Review Summary: "This has nothing to do with music and everything to do with our faith in Christ."
For Today is a five member metalcore band from Sioux City, Iowa. The band is currently signed to Facedown records and has released one EP and three full length albums since forming the group in 2005. The band is:
Mattie Montgomery – Vocals
David Morrison – Drums
Ryan Leitru - Guitar/Vocals
Mike Reynolds - Guitar
Brandon Leitru - Bass
Ekklesia is For Today’s first of three full length albums, released in 2008.
As a concept album (the unifying concept of course being the “Ekklesia” - a religious term referring to the Christian church), Ekklesia is indisputably well written and cohesive. The message of the album is blunt and forward; obviously written from a Christian standpoint. Stylistically speaking, there is not much to be said for Ekklesia, save for a few sections that aren’t completely and utterly boring. The beauty of this album is found not in the music, but in the lyrics, and only by those to whom said lyrics pertain. To anyone who does not believe the message conveyed in this album, I would suggest you read no further as this album is most likely not for you.
For those who understand the concept of The Ekklesia, this album offers a powerful and cohesive message of conviction, hope, encouragement and strength. With songs such as "Redemption", "Never Lose Sight of the Goals", and "Words of Hope", Christian listeners are given some level of the encouragement needed to play the militant role in Spiritual warfare as described in "Infantry" and "Ready For The Fight". The goals we reach for are beautifully defined in the lyrics to "A Higher Standard" and "Agape", containing these well known words found in the Holy Bible:
"Love the Lord [your God] with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, all your strength."
The lyrics of this album are very pointedly from a Christian perspective and will more than likely offend any listeners with a different spiritual standpoint. The only exception to this is found in the final track, "With a Passion Burning" which - when not taken in context with the album as a whole - contains a message of finding your passion and running with it; "No one can get you down; you are better than that. Fight for your passion. You can set this world ablaze."
As far as the lyrics go, Ekklesia is nearly a 10/10. I say "nearly" because of that one line from Redemption: "RIDE 'EM COWBOY!" (Come on…what is up with that?)
Musically speaking, Ekklesia is somewhat of a disappointment. Mattie’s statement about effective evangelism over mind blowing musicianship is made clear upon listening to For Today’s first full length album. Full of redundant riffs and boring breakdowns, generic screams and unimpressionable group vocals, there are very few songs from Ekklesia that easily captivate the listener's interest. In fact, aside from Agape, there is not one song on this entire album that keeps me intrigued from beginning to end. The sixty second intro seems much longer than it really is, and while "Instrumental" (original title, by the way) may be a good track to fall asleep to at night, there's nothing terribly compelling about it.
As a concept album, Ekklesia is an elaborate and cohesive album that appeals only to a select group of people. The album's qualitative contrast between lyrics and musicianship is both astounding and unfortunate; the lyrics are nothing short of incredible to those who understand the concept, but For Today does not nearly reach the height of their musical talent. While Ekklesia is by no means terrible, I personally would rather read the lyrics as poetry than actually listen to the album.