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Hope In Anguish
Artist: East West 
Label: Floodgate Records
Distribution: Word/WEA 
Time: 12 tracks/53:49 min.

East West is among the best Christian bands in music today. With songs on television stations, radios, and in the movie Extreme Days, the bandís music is getting out there. In an industry full of hopeless, Godless music, East West and bands like them are a breath of fresh air. Bassist James "JJ" Jenkins put it in words perfectly when he said, "No matter what the circumstance-anger, sadness, hatred, depression-there are always options, and there's always hope. Maybe that's what sets us apart from other hard music. We really believe there are answers." 

Their last album, The Light in Guinevere's Garden won a Dove award, and Hope in Anguish deserves a Grammy. Strong instrumentally and vocally, every song is has the sort of melody that will stick in your brain for days after listening. To some fans, Hope might be a compromise in the heaviness department, but it works quite well. The first track comes off hard and fast, getting the listener hooked with ease. There is just as much of a lighter side to this record as the last one, however. Track nine is very similar in sound to the song "She Cries" from the last CD and several songs have a smooth mix of both soft and hard that make a perfect combination. The only real downside is the instrumental on track 12; which takes a long time to reach any discernable music.

In the midst of a sound reminiscent of both secular and Christian rock, East West pulls off one the most unique and successful styles of anyone on the hard rock scene. There are strong reminders of Stavesacre, newer Blindside, and some older Project 86; as well as secular acts Korn, Stone Sour, System of a Down, and most strongly, Ozzy Osbourne, yet the CD is distinctly their own. 

Producer Dennis MacKay, (Judas Priest, David Bowie) at Mama Joe's and Ocean Studios in Burbank California helped East West make a huge step up and an album that achieves greatness.

Ryan Little 6/8/2003

This nu-metal quartet has little difficulty extracting bone-crunching riffs from the dark underbelly of the soul. East West makes heart-wrenching declarations on _Hope In Anguish_ about the dangerous, fallen world we live in (murder, envy, nihilism, self-deception, and brutality dominate), noting that hope only comes from God above. GOD HELP ME! vocalist Mike Tubbs screams on the visceral For Every Way. 

Harsh but true.

Kevin Mathews (16 August 2003)


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