There are few albums that can sling a fiery arrow to the mark, piercing the heart and washing away the drudge of anxiety that threatens our very existence. This is exactly the effect of the latest release from Convictions, an Ohio-based metal band featuring Michael Felker’s powerfully incisive vocals.
The follow-up to 2016’s hard hitting I Will Become delivers every bit of their self-declared aggressive worship in an impactful, unforgettable way. Hope for the Broken brings to life stories of heartbreak and anxiety while blending those real struggles with a message of peace and victory. A front-to-back trip through this project will generate myriad emotions before reaching a destination: the desire to be transparently broken before the throne of grace.
The album begins with “Exodus, The End of Us,” which starts out softly and mysteriously before building into a robust journey of letting go of self and seeking God for healing. “Deceptive Heart” sets the stage with a loud blend of minor chords and fever pitch vocals for an account of relational agony causing heart-wrenching anxiety.
The battle for healing continues on “Voices (They Want Me Dead),” which features a perfectly peaceful tone set by keyboards backed by a soft yet steady rhythm on high-hat cymbals by drummer Zach Schwochow. It is in this moment of clarity that hope creeps in with a fitting reminder to “Just breathe in / Just breathe in now” in the midst of deception caused by apprehension.
Where many of the tracks on Hope for the Broken are prayers to help conquer internal battles, “Divided” is the battle cry, and declaration of victory: “You’ll never stop us / Like a thief you’ve come to kill and destroy / You’ll never stop us / God, bring us life and lead us to live full.”
Perhaps the most impressive and musically creative song on the record is “We Are Violence.” Alternating smooth and crisp vocals with energetic and controlled screaming, backed by the perfectly edgy and raw chords dropped by guitarist Josh Canode and John Fleischmann on bass, this song is about being transparent and honest when the going gets tough.
Radically worshipful composition “Reckless” admits shortfalls and cries out for redemption, followed by “Reverie–” a melodic instrumental providing a brief pause from an otherwise emotionally gripping experience. The harmonies in this intermission add an unexpected sense of overwhelming peace in the midst of a whirlwind of emotions that have been stirred up by the previous tracks.
The title track, “Hope for the Broken,” brings the story of heartache and suffering to a gentle yet bold close as a flag is planted firm on solid ground, declaring the Lord as our rock and deliverer even in the darkest hour when we feel furthest from Him.
Convictions’ Hope for the Broken is an emotionally intense experience for those suffering from anxiety and heartache, songs which will bring a sense of spiritual peace, rest and hope.
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