RATING: (8 out of 10) RELEASE DATE: February 28th, 2012 LABEL: Tooth & Nail Records REVIEWED ON: March 26th, 2012 REVIEWED BY: Joshua ClarkREVIEW
Sent By Ravens released their debut Our Graceful Words back in 2010 on Tooth and Nail Records. The band blasted onto the scene with some enjoyable heavy rock. Great guitar riffs and pounding beats weren’t in short supply. They were a new band that showed great promise.
Sent By Ravens is back with their second album Mean What You Say and do not disappoint.
The album contains a lot of what made their debut great and enhances on that. Mean What You Say is filled with thirty minutes of great rock tracks. The songs are well put together and a bit more refined than their debut. The first three tracks pull you into the album and make sure you stay around for the rest of the ride. The band is tight musically and offers a great variety of riffs and beats. They added just enough variety that the tracks don’t blend with one another and are able to stand on their own. Along with the music the lyrics are also solid. This is one of the things that stood out on their debut, and I am glad to see they kept the lyrical depth that has a strong focus on their faith.
Lead vocalist Zach Riner’s vocals, like with their debut, are a huge highlight for me. He has a great range and a voice that fits perfectly with Sent By Ravens' musical style. While their debut had a fair number of screams, those are mostly gone this time around. Instead Riner focuses more on some soaring clean vocals. That is not to say the aggression is completely gone. He gets loud and aggressive with his voice, but before belting out in a scream, he pulls back and leaves it as a powerful yell. Some may miss the screams, but overall it works pretty well here.
There are a number of highlights on this album, which makes it hard to narrow it down to a favorite. “Rebuild, Release,” “Need It Today,” We’re All Liars," and “Best in Me” rise above the rest though. I don’t know what it is about “Best in Me,” but I can’t get enough of that track. This is even a rerecording from their 2008 The Effects of Fashion and Prayer EP. It’s a great guitar-driven rock ballad and a powerful chorus:
"So just settle down/this storm won't last forever/we're built for more than this world/I'm not that strong/honestly I'm not/but you always see the best in me”
The only negative I really have is in regards to the album length. I was disappointed how some of these tracks were over a little too quickly. “Prudence” in particular barely begins and is already over once you just get hooked into it. The same can be said for some of the other tracks that hit at just about the three-minute mark. They are all great tracks, but when there are only ten tracks and several are this length, the 30 minutes goes by fast.
As a whole this release feels a lot more complete than their debut. I really enjoyed their debut, but you can really see Sent By Ravens growing into their sound here and showing a distinct level of improvement here. Once again Sent By Ravens shows their talent and hints towards what is sure to be a great career. They have solidified themselves as one of Tooth and Nails best new signings. This year has been kind of slow for me for exciting releases, but this one is easily one of the best I have heard so far this year. Rock fans, this is one you are going to want to pick up and keep in your rotation until Sent By Ravens releases another album, one I will be waiting for as Sent By Ravens has proved themselves as a band that should be around for a while.