274. Fearful Symmetry – Daniel Amos (DA)

FEARFUL SYMMETRY (1986)

Daniel Amos (DA)

It is amazing to consider that within a year the conclusion of the Alarma Chronicles will be celebrating its 25th anniversary. 25 years ago one of the most impressive, ambitious and amazing four album series came to an end with a work of sheer art.

Each album was unique musically with Fearful Symmetry being the darkest, brooding and mysterious of the four. Following the significantly more new wave “pop” of Vox Humana, FS was shocking, intriguing and…well…fearful. The majority of the album deals with darker subjects like death, pain and loss and the musical soundscape of ethereal vocals and sweeping and weeping keyboards envelope the listener in the dark cloud of the content.

That is not to say that the album is replete of hope or grace, but actually just the opposite. It is through the valley of this projects the light that does shine through appears that much brighter. Terry Scott Taylor’s admiration of and inspiration by William Blake is the strongest on this project. From the album title to the most haunting song, Sleep Silent Child, the album is filled with images and direct quotations from Blake.

The album does close with the stunningly simple and beautiful lullaby or sorts, Beautiful One. This one hearkens back to Taylor’s solo projects with the sing-songy simplicity and lush keyboard strings and Taylor’s lilting higher register. It is the perfect ending to the “chronicles” as it’s message about the eternal hope of all Christians to find themselves in the arms of the Beautiful One upon their death.

I remember when the album was released the number of complaints we received were almost exclusively related to the naked man (from the waist up) on the album cover. Those that complained obviously never listened to nor understood the content of the project or the complaints may have been drastically different.

More keyboard driven and music less guitar oriented. the album reflected much of the European alternative music of the day like Depeche Mode, Alphaville, etc but also shows reflections of art rock music of Genesis and Pink Floyd. Not immediately accessible or as warmly received as the first four projects, the album eventually became regarded as one of the best of the Daniel Amos catalog.

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  1. November 12, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    There is so much here. This was the first CCM album that I remember hearing the same high production-value as their mainstream counterparts in the brooding Brit-pop world. The lyrics and the depth in FS then elevated its quality beyond the others for this listener.

  2. Shawn McLaughlin
    November 15, 2010 at 5:21 am

    I want “Beautiful One” played at my memorial service too : )

  3. newelectricmuse
    November 20, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    Great album – lots to think about.

  4. Sundog
    February 17, 2011 at 7:46 am

    I remember seeing them in 87 at Knott’s. As always, the place was full of some of the best music out there. Issac Airfreight stood out that night, but that was one of their last gigs, if I remember correctly. The two bands which stood out… Darrell Mansfield, of course, and his music and testimony, and then there was DA. DA, unlike Mansfield, played outside that night. I’m not sure what it was that made it one of the best concerts I have ever seen. It could have been the awesome SoCal night air, or just the fact that DA rocked our faces off. It was the first time I had ever seen a Christian concert combined with a multimedia show, and that also blew my mind. As I said in an earlier post, my wife grew up on traditional Christian music, and southern gospel. Taking her to Knott’s and exposing her to some of the more “radical” music that night was an absolute eye opener for her. To this day, the best memory for both of us from that concert was when DA performed Dance Stop. The sheer lebensraum needed for the DA crowd during that song was epic, to say the least. We danced with total abandon to that song. The closest analogy would be the parade scene in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off when Ferris is performing Twist and Shout and the crowd is in total sync with him. This is truly the greatest concert moment of my life.

    I love DA!

  5. Don
    April 8, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    lebensraum – for some of us that is a new word

    Lebensraum (German for “habitat” or literally “living space”) was one of the major political ideas of Adolf Hitler, and an important component of Nazi ideology. It served as the motivation for the expansionist policies of Nazi Germany, aiming to provide extra space for the growth of the German population, for a Greater Germany.

    I understand that the meaning here is in a very different context, “without sufficient space” “need for more space”

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