Texas nu-metal band Relent is back with a solid, heavy-hitting sophomore album, aptly titled Heavy. Relent doesn’t shy away from the tough issues of life. Their songs don’t wrap things up with a perfectly shiny bow. Life can be messy and hard, and the band has a heart for those who are hurting, wanting their music to provide a comforting companion to walk through life’s struggles with.
Things kick off with the fiery “Think You Got It,” which sets an impassioned tone for the rest of the album. It’s a challenge to self-righteous, hypocritical religious leaders. They think they’re building the perfect life, one that looks beautiful from the outside, caring only for their own comforts. But their foundation is built on sand, and will eventually cave in, creating their own grave. Miggy’s gravelly vocals are the perfect complement to the heavy guitars, giving weight to the message.
“Low” slowly fades in, almost as if it’s emerging from underwater. Catchy guitar riffs surface. The rhythm is punctuated by the soaring lead guitar. The guitars fade out for a moment, allowing the vocals to take front and center, with muted, haunting guitar notes dancing in the background. The drums throughout are superbly syncopated, adding a dynamic element to the track. The chorus is an earnest cry, lamenting the grip of addiction. It may not always be apparent to the outside world, but there is a battle raging inside. The fight to be free from the disease of addiction can make someone feel so low that it brings them to their knees.
As Christians, we have the power of the Holy Ghost inside us, guiding us and speaking truth to our souls, and “Ghost” is a powerful interpretation of this message. It’s heavy right out of the gate, like a punch to the gut. The lyrics are creative and flow rapid-fire, reflecting the energy we have when we’re on fire for God. The chorus is melodic, providing a nice contrast to the verses. Towards the end of the track is a sick breakdown, further infusing the listener with passion for their faith.
The music on “Heavy” is representative of the heavy message. The drums are weighty, and a mournful guitar solo leads into the first verse. The vocals on the verses have some autotune for effect, and that makes the clean vocals on the chorus stand out even more, helping the listener feel the passion. This track tells the story of Miggy’s wife and the things she went through dealing with rape and sex trafficking. One can only imagine how heavy something like that must weigh on a person’s heart, and this song depicts that. Though the verses and chorus are soaked with pain, the bridge is gentle. The music is subdued to allow the listener to hear the message of hope, that they’re not alone, that their Savior is right by their side wanting to hold them and walk with them through the pain.
“Memories” is a mid-tempo heartfelt tribute to a close friend of the band who recently was tragically taken from this earth way too soon. It’s a song that anyone who has gone through the loss of a loved one can relate to and take to heart. “Critical” was a last minute addition, but it fits in so well. It’s a very guitar-driven rock track, with solid riffs and outstanding drumming infusing the song with an exciting energy. Towards the end there is a cool breakdown, best listened to with headphones to get the full effect. “Critical” is an anthem encouraging those who come from less than perfect backgrounds, giving them hope that victory is possible. Just keep doing the right thing and ignore the haters, no matter how critical they can be.
Heavy is a fantastic album from start to finish, with Relent bringing their absolute best on every track. This music has the power to reach those who may feel like an outcast, those who may feel they don’t belong in a church. The hope and love of Jesus is for everyone, not just those who grew up in a beautiful house with a perfectly manicured lawn. And Relent aims to reach everyone, regardless of where they came from, all while demonstrating their incredible talent and love of heavy music.