After two Platinum-selling albums (Casting Crowns & Lifesong), two Platinum live projects (Live from Atlanta & Lifesong Live), numerous awards, and one of the most successful headlining tours in our industry, one might expect a different Casting Crowns. Those who meet this exceptional group, however, quickly realize they are still the same down-to-earth people with ministry at the heart of what they do both on the road, and in their local churches where each of the members serve on-staff or as laypeople, including lead singer/songwriter Mark Hall who still holds his post as youth pastor at his home church.
Casting Crowns' third album, The Altar and The Door, draws on this first-hand ministry experience with real people, real life struggle and the faith that overcomes. "At the altar, everything makes sense," says Hall. "When we're in the church and spending time with God, we know what we're supposed to do and how to live. Everything is black and white. But somewhere between the altar and the door, when we leave and go out into our lives, it all leaks out. Everything gets gray again. It's like we have these two lives, and the Christian life is the journey between the altar and door....trying to get the things you've got in your head, into your hands, into your feet, and into your life. This album is all about that journey of realization, the struggles we encounter and the victory of seeing it as possible."
The band is excited about the next ministry chapter to unfold, and is already planning Fall and Spring legs of The Altar and The Door Tour. With the debut radio single hitting in June and widespread media coverage starting late summer through the fall, this album is set to be another phenomenal release setting records and, more importantly, impacting hearts.
Video: "East To West: EPK"
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TOP 10 ALBUM OF 2007| Posted November 19, 2007
Mark Hall, lead singer of Casting Crowns and the group's main songwriter, recently said that the group's music is simply a means to the message, and it's apparent through The Altar & The Door that Casting Crowns continues to have things to say. There's something about they way they encourage, challenge, question and entertain in every song that no other group in Christian music is doing.
The third studio release contains some of their most powerful songs and moments including the first single "East To West" which speaks of the immeasurable distance God places between Himself and our sin and "The Word Is Alive," an instant anthem on the fact that God's word and promises are as real today as they were two thousand years ago. As a father with a wife and daughter to protect, the song "Slow Fade" reminded me that Satan attacks with baby steps, barely noticeable in the day to day. It continues to challenge me to run towards God. "I Know Your There" finds vocalist Melanie stepping up on lead and she carries it beautifully.
However, the group's third album is also their weakest offering to date. Maybe it's the constant interruption of music for youth group chatter, shouting preachers or a daughter's serenade (I'll never say it isn't cute). It could be the suddenly weak ending with "Prayer For A Friend" and the confusing hidden track that made no sense until it was explained to me at a concert that it was inspired by their recent visit to China. That said, I keep coming back to these songs and having to stop what I'm doing to reflect on my relationship with Christ, and that's why I'm still extraordinarily interested in what they have to say.
Great, but not CC's best work| Posted September 06, 2007
Most of the reviews on this site are based solely on the strength of "East to West" and were posted before this album even released. I also love that song, along with "The Altar and the Door", "Slow Fade" and "Somewhere In The Middle". Those 4 songs are so good that this is the best overall Christian release of 2007, however it is the 3rd best Casting Crowns album. Epilogue has some insightful comments about the other songs not being up to the incredibly high standard set by Casting Crowns, however it is still a great album compared to other releases this year and a must-have.
Lets hope Cansting Crowns is not on a slow fade| Posted March 05, 2008
Being one of the most popular artists in today's Christian music, for good reason, it can be tough to be consistently good. Honesty this writer thought Casting Crowns would fall at the album Lifesong, but Casting Crowns put out another incredible album. But is their third and latest album the Alter and the door as good? The answer is no. the music does not have the smoothness of previous albums and the lyrics not quite as good. Nonetheless this is still a brilliant album.
