It’s easy to assume stories of trial and triumph are just for the Bible or the history books. But miracles still happen, even when adversity hits hardest. Just ask Josh Havens, guitarist and lead vocalist of The Afters. He relates how the band’s latest effort, "Live On Forever," began during a season of tragedy.
Just as the band regrouped to record, Havens witnessed the wife of a close friend contract cancer. Drummer Jordan Mohilowski (who produced the new album) had a brief health scare, and a close companion in his church—part of the worship team—was hit and killed by an impaired driver. She was a young woman, Havens says, who had unlimited potential.
But Live On Forever—the band’s fifth with the Fair Trade label—still took shape as a celebration of faithfulness, protection and promise—one that shimmers with strong rhythms, undeniable energy and compelling pop hooks. The album finds Havens in strong, soaring voice as he invites listeners to find shelter and strength in God. “If any theme has emerged, it would be ‘inspiration and motivation,’” Havens says.
Havens himself felt a deep need to hold on after another loss struck: The band’s longtime soundman, Anthony Martinez, saw his newborn daughter die in infancy.
Havens shares how, half a world away from his home in Phoenix, he caught a small glimpse of heaven’s reassurance. The place: downtown Amsterdam. The occasion: a dinner between shows with band members and spouses—including soundman Martinez and his wife. For their baby daughter, the Martinez couple had chosen an unusual moniker with an unusual spelling: Pieper. Against all odds, it also happened to be exactly how the intimate restaurant they dined at spelled its name. Still, no one was prepared for what happened at the end of the meal. “We were talking about baby Pieper, and as we got up to leave, we noticed that the only thing on the walls—the only thing—was a framed document, an award for hospitality. And the date on the award—the only date in the place—was Pieper’s birthday. Her mother just started bawling.” Havens sums up the reassurance all took home that night: “We thought, ‘This is where God’s angels fly: right in the middle of the loss.’ God gives us little glimpses to show us he’s here.”
“We worked on this record for almost two years and over those two years, it was a real season of loss,” Havens recalls. “But in the end, 'Live On Forever' is about moving us to trust God, to stand up against fear. It’s an ‘ante up’ record, an anthem for people’s lives: ‘God you are with me in all this. I’m not alone.’”
Review by D.T.
A little over a year ago, The Afters released a new single entitled “Live On Forever.” Its strengthening lyrics were forged both for the world and for the members of The Afters themselves. Over the past couple of years, the band has come together through many struggles and crafted an album by the same name to help everyone face those hard times in their life. The Afters’ newest pop/rock Christian album, “Live On Forever,” hit shelves just over a week ago. Featuring electronic overtones and upbeat rhythms, it encourages you to turn to God when things get rough, and to always remember that you’re stronger than your doubts.
If you’ve heard the two singles released from the album (“Live On Forever” and “Battles”), then you know some of what to expect. However, each track is incredibly unique. “Shadows” begins the album in a very heavy, electrical sound with epic lyrics telling you to “rise up from the shadows” and break free from whatever is holding you down. “Survivors” uses its clap-along beat and ringing chorus to remind you that “we know we are survivors” in all the tough times. Finally, the last track, “When You’re with Me,” plays a soothing melody on acoustic guitar mixed with a beautiful string accompaniment and Josh Havens’ strong voice to tell you that God is always by your side. Overall, the album will scratch whatever pop music itch you’re looking to scratch and keep you in a good mood the entire time.
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Battles (Official Lyric Video)
Battles (Heart Of The Song)
Live On Forever (Heart Of The Song)
Live On Forever (Official Music Video)
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