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Album reviews
Praise ye the Lord-Modern Worship

Welcome to my album review page.  If you would like to review a worship album for this page just e-mail it to me and I will try to put it up here.  Also if you have any albums you'd like a review of feel free to ask.

Holy

Vineyard UK's Holy has something for nearly everyone's taste.  Brenton Brown's opening cut 'Thank You for the Cross' is fantastic song, and is bound to be a church favorite.  The title track 'Holy', sung by Marc James is also a great song, well worth a listen.  If you like a lot of today's modern pop music the song "New Day" is one you should definitely hear-with all the twists and turns, loops, and studio tricks, the song is catchy to say the least.  Although the album stays uptempo for a good while, there are some strong, slower songs such as 'Aweomse God'(not the Rich Mullins song) and 'Let my Life be Like a Love Song(!)'.  Holy gets closed out by 2 uptempo songs-'You are my Shelter'(My favorite track) and 'So Near'(this song is pure rock, awesome for youth groups-great song!) With all new songs from passionate and talented young songwriters, this album is just waiting to be devoured by any hungry listener.

Our Love is Loud:

Passion Our Love is Loud goes a step above all other passion albums in my opinion.  Chris Tomlin, always good, but seemed to take his worship leading abilities to a new level in Our Love is Loud.  David Crowder's tracks are great as well; David has an outa this world voice and great song writing talent.   Charlie Hall also makes an appearance on a few tracks; his song Sweep my Away is very good.  Tim Hughes song "Hear I am to Worship" opens the album and finally gets some well deserved attention in the USA. The next two songs are both brand new written by Chris Tomlin.  Famous One and Enough are bound to become church favorites in no time.   Enough has nearly perfectly written lyrics and is done very well on the musical edge, as well.  Charlie Hall has the tracks in the middle of the album, Im sure that some of you will love his new songs.    David Crowder Band then makes an appearance for a few songs including the brand new Can You Hear Us(also titled Our Love is Loud).  Tomlin closes out the album with 3 tracks, 2 of which are great remakes of God of Wonders(although this version is quite similar to Third Days) and the Delirious? song My Glorious.  Could someone finally have done a song better than the D?  original?  Maybe, you decide.  The last song Dance in the River is also by Delirious?, but hasnt appeared on any of their albums yet, so it was a fun surprise to hear.  Jesse Reeves provides some great bass licks during the song and the music through out this song and the entire album is bound to get you to dance in the river, yeah.  Passion truly shows how loud love can be

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Your Name's Renown

The latest Soul Surivor release is, well, a nice live album; I wouldnt say that all the songs are destined to be church favorites, but there are some gems by artists like Matt Redman, Tim Hughes, and Chris Tomlin that I'm sure youll like on this cd. Your Name's Renown was recorded live in the UK with thousands of youth, which makes a great atmosphere for any worship cd. This cd starts off with Matt Redman's "Making Melody, the song is a good praise song, but maybe a little short or repetitious for my taste. Tim Hughes has the next track with "Maker of all Things". The next cut, "When My Heart Runs Dry" is probably the best song on the album and my personal favorite, and it's destined to be another church favorite by Matt. Half way through the album there are some re-recordings of "The noise we make", "Open the eyes of my heart" and also "The Wonderful Cross''. Overall, I liked this cd, and if you like live worship cds, I think you will too. For more info, go to goldusa.com or survivor.couk

King of Majesty

United Live-the youth band from the Hillsongs church in Australia is a band with very talented musicians and singers-their 3rd albumn is no exception. From rocking guitar intros to intimate worship; this cd has it all. One thing you will notice on most of the faster tracks is that they have slower vereses with roaring choruses. "King Of Majesty" the title track and first track of the album is great way to kicks[rock!] things off, its a great praise song with lyrics that would be fitting to a slower song. One track on the album that really stands out to me is "Your Spirit"-I believe this song is going to take off in churches around the world. After "Your Spirit" there is a pair of slow songs with some female lead vocals- from then on the best songs come 4 in a row. "God is Great"-good praise song but my fave fast song on the album is "Lift"-the arrangement, with an awesome drum intro and nifty guitar rifts, fits a youth service, but I think it coule be molded into an awesome song sung in your Sunday service. Two more slower songs come next including "Holy, Holy, Holy" which was a sweat suprise from United Live and I'm sure you will like how they do this oldie. The closing track couldn't have been a better choice than "Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble"-their version is good in its own way, but it's not Delirous! There is something in this cd for everyone's taste, guaranteed or your money back[ok there's my opinion] I have no complaints.

