70s, his delivery mostly of the even and smooth sounding variety. Drummer Darrell Ferraiuolo and bassist Brendan Marron combine to anchor the albums low end in no uncertain terms.
Production values, clean and crystal clear and allowing all the instrumentation to stand out in the mix, are immaculate in ranking among the finest this reviewer has heard on an independent release.
The albums packaging is also a thing of beauty, featuring a colorful, eye catching cover and a digi-pack that folds out to reveal lyrics printed in an easy to read font.
Speaking of the lyrics, Beneath The Surface proves a well written and boldly Christian effort that addresses topics ranging from the second coming, double-mindedness and the character of Christ.
The album gets underway with the jagged, edge hard rocker “One Thing”. A snarling rhythm guitar holds sway over the song its full distance, delivering an abundance of gritty, mid-tempo impetus that brings out the best in its driving chorus and muscular verse portions that follow. “One Thing” asks several relevant questions:
Is there one song to sing, is there one gift to bring?
Is there one game to play, is there one prayer to pray?
Is there one key to find, is there one genius mind?
Is there one single tear, is there one God to fear?
The hard rocking direction is maintained on “Thy Kingdom Come”. The song kicks in at an upbeat tempo before the rhythm guitar takes a backseat in the mix upon obtaining its first verse, returning in full fury to stand in support of an emotionally charged chorus drawing its lyrics from Matthew 6:10-13:
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done
Here on earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread
As we forgive those who trespass against us
Lead us not into temptation
But deliver us, deliver us from evil
“Lamb And The Lion” begins the albums “mellower” second part. Carried from front to back by a crisp acoustic guitar, the song moves forward in smooth sounding fashion, not picking up in pace until reaching its forthright chorus and an instrumental section sustained by Allmen’s tight sounding lead work. “Lamb And The Lion” touches upon the second coming:
Justice will come like a thief in the night
And a trumpet will sound and the good and the right
We’ll be caught up with Him, in the twinkling of an eye
And forever time will cease
Introduced to a drum solo, the AOR influenced “Double-Minded Man” calmly flows through its verse portions to a blend of quietly played guitar and keyboards until gaining momentum for a chorus of the lively and energetic variety. The piano opening the songs instrumental section gives way to a stretch of razor sharp lead guitar work. “Double-Minded Man” is aptly named:
You’re like a ship on the ocean in the raging sea
No lighthouse for direction, no plan or place to be
A double-minded man blows in the wind
He’s like a weed that tumbles around, like a top that spins.
“I 53” slowly moves ahead to an amalgamation of quiescent guitar and distinct bass lines prior to picking up in pace for a worshipful chorus pointing to the person of Christ:
By His wounds we have been healed
By His Spirit we have been sealed
Earthen vessels treasure stored
Promise filled in Jesus our Lord
Ultimately, I find the lyrics here to be nothing less than inspired:
Despised and rejected
A man of such sorrow and pain
The burden of peace was upon Him
To carry our guilt and our shame
“Key To My Soul”, another acoustic based track, comes across with a bit too much of a polished and overriding commercial feel for my taste. No, the song is by no means bad, but after four straight slower and “mellower” numbers, I find my attention span starting to drift. A song with some guitar driven momentum is desperately needed at this point.
Which is exactly what the blues rocker “Take Me Away” delivers. Opening to some bluesy leads interwoven with an organ, the song saunters ahead in a near laid back manner, making an even transition to a brief but incisive chorus standing out as a result of its too the point feel. Allmen adorns the scene on lead guitar with his snarling licks and chops. The lyrics to “Take Me Away” are comforting in nature:
You feel the coldness all around you
You hear the voices in your head
The pain inside your body lingers
You’d think it better to be dead
Come to the table, a table of love
Why don’t’ you rest as your seated, its’ what you’re dreaming of
Where peace like a river flows from high above
The driving hard rock of “Addicted” begins to a drum solo before taking off to a muscular guitar riff, grinding its way forward until acquiring a melodic based chorus highlighted by a graceful touch of organ. A blend of full sounding rhythm guitar and showy lead guitar shores up the instrumental section closing out the songs final minute.
Calmly moving through its first verse to a quietly played guitar line, the semi-ballad “Jerusalem” picks up in pace when a crunchy rhythm guitar takes over and leads the way to a finesse filled chorus with a hook that will pull you in and refuse to let go. Similar to “I 53), the lyrics here are also Christ centered:
And in a new and living way, He brings hope to the lost
A debt for all mankind was paid and suffered on that cross
Spirit called to spirit now, the offer of His grace
A second Adam from above, in Him the second race
It’s the end of a chapter the turn of a page
Grace is revealed like the dawn of an age
The gift of His spirit, gift of His Son
Offers new life the victor is won
“I’m So Glad” commences to several seconds of open air rhythm guitar before immediately launching into its first chorus at a spirited, upbeat tempo. The song tapers off, however, upon reaching its verse portions as a wall of rhythm guitar moves to a forward place in the mix. This one has Stryper and Slav Simanic written all over it. “I’m So Glad” talks about God’s faithfulness:
Sometimes I wonder how He loves me
Despite the way I choose to live
But then I know His ways are far above my own
And that it’s in His perfect nature to forgive
Getting underway to a brief drum solo, “What You Fee” grinds its way forward at a mid-tempo pace only to effortlessly flow to an ethereal flavored chorus in which the rhythm guitar plays a reduced role in the mix. Allmen returns with some of the albums best fluid sounding lead guitar work. All in all, I would rate this as my favorite track off Beneath The Surface.
The album ends to the brief (:48) but worshipful hymn “Creature Chant”:
Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty
What we have in Beneath The Surface is a very fine Christian rock album. While from front to back it proves quite the consistent and well rounded effort, things tend to drag at its midway point as a diversion is taken into mellower and more subdued territory. (If you find tracks 3 through 6 to be your cup of tea – don’t get me wrong, all four are well constructed – then add ten points to the albums final score.) In the end, however, I wish there were a few more hard rockers here along the lines of “What You Feel”, “Addicted”, “One Thing” and “Kingdom Come”. Irregardless, this stands out as quite the promising work from a talented new band with a bright future ahead of it.
Review by: Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: “One Thing” (3:48), “Thy Kingdom Come” (3:30), “Lamb And The Lion” (3:42), “Double-Minded Man” (3:59), “1 53” (3:29), “Key To My Soul” (3:29), “Take Me Away” (3:53), “Addicted” (2:48), “Jerusalem” (4:03), “I’m So Glad” (3:44), “What You Feel” (3:58), “Creature Chant” (:48)
Randy Von Allmen – Lead Vocals & Guitars
Brendan Marron - Bass
Darrell Ferraiuolo - Drums