The Beauty of the Unknown

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Three years after their well-received but generic debut, Justifide show an impressive growth on The Beauty of the Unknown. Layering soothing harmonies over chugging riffs and shimmering guitar noise, Justifide have matured greatly as songwriters. The band no longer relies on percussive riffing and cliché rapping to make up for a lack of hooks, dropping many of the bad habits that plagued 1999's Life Outside the Toybox. Drummer/singer Jason Moncivaiz wraps his thin croon around catchy, angst-ridden rock with a much heavier emphasis on melody. The guitar work is impressive as well; Joey Avalos displays a flexibility that wasn't always evident on Justifide's debut as he attempts everything from heavy metal to funk-rock to folk-pop. Justifide even experiments with new elements, with strings, samples, and acoustic guitars adding to their new approach. Although some secular listeners may be turned off by the emphasis on Christian ideals, Moncivaiz writes personal lyrics that offer an introspective twist on their message. By making improvements in every area of their sound, Justifide's The Beauty of the Unknown is a solid sophomore effort that shows the band breaking away from their metal roots and turning into one of the best all-around Christian rock bands of 2002.

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