Clearview 
Artist: Clearview 
Label: Independent   
Time: 9 tracks/32:30 

This CD is a collection of demo tracks from this Dallas band's three years, plus a few new ones recently recorded.  Slow to mid-tempo, hardcore, groove metal is the name of the game here, the band citing influences like Pantera, Corrosion of Conformity, Godfear, and Tool.  They've got a long way to go before they're on the same level as any of those guys, but I can hear the similarities on a few songs. 

The three current members definitely have talent, though, hammering out some cool riffs and rhythms.  Sometimes they shoot straight, and sometimes they stutter stop-and-go, often downshifting into sludgy grunge metal to lay a thick base for the vocals.  One part of "Broken" sounds dangerously close to Deliverance's "What A Joke."  The songs aren't all that imaginative, and the production/packaging remains demo-quality, but Clearview has obvious potential.  Vocalist Danny (also bassist) is the band's secret weapon, with deep, attitude-filled vocals that are better than those of many major label bands.  Most often, he sounds a bit like CoC's Pepper Keenan.  He layers his vocals some in the recording to provide eerie harmonic effects.  On "2000 A.D.," he bellows with a really low, powerful vocal: "Oh Holy Father, my loving Savior."  That part just kills. 

All of the lyrics have the same basic theme--being saved from bad circumstances by the love of Christ.  Danny's delivery keeps them from sounding corny like they might coming from a lesser throat, though. 

If you're used to indie production, I recommend Clearview.  They're somewhat unique in the Christian scene, and once they get better production and move beyond their influences to find their own sound, they'll be a band about which you can be proud to say "I knew them back when...." 

By Josh Spencer