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"REMNANT: Rock Is Not Dead"

Written by Mike Parker
Friday, 12 October 2007
A Life Lived

by Remnant


Before you take a deep sigh and prepare to nail the lid shut on the coffin of rock ‘n’ roll, drop A Life Lived into your cd player, and take a stroll down Memory Lane. Not too far down Memory Lane, mind you. Maybe back to the early to mid-90’s; just far enough to remind you why you fell in love with rock ‘n’ roll to begin with.

Hailing from Norman, Oklahoma, that hotbed of rock ‘n’ roll rebellion, Remnant is a canny four-piece that refused to succumb to the lure of the alternative, opting instead to rock like there was no millennium’s end. The result is their aggressive, five-song EP, A Life Lived. Drawing on influences ranging from Stone Temple Pilots to the ubiquitous Nirvana and U2, with a smidgeon of Coldplay and Matchbox-20 thrown in for good measure, Remnant has produced a project that rocks hard, but never moves into metal territory. Think a mellowed down version of Pillar.

There is an obvious spiritually that permeates the songs on this EP. “Line of Sight” bemoans the rejection of free grace, yet rejoices in the ultimate surrender that is the result of the untiring pursuit of the Hound of Heaven (okay, maybe I’m reading way too much into this song, but that’s the way it sounds to me). “Remember,” a five-and-a-half minute monster track, is a ‘Jesus is my girlfriend’ kind of tune – the kind that could be about God or a girl, depending on your point of view.

“Only a Memory” might be my favorite song on this EP. Frantic guitars, wailing vocals, booming bass drums – yeah, this is rock ‘n’ roll. Say it with me, ‘Rock is not dead!’



A Life Lived - EP



The story of Remnant starts in earnest in 2003. Arash Davari and Adam Shockley were roommates at the time and both played guitar for their church, leading worship for the college ministry. Over time, Arash and Adam started writing music together, jamming on the tunes with the college worship band. Then in the spring of 2003 Arash and Adam decided to start taking their music more seriously and start performing outside of the college ministry. Thus began their search for a drummer and bassist.

Enter: Nathan Harwell. Prodigious drummer, perennial cool guy, and perpetually shrouded in mystery. After the other guys in the college band had expressed their disinterest in pursuing a music career, Arash and Adam asked Nathan to fill the drummer spot. Serendipitously, Nathan had just quit drumming for another band and was available to jam with the boys; chemistry came instantly. With Arash on lead guitar, Adam on rhythm guitar and lead vocals, and Nathan now on drums, the band took a suggestion from a friend and decided to call themselves Remnant. All that remained was finding a bassist, but little did they know their search would take them through three interim bassists and two years before they found their man (who, incidentally, was literally right under their collective nose the whole time).

Remnant continued writing new material and performing live through the spring of 2005 when their third bassist quit, leaving the seemingly snake-bitten position open yet again. At the time, Arash was pulling double duty with Remnant and playing lead guitar for their church’s worship team. Coincidentally, the worship team’s drummer, Tony Middleton, also played the bass. Tony volunteered to fill the bassist spot and the guys accepted gratefully. The group continued writing and playing but again, unbeknownst to them, great change was just around the corner.

Late in 2005, while playing a semi-final show for a battle of the bands, the boys decided to show the judges some versatility in their music abilities by switching their instruments and playing a couple of songs. Nathan moved to lead vocals and guitar, Adam moved to bass, Arash stayed on lead guitar, and Tony moved to drums. The crowd response was overwhelming; far greater than any response they’d had previously. The judges’ response was equally favorable, going so far as to say that they liked the new lineup considerably more than the original. Taking all this into consideration, the band discussed their options and decided it would be foolish not to explore the possibility of staying with the new lineup. After completing the first new song it was abundantly clear that they’d made the right choice.