It's gotta be tough to be an original heavy Christian rock band in Fort Wayne. I mean, your moderately-drinking-at-best audience will keep you from getting most bar gigs and your distortion pedal and drum kit will keep you out of Anchor Room and many churches. Despite such daunting challenges, Jacob's Well have persisted in their mission of providing "alternative rock with positive lyrics" directed at "the unbeliever or the backslidden believer." The release of Distorted View, recorded under the loving fist of Tim Bushong, makes their songs available to a wider audience.
The opening track, "Keep Me From Falling," is definitely the best of the bunch. Combining a hooky melody, upbeat rock, the more soulful of the bands four vocalists (bassist and ex-payment processor Greg Andrews), modern guitars, and an amalgam of 80s metal and Jars of Clay, the chorus is sure to stick in your head as it has mine with a single listen. "Trust" begins with eerie keys and atmospheric guitars that drop into a heavier chorus of inventive drumming by Charles Thomas. A muscular chorus and gutsy guitar riff by Robert Caspar, along with lead vocalist Darrell Lummer's emotive voice makes "He Loves Me Not" a very engaging and atmospheric song with lots of spine-tingling impact. Shifting into classic power ballad mode with "I Will Go," the band opens with clean guitars, eventually shifting to heavy distortion and a great chance for lead guitarist Samuel Monk to lay down some very melodic and uplifting lines. Other songs explore 60s rock, Bible school classics, praise anthems and lonely western music, all approached from a foundation of rock.
Overall the musicianship is extremely solid. It's obvious that these men have logged years of experience with their instruments and can play a variety of styles with ease. Their vocal harmonies, rich and intriguing, are among the strongest I've heard on a local release and are alone worth the price of admission. Lyrically Jacob's Well are a bit more proselytizing than, say, Creed or Jars of Clay, but it's always in a positive, encouraging manner. The songwriting balances deftly between modern and 80s metal, often with nostalgia winning out. Fans of such classic hard rock should drink deep from this well, and there's no better time than 6:30 on October 25 at the CD release party held at the Anchor Room.
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