(c)2021 Independent Release
- Every Eye
- Sunshine (Acoustic)
Devin Williams--Lead Vocals, Guitars
Drums--Lester Estelle, Jr.
Andrew Stanton--Guitar Solo on "Riverside"
Marco Pera--Guitar Solo on "Every Eye"
When Devin Williams calls in his friends for a project, he holds nothing back! Featuring Jeremy Holderfield (Seventh Day Slumber), Lester Estelle, Jr. (Pillar), Brent Milligan (Steven Curtis Chapman/Seventh Day Slumber), Andrew Stanton (Disciple), and Marco Pera (Amongst The Giants/Disciple), Williams has put together a powerhouse of an EP with Every Eye that incorporates elements of modern hard rock, southern rock, and melodic rock that should tide fans over until he is able to put together a full release. Delayed by COVID and life, in general, this EP manages to pack a punch, tug at the heartstrings, and give the listener pause all within the span of three new songs.
The EP kicks off with the big Christian radio hit and title track, "Every Eye". Taking inspiration directly from Revelations, "Every Eye" is about the return of Christ and every man, woman, and child in the world knowing of the return of the King. But also intertwined is an observation about the state of the world today, a world which has turned from God and His Word, as Williams warns that "Now is the time to get it right, Before He steps out on the clouds", at which point "Every Eye will see You, The mystery is finally revealed...and all the world will know that You're alive!". He echoes these sentiments in the liner notes, where he professes "I feel it's time to prepare our hearts for Jesus' return, whether it's next year or 100 years from now." Musically, this aggressive rocker kicks off with haunting guitars chords before making way for a big, chunky guitar riff and thundering drums that punch this track into high gear. Williams' smooth vocal delivery glides through the verse sections before ratcheting up the urgency, and dropping in a bit of an edge, on the chorus sections. The solo from Pera is excellent, with a strong sense of melody without fading from the power of the song, and a vocal bridge with a nearly spoken delivery from Williams adds to the full scope of what the song delivers, stylistically. While Williams has had numerous albums and songs hit multiple Christian rock charts, I have to say that "Every Eye" is very possibly my favorite track in his catalog up to this point. Check it out.
From here, the EP takes a much calmer turn with "Sunshine". Introing with a soft build of guitars and strings over a bed of programmed elements, the song is, for me, a showcase for the vocal gifts of Williams. Acoustic guitars accompany Williams' voice throughout, with strings adding to the lush feel of the track. Following the second chorus there is a bit of a musical build that hints at hitting power ballad territory, but nothing really comes of it other than the drums getting a bit punchier in sound. Regardless, this is a very nicely constructed song, and the string section is a really nice element here, with several flourishes from the violin section. But, again, it is Williams' voice that is the real draw here, and there is no denying the vocal gifts of the man. If you are willing to look for more than just the edgy rock anthem of "Every Eye", you are likely to find something to enjoy here.
Current single, "Riverside" is up next, stylistically splitting the difference between the full-blown radio rock of "Every Eye" and the balladry of "Sunshine". The Southern side of Williams shines forth here, with a lot of soul in the mix of this song that invokes the imagery of the old-time river baptisms. While the tempo is not as full throttle as "Every Eye", "Riverside" hits hard, nonetheless, and Andrew Stanton of Disciple really adds to that with an absolutely stellar guitar solo. While too short (in my opinion), Stanton absolutely shines with his string-bending fret run here, and I would love to hear these two work together again in the very near future. In fact, the collection of talent here really shines on this track more than anywhere else on the EP, as it is filled with punch and power, but also given enough room to breathe. Estelle's drums are snappy, and Milligan's bass work here, while not flashy, really serves to add to the power of "Riverside". Williams is fully in command here, vocally, with his rich voice really hitting its stride in the soaring chorus, and his conviction to the music and message really comes through in his performance. Yet another top five track in the Williams catalog for me, and a song that I really hope gets a strong run on radio.
The acoustic offering of "Sunshine" here, to be honest, isn't staggeringly different than the original. I'm typically not really a fan of acoustic mixes, although this is well done. I would have far preferred a 4th new song here, but there's no harm in this track's inclusion, even if it doesn't really offer up anything new.
The production on this project is top-notch, with Holderfield and Kellen McGregor, respectively, handling the producing and mixing. The mix is excellent, with no muddiness at all, and the guitars especially coming across as having individual, unique voices. I also love the drum sound that Estelle brings to the table, and a big round of applause goes to the entire production team for putting so much into...and getting so much out of...these new tracks.
Overall, this is a great little EP, and at just $8...for an actual physical CD that will arrive signed by Williams...the price is absolutely unbeatable! Head on over to www.devinw.com and snag your copy today. Christian rockers, you will not be disappointed!
Rating: Again, I don't love rating EPs, but to deny the crank-factor of this little project would be foolish. Crank Every Eye to an 8 and let's hope we get a full album in 2022!