Review by: Shawn Kellner
Edited by: Rebecca Knezevich
From the moment track one, “Fire, Fire,” from Flyleaf’s new album New Horizons poured out of my speakers I was immersed in the emotional story conveyed word-by-word from the soul of former Flyleaf singer Lacey Sturm. The magic of the album is the guitar and Sturm’s raw emotional vocals combined with the delivery of the lyrics. “New Horizons” has an energy that is both infectious and impossible to contain.
It is obvious that on this album, the writing process was different than the band’s previous efforts. It is free, it has character and it develops a personality of its own from beginning to end. It wasn’t injected with production magic. It is simply a great grouping of songs by one of the best female-fronted hard rock bands of at least the last 10 years.
For an album with so much hope, there is also a sense of melancholy that sets in knowing this is the last we will hear from Lacey Sturm as a member of Flyleaf. Sturm departs the band on a high note. New Horizons is an emotional, melodic, diverse, record with an honest delivery that leaves you wanting more after every song.
"I have been beyond blessed to be in Flyleaf for the past ten years, touring with 4 amazing men and the Flyleaf crew, whom I love like my flesh and blood family. They have all given so much. It took everyone on our team to make the beauty in Flyleaf possible. I am honored to have met so many wonderful people who love Flyleaf music all over the world. Your incredible stories continue to inspire me. I am very thankful to have recently become a mom to one of the greatest blessings of my life, my son Jack. You may have also heard that we recently lost our brilliant sound engineer, Rich Caldwell, in a devastating car accident. Now, more than ever, I understand the phrase Memento Mori. I understand that, for me, living life to the fullest in this season means to step down as the lead singer for Flyleaf. I wish the best to Jared, Pat, Sameer and James and I know that as I continue to pursue the highest heights of what I am created for, it will free them all to pursue that for themselves too.
The guys will continue to tour and write music together. I'm so very grateful that they are able to do what they desire and that there is a beautiful and talented, warm hearted girl like Kristen May to sing for them. Because of this, you will all get a chance to see a new Flyleaf show and support the new album.
As I take this first step on a new journey, I pray that each one of you would pursue your highest calling with reckless abandon as well, understanding that sometimes the fullness of life comes in doing things that are only understood by you, God, and the special people God has put in your life that truly love you for you… not for what you do, but for who you are. I love you guys so much and in many ways, I will stay in touch. May God bless you all with healthy hearts, full of courage to weather the journey to your own New Horizons." - Lacey Sturm
One moment that really stood out is during “Cage on the Ground” where Sturm eloquently says her goodbye to being in the band:
“I'm gonna take my bow and disappear into the sound, I'm leaving my cage on the ground”
“Green Heart” is definitely the heaviest song on the album. It shows a different side of Flyleaf that I don't believe we have ever seen before. The guitar work on this particular song is spectacular. The chord progression pulls at the strings of your heart with every note.
The album resolves with the personal touch of “Broken Wings,” which is a tribute to the band’s longtime sound engineer Rich Caldwell who was tragically killed in a car accident earlier this year.
“So close your eyes, but don't dream too deep
And please pass me some memories
And when I fall you're underneath
1000 broken hearts, carried by 1000 broken wings”
From start to finish the album is fantastic. It is clear that Flyleaf, even through the changes they are experiencing, have made a lasting statement with New Horizons.
This is not the end of the band, as they have announced Kristen May as the new singer and will begin touring in support of this fantastic effort.
The band has put out a statement regarding the departure of Sturm and the future of the band:
“As Flyleaf begins this new cycle to introduce our third record New Horizons, we feel our fans should know that Lacey has stepped down as lead vocalist of the band. Her statement below expresses her reasons for leaving. In order to continue on with New Horizons, Sameer, Jared, James, and myself have selected Kristen May, formerly of Vedera, to assume lead vocal duties for future tour dates. We are excited for this new chapter in the history of Flyleaf, and hope that our fans will accompany us as we continue on this journey to bring hope and inspiration through our music. We would like to thank everyone who has supported us over the years and we are looking forward to playing for you again soon.” - Pat Seals