By Clay W. Ginn – Back in 1995, sitting in my dorm room at college, one of my friends came in and said “You’ve gotta hear this band! They’re awesome!” He yanks out whatever was in my CD player at the time, tosses it aside, and sticks in a disc by a group of guys I’d never heard of. They had a distinctive sound, at least compared to what was on the Christian scene at the time. While so many bands have come and gone in the subsequent years, Third Day has continued to grow musically, spiritually, and in popularity. Three Grammy awards, 23 Dove awards, 10 studio albums, and 13 years later the Georgia-based band release their 11th album, Revelation.
The first half of this album rocks. “This Is Who I Am” is a raucous kick-start to the album, relying on hard-strumming acoustic guitar, heavy drums, and the electric sound so many are used to hearing. The next track, “Slow Down”, brings the Revelation train back a gear, but not by much. This song, which also features Chris Daughtry, is a well-crafted plea that all of us could heed, to slow down and let God take over.
“Call My Name”, released back in April as a single, is mellow and melodic, while maintaining a solid guitar backbone. It plays out like a love song from Jesus to us. Hard-driving drums introduce “Run To You”, steadily keeping time to this discordant and quite beautiful song. The title track, “Revelation”, begins with a piano solo, but is quickly joined by the rest of the band. “Give me a revelation/I’ve got nothing without you” is the central theme of the song, asking God for a fresh view of His grace. Closing out the first half of the album is “Otherside”, a bluesy, Clapton-esqe tune that reminds me a great deal of the song “Blackbird” from their 1995 major label debut.
The second half of Revelation eases up off the throttle, retaining the classic Third Day sound, but with a lighter quality. “Let Me Love You” is a breezy, radio-ready love song, which would probably get heavy airplay on mainstream radio. The catchy “I Will Always Be True” has the same basic qualities as the previous song, with just a little harder edge. Not that it’s a bad song, it’s just odd that two songs with such similarities would be back-to-back on the album. “Born Again”, a duet with Flyleaf’s Lacey Mosely, describes a journey from the realization by the singer that he isn’t a good as he thought he was, to the feeling of being born again.
Bluegrass makes an appearance in “Give Love”, which gives way to “Caught Up In Yourself”, a steady, almost James Bond-sounding cautionary tale to those of us who have a hard time surrendering ourselves to God. “Ready” returns Third Day to their rock roots, driving the album steadily to its final song, “Take It All”. Nearly a praise chorus, the lyrics are a plea to God to “Take it all/Cause I can’t take it any longer/With all I have/I can’t make it on my own/Take the first, take the last/Take the good and take the rest/Here I am, all I have/Take it all”.
Overall, Revelation is a good album. The music is a maturation of the classic Southern rock Third Day is known for to something more modern, all while maintaining their identity. Topped with Mac Powell’s inimitable voice, Third Day has the ingredients for another hugely popular and artistic album. The only complaint that I have is that it seemed to get down into a rut in the middle of the disc. Revelation is a worthy addition to your music collection whether you are a old Third Day fan or a new one.