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UNDONE:

Catchy choruses, guitar rifts, intimate lyrics, moments of intense worship- if you can find it all on one cd it's probably Undone with Tim Sherrington. This UK based worship leader has one great album, and all the songs are doable in your Sunday services, and they are easy songs to sing as well, the lyrics seem to stick with you and you want to keep playing the songs over and over, especially the strong title track "Undone" which is probably the best worship song on the album, and one of the better worship songs there is. There is some great guitar solos that happen frequently in this cd, even in the more slow songs. "Revival in Our Land" one of the albums more upbeat tracks, as the title suggests a great song crying out for revival. Another great track, well worth a listen is "I will Come To the Waters[All]" with some great music that "brings you in". All in all, this is strong worship offering-worship leaders, I'm not trying to make money on this cd or anything, but this has some great songs worth introducing in your church. "I am undone when I'm with You Undone in Your sight laid bare in Your presence exposed in Your light.."

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OPEN UP THE SKY

Open up the Sky, the latest release featuring Lindell Cooley was released under the Integrity Music label. One new feature you will notice about this album, compared to other Brownsville cds, is most of the song are written by Lindell or co written by him, which is a plus to the cd. The album was mixed incredibly well with more detailed sound than on any previous B-ville album. "Open up the Sky" is a powerful song, crying out to God to hear the "sound of desperation". "This Love" is one of the best songs on the cd, and it is written by Mike Motley. The fourth track, "Your Mercy Goes Much Deeper" is probably the most incredible track coming from Brownsville, ever! This whole cd, with other great song like "Love Came Down" "It's Time" and "Oil Of Your Spirit" has great potential, and these songs could really influence the worship music world. The next wave of Brownsville worship is here. "Can You feel my passion, can You see my hunger, do You know how I long for You..."

Never Looking Back

This second release by the Burn Service Band is a country/western stlye of music, with moments of passionate and intimate worship. Never Looking Back also includes some great vocals from Ryan Delmore, Jessie Lane, and Joel Limpic. The album has quite a few new songs, as well as some older, well known VMG songs. the title track "Never Looking Back" is a nice upbeat song, and is a song with the message you must hear; and it is sung in an inviting tune. "You are Wonderful" is one of the best tracks on the album and is great for your quiet prayer times. They even include a remake of the old "I Believe In You"[I think that song is older than me!] The album overall has a unique feeling to it, and stays rather "gentle" throughout the entire cd with no static like rock songs. "I will follow You never looking back...."

Cry Mercy:

This cd, featuring David Ruis, is a very intense one. There are 12 tracks, with titles, like songs, but the difference is they don't really have words! The music on the cd ranges from moments of intimacy, all the way to driving rock. "Jesus!" is the first track and only about 40 seconds long, but everyone is the crowd is chanting "Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!" which is pretty cool, then the intensity comes as David gets up and cries out to God for the poor, homeless children around the world, and that's not the entire focus of the cd, but it is a major one. "Flee!" is one of the intense tracks , and track 7-8 are the "gentlest" songs on the 60 minute album. The only real song on Cry Mercy" is the Vineyard song "Mercy Is Falling" but even that hit is almost un-recognizable. The cd ends with a perfect touch on the track "More of You". This is not a normal cd, I don't even feel like caling it a "album" because it is really not one! But, that doesn't mean that its not good, if you love intensity and worship, or have a burden for children, this is a good offering!

Come Heal This Land

This latest album with Robin Mark live from Ireland did not meet my expectations to the fullest. Robin has one great vocal, and that's a plus for the cd; the lyrics of all the songs are great[and long!] they are just very simple prayers, but are lacking of a melody. The music is a "modern Celtic" style. The first 3 songs, are the richest sounding on the album, to me at least. The album starts with "Take Us to The River" and it's probably the best on the entire album. "Glory To The Lord Our God" and "No One Like You Lord" are both relatively upbeat songs with some melody. The title track is a great song and one of the longest songs I have ever seen, lyrically. Some of the songs on the album remind me of a newer hymn. One thing I was expecting to see was the entire album to have original songs, but that's another thing that it didn't have; a song from Hilllsongs and another from Chris Tomlin were present. Steve Merkel also wrote some of the songs. "Lord Have Mercy" is a good slow song with some richness. "Not By Might" is a short song that is sung over and over again-maybe too many times! So if you like Robin Mark, get this album, if you like Celtic music, give this album a try, if you don't like either of the above I would not get this album! This must be my first review with a thumbs down :-)

By Life or By Death:

By Life or By Death was the first release by a new ministry school in Pensacola, Florida. This cd was recorded live and has 8 songs- 6 of them are originals by people from the FIRE School- the other two are "God's Romance" and "Agnus Dei". The worship leader on most of the songs is Aaron Crider, he also wrote about half the songs on the cd. The first song is "Let the Singers Sing" which is a cool praise song. "God's Romance" is next and they do it awesome, even though it is a little refined from the D? version. The next song, "Revolution Now!" makes the album in my opinion, and it is almost 13 minutes long; you simply need to hear it! "Lion and Lamb" is a good song, and really adds a touch to the album. The next song is the title track, which is sung by Jeanna Gladstone. It's a good song but, personally I think it could have been done a little better. "Open Heart" is another good song. I have to mention "Agnus Dei" because they do this song in one of the best versions I've ever heard, especially the worship segment when they just play and cry out to God! The album ends with "Broken" sung by a female vocal, a good song. So, I guess I went a little long but this album is a revolutionary cd and is a great one at that!

