Reviewed by Tony Cummings
Down the years we followers of CCM have seen Third Day grow and grow. From those early years of Atlanta club obscurity to 'Conspiracy No 5' - the finest Christian rock album of 1997, to the inspired acoustic-tinged 'Time' of 1999, to the mega-selling purveyors of "contemporary worship" with those two 'Offerings' albums in 2000 and 2003. So what is there left for the band to achieve? Clearly, as their interview in last issue's Cross Rhythms intimated, crossing over to a non-Christian market would be nice. Personally, I'm not sure if this "back to their roots" album will be the one to do that for them. Don't get me wrong. Mac Powell is still one of the finest voices in pop rock, every bit the equal of a Michael Stapp and all those other gritty voiced stars of post-grunge rock. It's just that bluesy Southern rock, even the classy stuff presented here, probably isn't the thing to set the mainstream marketplace alive in 2004. So it will be the believers, many, many thousands of them, who'll nudge this bombastic set towards platinum sales. Long time devotees won't be disappointed. "Til The Day I Die" has one of their fiercest guitar riffs heard for years, undercut with some tasty acoustic drops, "Blind" with its blue collar swagger and its stunning violin solo from The Dave Matthews Band's Boyd Tinsley is a delight, while the songs "You Are Mine" and "Innocent" have enough worship ethos for more staid listeners who bought the 'Offerings' albums but find some of the more raucous rock moments a little bewildering. Not everything works, for example "Rock Star" is a pretty banal song. But throughout Mac's emotionally charged vocals and the sonically dazzling mix by Brendan O'Brien (Aerosmith, Limp Bizkit) keep you listening. and rocking.
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