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Crashing Gates

Kevin Max

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iTunes Editors’ Notes

Unpredictable as ever, Kevin Max swims deeply into Britpop waters on his digital-only EP Crashing Gates. As part of DC Talk, Max was always the wild card, skewing the trio’s sound towards the outer banks of mainstream Christian rock. Crashing Gates finds him spinning tales of 21st-century social breakdowns and spiritual rebellions with the air of a fugitive street preacher. His vocals — rising from spoken whispers to an insinuating croon — emphasize the ominous themes in tracks like “Future Love Song” and “Crashing Gates and Passing Keepers.” Max’s past infatuation with the Beatles is echoed in the buoyant sound of “Baby, I’m Your Man,” while “Out of the Wild” marries slamming guitars to a sashaying rhythm in fine glam-rock fashion. The omnipresence of God amidst the conformity and madness of the modern world is a recurring topic here, shining forth most clearly in “Your Beautiful Mind 2009” (a revised version of a previously released tune). Max’s frequent shifts in style have sometimes led to confusion among his fans. Here he emerges as a fully engaged artist with a focused vision and an unyielding grip on his faith.

Customer Reviews

Reunions Are For Broke People

Kevin Max is by far one of the most misunderstood people in Christian music history. Some of these iTunes reviews prove my point. Maybe it's because what he is doing with his music doesn't fit the plastic, people pleasing mold of CCM? Maybe it's because Kevin allows himself to dive into arena's both vocally and lyrically that 99% of CCM Top Models could never dream of. Rather than holding up in a posh studio in Nashville and letting some out of touch producer write the songs for him while being fed grapes by BarlowGirl, Kevin has released another homegrown record that transcends his previous work, and reminds the rest of us "artists" why we do what we do. I believe this to be true, because this record, like The Imposter, is 100% Kevin Max. There is no aftertaste of DC Talk in this EP, no touching back to secure the affections of his fans from days past, who are disenchanted with his lyrical and songwriting style post-DC Talk because they "don't get it" or it "isn't Christian enough". This monumental error on the part of DC Talk fans has led to their lack of quality records in their collections. Kevin has introspectively written, produced, and released a solid set of songs that, as has become customary with his music, gives us genuine, real, and human insight into his mind and heart, which is something that is clearly lacking in CCM these days. Lyrics that can be "understood" at their first listen are often shallow, cliche', and written to appease the ignorant few that buy this record and cross their fingers, hoping and praying to God on their knees as it downloads, that Kevin would "go back to the DCT feel and sound". To me, that would be backsliding artistically, and I am thankful that Kevin is comfortable enough with him self, and secure in his artistic freedom enough to make his OWN music and release it, knowing full well his DCT fans may not enjoy it. This record permeates the fragrance of emotional integrity. I have enjoyed listening to these songs several times, learning something new with each listen about what Kevin is trying to say. His transperancy is a force to be reckoned with, and some people can't handle that, they prefer the CCM mold, which Kevin broke with the start of his solo career, but in a world that is crying out for something real, honest, and down to earth, Kevin Max delivers again.

Fearless, Raw, Brilliant, and Beautiful

"Crashing Gates' is a gift to the ears and to one's intelligence. In a pop-polluted music culture, 'Crashing Gates' is more than a breath of fresh air...it is CPR for the mind and soul. Kevin Max's refusal to settle into a particular style or genre has given way to a thought provoking, raw, refreshing rock-and-roll release. His lyrics give pause, and force the listener to think bigger. His growth beyond his original musical success shows that the man is not a rock star, but a true artist. He follows instinct not industry, and has handed us an original masterpiece. No tired riffs or clichés. Authenticity that makes one listen and visualize a bigger picture. Kevin Max challenges the mind. He speaks what many people feel but have no outlet to say. If you are looking for amazing sound paired with intelligence, 'Crashing Gates' will not disappoint.”

Crashing Gates Indeed

Crashing Gates is a formidable snapshot of just how much Kevin Max has developed as a true artist to be reckoned with since the long gone days of dc Talk. The EP shares some thematic ties with The Imposter (Kevin Max, 2005), like the topic of the apocalypse for example (“Out Of The Wild”), but this recording has raised the bar to a new level with Max’s tactful and intelligent lyrics and fresh songwriting. “Future Love Song” and “Baby, I’m Your Man” both feature infectious melodies that refuse to stop reverberating in the brain of the listener for some time after the song has finished playing. The guitar work on “Out Of The Wild,” beautifully captures the desperate and desolate tone that one might expect to witness in end-time America while the bridge provides an exquisitely bittersweet change-up in mood and tempo that, somehow, fits the song perfectly. Another common thread between The Imposter and Crashing Gates is the song “Beautiful Mind” which as been redone with acoustic treatment and a more personal and desperate vocal tone for Crashing Gates. The new version, in my opinion, is an improvement over the original because it features a less-polished and more sincere, personal feel. Overall, Crashing Gates is a landmark release for Max that should finally help old dc Talk fans to get off the dc Talk reunion bus and, instead, board Max Airways for a flight to an altogether different destination. In addition, Crashing Gates has the potential to break through to a wider mainstream audience where his artistic maturity can be appreciated and the subtle tact of his lyrics can simultaneously coax listeners to ask more questions about what they believe and who they are being lead by. Crashing Gates indeed.

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Often perceived as the eccentric, attention-seeking member of the CCM trio DC Talk, Kevin Max grew up outside of Grand Rapids, MI. Formerly known as Kevin Smith, music played a vital part in his formative years. Max started singing at the age of four and remembers "being carted around to schools, churches, and radio programs." He attended college at Virginia's Liberty University, where he met fellow DC Talk members Toby McKeehan and Michael Tait. The three formed the band in 1987, merging the styles...
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Crashing Gates, Kevin Max
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