Glo:

The UK rockers have done it again with Glo! This incredible album was recorded in the studio, but with a huge choir on some cuts, and during the 4 "Glo In the Dark" tracks they just play and worship after some of the songs, and are these times AWESOME! The album starts with monks singing "God You Are My God", I like this song but it's not the best on the album, following right after this track they go into the first "Glo In The Dark". God's Romance is a lot to listen to, but an awesome song, and I can see this song done in the church, as well. I have to mention the next track, "Investigate" because it is simply powerful, especially the second GITD. One of my fave songs on this album is "My Glorious" and well you need to hear it :-) after "My Glorious" the next two songs "Everything" and "Hang On To You" are great and powerful songs. I could mention all the other songs on this D? offering but it would take waaaay to much time. Some people ask me "is Glo a worship album?" My answer is a big YES, the songs on Glo are worshipful in a rock style. All the songs are rich lyricly and the music is just incredible! So, pop Glo into your cd player, take a deep breathe and get ready for a WILD, yet powerful ride!

UNITED LIVE: Best Friend (2000, Hillsong Music Australia)
Coming on the heels of its highly-acclaimed 1999 "Everyday" youth worship release, United Live "Best Friend" meets and even surpasses the testimony of Hillsong worship leader Darlene Zschech: "A new song, a roar of passionate praises from a generation who are not ashamed of the gospel of His name." Recorded live, "Best Friend" runs the gamut of the ecclectic--from the mile-a-minute enthusiasm of the title cut, to the intimate "Forever" by youth leader Marty Sampson, to the joyful-almost-head-bangin' celebration called "The Reason I Live." The bulk of the CD is ideal for personal worship and, well, joyful dancing before the Lord. For corporate worship celebration, "Best Friend" has a 21st century Apostle's Creed feel to it--lots of words to get around the notes, but certainly do-able, and a chorus that sticks with you through the day: "Jesus, You are my best friend, and You will always be, and nothing will ever change that." And if your church includes the McPherson/Grul/Izzy version of "Jesus, Lover of My Soul" in its repertoire, you may never do it the same way again after you hear this nearly 9-minute soaking that includes a hauntingly beautiful new intro chorus: "Worship You, my Lord, until the very end." For immediate impact, United Live's "Everyday" still holds a unique and tireless place in my heart. But "Best Friend" isn't second-rate by any means--it's just out-there passion delivered in a slightly different package. Definitely worth forking over the bucks.

--Steve Smith (stevesm@pennwell.com)
Worship leader
Peterborough, NH

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The Noise We Make

The Noise We Make with worship leader Chris Tomlin is a pretty fair album. Recorded in a studio, this cd is alomst a "sequel" to One Day. The album starts out with the title track, I like this version, but the song and the album is missing the "live" aspect that One Day had. For the most part, the cd is pretty relaxed, starting right at "Forever" and going through most of the rest of the cd. "America" is an awesome song at track 4 Chris Tomlin does a good version of the "Happy Song", and Matt Redman makes a special apperance singing "The Wonderful Cross", an awesome song! My favorite song is "Need You Know", which just expresses a person's need for God. Kindness is also a good cut. The album ends with a live songs recorded in Africa, they sing "We Fall Down" in Setswana. So all in all, this is good, I'm not unsatisfied, but I'd like it to be live. For those of us who liked Passion One Day, this would be a good choice.

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United Live Everyday:

This album was recorded live at a Hillsong's youth meeting in Australia. The worship leaders are Reuben Morgan and Marty Sampson. This cd is full of worship and praise and is entirely doable in church. My favorite songs are Heaven and God is Moving[you have to hear that one!] But some other songs are More, Everday, Jesus I Long, On the Lord's Day, Seeking You and more! You may have been turned off by some youth worship albums but I wouldn't write this one off!

