Credit goes strongly to Nick Rhoades, who insisted that we should make an album despite the fact that Mark thought the band was not ready. In retrospect, it was the right choice. Mark named it, "Collision: Of Worlds", and Evan Young suggested that it should be called an EP. People would think we were arrogant to record an album, he said, because it really is too soon, but they would think it was cool that we recorded an EP, because that's progressive. The fact that the album was as long as an LP wouldn't matter, because none of the people who would care knew what "EP" and "LP" and other designations meant.
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Mark put together what was originally a ten-song collection out of what was technically an eighteen-song repertoire of which at least two (Time Bomb and Walkin' In the Woods had never been tried and at least two others (He Touched Me and Holocaust never successfully played in rehearsal. Before the session he cut Song of Joy, persuaded that the vocal instrumental was not going to work at all and couldn't be fixed in time. That left this line-up:
All songs were written and arranged by Mark with help from the band, except for Stand Up, which was Tyler Chroniger's work, and Still Small Voice, which was a collaborative effort between Mark and Tyler. Mark played bass on all songs, and sang all the lead vocals on all songs except Still Small Voice and Heavenly Kingdom, on which he sang backup vocals; he also played the brass keyboard part on That's When I'll Believe. All the vocals were sung while playing except Free, which was very challenging and couldn't be done in one take, so the instrumentals were recorded first and the vocal overdubbed.
Jonathan played keys on all songs, singing lead vocal on Still Small Voice and Heavenly Kingdom, and backup vocals on Stand Up and Passing Through the Portal. Kyle played all guitars; on That's When I'll Believe he played the electrified twelve-string acoustic guitar alone in the studio for the first verse, and then the band performed the song with that recording as the background for the first verse. Nick, of course, played drums throughout. Although there were two or three takes of most of the songs, there was no other doubletracking. Engineer Tony Mascara did some tweaking here and there, but in the main the songs are live recordings of the band.
There was disagreement over the order of the songs. Jonathan, who was thinking of the album as a demo, wanted to open it with Passing Through the Portal or Heavenly Kingdom, or one of the other songs he felt were stronger representatives of our sound. Mark prevailed, though, when he pointed out that it was not primarily a demo but an album, and should be treated as its own work of art, the songs sequenced in a fashion that carried the listener from one to the next. Demos, he said, we can burn to suit, deciding what songs should be on them--and no one puts more than three or maybe four songs on a demo. By opening with I Use to Think, and following it with That's When I'll Believe, the album--which was about two worlds in conflict--clearly began in this evil world.
Mark was hesitant about the third song. Part of him wanted to stay more with this present evil world and delay Still Small Voice to a later point, but he was also concerned that the first two songs already were his solos and he had more solos ahead; he needed to shift to the other vocalist, and this was the song to do it and the time to do it. While the message of the song is a bit strong for this point, it brings in the notion of God trying to cut through into the world and reach people.
Selfish Love stepped back into the darkness, looking at the lives of those lost in the world, and Sometimes began the climb out from it, bringing the listener to a place of becoming like Christ. That leads into the excitement of Free, and then the call to stand courageously in Stand Up. Passing Through the Portal then takes the leap to the other world, that we are not merely saved and empowered people here but already entering there, and with Heavenly Kingdom the door is held open, the invitation offered, and the other world looks back at this one.
Originally Song of Joy had been slated, if memory serves, between Free and Stand Up, but was cut shortly before the session.
Thanks to Jonathan, the album is available through ReverbNation and Amazon, both for purchase as a CD and for download as an album or as single cuts. It is considered the core repertoire of the band, partly because it is the music people can get on the recording, and partly because it is the music we considered ready to record in 2012. Whatever the future holds, it remains as a monument to the band.