Birmingham, Alabama-based rock band Nine Lashes released their debut album Escape in 2009 on Collide Records. Their album happened to find its way to Trevor McNevan of Thousand Foot Krutch, who convinced Tooth & Nail Records to sign the band. They did and subsequently released their most successful album to date, World We View, in 2012. Two years later they returned with their third effort, From Water to War.
From Water to War (2014): 10 tracks, 35 minutes
While Nine Lashes more or less defined the typical Christian heavy rock sound on their first two releases, From Water to War ventures into new territory for the Alabamian rockers. In the past their music has been a bit redundant, but this time around Adam Jefferson and company have experimented with some synth. It especially shines through on “Where I Belong,” while “Never Back Down” and “In the Dark” stick to the band’s signature sound. However, “Surrender” is definitely the standout on the record. Featuring ambient guitars and keys, you can see that Nine Lashes broke off from the mainstream for this song. They also utilize a lot of piano on “Love Me Now.” As with their other music, lead vocalist Adam Jefferson returns to his delicate falsetto and occasional forceful lyrics, providing a refreshing contrast throughout all of their music and not only on From Water to War.
The lines “All I know is I’d rather die than believe a lie / I cannot follow the blind” from the opening track break from the typical attitude of our culture today. “Break the World” and “Lights We Burn” encourage us to really care about people and what’s going on in their lives; go deeper than the world can and show them “We got the remedy.” “Surrender” is a beautiful song of letting go of everything keeping us back from our Creator, harmonizing perfectly with the unique musical qualities showcased with in it as well. “Where I Belong” grazes over similar pastures: “I tried to carry the ache alone / Thought I could brave the cold . . . Take my slow beating heart / You are where I belong.” Jesus is mentioned by name in “Love Me Now,” something you don’t see a whole lot in this genre.
From Water to War is all about finding peace in Christ. Through all the struggles that the band and all the rest of us have faced, the joy in the pain shines through in their songs. I love the way the album wraps up in “Cover Your Own.” The last lyrics beautifully sum up the entire record with “Though I had the loneliest heartbeat / I found a home / A Father to love me.” Isn’t that the story of all of us?