Review Rating: 4.6 / 5
There's something about Zach Williams' new album that boldy shouts out freedom. Perhaps it is the western-style guitar, combined with a light rock sound. Perhaps it is the rich, passionate vocals that powerfully project throughout each song. Perhaps it is the impactful lyrics, the testimony of a man rescued by his Savior. Whatever the case may be, Chain Breaker is inspiring, upbeat, and leaves listeners refreshed by its raw joy.
The opening, title track "Chain Breaker" starts the album on a light note and quickly kicks into an energetic celebration. Bold piano notes combine with clapping and guitar, drawing out a bold, unrestrained sound at a steady, rock solid pace. The lyrics are reminiscent of an old American gospel hymn and proclaim the freedom from sin that Christ offers us. "If you need freedom and saving, He's a prison-shaking Savior," Zach sings, "if you've got chains, He's a chain breaker." It's a strong start and sets the stage for the rest of the collection.
Zach's instrumental mastery shines in the calmer and more contemplative "To The Table." Gentle acoustic guitar chords and hints of banjo set the foundation for a western-style hymn with a call to the Savior. Its lyrics are an invitation to ask Christ for rest, letting go of our troubles. "He can see the weight you carry … but through the cross you've been forgiven," Zach sings, "… so bring it all to the table, there's nothing He ain't seen before." In comparison to the upbeat "Chain Breaker" and "Old Church Choir," "To The Table" enhances the variety of the album.
"Song Of Deliverance" continues the album's theme, pulling away from calm melodies and back to a western rock style. From the beginning, clapping, tambourine, drums, and even some stomping set the beat, bringing to mind a southern church or an upbeat western concert. Acoustic and electric guitar drive the chorus, while Zach's lyrics are supported by background vocals and a gentle echo. Bordering between worship and praise, the song describes both the freedom from sin and the joyful life that Christ offers. Upbeat and celebratory, it is really hard to listen to this track without wanting to clap or stomp along.
Towards the close of the album is the calmer and more contemplative "Fear Is A Liar." Gentle guitar chords and deep keyboard notes set the foundation for the vocals, creating an emotional stage for Zach's vocals and lyrics. He describes the pain of fear and the lies it spreads, slowly working to a place where Christ's love overcomes the deception. Through the bridge, the tempo, pace, and volume slowly pick up as Zach pleads for His power. "Let Your fire fall and cast out all my fear," he passionately sings before re-entering the chorus for a dramatic and massive finish. It goes without saying that "Fear Is A Liar" is a comforting track, but its genius lies in building from a small, quiet, safe place and expansion to a courageous, comforting, liberating finish built on Christ's power.
All in all, Zach Williams has beautifully orchestrated an excellent premiere album. His instrumental mastery and engaging melodies keep audiences invested in the album and in its unique sounds. His lyrics leave listeners with comfort, courage, and hope, with the themes of freedom in Christ prominently displayed. Zach's music stands out due to such details, thus making Chain Breaker a memorable start for a talented and passionate musician.