The Phantom Tollbooth
The Denial
Artist: Third/Crow
Label: independent
Length: 7 tracks / 35:31 minutes

Time-warp back to the mid and late '80s in Christian hard music, and you've got Third/Crow. Seriously, these guys could almost have opened for Stryper in '86, although they ward off the more distasteful glam and commercial elements in favor of solid, melodic arena metal. Big drums, occasional guitar solos, and memorable Christian anthems like the good old days (for some, anyway) of Rage of Angels, Messiah Prophet, and Neon Cross. The last track, "Trouble," is the only hint of modern groove on the whole album.

"Sin Nature" kicks off the show with a typical chorus on man's lost state--

       Oh...Sin Nature
       It's with you from the start
       Oh...Sin Nature
       It tears your life apart

--a theme which fills the album until the end, when "Today" concludes hopefully with "Heard a word the other day, It said there was a better way/I think I have found it, It was God's only son...Today." Modern music listeners might scoff at the simplistic rhyming and cliched lyrics, but fans of the genre will recognize it for something they haven't heard in Christian music for quite a while: the plain gospel.

By Josh Spencer    (2/8/99)