Album Title
Artist Icon The Reckoning (2011)
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First Released

Calendar Icon 2011


Genre Icon Rock


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Style Icon Rock/Pop


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Record Label Release

Speed Icon Elektra

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The Reckoning is the fourth studio album from American Christian rock band Needtobreathe, released on September 20, 2011, through Atlantic Records. It is the last album featuring drummer Joe Stillwell. It debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Christian Album chart, No. 1 on the Billboard Rock Albums chart, No. 4 on the Billboard Digital Albums chart and No. 6 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 49,000 copies in its first week. The song "Oohs and Ahhs" was used in a promotional advertisement for J. J. Abrams's drama television series Alcatraz.

The album released on September 20, 2011, through Atlantic Records, and it was produced by Needtobreathe, Rick Beato, and Greg Wells. This was the fourth studio album by the band. The studios used while recording the album were Plantation Studios in Charleston, South Carolina, Blackbird Studios in Nashville, Tennessee and Rocket Carousel Studios in Los Angeles, California.

Music and lyrics
At Allmusic, Andrew Leahey stated that the album was a mixture of "sacred/secular" that is done with great precision, which takes the "best from both camps." Cross Rhythms' John Willoughby agrees with that noting the band "successfully managed the balancing act of having a foot in both the mainstream and Christian rock worlds." Matt Conner of CCM Magazine wrote that this was an album that "the sweet Southern Rock...captures the attention of all who hear it." At Christian Music Zine, Adrian Garza affirmed that listeners "enjoy music that sounds completely original, and unlike most of what they’ve ever heard", which the band do on the release. Jeremy V. Jones of Christianity Today said that the band has come "out guitars blazing on its fourth album, a muscular collection ready to shake arenas but paint their corners with warm southern and Americana gentility". Willoughby also believed strongly that this is the reason for the band's "huge appeal comes from the fact that they also straddle musical styles and can switch from tender alt-folk to swaggering pop rock."

Jen Rose of Jesus Freak Hideout noted that the album "doesn't retread past material or stick to a formula", however, she stated that "something feels a little off on the first listen or two. Perhaps it's the darker, subdued feel overall that is unsettling at first, or maybe it's the lack of standout upbeat songs". In addition, Jesus Freak Hideout's Jerold Wallace agreed that this album was just not "retreading" the same stuff all over again, but does have "Like the past albums, each piece borrows heavily from southern influences with a firm rock foundation." Also, Wallace noted how "Bear consistently impresses, be it with emotional highs that evolve into growls or a falsetto that we have not heard much of before." This was why Louder Than the Music's Jono Davies noted this album was "creative indie rock at its best." At Rock News and Reviews, Alexandre Romero said the album was "a balanced mix between genres already experienced during their career performed better than ever, plus some innovation touches."

Leahey noted that the album sound like "14 tracks are full of Bible allusions and parable-like lyrics." The Christian Manifesto's Lydia Akinola subscribed to the belief that this album "reads like a series of intimate thoughts put to poetry. More than the music, powerful lines hold the album together." In the thematic area, Akinola said that the album has "running theme of redemption and grace that permeates" every part of the music.
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