Second To None

Second To None

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A SONIC HEAVEN FOR THE PRAYERFUL

Second To None
2015 / 10 Tracks / 53 minutes

“Second To None”, the first full-length from Tennessee worship band Augustus, is a diverse indie rock album that centers around the Gospel of Jesus and all the emotions that lie therein. Augustus is Andrew Michael Meador – vocalist and songwriter – and is a beacon of light in the jam-packed CCM crowd. Andrew Michael Meador is young, and the maturity he exhibits on ‘Second To None’ is a true testament of his character and faith.

This is radio-friendly indie rock, but it contains several elements – eerie electric chords, subtle classic rock outbursts, synthesizers, cellos, church bells – that would perk up  the typical listener’s. Make no mistake: this isn’t a pop record. Consonant highs are mixed equally with dissonant lows, subject matter ranges from glorious praise to heart-wrenching accounts of the crucifixion. ‘Second To None’ covers the emotional spectrum with audacity and grace.

Consider “Son Of Man”. It is the fifth track on ‘Second To None’, after the mood-setting title track opener, the mega-church anthem “Holy Lord”, the the desperately pleading “Open Heart Surgery”, and a rousing rendition of “Seek Ye First”. It’s one of the best Christian songs of the year. It vividly recounts Jesus’ last day on earth, but doesn’t exploit it. Instead, it focuses on Jesus’ selfless love in the midst of suffering, abuse, blood, torture, and nails. There is a line about Jesus sharing the skyline with thieves and murderers. It is bold writing like this that sets Augustus apart from the pack. It is a monolithic song.

“King Of Glory” follows, a seven-minute opus about the reverence of God, that begins with slow, ringing chords and culminates with an oceanic burst of post-rock electricity, with Andrew Michael Meador crooning “He will come to judge the living and the dead for what they’ve done”. Epic stuff.

And then Augustus throws in a surprise. Perhaps a sound of theirs to come, “Sonrise” lightens the mood with a sugary dose of synth-pop and beautiful vocals. Andrew sings, “Flood our lives with Holy light / The glory of the risen Son is shining down on us” and “You will be our light / No more darkness / No more night”. It’s a welcome, stirring sound. It segues into “Terra Sancta”, a neo-classical, almost gothic-sounding number with breathtaking instrumentation.

In many ways it is difficult to review worship records. After all, their purpose is to praise Jesus, and who are we to judge that? And music speaks to us all differently. But, every once in awhile someone comes along and pushes the boundaries of how we define worship musics. Challenges us with their sound, their message, and the mood that they create. Augustus is one such band. Their artistry swells far beyond the fray. “Second To None” is a journey through the life of Christians, at once dark and uplifting, contemplative and exciting. It is a feast for the ears, a sonic trip for the prayerful. A glorious record for Christians to behold.

Review by Jason Ramsey

 

 

 

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augustus

My name is Andrew. I'm a worship leader, teacher, musician, skateboarder, scientist, and son of God. I play a few instruments (upright bass, trumpet, guitar) and I love to write songs and spend time outside. I was born in 1986 in Indianapolis, IN. I grew up in the church and ended up learning a lot about Jesus but never knew Him personally until my freshman year at Purdue University. The first week of classes I told Him that something needed to change between us. I was prepared to throw my life away into an endless spiral of alcohol, drugs, and sex... unless He could reveal Himself to me and show me something to live for. ​Words fall short to describe what happened in that moment but I could honestly sense that He cared about me. I experienced His love and grace in an inexpressible way and I have never been the same! I started living life with the Holy Spirit and earnestly reading the Bible. After three years in college I had been double majoring in French and Biophysics because I wanted to teach science at a French university. In the summer of 2007 a professor from France came and visited me at Purdue. I was filling out the paperwork after he had left and I heard a voice say, "Walk away." I looked up and no one was there. "Walk away", he said again. I knew the Holy Spirit was telling me not to pursue that career any longer, so I immediately ripped all the sheets in half and threw them away. I had no idea what I would do instead; all I knew is that I had clearly heard that that was not the right path for me. Later that summer I was on a mission trip in Jamaica and I began playing guitar and leading worship. My spirit came alive and the floodgates of my soul flung wide open when I began to play and sing—this was what I was created for! I began leading worship at my college church and in the fall of 2008 I graduated with a Chemistry degree. It wasn't long after that that I met the girl who would become my wife and I accepted a staff position at a new church plant in Indianapolis as the worship pastor. I also began teaching high school science. During this season I began writing songs for the church I was leading and started the band "augustus" in 2012. After five years as a worship pastor my wife and I moved to Memphis, TN for a short period of time and we now live in Chattanooga. I continue to lead worship, write music, and speak on spiritual matters. I love investing in worship leaders and teaching them how to be servant leaders and instructing them in all that Jesus taught. My life has been radically transformed by Jesus and I want to be excellent in communicating the Gospel with my entire life.

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