When I first heard of Gungor, the band led by Michael and Lisa Gungor, I knew I would not like them. They sounded like a heavy metal band, and I’ve never been prone to select that genre on my iPod. But after a few listenss of their first two albums “Beautiful Things” and “Ghosts Upon the Earth,” I was amazed. Who knew Christian music could be so emotionally gripping and so creative? After seeing them in concert at the university two years ago, I was absolutely hooked on Gungor and the worship music they articulated.
But their new album, “I Am Mountain” released Sept. 24, is far from being a Christ-centered album. In fact, you’ll never hear “Jesus Christ” anywhere in the fifty-minute album. Most of these songs won’t make it in a worship team’s setlist. There’s no “Beautiful Things”-like songs on this album.
But that does not affect the sheer beauty of “I Am Mountain.”
The album opens with the title track, a powerful anthem that will get stuck in any listener’s head. “I am mountain, I am dust, constellations made of us,” sings Michael Gungor. The chorus is simply repetitive “Oh-ooh-ohs,” but it’s a perfect album-opener. I can’t wait to sing along in Gungor’s upcoming tour.
“Long Way Off,” the album’s third track, is driven by synthesizers and a drum machine. It’s a welcome break from Gungor’s acoustic numbers in their previous album. Gungor is truly evolving, something many Christian bands are hesitant to do.
“Wandering” is Lisa Gungor’s best song on the album. It’s a beautiful mix of Kanye West’s auto-tune and Bon Iver’s haunting falsetto. The song is built around the lyrics “I’ve been wandering through this world looking for an anchor to hold me.” Her vocals shine like never before in this song making “Wandering” my favorite song on the album.
The most surprising song on the album is “God and Country,” Gungor’s most politically-charged song to date. I was shocked by this blatant anti-war song on such a beautiful album. The song is built like Muse’s “Knights of Cydonia” with Michael’s screaming guitar and booming percussion. “He was just a young man when they sent him off to war, barely even knew what in hell he’s fighting for,” Michael and Lisa sing. Yes, Gungor dips into cliche anti-war protest, but at least they did it with this awesome Western jam. It’s a powerful song, but it sticks out immensely compared to the quiet tunes that dominate “I Am Mountain.”
“I Am Mountain” is definitely not a worship album, but it’s a piece of art that could definitely inspire worship. Many of the songs’ lyrics show that Gungor’s words are much more abstract than last time. What does it mean to be a mountain? Who knows? Who cares? “I Am Mountain” is a beautiful album that could easily give any mainstream band a run for their money.
Now, how about welcoming Gungor back for another concert at the university?
Jared Huhta is a junior history education major and is pursuing a career in teaching. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This review reflects the views of the writer only.