Genre: Progressive/Technical Metalcore
Record Label: Independent
Release Date: June 25, 2021
EP length: 28 Minutes
Intercessor is a progressive/technical metalcore band from the Twin Cities, Minnesota. Originally, starting as a hobby project, with the creative spark of writing a concept album on five Solas. After almost four years of pouring their "blood, sweat, and tears" into honing and refining their sound. They are finally ready to unleash their debut EP Sola to the world.
The Five Solas are five Latin phrases popularized during the Protestant Reformation that contrasted the beliefs of the early Reformers to the Roman Catholic Church. The plea of the reformers was that salvation is found in Christ alone(Solus Christus), by grace alone(Sola Gratia), through faith alone(Sola Fide) to the glory of God alone(Soli Deo Gloria) and Scripture alone(Sola Scriptura) is our highest authority.  (opens new window)
Lyrically, Sola is laden in theological concepts and Biblical imagery. Written from a personal perspective, a constant theme throughout was looking to Christ and away from self. Fide explores the feeling of futility as one grapples with their sinful nature, which is prone to wander from God. The lyricist finds peace in knowing that salvation is by faith alone and not by human efforts.
“Our minds need only collapse into his grace
Into His grace, Into His grace
Echoes of sin gone by
Pangs of an indulgent heart.”
Scriptura continues this train of thought, highlighting man's inability to fulfill the law. However, the lyrics do not wallow in despair but shed light on the hope that through Christ's sacrifice, revealed in His Word, the law's demands are achievable. Gratia and Christus focus on the person and work of Christ.
“Eli, Eli lema sabachthani
Suffocated on the cliffs of Golgotha
The ground shakes and the cloth is torn
3 days removed, prophecy fulfilled
Trace these holes, he lives” – Gratia
“Spirit born through blood
Anomalous intent to purge the bloody slate
A priest from birth, word breathed into bone
Precepting all who seek” - Christus
Gloria ties everything together by highlighting God’s glory and splendour.
“The universe cries out
All creation emanates My glory
Infinity is in My hands
Existence stands under My command”
Musically, this EP is technical, melodic, groovy, and aggressive, with a bit of an atmospheric and orchestral undertone. The guitar work takes center stage throughout the EP as they blend a tasteful array of riffs, chord progressions, and polyrhythms. Although on the surface level, Intercessor could be classified as metalcore. They cross its boundaries ever so frequently, incorporating various elements from other metal genres like deathcore. Starting with a fast-paced double-bass pattern, then fast strumming, "Christus" is a perfect example, as it's the most experimental track on Sola.
For the song structures, they show an impressive level of maturity. Each song easily distinguishable and bearing character, yet seamlessly flowing into each other, providing a cohesive listening experience. The production quality is also commendable for a self-produced underground band, allowing their outstanding musicianship to be fully appreciated. Austin Swayne of Prevailing Providence, who tracked vocals for Sola, shows intense range as his screams transition from ferocious lows to piercing highs, as he laments:
“Despite his cosmic grandeur, all and sundry do not fear
His love runs deep, his creation he draws near
The sacrifice provided, our path laid clear.”
Overall, Sola is a stellar showcase of this new band's musical proficiency and immense potential. Although not a perfect EP, I struggled to find anything I disliked. Moreover, in a genre often criticized for being overly simplistic, Intercessor show us they mean business. The future looks bright for this band, and I am looking forward to their next release. Do yourself a favor and give Sola a listen!
For fans of: Phinehas, Forevermore, Silent Planet, Weeping Hour
Favorite tracks: Gratia and Christus
GotQuestions. What are the five solas? (opens new window)