Red Street Records
Release Date: March 17th 2023
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
Consumed By Fire– First Things First – EP (Amazon mp3/iTunes)
- Goodbye Ole Me
- First Things First
- Hope Says
- Walk With Jesus
- It’s A Yes
- First Things First (Piano Version)
Over the years, there’s been a few bands that have been comprised of siblings. For King and Country the most notable, with Joel and Luke comprising of the duo, who are actually in fact siblings of pop-worship artist Rebecca St. James. For KING AND COUNTRY became a household name almost overnight with their song “Busted Heart”, and from there, the rest is history. Then you have other artists like About a Mile (consisting of three brothers) and Red Roots (three triplet sisters), both of whom previously have scaled the landscape of worship-rock and country-Christian respectively- and both bands have seemingly moved on to other projects and endeavours, and have quietly slipped away from music. OBB was another sibling band that has since moved on to accomplish other things in their lives; while BarlowGirl was a rock band in the 2000’s comprising of 3 sisters. Cimorelli is a sibling band that is still active, as is Switchfoot and Needtobreathe; while country/pop trio The Band Perry split not too long ago. And so, these artists aforementioned have reached stratospheric heights (for KING & COUNTRY, Switchfoot, Needtobreathe), while others haven’t had as much success. But nonetheless these sibling bands have still presented to us albums full of heart and poignancy. Now enter in another band comprised of siblings- Consumed By Fire. Previously signed to Inpop Records, and now to Red Street Records; this trio of three brothers in a band have released a successful album Giving Over in 2016, one that boasted the singles “Lean on Me” and “He Waits For Me”. We reviewed the album here, and with the group musically similar to needtobreathe and Rhett Walker Band (and vocally sounding like Bear from needtobreathe as well), the band’s continuance in bringing together genres of rock, folk, gospel and praise are enough for anyone, whatever your musical genre persuasion, to listen to this band, at least once. The group also released their song “I Need You God” in 2017… and since that time they’ve been dormant for whatever reason. But this year, the group have now resurfaced; and their brand-new EP First Things First is a breath of fresh air for the CCM market and for music in general.
If ever you have any doubt that Consumed By Fire will hit the sophomore slump, like a fair few other artists in the past; then this new EP should shatter your beliefs from the get-go. Let me tell you this plainly- Consumed By Fire’s new EP is perhaps one of their most real, honest, hopeful and encouraging released I’ve heard this year thus far. Opening with the hard-hitting and powerful “Goodbye Ole Me”, the band present to us a fired-up gospel infused pop/worship anthem, with lead singer Caleb declaring that Jesus Christ has rescued us from hell, and that we are not the same anymore. Our identity is in Jesus Christ alone, and not what we feel nor what our parents or friends or the media tell us; and so it’s refreshing to find a song that outwardly declares this notion that Jesus Christ has set us free and because of what He has done on the cross, we can say goodbye to the old us and say hello to the person Jesus made us to be. Following on from the power-packed opener, is the piano led ballad that is the title track (also recorded as a ‘piano-only version’). Lyrically and thematically the heartbeat of the project, Consumed By Fire eloquently and ardently relays to us all that what they want to do is chase after Jesus, and nothing else matters. And as they compellingly and powerfully relay that ‘…first thing’s first, I seek Your will, not my own, surrender all my wants to You, keep the first thing first, to live Your truth, walk Your ways, set my eyes, Lord I fix my face on You, all my desires reversed to keep the first thing first…’, we are encouraged to actively live a life that pursues Jesus, and to always put Him at the forefront of our lives no matter what.
“Hope Says”, a radio friendly CCM/pop melody, speaks about trusting in the hope we have in Jesus and trusting in the promises of God whenever we feel like we are in a tough spot or need His guidance and assistance; while the equally catchy, moving, and inspiring song “Walk With Jesus” highlights the fact that we can and should walk with Jesus at all times because of the change He has made in each of our individual lives, that ‘…I’m gonna live the way he says to live, do what He says to do, you can choose whatever road you choose, but I’m gonna love the way He says to love, trust the way He says to trust, this world alone will never be enough, so I’m gonna walk with Jesus…’. The EP then ends with the song “It’s A Yes”, a testimony-like track outlining Caleb’s desire to follow Jesus and say ‘yes’ to Him every day.
First Things First is an EP that I’m positive I will listen to many more times before the year ends. Prayerful, and realistic, hopeful, and honest; these three brothers which make up Consumed by Fire really have a winner in the making. And while it’s been 6 years in between releases; this EP shows us that class, temperament, greatness, and ability don’t really ever go away. If the next full-length album is anything like this EP, then Consumed By Fire’s sophomore full length album will be one to savour! And while vocally the lead singer may sound like needtobreathe, the vocal similarity is a good thing- people hearing this new music from Consumed by Fire will try needtobreathe, or vice versa. Whatever the case, First Things First the EP, is as personal as they come, with the band inviting us to partake alongside them, proclaiming that we need to put the Lord first in all situations, not just the times when everything is going good. Well done to the guys for such an enjoyable EP, can’t wait to the next album whenever it releases!
3 songs to listen to: First Things First, Hope Says, Walk With Jesus
RIYL: Third Day, needtobreathe, Rhett Walker Band, Lifehouse, Switchfoot, Carrollton