Straight out of politically wrought South Africa comes the hopeful and inspiring Benjamin Gate.

Straight out of politically wrought South Africa comes the hopeful and inspiring Benjamin Gate. A fairytale of sorts, the band began in 1998, sparked by the death of a friend named Benjamin. One demo, an EP, and a studio engineer later, the nascent band signed with ForeFront last year; untitled was the act's debut. On the appropriately titled Contact, the band connects inspirational and hopeful messages to powerful rock landscapes. "I see what you could become/I know that your doubt will be undone/And as time brings a change/There'll be no holding you back again," sings lead vocalist Adrienne Leisching on "The Calling." Here and elsewhere, Leisching's delivery remains front and center, never getting lost among the distinct guitar licks and strong rhythm section. Ultimately, the Benjamin Gate reveals a notable talent for tackling issues of faith, spirituality, and defeat in clear-cut storytelling. In fact, there's no reason why the Benjamin Gate should not be played alongside such Christian-rock brothers as Creed and P.O.D.—DP