Album Review: THE BLOOD by Kevin Max (12/26/07)

The standard Mac dictionary software on my ibook offers multiple definitions of Gospel including the following: (1) the teaching or revelation of Christ; (2) a thing that is absolutely true; (3) a set of principles or beliefs; (4) a fervent style of black American evangelical religious singing, developed from spirituals sung in Southern Baptist and Pentecostal churches.
The third full-length solo release from former dc Talk member Kevin Max epitomizes each of these definitions. My intent for posting my a review this album does as well: The Blood, as an album, is truly good news that I need to share.
I am not one who enjoys vanilla (unless it is Ben & Jerry’s which squelches my heartburn) and, as a father of two and a teacher, I don’t have a lot of extra time or energy to devote to the homogenized sap that permeates the majority of radio playlists – Christian or not. The latest solo offering form Kevin Max, however, is worth taking in. With The Blood Kevin Max has effectively delivered a high-potency project that is pure in content with no preservatives.
In a nutshell, The Blood showcases Kevin Max’s penetratingly unique voice, the core, redemptive message of Jesus Christ, and reverence for the roots of American rock music. Each track has unique characteristics which allow it stand alone amidst a loaded album that contains no fillers.
For people mainly used to the higher end of Max’s vocal range, the first track, “The Old Rugged Cross,” comes across as a stark, pleasing surprise. It immediately reminded me of Johnny Cash’s My Mother’s Hymnbook partly because of the surprising Cash-esqe growl and also because of the simple guitar, vinyl-static arrangement.
“The Cross” features a reunion of sorts with former cohorts Toby McKeehan and Michael Tait lending vocals to the Prince cover to create a track that, while featuring a characteristically dc Talk sound, accomplishes a direct and personal delivery of the gospel message that is the common thread of the album and the foundation of the Christian faith.
“Run On For A Long Time,” which features former American Idol finalist Chris Sligh, is an uptempo track (complete with horns) that I can’t seem to get out of my head. The song is virtually impossible not to sing along to when it is playing. While the rest of the tracks are all unique in character, they all exhibit an authentic, often rural gospel flare.
“Trouble of the World,” “I Know His Blood Can Make Me Whole,” and “They Won’t Go When I Go,” all exude sincerity-laden, solitary, personal testimony of the redeeming nature of the gospel of Christ. The simplicity of the musical arrangements in each song only amplify the power of the message being communicated.
Of the two most characteristically country tracks on the album “One Way – One Blood” (featuring Joanne Cash) is the most satisfying because of what I perceive to be a more personal, less-produced flavor in comparison to “Up Above My Head,” which features Amy Grant and Vince Gill. I admit that this perception may have come as a result of the sing-along-style outro that “One Way – One Blood” closes the album with.
“People Get Ready,” (featuring Erica Campbell from Mary Mary) and “The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power” are two tracks that make me just want to close my eyes and sway with the choir while I sing along with my hands raised.
Kevin Max has achieved the mark of a true artist on this album, in my opinion, by so successfully and convincingly displaying his range of style and ability on a selection of songs that are as different in style as they are similar in message. While only one of the tracks on The Blood is an original, I believe that the message of The Blood is what validates the authenticity Kevin Max as a person and an artist and is what, inevitably, carried over to shape an authentic collection of recordings that can be appreciated by the masses and needs to be heard everyone.

The Blood

5 thoughts on “Album Review: THE BLOOD by Kevin Max (12/26/07)

  1. Depending on how you count, this is Max’s 6th release.
    1.Stereotype Be
    2. Raven Songs 101
    3. Between the Fence and the Universe (released twice, second time with an extra song
    4. Holy Night
    5. The Imposter
    6. The Blood

    Max is so versatile, that’s my favorite thing about him and this album.
    Great review!
    -Melissa

  2. Pingback: Album Reviews: OPEN by Jason Morant (2006) & BELONG (EP - 2007) by Jason Morant « m e a n d e r s

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