Setting the stage for this much anticipated album was the smash hit single "east to west" the simple soft song which is not a great Casting Crowns song but considering the competition how could it not be a hit? The album starts out with "What this world needs" a good rock song, "everyman" is next but the chorus of the song is not impressive. The "word is alive" is a good light rock song, and the title track "the alter and the door" is good also but the high notes on the words 'cry', 'eyes', and 'try' prevent the song from being great. On every Casting Crowns CD the first half is great but the second half is lacking, the same is true again.
The ironic thing is the problem with the second half is with songs they didn't write. The radio single by Fee "all because of Jesus" and Jeff Chandler's "I know you are there" both have spots on the ten track album. My conclusion of those two lone worship songs is that Casting Crowns should write their own songs. "Prayer for a friend" is very soft anda little weak, but conveys a decent message. The other rock song on the album is "slow fade" which is excellent musically and the lyrics are nothing short of fantastic. The only drawback from this incredible song is the singing debut of Reagan Hall at the end of the song, which takes away from the urgency of the song.
Mark Hall write some of the best lyrics in the business; he sings about not being content with where we are but getting to be where we should be ("somewhere in the middle" the would be title track) to not just being good on Sunday, but taking God with you the rest of the week ("the alter and the door"). Some of the messages are simple but they are still a cut above the average lot for some reason ("east to west" and "every man"). "the world is alive" is a good song, but what makes it great is the case it makes for the authenticity of the Bible.
The Alter and the Door is not as good as previous Casting Crowns albums, now that it's out in the open this is still one of the best CD's out there today. Avoiding singing about God in his glory all the time like Chris Tomlin or Aaron Shust, Casting Crowns goes for the deeper messages in life and the Bible. And it has worked out well so far as they accomplished a monster hit single, an album that was the number two besting selling even among secular CDs. A good inspirational album, but let's hope Casting Crowns doesn't slip.
Wait...| Posted August 14, 2007
I don't get it. How is it that that it's two weeks till this album released, yet it has 15 reviews? And has a average rating of 5 stars? I will never get the hardcore Casting Crowns fans. Even I'm not reviewing the upcoming Relient K before it releases. And if I do, somebody please slap me. If this isn't totally misleading, I don't know what is. And I still think Casting Crowns is totally overrated and their radio single of this album sucks like a vacuum cleaner! Oooh, I'll get hate mail for that.
Well done again, Casting Crowns!| Posted September 18, 2007
Casting Crowns has done it again!
With thought-provoking lyrics and heart-driven melodies, Mark Hall leads us to considerations of whether we are living out our faith genuinely on a day-to-day basis.
"Slow Fade" reminds us that we need to make a conscious effort to guard our hearts against the negative influences of this world; that if we relinquish control of our hearts and minds to our culture, it will slowly but surely take us over and guide us down a path that can cause unnecessary pain not only to ourselves, but to everyone that we come into daily contact with, particularly our families.
My favorite song on this album, "East to West", gave me chills the first time I heard it. The thought that Christ holds His arms wide open to us, with scars on His hands and no memory of our sin, just blows me away. We only need to let go of what we think makes sense, and just humbly ask His forgiveness, and He chooses to put it out of His mind as if it never happened at all. You can't help but fall on your knees in worship at that eternal truth.
The upbeat title track gets your foot tapping and your lips humming, and considering whether we truly are living out what we set out to do. We sit in church and soak up teachings, we make commitments to ourselves to change and live for Him more, but often times we leave the building and go about our lives as usual without really changing at all. Making a heart change is wonderful and great, but unless we live it out, we aren't going to impact this world for Christ in an effective way.
"Somewhere in the Middle" shows us that living on the fence is a precarious place to be. A balancing act like that allows us to be pulled in opposite directions, always having to compromise who and what we are. Just let go, step off that line and fall into the arms of God, and give Him all the control, and you'll find your feet.
Includes collaborations with Nichole Nordeman ("Every Man") and Steven Curtis Chapman ("The Word Is Alive").
