Zilch formed in 1997. They got their new name Sonicflood from Revelation 19:6 which reads: “Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: ‘Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns’”. When Sonicflood released their self-titled debut in 1999 on Gotee Records their roster was: Jeff Deyo (lead vocals, guitars, tambourine), Jason Halbert (B-3, keys, programming, vocals), Dwayne Larring (guitars, ebo, noise, vocals), and Aaron Blanton (drums, percussion). The album won a Dove Award for Praise and Worship Album of the Year.
First up is ‘Invocation’, a short 20 second spoken prayer: “We love You Jesus/Manifest Your presence through this album and through the lives of these men/Who go out commissioned by Your Word to be worshippers for truth God/Making disciples in Jesus’ Name”. Jeff Searles wrote ‘I Have Come to Worship’. It speaks of God’s faithfulness and offers a proper response to it: “Many mighty rivers have I crossed/Many barren deserts have I seen/And still my heart beats strong/For You, oh Lord/For You have been my shelter/In all of my need/I have come to worship You/Oh, and I have come to worship You”.
‘Holy One’ is a song of praise: “I could never quite express the beauty of Your holiness/You’re the Holy One/Well, I could never quite define/The way You’ve changed this heart of mine/You’re the Holy One (3X)/There’s no counting all the ways that You remain so true/Faithful to the end/You’re faithful through and through”. Andy Park’s ‘I Want to Know You’ was a #1 hit for Sonicflood. It features lyrics that show a desire for a more intimate relationship with God: “In the secret, in the quiet place/In the stillness You are there/In the secret, in the quiet hour/I wait only for You/Cause I want to know You more/I want to know You/I want to hear Your voice/I want to know You more/I want to touch You/I want to see your face/I want to know You more”.
Jeff Deyo, Otto Price, and Jason Halbert wrote ‘My Refuge’. It leaves no question as to where the band finds their spiritual home and security: “I take my shelter in the shade of Your wings/I take my pleasure in the hope that You bring/I take my weakness to the foot of the cross/I take my refuge where I can get lost/In You, oh Lord, in You, my God/When there’s nowhere to turn/And there’s nothing that’s true/I find my peace here in You”. Sonicflood took ‘I Could Sing of Your Love Forever’ to #1. The version here features Lisa Kimmy-Bragg on vocals. It is a song of spiritual contentment and is poetic.
‘Holiness’ is one of two tracks on the album over seven minutes long. It features Wilshire on vocals and cries out for purity: “Holiness, holiness is what I long for/Holiness is what I need/Holiness, holiness is what You want from me/So, take my heart and form it/Take my mind and transform it/Take my will and conform it/To Yours, to Yours, oh, Lord”. ‘Carried Away’ is a Deyo/Halbert composition that declares who God is: “You are the open door to freedom/You are the only hope I have/The reason in my reason/The only thing that lasts.../You are the wisdom of the ages/You are the One who stays the same/The power in the wind/The scent left by the rain.../Some say You’re far away/But I know You’re here with me/I could go anywhere/And still You’d be there with me/I know You’re here with me”.
A worship classic from the 1970’s, Bill Gaither’s ‘Something About that Name’, is up next. It features Kevin Max on vocals. ‘I Need You’ makes it clear that we are all like open books to God: “You know of my deepest fear/You know when I’m scared/You can read my empty page/You can feel my rage/You’re aware of when I dream/You see when I bleed/You can tell when I need love/You know I’m in need”.
Paul Baloche’s ‘Open the Eyes of my Heart’ makes bold requests of Jesus our Lord: “Open the eyes of my heart, Lord/Open the eyes of my heart/I want to see You (2X)/To see You high and lifted up/Shining in the light of Your glory/Pour out Your power and love/As we sing ‘Holy, holy, holy’”. Last up is ‘The Heart of Worship’, the song of one properly refocusing on Christ: “I’m coming back to the heart of worship/It’s all about You/It’s all about You, Jesus/I’m sorry Lord for the thing I’ve made it/When it’s all about You/All about You, Jesus/King of endless worth/No one could express/How much You deserve/Though I’m weak and poor/All I have is Yours/Every single breath”.
When SONICFLOOD was released in 1999 it may just have been the best contemporary praise and worship project since PETRA PRAISE...THE ROCK CRIES OUT a decade earlier. Of note, in 2001 when Petra released REVIVAL on Inpop Records, it was produced by Sonicflood alumni Jason Halbert and Dwayne Larring. SONICFLOOD is a very strong, innovative praise and worship project that is also a pop/rock gem. There is a good mix of energetic and reflective, quieter moments. This album no doubt helped draw many youth and young adults closer to God and reinvigorated the faith of many. Several of these songs remain popular in one form or another to this day. It should be mentioned that this album benefits greatly from strings arranged by David Davidson. I’m rating SONICFLOOD a perfect 100%. It’s a must have!