Metalcore titans For Today scream farewell in Columbus

By Justin Kreitzer

Photo: For Today’s (l-r) Ryan Leitru, Brandon Leitru, Mattie Montgomery, and David Puckett; photo: Aaron Marsh

After grinding for 10 years as a band and establishing themselves as leaders in the Christian metal scene, For Today has announced that it will disband at the end of this year—but not before going out with a bang. They are currently on a lengthy farewell tour that encompasses 11 countries and more than 60 shows, which will bring them to the stage at Newport Music Hall in Columbus for one last time on Saturday, Dec. 10, along with Norma Jean, My Epic, and Silent Planet.

For Today is fronted by the charismatic vocalist Mattie Montgomery, who has led the band with strong, unabashed Christian beliefs and passionate lyrics that match the intensity of the band’s heavy, hardcore-influenced brand of metal. Their latest and greatest album, Wake, was released last fall on Nuclear Blast Records. Recently, Mattie Montgomery has released a memoir titled “Lovely Things in Ugly Places,” which shines a light on what it’s like to be a Christian in the mostly secular metal scene and how God has worked through the band. It also provides inspiring insight into some of the special encounters that Montgomery and the band have had with fans over the years.

Dayton City Paper spoke with Mattie Montgomery about the ending of the band, his new book, and more.

In your book, you said when For Today formed, your mission was to “preach the gospel until Jesus comes back, or they kill us for it, whichever comes first.” First, how do you think your band lived up to that mission and second, why the decision to disband?  

Mattie Montgomery: Well…I’m still alive, and Jesus hasn’t come back yet. So, I guess I can’t say that we reached the finish line yet.  But, as far as preaching the Gospel is concerned, I’m just getting started. So, there is a lot of that story left to be written. Regarding our decision to disband, it really just boiled down to the fact that I had a strong sense that I had done everything with For Today that I could do. We all still love each other and really enjoy playing our music, but it’s just time to move on. I’m really looking forward to spending more time with my wife and kids and my awesome church family back home in Alabama.

What inspired you to write your memoir?

MM: These last 10 years of my life have been so pivotal and transformative for me.  I learned more about God through this time in ministry than I could ever hope to put into words.  So, instead of spending the rest of my life telling people what I believe about God or ministry, I wanted to share [with them] my experiences with God, and allow them to see, not just what I believe, but why I believe it.  I think this book was for me an invitation to the Body of Christ to give God the same simple “yes” that I gave Him 10 years ago, to lay down their insecurity or feelings of inadequacy, and simply live each day for His glory. Walking with God is not always easy, but it is simple. And that’s what I wanted to communicate by writing this book.

The intense and crushingly heavy, yet uplifting “Fearless” and “Devastator” are two of my favorite For Today songs.  What is your favorite song to perform live and why?

MM: I think my favorite song is “Crown of Thorns.” I wrote that song about the single most important event in human history—the death of Christ on the Cross. It feels like a worship song every night when we play it.

How have these last shows been going?  I’m sure it has been a mixture of feelings, what’s the response been like from the fans?

MM: The shows have been incredible. It’s been such a wild experience getting to meet so many people who have been impacted by this ministry in so many ways. It’s humbling and overwhelming. I’m really grateful.

So what does the future hold for you after this farewell tour has ended?  What will you be doing to keep yourself busy, and how will you continue your mission?  

MM: I really have a heart to help serve by equipping and provoking the church into a lifestyle of evangelism. One of the saddest things is for me to hear people who admire me for standing up for the Gospel, but who never even consider standing up for it themselves. So, I will continue doing some itinerant evangelism and other things in that vein. However, most importantly, I’m going to be spending a lot more time with my wife and our two little boys.

What are the other band members’ plans for the future? Will there be any side projects to look forward to?

MM: Two of the members [Ryan and Brandon] have already started a new band called Nothing Left.  I don’t think they intend to work it quite as hard as we did For Today, but they’re still creating. Honestly though, I think we’ll all take some time to figure out exactly what this next season of life is going to look like for us. We know it’s going to be awesome, we’re just still trying to figure out how.

For Today performs Saturday, Dec. 10 at Newport Music Hall, 1722 N. High St. in Columbus. Show starts at 6 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance and $23 the day of the show. Norma Jean, My Epic, and Silent Planet are also on the bill. The show is general admission and all-ages. For more information, please visit
ForTodayBand.com

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Justin Kreitzer
Reach DCP freelance writer Justin Kreitzer at JustinKreitzer@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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