I love that Mark Hall writes more than just vertical worship songs. With a contemporary feel, he continues to help us ponder our effects on each other as we live our lives out. Living for Him is more than just a relationship between us and Himself--it extends much wider to our earthly families, our church family, our friends, our neighbors, to strangers we meet every day and even to those on the other side of the planet. The choices we make this very moment have a domino effect on the kingdom of God here and now, as well as there and later.(See Matthew 22:37-40 and Hebrews 13:1-3.)
Casting Crowns continues to challenge us: How many crowns will you lay at His feet? Live obediently this moment, and then the next, and pretty soon you'll instead be asking yourself, who else can I encourage to be able to lay crowns, too?
Outstanding and worthy of praise!| Posted September 16, 2007
I remember the first time I heard Casting Crowns on the radio several years ago. It wasn't Mark Hall's voice, the band's music, or even the harmonies sung that drew me in. It was the lyrics. I was going through a situation that "Voice of Truth" so eloquently and accurately addressed. I honestly felt the Lord meant for me to hear that song at that particular time. I decided to go ahead and buy that album and found every song spoke volumes to me. Now here we are 3 albums later and once again, Mark and his amazing ensemble of musicians have done it again. They have put together an album that speaks volumes to my heart.
I really like the way that Casting Crowns' albums generally have a theme. This album is no exception. I find the theme throughout this album is about staying in our comfort zone also known as the middle ground- the safety zone. But he also addresses the middle as in the 'gray area' which we all have to deal with on a daily basis no doubt. Mark sings about how we all have good intentions but when it comes to stepping out of our comfort zone for God we say...'no way!'. We give God a list that says I'll do this and this but there is no way I can or will do that or that. Fear is usually the biggest reason most of us don't step out of our comfort zone. I am in no way pointing a finger because I find I am probably the guiltiest of all at doing this. That said, this album truly helps me to understand why I do what I do and how to remedy it. It inspires me to seek out the Lord in His Word and in prayer and meditation.
The first song on the album: "What This World Needs" is a great way to start off the album. It has a rocky edge that draws you in to its chorus and before you know it you are singing along. I actually had to listen to this song several times before I could fully appreciate what Mark was trying to say.
Song #2: Every Man- This song references the fact that no matter who we are or what we've done there is Hope for us. Hope comes in the form of Jesus Who knows how we feel and can understand what we are going through.
#3: Slow Fade- This is an amazing song that helps us realize that no one goes from being on fire for the Lord to dabbling with sin in one day. No, instead it is a slow fade. Satan knows the best attack is a gradual attack which makes black and white fade into gray.
#4: East to West- One of my favorites on this album. This is one of the songs on this album that speaks to me personally. It is with songs like this that I wonder if maybe God isn't giving Mark a look into my heart. (As if I'm the only one struggling with issues like this. ;-) )
#5: The Word Is Alive- As the title indicates, this song is about the Bible and how It brings forth hope to the hopeless and frail.
#6: The Altar and the Door- One of my favorites also. "The Altar and the Door" musically has a lot to offer. It is very upbeat and easy to sing along with. This song is one of the many that teaches about how we get caught in the middle and lose our follow through between the altar and the door. I believe we all are guilty of this at some point in our walk with the Lord.
#7: Somewhere in the Middle- This is my absolute favorite song on the album for several reasons. One of which is that this song is easy to sing along with and secondly, because it is such a deep song that carries a great amount of meaning. I really think it should be my "anthem". I admire Mark's clever word play- "Fearless warriors on a picket fence, Reckless abandon wrapped in common sense, deep-water faith in the shallow end, We are caught in the middle with eyes wide open to the differences, The God we want and the God who is..." What Mark illustrates here is how contrary and fickle we as the body of Christ can be. We know right from wrong and we know how to discern truth from fiction, but yet we stay in the middle ground where it is safe and easy instead of standing up for what is right...which reminds me of the great story of the three young men thrown into the fiery furnace.