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Now to Live the Life

This is the most recent recording by the Brownsville Youth and a very good one too! Mike Motley Leads worship on most of the album. The cd starts out with Stand Up on Your Feet and Jonnhy Fernandez singing this lively, praise song. Then the album goes into the Bob Dylan song Saved, and they do a great rendition of this song. The next and my favorite track is Touched. All in all this is a very good cd! Some other songs are Now to Live the Life and Let everything that Hath Breath and Agnus Dei, What a friend Iv'e found and many more passionate and intimate worship songs make this a great cd for anyone's taste.

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Desperate For You

This is Lindell Cooley's most recent release and really is Brownsville worship at its best. The album starts out with Oh Magnify The Lord With Me and it's done well with a good choir too. Next on the list is Stand Up On Your Feet with Johnny Fernandez and also the choir. Next song is Holy is The Lord and from there on this album rolls on in passion and very intimate worship. When you get to Crowns Down don't expect to leave without loosing some pride :] Another song is His Blood Washes Me done in a "blow up" praise way! Desperate For You gets topped off with the title track Breathe/Send Your Rain and this is awesome! Brownsville worship keeps getting better and better so I give this *****

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I recieved this review from a friend named Derrek,

"Believe" is the latest recording
from Vineyard Canada. Worship leaders
on this album include Brian Doerksen
(returning from Vineyard UK after
doing "Hungry" and "Come Now is the Time WOW 12),
David Ruis, Daphne Rademaker, Graham Ord,
Angie Vandemark,Melissa Boraski, Ron and David
Wilding, and Brenda Janz. This cd is really good.
Eleven of the 16 songs are live recordings with the remaining 5 being studio recordings.
"Believe" has a good mix of mid-to-up tempo songs and some slow worship songs. All the songs are powerfully written and performed with some new jewels by David Ruis
and Brian Doerksen that are sure to become church
favorites. The songs that really stand out for
me on this album are
"Yet I will Praise", "Fall on Me", "Lily of the Valley", "Change me on the Inside", "He carries all my Sorrow", and "Save Me". These songs will speak to your
heart and you simply must hear the song "Fall on Me"!
"He carries all my sorrow" is a very short (1min and 39 sec) song butonce of the most moving on the cd.
All in all this cd is a great additiong
to your vineyard collection and offers a
lot of new talent as well as old combined
for this awesome cd.

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Passion One Day

This is the most recent Passion cd and it was recorded live in Tennesee during a youth worship event. This cd is not for the laid back worshippers! From The Noise We Make to America this cd has it all! The worship leaders are Chris Tomlin, Charlie Hall, and others with a special appearance of Matt Redman during Let My Words BE Few and part of America. Track 7, which is the song We Fall Down, is done in African as well and English. Shout to the North is also on this album, and it done very well, too. The worship band may be mainly worship Together people but they inlcude other songs like Breathe on this cd. There is much to say about this album, but if you like passionate worship this cd may be the one for you!

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Freedom:

The Freedom cd by Darrel Evans is one of my personal favorites. Freedom has ten moving songs and over 60 minutes of play time. The album has a style of music and singing that I don't find in many others. Some of the great songs are. Trading My Sorrows, I am In Love With You, Freedom, So Good to Me, When I pray, and more. If you want a passionate praise and worship cd I'd take this one into consideration!

"The Father's Song"-Matt Redman
2000 WorshipTogether; Survivor Records

Released in the U.S. last fall, the latest project from U.K. worship leader Matt Redman, "The Father's Song," is not for the satisfied of heart. It reflects the hunger and bold passion for God expressed on Matt's previous recordings, but with an intense intimacy and depth that at times makes you think you're listening in on a one-on-one, behind-closed-doors conversation between the songwriter and the Father. But if you're at all hungry for more of God and don't know quite how to get there, listen carefully to "The Father's Song." Listen, because many of the 14 cuts are geared to personal worship and devotions; but it's a passive experience only in the sense that your heart and mind rather than your voice do most of the singing.

Get ready to sink deep into the Father's heart. And when it's time to sing your heart out or bring that new song into your fellowship, you've got several great choices: the strongest being the dance-like feel of "You Must Increase," "Let My Words Be Few" (co-written with wife Beth), the previously-released "O Sacred King," and "Thank You For the Blood." This CD also features a special appearance by Sonicflood on the surprisingly uptempo "Holy Moment."

But the defining song is "King Of This Heart"-and it's one that's entirely singable if your fellowship is willing to stretch a bit-both rhythmically and, most imporant, lyrically. Matt has based the text on the seldom-preached but oh-so-intimate lines of Song of Solomon-focusing on a heart that relentlessly hungers for the only One that will satisfy"so I'll search through the night for the One my heart loveswon't stop 'til I've found You for, Lord, I need to hold You close. Be the King of this heart again, be the King of this life"
****
"The Father's Song." Do not consume unless entirely famished for God. Rating 1-5:



--Steve Smith
stevesm@pennwell.com