John Ball - By Declaration & The Death

Published Monday 25th April 2016
John Ball - By Declaration & The Death
John Ball - By Declaration & The Death

RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 160215-23761
LABEL: Independent
FORMAT: CD Mini-album

Reviewed by Matthew Cordle

Alabama-based John Ball presents here his third collection of songs, following 2010's 'Found Among The Broken EP' and 2013's self-titled EP. Creeping up to eight songs, it's almost a full album this time! Produced in Nashville by Joshua D Niles, the sound is polished but not artificially so, resulting in an uncluttered, somewhat melancholic rock sound. Honesty and openness about personal weakness are John's lyrical signature right from the opening "Find It In Me"; John posted on his Tumblr blog that when he was surrounded by insanely talented people in Nashville, for a while he got caught up in the dangerous game of comparison wherein he felt he didn't really amount to a lot. He had to grasp that pursuing anything other than what he was called to do would never be fulfilling and that he would find his direction in God alone. Another standout song for me is "I Feel It", with its soul-searching question, "If I lose the faith, if I lose control/Will you still bring me back, will you still guide me home?" Musically this is reminiscent of Steve Taylor in one of his more melodic moments. In stark contrast is "Charcoal", a raw song about Peter's denial; "I said I would die with you.through the fire and through the flame/My eyes caught your gaze/and as the charcoals blazed I denied your name." John has captured a real sense of the devastating emptiness Peter must have felt as he caught Jesus' eyes, both in terms of his vocal and the open instrumentation. Add in a couple of worship-style and two acoustic songs at the end, and John has served up an eclectic collection of songs demonstrating his musical versatility. This, coupled with his very honest, personal lyrics that will surely resonate with many, makes for a winning formula.

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