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I'm not gonna try to snow you and lead you to believe I know anything at all about "Christian rock." I don't. I don't follow it, I don't listen to it (as far as I know). I also have nothing against it. However, I'm not a religious person (thanks to your typical learn-to-hate-religion Catholic school upbringing).

That said, Jacob's Well is a Christian borderline-hardcore rock band. How do I know this? By the song titles, each with a chapter and verse number from the bible listed after them on the CD sleeve. The opening track is called Stand (Romans 14:10-11); the next track is called Eyes (Psalm 146:8), and so on. But if you didn't have the song listings to refer to, you probably wouldn't recognize this as a Christian rock CD. Though you'd get a bit suspicious if you listened closely to the lyrics, which for the most part, are buried under layers of chop guitar and drums. For example, you might be grooving to Tool (Isaiah 58:11) when suddenly it would dawn on you that the lines being repeated are: "Father help me/Use my mouth to speak your words."

The CD sounds very professional. Recorded at Eclipse Studio, whoever produced it did a pretty good job at capturing that classic heavy-metal commercial hardcore sound. Guitarist/vocalist Jason Platt handles his axe fairly well, though his guitar lines are cliché at times, as if he's trying to sound as commercially basic as possible. The lead vocalist (either Platt or bassist/vocalist Mark Rabuck, the liner notes don't say who has lead), does an adequate job, though a  youth-stricken warble occasionally comes to the surface. Drummer Jason Rabuck knows what he's doing, but is lost in the mix. This type of music demands thick, meaty, driving drums that come close to swallowing everything up. The drums here, though well-played, are background effects.

On a certain level, it's all very sinister, really. Here's this heavy-metal rock band doing their best attempt at Metallica -- a sound that's often linked to Satanism or violence or whatever -- at the same time testifying to their faith in God and Jesus. Covert missionary work? Maybe..

Regardless, it's a tough sell in today's commercial music scene. Only a couple bands I can think of got away with placing Christian lyrics in their tunes and onto the radio -- U2 and Kansas. Early U2 has numerous religious references, and Kansas is a self-proclaimed Christian band, or was back in the '80s (I don't know what they area anymore).

The fact is, it shouldn't matter, but it does. Rock and roll was born out of rebellion, spitting at authority, sex, and turning one's back on everything society holds dear, like religion. On another level, Jacob's Well, by its very Christian nature, is rebelling against the stereotype, and how cool is that?

Contact info: e-mail them at or call 402-691-9463.

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