Tree 63, Land as reviewed in The Phantom Tollbooth

Land is a mix of the big, arena sound of their past and softer, mellower works.

Artist:            Tree63
Label:            Tree63 Productions
Release Date: September 11, 2015
Duration:        12 tracks, 46:32


After a seven-year hiatus, Tree 63, the three-piece CCM band from South Africa has released Land with the help of Kickstarter. The original trio of John Ellis (vocals and guitar), Darryl Swart (drums) and Daniel Ornellas (bass) has again found their unique chemistry to produce all new songs since their last effort, Sunday!, eight years back.

Land is a mix of the big, arena sound of their past and softer, mellower works. In all, the lyrics and backing music are as truthful and straightforward in message as in the past.

The powerful “Alive” is a high-energy song of faith’s rescue showing the strength of the band’s past being alive and well. “The Storm” and “Ship” both hold the foundation of the album’s story with strong performance and meaning as pleading vocals meet reactive rhythm. Ellis’ signature guitar is present in each.

Like a distant voice reminding us of life’s experiences with well-written prose, “A Whisper” gives promise of hope. The anthemic “Standing On It” builds energy like a strong march giving the promise of faith then melting into “If God” continuing the promise. Slower and softer songs of praise and worship, and the human suffering of falling from faith follow.

While not having the standout song of “Blessed Be Your Name” the overall strength and message of their last release, Sunday!, is very present. The band has not lost a step with the strong writing and lead vocals of Ellis, and the powerful underpinnings of Swart and Ornellas.


Scott S Mertens