Reviewed by Susan Lloyd
"...Third Day has put together a solid album that attempts to embrace a new audience."
Third Day’s latest release Revelation dropped this summer with a lot of anticipation and excitement. The Atlanta based band had leaked information about the production process that suggested that they were making strides away from traditional praise and worship rock and heading into the realm of solid crossover music. With guest appearances by pedal steel guitar virtuoso Robert Randolph, producer Howard Benson (Daughtry, Flyleaf, Hoobastank), and vocals by Lacey Mosley and Chris Daughtry, there is no question that Third Day is stepping into another chapter of their musical journey. And with Brad Avery’s departure from the band in early spring of this year, the timing must have been right to take a different turn.
By saying “different turn” I do not mean a 180, however, and Third Day sticks close to its southern rock vibes and power anthems they’ve made their signature over the past 16 years. Anchoring the project is the stunning vocal work of front man Mac Powell. Powell’s voice has matured over the years to the point that it conveys the awestruck wonder of a new beginning in “Born Again” as effectively as it expresses the in-your-face honesty of “This is Who I Am”. Powell’s voice is paired with Lacey Mosley’s (Flyleaf) on both “Born Again” and “Run to You” and their effect is electrifying. Mosley’s delicate but powerful soprano rounds out Powell’s rich baritone in a way that is chill-inducing. The short a ccapella echo at the end of “Run to You” is especially nice, and makes me want more moments like that throughout the CD.
The album’s title track “Revelation” is a powerful song that builds beautifully throughout allowing Powell to stay in his lower range until the chorus. The lyric Give me a revelation, show me what to do. Should I stay here or should I move? Give me a revelation ‘cause I’m nothing without You are words with universal appeal. Third Day has also tapped into a more universal theme with “Let Me Love You” expressing the human need to be accepted, cared for, and loved. Power rock songs like “This is Who I Am” and “Otherside” are enough to make mainstream rock fans sit up and take notice, especially with the addition of Robert Randolph’s pedal steel skills to “Otherside”. This particular track rolls along with the best of southern rock swampiness, and I’ve had the pleasure of hearing it live. It truly has impact and is even more impressive in a big rock arena setting.
The biggest surprise on the track listing is the inclusion of “Give Love” a country-folk byte that makes use of a toned down Powell, who sings more sweetly and melodically on this track than I’ve heard before. The combination of rolling banjo, stripped down guitars, and Powell’s sweetness makes this love song one of the most alluring tracks on the album. This song represents a step out of the familiar Christian AC genre than any other on the album, and I’m impressed that Third Day worked its way into this new territory.
It also seems as if Third Day has strayed a little further away in terms of direct lyrics, too. While I’ve always known this band to speak directly to the church in terms the church understands, this go round, the terms are more generic and universal. This is a good thing. Third Day has the talent and name recognition to bring their sound into open waters to be enjoyed by more than just their traditional church audience. That being said, Third Day has not wandered away from the truth, and these songs speak of biblical concepts like redemption, faithfulness of the Father, mercy, and honesty. They just don’t seem to speak from the pulpit as much as they do the sidelines of the soccer field and the line at the grocery store.
I am thrilled that Third Day has put together a solid album that attempts to embrace a new audience. They’ve done so in a way that still sounds like Third Day, without abandoning their fan base, but they’ve made their music, their faith, and their passion for performance available to anyone who might care to listen. I have no reservations in recommending this album to my friends who aren’t believers knowing that the musical quality is there and so is the truth.
Susan Lloyd is a professional photographer in Charleston, South Carolina who specializes in shooting concerts. She holds a degree in Music Education and has worked as a worship leader and as a youth minister. She is passionate about all types of music and enjoys encouraging and supporting bands who seek to glorify God. She also loves movies, animals, traveling, and making new friends. She and her husband have three kids and have been married for nearly 17 years. More info about Susan's photography can be found at www.susanlloydphotography.com or www.susieq3c.wordpress.com