A fine new hard music album by Welsh rockers 3RD DAY RISING heralds the band's creative re-emergence. Alex Figgis reports.
Back in the mid-'90s a Welsh band by the name of Third Day cut some abrasive heavy rock before being forced to change their name because of the highly toted Atlanta, Georgia team. But 3rd Day Rising, as they became, persevered. After several years of gigging and a change in guitarist, the Welsh rockers have marked their return with the release of their critically acclaimed sophomore project, 'Spiral'.
So why such a long period of time between the two albums? "I think really you've got to do it when it's right," explains Chris Edwards (vocals). "We did 'Paper Chain' at the time that was right; we couldn't have done it any better than we did, but we've been gigging and playing and writing and working on the material all the way through. We've been gigging them, moulding and changing them over the years, so (that) when we recorded them, it was the right time."
Listening to 'Spiral1, it is clear just how much the band's rigorous diet of intense gigging over the years has paid off. Well-crafted songs, deftly produced and executed, when compared with the band's debut offering, the progression is plain to see. "'Paper Chain', as our first release, was very thrown together," explains Chris. "We did it with an awful lot of enthusiasm, but we really had to work hard under the limitations that came from not having that much talent. We went into it, we plugged away, we gave everything we could for the album, but ultimately it fell short because we were limited by the experience we had." Which is precisely why Chris feels so much happier with 'Spiral'. "We've worked very, very hard," continues Chris. "That is predominantly on a musical level. But as individuals, we looked at our own lives, our own walk and our own decision making. I'm sure that some of that's been good and some of that's been bad, but in terms of the music, we've taken Andy (Long) in the band who replaced Doug. Andy has done a brilliant job," he enthuses. "He's a very talented bass player. Doug was superb but Andy's got a different style of playing," which is made apparent from the outset of 'Spiral', with it's crunching guitar riffs and effective low-end growls. "Karl (Albert) as a drummer has progressed immensely from where he was, and really is one heck of a drummer the way how guitarist Mike (Spear) "has come on leaps and bounds" since the release of 'Paper Chain', concluding with the way in which he sees himself as having progressed, "I feel more comfortable and confident playing gigs and getting out and singing now than I did perhaps five years ago."
Far more than just seeing themselves as being entertainers, Chris and friends take seriously the position they are in as examples of Christ within the public arena. Whilst they may strive for musical excellence, the band never allow their primary focus to be that of music. Instead, Chris uses the opportunity being in a band like 3rd Day Rising to communicate truth in a brutally honest way. "I don't think there's any point in hiding," he states. "We live short lives, we live hard lives, and we don't always have the best of everything. We don't always have the best breaks and certainly when I'm writing songs. I don't want to write platitudes. I don't want to say things to people because I think they're the right things to say. I wanna say something that I feel drives me, has driven me or upsets me."
The term 'ministry' is often used, but rarely understood within its
proper context - that of serving God
by actively seeking to implement his moral will, as laid down by the Bible, within the daily life of the Christian. "The word 'ministry' in its own way is a word that we throw up because it makes us look good," claims Chris. "From a 3rd Day Rising point of view, when we hit the stage to play and speak, we're praying that God's gonna inspire us to do the right thing. That he will encourage and inform us and get us out there to do the best we possibly can, giving 100 per cent on every occasion; and that we ask him to forgive our short comings, so that he can use the opportunity to open people up to himself. Ministry," declares Chris, "I wouldn't use the word. Opportunity for him, yes."
Far from speaking theoretically, Chris is quick to point out just how difficult it is to remain focused; not only for himself, but also for the band. "You can get enticed into ego, possessions and also in to believing you're something that you're not. Realistically you have to say that when you go on stage, that it's only but for the grace of God. Ultimately God has chosen to use us for this occasion, but he could easily choose the next person and we certainly can goof up. We need to be in prayer, right with him and focused on him. If we're not, if we go up there (on stage) with any other false pretentious, then we can completely fall flat on our face; and I'll be honest, I have, in the past, completely and utterly kiboshed. But I've got a God who loves me and is willing to forgive me and builds me back up and gives me the other opportunities that I need."
Having access to the internet has literally meant that the world has opened up for 3rd Day Rising. A UK mail order company called Acorn Direct have recently agreed to start selling 'Spiral' on the net; America's famed Broken Records have picked up on the 'Spiral' album; and there is even talk of 'Spiral' being given mainstream distribution within Belgium, not to mention potential gigs within Europe. "I'm really encouraged by the response we've had worldwide," declares Chris. "We've (even had) a positive response from a black metal magazine, which I think really sums up the fact that God has given us the opportunity; that we must really take every second of it as a chance to do something for him." Enough said.The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.