Sounds like … a return to Third Day's more rocking roots, at times resembling The Black Crowes, Daughtry, and Robert Randolph while also embracing the Southern pop of bands like Hootie & the Blowfish and MercyMeAt a glance … there are parts of Revelation that will sound overly familiar to anyone who has followed Third Day over the last decade, but overall the album is an enjoyable return to form thanks to more rocking production values, catchy melodies, and relatable Christian lyricsTrack Listing This Is Who I Am Slow Down Call My Name Run to You Revelation Otherside Let Me Love You I Will Always Be True Born Again Give Love Caught Up in Yourself Ready Take It All

As one of Christian music's most popular bands since the mid '90s, it's well established that Third Day has subtly varied its sound from album to album. But the Southern rock that first established Third Day with their 1996 debut and 1999's Time has gradually given way for adult contemporary and worship music. Even the band members generally refer to their last studio album, the 2005 release Wherever You Are, as softer AC. So while many fans remain devoted to Third Day after more than a decade, it's little wonder many others expecting rock music have given up and moved on.

Skeptics, it's time to give Third Day another chance. After capping off their first ten years with a pair of greatest hits collections, the band decided it was time to push hard past their comfort zone. I've heard lead singer Mac Powell and the others say that they put more blood and sweat into their tenth studio album than any previous effort. It's not just hyperbole, it's a Revelation, and it ranks with their best albums so far.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, this album is not a complete reinvention for Third Day—there's plenty here that will sound familiar to fans and disenfranchised listeners alike. Instead, it might be best to view Revelation as more of what has worked for Third Day on previous albums, except done much better than any project since Time.

Credit much of that to producer Howard Benson (P.O.D., Relient K), who helped Third Day beef up their sound while remaining true to it, ensuring that the songs were both memorable and meaningful. Anyone expecting something as trippy and creative as Wilco from Third Day has unrealistic expectations of the band. They've always been about accessible pop/rock with a Southern flavor, and in that Revelation succeeds.

p>The real treat is hearing Third Day credibly rock out again, recapturing the energy of their live show along with the edge of their earlier efforts. That much is obvious from the opening track "This Is Who I Am," a grittier rocker that asks God to take us as we are and make us into something more. It's followed by "Slow Down," a decent rock anthem asking for God to pace our lives, improved that much more by the backing vocals of Chris Daughtry. But the real standout is "Otherside," an absolute blast of a Southern rocker featuring the blazing pedal steel of Robert Randolph, perfectly suited for this band in what is sure to be a highlight for their tour together this fall.