I’ll admit, even I have been a bit burnt out on Christian metal of late, and when I initially started listening to the debut from Fargo’s Hands I was pretty unmoved, as the rumbling opener “Hurricanes” didn’t do much for me and I simply classified it as yet another group of uppity noisy Christians spreading their message by forcing it into metal.

However, as I delved into the album, I started to unravel a rather enthralling approach that mixes the layered textures of Life on Your Way and Means, but with a slight influence and pace of modern post rock bands. The end result is a shimmering Life in Your Way/Means/Misery Signals styled album of melodic metalcore core played at half speed or on barbiturates. Another band that came to mind is Century, with their lurching, gruff but ethereal moments and vocal delivery of Shane Ochsner which throws a variety of stern growls, shouts and emotive croons into the mix without being to awfully clichéd or overdone.

If there was an album that seemed a perfect fit for a metalized sermon, it’s Creator with its uplifting layered melodies and strands of grace and beauty amid the cascading ebb and flow of the songs. Rather than beat or threaten you with fire and brimstone or whine you into submission with Christian rhetoric, Hands simply ask you to take their hand and let them guide you through the faith’s positive and uplifting elements. Things really start to click on the second track “Rescue” and especially the third track, “Brightest” with some truly magnificent melodies and burly lurch that could accompany the heavens opening up and angels descending upon us. The same can be said for the later stages of “Robed in Majesty”. I have not heard melodies like this since my very favorite Christian band, Life In Your Way called it quits.

There are some expansive moments mixes in as the bands sometimes delves into more dichotomous, post rock tidal flows and thunderous peaks as heard on the seven minute “The Heavens and the Earth” with a glorious chorus. “Resistance” could even have come of a Finnish death doom album with its rending, somber harmony and mood. There are also some heaving, hefty moments such as “Of the Flesh”, “The Least of These” and “Returning” which show the heavier side of Hands, though they will never be confused for label mates Impending Doom.

The only downside to an otherwise truly awesome album is the 13 minutes of silence after the closing title track that segues into hidden track “Revelation”. Both stunning tracks derailed by the lengthy break, with both being just an utterly beautiful Sleeping Giant-ish hymnals. As usual, this album wont be for everyone because of the Christian approach, but those open minded enough to check on Creator will discover one of the more moving and beautiful albums of 2009.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
August 5th, 2009


  1. Commented by: Ryan

    Awesome band and great guys. Played with them a few times earlier in the year when our tours cross paths and they do the music justice live.

  2. Commented by: gabaghoul

    your review makes me want to hear this

  3. Commented by: gabaghoul

    hearing a lot of Cult of Luna and Jupiter-era Cave In in here, more than I expected. great gem you’ve uncovered here, going on my to-buy list.

  4. Commented by: gabaghoul

    on second thought the lyrics annoy the hell out of me.

  5. Commented by: fightingmike

    I just picked this up and i am really loving it! The music is great and the lyrics and delivery, while not for everyone, are desparing and uplifting and the music really fits with the lyrics more than most metal bands. I don’t know if i would campare Hands to Life in your Way’s fast paced hardcore, but i would compare them to early As Cities Burn, but with a little Cult Of Luna and Jupiter era Cave-In. I really like the band. The only thing that is a little cheesy some of the really deep death metal growls and occasional metalcore breakdowns that don’t seem the fit the overall vibe of the record.
    4.5 out of 5 for me.

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