Monday, August 31, 2015

Stavesacre Friction Nailed The Tool Vibe Into Christian Rock Then Redefined Everything

In June 1996 the band Stavesacre released an album that would become one of the most eclectic, strong, and impressive records of all time. I’m not alone in saying this. The Los Angeles Times would write of the band summing up the one line that I tell a lot of people about, “The Best Band No One’s Ever Heard Of”. It’s so true, and the guys in Stavesacre know this all too well. For all the work and incredible elements that they pushed through in their careers, they never got the mainstream success that they should’ve received. In fact, it was on “Friction” that comparisons to Tool started, and you know what? Tool should’ve had these guys open up for them, as they would have been huge!

“Friction” starts powerfully with the track “Threshold”. This guitar and bass heavy track is precisely the same style that Tool and other prog-metal bands were putting out in the mid and late 1990s. From the opening track, you are taken on a progressive metal and hard rock ride that you cannot mirror anywhere else in the world of Christian music. It’s Salomon’s vocals that really progress here. Not only that, Jeff Bellew’s guitars, Dirk Lemmenes bass, and Jeremy Moffett’s drums are all on point through the incredible elements. “Loader”, “At The Moment”, “Suffocate Me”, and “Minus” deliver an opening section of a record that is by all intents and purposes, the definition of progressive rock and metal for the time.

It’s the second half that should’ve delighted Tool fans, as they bring out the elements that you’d expect from Maynard and the guys around the time. Even early System of a Down compares to this, as the band really found a groove in how to portray their heavy handed delivery. Stavesacre’s “Friction” plays on into an interesting elements, and while many people want to say that this is a “Christian” record alone, it’s not. It’s a heavy album that is well deserving beyond the label.

I was first introduced to the band at Knott’s Berry Farm in California. It was New Year’s Eve when I purchased the record from a Tooth and Nail rep. He said that if I liked heavy music this would be my new favorite record. You know what? He was right. I was really into Plankeye, Pax217, and Mxpx at the time, but it was this release that blew open the doors for me. I would then eventually become a big fan of Tool, but this record is one of the best records you probably haven’t even heard about.

Stavesacre is truly the best band you’ve never heard of, especially when you start to piece together their first 3 records. “Friction”, “Absolutes”, and “Speakeasy”, should’ve been the 3 nails that cemented the band’s mainstream success. They are better, and more cohesive musically than 90% of the bands that came out of the late 90s underground and mainstream rock radio. I would know, I grew up listening to alternative rock radio in Los Angeles. From y107 to knac to kroq to star 98.7 or whatever they call themselves now. I even worked for John Logic, but I digress.

How good is Stavesacre’s “Friction”? Why don’t you buy it and find out. 

You can get it cheap, and it’s well worth it. If you find it on vinyl, get it, it’s a super rare record to see in the wild. I’ve only seen it once, and that was a boot leg.

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