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VU - 1999 Just As I Am

ALBUM: Just As I Am
LABEL: Bartholomew Productions
YEAR: 1999


LINEUP: Bart Hafeman - vocals; David Karn - guitars, backing vocals; Joe Swaim - bass, guitars; Jason Looney - rhythm guitar, backing vocals; Jason Martinez - drums, percussion, backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Search * 02 What Are You Gonna Do? * 03 Point Of View * 04 Just As I Am * 05 Broken Again (Brians Song) * 06 C# Run * 07 I'm Forgiven * 08 Whenever I Call Your Name * 09 Anonymous * 10 Most Loving Man * 11 My Rock * 12 Holy Holy Holy * 13 I Put My Trust In You


Originating from the state of Oregon, this version of VU are not to be confused with the San Francisco band The VU, who morphed from the band The View and featured ex Journey members. Hopefully once you have gotten that bit of confusion out of the way, your 'view' will be sufficiently clear. VU is the brainchild of Bart Hafeman, who it appears is also the band's producer and engineer. He has assembled what looks like a bunch of studio musicians and friends to play on this album 'Just As I Am', which is Christian based melodic hard rock/metal in the vein of Def Leppard meets Sure Conviction.

The Songs
'Just As I Am' is the bands second album, their debut 'All I Need Is U' was released in 1996 on the same label. Bart and his boyz certainly give the listening punter value for money with thirteen tracks up for grabs. Typically in CCM fashion, the band give us an array of polished melodic rockers ('What Are You Gonna Do?', 'I'm Forgiven', 'Whenever I Call Your Name') plus a smattering of acoustic ballads and power ballads. In my opinion, there are probably too many of the latter, but considering the Lord gets quite a bit of attention here, it is no surprise to hear him venerated within the confines of more tranquil melodic music. Still, many of the songs are worth listening to, as I found to my enjoyment.

In Summary
Overall, the presence of the songs is quite well defined. The musicianship and vocal harmonies are spot on. The production is good for what it is, but obviously with a bigger budget and more time, many of these songs could very well have kicked some serious ass in a larger market segment. It's a shame that much of the late 80's Christian rock movement went to the pack in the 90's, and even worse - into the 21st century, where CCM meets hip hop and rap is not a good mix! I would like to see more Christian metal releases with a melodic inclination along the lines of VU. Someone make it happen!

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#1 | KurtmanJP on March 21 2008 06:42:01
Hmmm. Not sure about this one. Heard 'What Are You Gonna Do?' on Aorfm a couple years back. I think I remember it was a good song. I'm a little 'iffy' when it comes to Christian Rock because I might come across preachy lyrics. So, how preachy is this one?

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