If you don’t stand for something, you might fall for anything.
The end, is where we begin.

For some reason, I always think that every Thousand Foot Krutch album is their last album. That hidden song at the end of their 2007 album ,”The Flame In All Of Us” which I called The Last Song, I thought made it very plain that they were done. Lo and behold, 2 years later “Welcome To The Masquerade” drops and blows my mind. Imagine my excitement when late last year TFK announced that they were dropping their label and releasing a new CD.

When I got my hands on this CD a little over a week ago, I was expecting it to be good, but what I listened to was grand. It might be as a result of them dropping their label(Tooth & Nail Records), but I think doing so has allowed them to diversify their style.

While TFK has always been regarded as a Christian band, I’ve always felt that their approach to music has been much more of a secular one. I mean, compare them to David Crowder, and you can see that their message isn’t quite as straight-forward and clear as Crowder. That being said, a more secular approach allows them to be more diverse with their choice of genre. Without Tooth & Nail tying them down, they’ve finally been able make an album the way they always intended it be done.

TFK has always had a fundamental darkness to the instrumentals in most of their songs. They’ve had one album that kind of defied this style(The Art Of Breaking), but it was their sophomore album, the 2nd one is always the oddball in a family of albums. They have always tried to be a diverse band in the sense that the’ve wanted to have a couple of styles come together in the same album, sometimes more successfully than others. You know how when a band mixes hard and heavy songs with light acoustic songs? Yea, they do that quite a bit. Their first album(Phenomenon) had all hard and heavy songs on it, with one acoustic song thrown in at Track 4. I really hate it when I get into a good rhythm on a CD, and then it’s broken up by a genre change. Not to say that I don’t enjoy each and every one of their albums, but I frequently find myself skipping over songs so that I can stay in the groove.

“The End Is Where We Begin” isn’t any different in its mixing of light with heavy, but I havent’ yet found myself skipping over anything yet to stay in the moment. In fact, I can easily listen to for hours on end, even though it’s only 49 minutes long. The main theme that I took away from the CD is Empowerment. That single idea felt like a prevalent driving force in just about every track on the album.

The CD opens with an intro track…EPIC. I only assume this is the case, but I get the impression that most people don’t like intro tracks, I love ’em. The next track(We Are) brings us right back to the TFK that we all have come to know and love. Strong, heavy, and with inspirational lyrics. “We are the ones, we are the guns and we will roll. We are the voice off of someones song. We are the change, we are the chains that hold us. We are the choice, we are the strong, we are one.” When I heard that line, I knew…I’m not sure what it is I know, but I knew that I knew it. The next track(Light Up The Sky) had me jumping for joy. The rapping Canadians have made their return.

You may say, “Rapping Canadians…Outlaw, you crazy, what the hell are you talking about?” Well, TFK actually had 3 albums before Phenomenon ever came out. (2 if you count out “Shutterbug”, as it was official with lead singer Trevor McNevan’s first band, Oddball. Some of the songs off this album were remade and later featured on Set It Off.) Trevor with the earliest members of TFK released the independent album, “That’s What People Do” in ’97, and the indie album “Set It Off” 3 years later in 2000. They signed with Tooth & Nail 3 years later, releasing “Phenomenon” under that banner. “Set It Off” was very heavy with its hip-hop inspired nu-metal, and set them apart from a lot of the other secular/Christian bands out at the time. “Phenomenon” marked a departure from the rap heavy lyrics of their previous album, but now that Tooth & Nail is out of the picture…they’re back.

Wanna hear what they sounded like before Phenomenon? Check out this version they did of Unbelievable off of “Set It Off”.

Mad skills, right?

Well, they’re back. And I couldn’t be happier. It’s not all throughout the album, just 3 songs(“Light Up The Sky”, “Down”, and “I Get Wicked” to a degree), but it’s nice to see that they haven’t gotten rusty in their hiatus from the hip-hop game. After several more of those heavy wonders, we get to our first slower song, “Be Somebody”. There is a calm urgency to the chords in this song. It keeps pulling you in until the song comes in full swing in the chorus. At that point, between the guitar lead and the lyrics, I couldn’t skip past it if I wanted to. If it weren’t for another song towards the end of the album, this one would be my favorite.

“Be Somebody” transitions smoothly into the intro song for “Courtesy Call”, the track I felt was the best of all their promotional material. It brings us back into hard and heavy and keeps us rocking there for a few songs before bringing us back to the lighter side. The first of these songs(All I Need To Know) is okay, if there was one song I might skip over, it would be this one. After that though, we get to “Fly On The Wall”. This song just gets into my head. The lyrics are so colorfully descriptive and draw up such a mental image. This one line had my head reeling, “And brick by brick, we built it so thick, that it blacked out the sky, and all the sunlight, and one by one, we all became numb…we were, making the bullets to a broken gun.” The instrumentals are also so fantastical, you feel like you’re listening to something out of a dream sequence. Easily my favorite song on the album. There’s one song after that which feels like a nice little fireside closer. Tack on an outtro song, and the album is finished.

I probably said it maybe one…two…three times before, but I loved this CD. If I had to compare it with the rest of their albums(which I will), it definitely stacks up. It sinks “The Art Of Breaking” and “The Flame In All Of Us” for sure. I think it edges out “Welcome To The Masquerade” too. About Phenomenon…it’s hard to beat Phenomenon…I don’t know. I’m calling it a photo finish. It’s too close for me to call, they’re both outstanding. Anyways, here’s a track list for you.

1) The Introduction
2) We Are
3) Light Up The Sky
4) The End Is Where We Begin
5) Let The Sparks Fly
6) I Get Wicked
7) Be Somebody
8) This Is A Warning (Intro)
9) Courtesy Call
10) War Of Change
11) Down
12) All I Need To Know
13) Fly On The Wall
14) So Far Gone
15) Outroduction

My top 3 favorites off the album: 1) Fly On The Wall, 2) Be Somebody, 3) Let The Sparks Fly.

Thousand Foot Krutch – The End Is Where We Begin: 10 out of 10

Are you noticing a prevalent theme for high ratings? That feels like a chicken and the egg kind of question. Do I like the things I review, or review the things I like?

Anyways, look for this album to hit stores on Tuesday, April 17th. It should be available at Best Buy, Amazon.com, CBD.com, and various family Christian stores. It’s also available for pre-order on iTunes now, and if you do pre-order  from iTunes, you will receive an immediate download of “Let The Sparks Fly”. If this album debuts in the Top 20, TFK will remix 2 of their songs, and make them available to the TFK nation for free. Let’s help them get to the top of the charts!

Keep your heads up, your minds sharp, and your hearts open.

– The Outlaw

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