Review Summary: Life in Your Way release a stupendous hardcore/metalcore album superior to many of their contemporaries.14 of 15 thought this review was well written
After disbanding in 2008 due to many line-up changes and being burned from 9 years of play, Life in Your Way came back in 2011 and released a new LP, Kingdoms
. For those who do not know, Life in Your Way is a melodic Christian hardcore band out of Connecticut, USA, that originally formed in 1999. So far they have released 5 LP’s and 3 EP’s, all of which make up Kingdoms
. Also it should be noted that Life in Your Way is no longer on SolidState Records and now a part of Come&Live/Kingdom Records. Currently Life in Your Way is:
Josh Kellam - Lead Vocals
James Allen - Clean Vocals and Guitar
David Swanson - Guitar
Todd Mackey - Guitar
Jeremy Kellam - Bass
Andy Nelson - Drums
consists of three parts, or kingdoms, which are Kingdom or God
, Kingdom of Man
and Kingdom of Darkness
. The album starts off with "Forever", with the first words you here are Joshua Kellam screaming “Forever!!!” Just before their signature melodic guitar lines over top a blazing rhythm guitar begin. Soon you are thrown into a stop-start rhythm before immersed into a softer section with James Allen singing. Before looking for any YouTube covers or tabs for this album I assumed that they played in Drop D or standard, however I’ve come to know that most of their songs are Drop C. I found it very interesting because of the melodic style they use that to me did not seem like Drop C. But, they write outstanding melodies that always find a place amidst the seemingly controller chaos. The last song out of Kingdom of Man
is "Forsaken Me", it starts with beautiful cleans from Dave Swanson and Matt Wentworth of Our Last Night and then continues to a wonderful chorus that ends to a chilling moment when Joshua is screaming over the palm muted guitars that then burst into the same riff except with no palm muting and no staccato style. The song then ends with that riff and concludes the first portion of Kingdoms
The next kingdom, Kingdom of Darkness
begins with a very dark and heavy song entitled "Ruler of Air" it features an very intense and quick breakdown and literally some of the most interesting riffs I have heard. Also it includes Jake Luhrs of August Burns Red, who sadly doesn’t really seem to make much of an impact on the song as Joshua takes the lead and never looks back. However, another huge plus of this album is the great work by the rhythm section, bassist Jeremy is audible and does a great job whether following the guitars or doing his own thing. Also drummer Andy is a very good fit for Life In Your Way as he is the new comer to this band and does a great performance and is very tight with Jeremy. A great place to hear this is in "Swarms" which starts off with some lightning fast drumming and good guitar work before going into a short but sweet bass lead section. This is one of the shorter songs on the album and stays heavy the whole time and has a very enjoyable breakdown with some gang vocals and double bass drumming.
This leads us into the final kingdom, Kingdom of God
, which begins with a 56 second spoken word song named "Introduction" which leads right into the next song "Who I Am". This starts off with Joshua screaming “This is who I am!!!” Very powerful, and sends a cool message that reflects what was said in "Introduction". The final song of Kingdoms
is called "The Ascension" and features Matt Greiner also from August Burns Red on drums and all the vocals are from Joel Davis of Ascend the Hill. This also features no harsh-vocals. It’s an interesting song in structure the whole first half is building with James singing and then just collapses to a soft singular guitar and some ambience. The rest of the song continues as an instrumental. Overall it’s a very post-hardcore sounding song and the softest track on the album.
The main lyrical focus of this album is how we live our lives, and how it is a gift, life is. And also finding who you are in this dark world is another focus. However non-Christians should not be turned away because the lyrics are not at all preachy and they are very accessible for everyone. Not to mention the vocal performances’ are outstanding by Joshua and James and featured vocalists alike. All the vocalists do an immense job of conveying emotion throughout. Joshua who sounds very stern and commanding does a fantastic job of relating the emotion to the listener. It should also be mentioned that the production of this album is very nice. Everything sounds very nice and even and audible bass is always great. Kingdoms
was produced by Gregory Thomas and band mate David Swanson. All said and done this is a phenomenal record from Life In Your Way and I think everyone is happy to have them back. If you like any hardcore bands, metalcore bands or any band currently on SolidState Records then you should be looking into this.