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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

World on Fire

  • reviewed by Christa Banister Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2006 1 Sep
World on Fire
Sounds like … a rock and worship combination of Delirious, Vertical Horizon, and The FrayAt a glance … as ambitious as World on Fire tries to be musically, not enough attention was spent by this reinvented band to make it more cohesive and compelling lyricallyTrack Listing All Around You I Will Follow You World on Fire Perfect You Are My Desire Rain Down Still Believe How Beautiful You Are Shine Any Other Way That's Why We Say

On "Shine," a loud, bouncy rocker on By the Tree's latest album World on Fire, new frontman Aaron Blanton (formerly the drummer) poses several questions many fellow musicians probably ask themselves before recording: "What can I do that's never been done? / What can I sing that's never been sung? / What can I ask that's never been questioned?"

There is indeed nothing new under the sun when it comes to music. Like fashion, trends come and go, and everyone is inevitably influenced by someone else. But some artists are better at crafting something new and distinct from their influences than others.

Unfortunately, that's not the case with this album, which suffers from a lack of freshness, especially with the lyrics. In the band's recent bio, Blanton talks about how the last year was a tremendous season of change and growth. Yet instead of taking this prime opportunity to infuse a little of what they've learned into their songwriting, the band favored more generic sentiments of encouragement over introspection, especially on the cliché-ridden opening track "All Around You" and "Perfect," a track that reminds listeners that "God's love is perfect every time." Gotcha.

Fortunately, the band takes a few more chances sonically, albeit with mixed results. Much like Sonicflood when Rick Heil replaced Jeff Deyo, the band sounds considerably different without its former lead singer behind the microphone—original vocalist Chuck Dennie left the group to serve as a worship leader along with his wife in Texas. That change, combined with a span-the-genres approach that rocks cool like The Killers one moment and awkwardly segues into simplistic guitar rock the next, contributes to an overall lack of continuity that makes the project feel disjointed. Despite the band's best intentions, World on Fire simply doesn't pique much long-term interest in their music.

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