Third Day originally formed in Marietta, Georgia in 1991. The band released their self-titled major label debut in 1996 on Reunion Records. A song from it, ‘Nothing at All’, peaked at #34 on the mainstream Billboard rock charts. Their follow-up album was CONSPIRACY NO. 5 (Reunion Records, 1997). It was produced by Sam Taylor who had worked with the likes of ZZ Top and King’s X. The album did quite well. It was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Gospel Album of the Year and won a Dove Award for Rock Album of the Year! At the time, Third Day was: Mac Powell (lead vocals, acoustic guitar), Brad Avery (lead guitar, vocals), Mark Lee (rhythm guitar, lap steel guitar, vocals, mandolin), Tai Anderson (bass guitar, vocals), and David Carr (drums, loop, vocals). The CD booklet includes pictures of Abraham Lincoln, JFK, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Jesus Christ. Keep in mind the title of the album.
The album begins with ‘Peace’, a smooth rock song that begins with these words of testimony: “Peace like a river flows within me/Love like a waterfall pours on me/I’ll never be alone/Can’t you see?/Peace like a river flows/Like a river flows on and on, and on/Hope is a fire burning in my soul/Life is eternal with You Lord/Who could ever ask for more?/Peace like a river flows/Like a river flows on”. ‘You Make Me Mad’ is a rocker with a catchy chorus that could be addressed to one’s friend or spouse: “You make me dance, you make me cry, you make me laugh/You make me shout, you make me smile, you make me mad/You make me sing, you make me think, you make me sad/You make me fall, you make me love, you make me mad”. ‘How’s Your Head’ has a Beatles pop vibe to it. It could be the song of a traveling musician to his spouse: “How’s your head?/I’m so sorry that I can’t do anything about it/Like I said, I’ll be praying/Here without you I feel helpless/Sorry I had to go away/Tomorrow’s just another day/Without you here, I’ll have to say/Hold on to love”.
‘Alien’ is awesome and won a Dove Award for Rock Song of the Year! It serves as a sincere prayer: “I am just like the alien, the fatherless, and the widow (2X)/Keep Your watch over me/Sustain the life in me/Frustrate the ways of every wicked man/Let me inside Your home/Father defend my cause/Plead for my case and my innocence”. ‘I Deserve?’ includes nice guest vocals by Riki Michele, and deals with guilt: “Well, I tasted the fruit that was forbidden/I murdered the trust that you had given/And now I’m living in a place that’s not my home.../Maybe I’m just being too hard on myself, I don’t know/Or is it that your mercy is much more than I deserve, I deserve?”
Max Dyer plays cello on the pulsating rock song ‘Have Mercy’. It serves both as an admission of guilt and as a prayer: “If it’s true that the wages of sin is death/Then I’ve earned quite enough to quit/The reward I deserve I’d surely get/Were it not for You to pay my debt/Have mercy, on me a sinning man/Lord have mercy, on me a sinning man”. ‘My Hope is You’ is a beautiful song of worship: “To You, O Lord, I lift my soul/In You, O God, I place my trust/Do not let me be put to shame/Nor let my enemies triumph over me/My hope is You/Show me Your way/Guide me in truth/In all my days/My hope is You, oh Lord”.
‘More To This’ is a song of spiritual anticipation with a great electric guitar solo: “People get ready for something like you’ve never seen/Open up your eyes, open up your heart/Open up your arms/And let the Spirit of the Savior set ya free/Ooh, yeah, you ain’t seen nothing yet”. ‘This Song Was Meant For You’ is a pretty ballad that includes these words of encouragement: “You never know what the future holds for you/But of all I have heard, this one thing’s true/Nothing can separate us from God’s love/And in our lives there is bound to come some pain/Surely as there are storms and falling rain/Just believe that the One who holds the storms/Will bring the sun”.
Producer Sam Taylor plays organ on ‘Who I Am’. It is a song that finds one openly conversing with God: “And I know that You want to change me/Wanna rearrange the way I feel inside/And I’ve heard that You take/The broken hearts of lonely souls/And You make all things right/Do You know who I am?/And have You seen the things I’ve done?” Next up is the Southern rock track ‘Give Me a Reason’. It contains this thought-provoker: “The question still remains the same/On who can I place all the blame?/The demons, devils of the world/Or is it only myself?”
‘Gomer’s Theme’ was inspired by the events in Hosea, chapters one to three. It is a great rock song that centers in on unconditional love and forgiveness: “In this place, saw her face/He was more than happier/Made for Him, it’s a sin/That she was not faithful/She couldn’t be foolishly/More unfaithful if she tried/He did not care, wanted her/Despite lies and wandering eyes/He deserves the very best/But He loves her none the less/She’s forgotten her first love/But He’s forgotten that/She ever went away and broke His heart”. The last official song, ‘Your Love Endures’, offers these words of personal testimony: “No, I can’t explain or even understand/Why You gave Your life to save sinful man/But I know it’s true, I’ve seen it myself/Yes, Your love endures forever.../Though our pains and joys will come and go/Your love endures forever/Even in my fears, I will always know/That Your love endures...” Track 13 on the CD also includes a bit of a hidden song snippet if you let it keep playing.
CONSPIRACY NO. 5 is an actual Christian ROCK record. This is rock music at its finest, with strong emphasis on fine electric guitar work, heavy drum beats, and passionately delivered, meaty vocals! This is an album that should please fans of acts like Petra, Mylon & Broken Heart, and DeGarmo and Key. These songs thoughtfully explore the Christian life. The lyrics are anything but shallow and are worthy of several listens to get the full meaning. I’m giving this album a perfect 100% for its depth, originality, innovation, and its ability to evoke feelings. I wish more Christian bands were making rock music like this today. For more info visit: www.thirdday.com.