"Confessions" (Essential Records; 2009)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

I've been a fan of Pillar for a long time. I've seen them in concert three times and I even have some autographs and pics of the band. They are really appreciative of their fans after a show. This disc rocks just like all the others do. Pillar has a good mix of radio hits along with some inspirational songs on "Confessions" and I like it that they have stayed true to their musical roots.

Rob Beckley (the lead singer) does have a few more growls on this disc than I've heard from him in a while. He has great vocals and when he stretches his range beyond the norm, it fits right along with the song. Noah Henson (the guitar player) can power up his axe on the rockers and doesn't mind playing acoustic to keep a song mellow.

When I saw them in concert in 2009 they played a couple of cover songs, one of which was Collective Soul's "Shine" and the other was a song by Rhianna. Both were well done and I like it when a band lets loose in concert; it shows they've got their ear to the musical wall that might otherwise seem to shut them out. "Shine" is included on this disc, track number 7.

Pillar has been rocking since 1999, that's ten years of great music with a great message. Happy Decade guys!

I confess I think these are the best tracks: "Fire On The Inside," "Whatever It Takes," "Not Without a Fight," "Shine" (Collective Soul cover) and "You Are Not The End."

Pillar: Rob Beckley-Vocals, rhythm guitar; Noah Henson- Lead Guitar; Rich Gilliland-Bass; Joe Rickard-studio drums; Taylor Carrol-Drums at time of album release.

For more information, check out http://www.pillarmusic.com

"For the Love of the Game" (Essential; 2008)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

Pillar are still Christian rock favorites among those who like their music with a positive message. Calling Tulsa, Oklahoma their home, these guys are constantly playing a local show for a music festival coming through town or if they get a gig for a New Years Eve show you can guarantee they will blow the roof off!

Each song has that familiar Pillar formula that makes their music radio friendly but it also allows them stomp a lot harder in concert when they play the tracks live. The guitar is full on for the rockers with this disc -- the only pause is between songs -- and there are some great sounding riffs along with interesting guitar bridges. Rob Beckley sings his hat off and really delivers his message with power and conviction.

The song "Turn It Up" mentions many Christian album titles while tying all the words cleverly together. Itís a challenge to read the lyrics and see how many you can identify. The song "Reckless Youth" sounds like "Youth Gone Wild" by Skid Row; it's almost eerie. "Throwdown" sounds like a P.O.D. track, it stomps! Pillar keeps the radio hits coming so they will still be heard beyond their zip code.

Cue up these songs: "For The Love Of The Game," "Turn It Up," "Reckless Youth," "Smiling Down," "Throwdown," and "I Fade Away" (featuring Sarah Anthony from The Letter Black).

Pillar: Rob Beckley-Vocals, rhythm guitar; Noah Henson- Lead Guitar; unlisted bass and drums musicians.

For more information, check out http://www.pillarmusic.com

"The Reckoning" (Flicker Records; 2006)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"The Reckoning" generates a half more guitarsaw than "Fireproof," the CD I reviewed earlier, mainly because the band has steered away from the stale rock/rap sound that permeated so much of that particular album. Instead, vocalist Rob Beckley throws in an occasional death metal growl that's at least a little easier to take.

There are thirteen songs here and, while each is performed solidly and is well-produced, there isn't a song among them that stands out. Instead, "The Reckoning" sounds like one big, long track with the band taking a breath now and then to start a new song. Again, nothing's bad here, it's just that nothing really grabs you, either.

"The Reckoning" is just another nu-metal album trying not to be nu-metal and not quite succeeding. With a little more variety and a little more energy, however, it might have had a better chance.

A special edition of this CD is also available which includes special packaging and a bonus DVD.

For more information, check out http://www.pillarmusic.com

"Where Do We Go From Here" (Flicker Records; 2004)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

This is Pillar's third release and it helped to establish them as Christian rock favorites. It's best to listen to this CD with a good pair of ear buds in or headphones on, that way you can really hear the nasty guitar from Noah Henderson. There is a hidden instrumental after the song "One Thing." Itís a tough riff that fades off but it leaves a mark nonetheless.

There is a fire inside Pillar that keeps them rocking while delivering their positive message. Pillar are always looking forward toward hope, they are not allowing anything in their past to shackle them down.

Their music is Christian hard rock and there are a few bands that you might hear them lean towards but "Where Do We Go From Here" spawned two number one singles on the Christian rock charts with "Hypnotized" and "Frontline." A lyric from the song "Hypnotized" titles the album. There were some bonus tracks on the limited edition CD. "Sunday Bloody Sunday" by U2 and "Bring Me Down" an underground mix.

There are more rockers on this disc than radio friendly hits and I think it's because they were trying to really get a following for their sound. The drums and bass are tight and, along with Noah's gritty guitar, Pillar made heads turn toward Tulsa. Rob Beckley really sings great on this disc and he never pushes his voice beyond the songs feel.

Download these tracks: "Hypnotized," "Bring Me Down," "Holding On," "Simply," "Frontline," "Underneath It All," and "Dirty Little Secret."

For more information, check out http://www.pillartour.com.

"Fireproof" (MCA / Flicker Records; 2003)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

I have a formula that I apply to Limp Bizkit albums. Pick a Limp Bizkit album, any album, and listen to the whole thing. Then, divide up the songs you like and the songs you do like and check out the percentage. If you're like me, it's an almost exact 50/50 split. 50% sucks, and 50% is pretty damn good.

Why am I bringing up Limp Bizkit when this review clearly state above that it's about Pillar? Simple. The same formula applies. Not only do both bands have nearly the same musical sound (i.e., nu-metal mixed with some rap) but half of the songs on "Fireproof" are almost wholly rap while the other half are nu-metal or nu-metal / rap hybrids that kick some serious ass.

That isn't to say that Pillar sounds like Limp Bizkit. They really don't. (Well, sometimes they do.) Overall, their sound is more akin to Godsmack or, even closer, to Disturbed. Unfortunately, the band offers little in the originality department as well. Even with the hot and instantly catchy title track, "Fireproof" is listenable but not the kind of thing you're going to dig out often to replay the best tracks.

One thing Pillar excels at: The band is well-known as a Christian band but the religious overtones remain subtle and unforced. They get their message across with no preaching or sermonizing; instead, they just rock hard and hope that what they're saying seeps at least a little into your brain. It's an approach that works a lot better than going overboard and turning a rock'n'roll album into a hymnbook.

"Fireproof" also contains two versions of the title song, perhaps the best song on the CD: the original CD version and a radio mix. In addition. some versions contain a bonus DVD.

For more information, check out http://www.pillarmusic.com

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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