There are few bands that can truly operate at such a high caliber that their studio albums and live albums are equally good; Louisiana natives Deluge are one of those gifted bands, with two excellently executed albums under their belts. However with their latest release, Swell, do they keep up the momentum or slow down? The listeners opinion is what will ultimately determine the belief, but here are some of my thoughts on the latest live recording.
Opening the album are the chants of a large crowd counting down from 3 until soft ambient sounds start on "Lift Him High." The soft tones don't last too long and are eventually over-powered by some 80's style lead guitar. For an opening song, I will be honest and say that the first half is considerably lackluster compared to the end, but by the middle of the track it makes a positive change. This positive change continues onto the title track "Swell" as it is a great corporate church song. The melody is simple, the music is uplifting, and the lyrics are a different perspective on the power of God as Stockstill sings, "The river is here let it flow right through you… so take off your load and let the river flow."
This energy is genuine and can be felt on similar tracks like "Your Joy" and magnificently on "220 Song." Both have similar lyrical foundations of God being our strength and giving us freedom, but their execution of the songs is tasteful and doesn't feel overdone. Nevertheless, let it be said that their medium-tempo songs have greater weight to them, especially the MuteMath-esque "Coming On The Clouds." Not only is the music impeccable but it features some beautiful rap as Deluge sings a reminder that Christ will return for a pure bride.
Moments of intimate worship aren't the real highpoints on this album, which is slightly disheartening, however there are some glimpses of excellence: particularly on the track "He Rose." It is musically and lyrically the best track on the album as it just points to the resurrection of our Savior. Stockstill's voice, proclaiming "He rose, celebrate the day He rose, there's power in the way He rose," is sure to not only send chills up your back but also turn your eyes to Jesus.
One of the major distractions on the album might be the fact that it is a live recording, but when it comes down to it, it doesn't feel like a cohesive work from start to finish. While there are a number of songs that have a similar theme, they don't build off each other well in the order that they are laid out. Regardless, Swell is music for the local church and there are some incredible songs here that can be used for Sunday mornings and youth services, but overall the album doesn't reach the bar that Unshakable set.- Review date: 4/15/12, written by Ryan Barbee of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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