If you’ve ever wondered what it’s really like to ascend to international success as a musician, you’re going to want to read Lovely Things in Ugly Places. Penned by Mattie Montgomery, vocalist for the metalcore giants For Today, it is a forthright account of a career that was equally submerged in ministry and metal. Not one to embellish in his writing, Montgomery recounts the last decade of his career with the honesty you want from a memoir. The stories that make up this raw retelling are humorous, riveting and, at times, almost unbelievable.
Lovely Things is mostly a walk through Montgomery’s life before the band through their upcoming dissipation. It’s composed of moments big and small, all of which built him into the man he is today. As he looks back on his career and his life on a grand scale, it becomes abundantly clear that not a moment of it was unplanned. Montgomery is quick to give glory to God for his life lessons and the miracles he took part in. Yes, actual miracles, the kind done by the hands of ordinary people fervently seeking the healing of an extraordinary God.
Maybe the greatest element of this gripping work is that it has the power to make you reconsider the limits you may have put on your own faith. As stories of healing and inexplicable acts unfold, it is impossible to deny God’s hand in Montgomery’s life and the fans who were changed by the miracles he, his wife, and the band were a part of.
If you’re doubtful of such things being real, reference Montgomery’s own recounting of doubt, fear and weaknesses. He faces hard subjects with a faith and humility readers can relate to, subjects that rattled the lives of him and his band, like, “Why does God reach some people but not intervene when my loved one is dying of cancer?” His responses ring with truth: “I don’t know.” But what he does know is that God knows. Montgomery reinforces this trust in God throughout the book, even in the strangest of situations. It comes across as a burning admiration and love that becomes more contagious as you delve further into the book.
This book is not all about his faith. Whether he’s describing what it feels like to grace a stage with thousands of fans in wait or failing to fit in at rock star summer camp, he offers a perspective into music that is rare and real. He perfectly captures his time in For Today, writing, “We were part of something bigger than ourselves, and it felt like we might change the world.”
Whether you’re a fair-weather fan looking for entertainment and inspiration or a hardcore For Today enthusiast, this autobiography will touch you. It’s one of those exceedingly rare works with the ability to spark a fire without smothering you in smoke and flames. Montgomery, a powerful force in the pulpit and as a public speaker already, transfers that energy to the page. With graciousness, Montgomery says it best: “For His glory, I will go where He calls, trusting that He knows much better than I do.”