For “Mean What You Say,” the band’s second album they partnered with Producer Rob Hawkins (Fireflight, Disciple), and made a record that, frankly, few bands could even conceive of making. Front to back, it is a triumph in production quality, unforgettable songwriting, and uncanny passion. It is dark and disquieting, yet uplifting. It is contemporary without being derivative. Yet for Riner and company, Mean What You Say is not simply an exercise in flexing their sonic might, but a vital response to a spiritual crisis in our culture.
“The entire record is based on the weight in our words,” Riner explains. “The album concept was influenced by the actions of The Westboro Baptist church. Groups like this are the ones you see picketing, holding signs which say ‘God hates Fags’ and the like. These groups use their words carelessly and distort truth."
Riner’s lyrics and their meaning’s are the heart behind Mean What You Say. He does not mince words as he speaks to the hunger for spiritual authenticity in each of us. On the song “Listen” he addresses the idea that transparency, rather than preaching, produces lasting impact. And on “Learn From the Night” he reminds the listener that we must let go of pride and admit our own mistakes if we want to find healing in relationships. It’s not a message we hear often, but it’s a vital one nonetheless; We must remember that the tongue is a powerful thing, and we should be wise in how we use it.
“I want to be true to what I believe” adds Riner. “I’m fine if someone is offended or disagrees with me, but not if it was because I lacked compassion. I am no preacher, I only feel qualified to write songs and speak about what I believe and talk sincerely with people - that’s what I’ll stick with.”
Genre: Rock, Progressive
Members: Zach Riner, Andy O'neal, JJ Leonard, Jon Arena, Dane Andersen
Current Record Label: Tooth & Nail Records
Albums: Sent By Ravens (2007), The Effects of Fashion and Prayer EP (2008), Our Graceful Words (2010), Mean What You Say (2012)