#8: I Know You're There: This song is great! One of the ladies from Casting Crowns sings this. She does a terrific job and is able to carry her own without any problem. This song is about knowing that God is always there for us.
#9: Prayer for a Friend: This song, which sounds close to a ballad, is about those we are closest to getting caught up in the world and we want nothing more than to bring them back to the Lord.
#10: All Because of Jesus: This is a praise and worship song that I think will one day be sung in churches all over the world.
#11: White Dove: This song is completely different from anything Casting Crowns has ever done. I am not a big fan of it though I have to applaud them for trying something different.
I highly recommend this album to anyone who worships with music. I also recommend it to anyone who is feeling lost in this big world. Casting Crowns does a great job of helping its listener connect (or re-connect) with God.
One more note: This album is GREAT to work out with!!! I do my strength training and cardio workouts with this album. I also like jogging to this album.
Casting Crowns Hits a Bump In the Road| Posted August 28, 2007
The song, "East to the West" is just great Casting Crowns. Slow build up, powerful conclusion, great lyrics, and inspiring music. The rest, I'm afraid, is not as great.
'What This World Needs,' while being one of CC's rockier songs, is lacking in the thrust that the other rockers had. It feels watered down and forced, and gets tiring. 'Every Man' is not pleasing to the ear, and has a very basic concept that is unlike CC's past convicting songs. 'Slow Fade,' though, is one of the album's highlights, and possibly their next single; it warns of how people do not fall in a day, they slowly fade, and its certainly aimed to show what pornography can do...the whole thing about little feet following, little eyes seeing, and Mark Hall's daughter's sweet singing try to impress that when you go down, you take others (more specifically, the children) along with you.
'The Word Is Alive' is a nice song, but rather dull. 'The Altar and the Door' has a great chorus, with Mark Hall's vocals reaching their highest point yet. 'Somewhere in the Middle', possibly a single also, is the last good song. 'I Know You're There', and 'Prayer for a Friend' are both strangely dull and emotionless. 'All Because of Jesus', you would think, would either be a great, soft closer, or a rousing finale...it is neither. It just fades into the dull, unimaginative mix that is the rest of this CD.
This album, if you are a CC fan, is still worth the money, but if you are not, go buy 'Lifesong' instead. There are much better songs on that album. Casting Crowns just seems to have lost a lot their vigor, passion, and earnestness here. Nothing like 'Praise You In the Storm,' 'Set Me Free,' or 'Who Am I?' But I'm hoping this is simply a bump in the road, and that Casting Crowns will rebound with another powerful set of songs. Until then, you can enjoy the few good songs on this album.
Casting Crows - The Altar and the Door| Posted July 16, 2007 Casting Crowns and their new Album The Altar and the Door has really set the new standard for Christian music!
ok, so i suppose u expect me to tell u about Casting Crowns previous albums, u expect me to give u all the hype about there impressive list of awards, nominations and the huge number of record sales. No. I'm not going to tell u any of that, because in my Opinion this new album makes the rest sound like any other band just pulled off the street! Don't get me wrong, i love all of Casting Crowns previous albums but they aren't in the same league as the new album, The Altar and the Door.
If u like Christian pop/rock (in fact even if u hate it) then u will love this new album by Casting Crowns.
This new album not only contains awe-inspiring lyrics, but the vocal skill and instrumental mastery it takes to make truly great songs.
In Mark Hall's (Lead Singer) own words 'Where god has us is singing to the church and talking to a believer, and to a culture now that would call that preaching to the choir, I guess we would call that discipleship, and so really its discipleship apposed to music.' And when I listened to this album, this is how I felt, I felt like I was being taught a lesson rather than listening to a song.
I have always thought that i am strong in my faith and that nothing could change that, yet when i listened to the songs on this album I realised that its not hard to drift away from god, the song 'Slow Fade' emphasises how easy it is to slowly slip away, because if it is a sudden change you will realise what has happened, but when it is a slow fade from god sometimes you wont realise what's happening! And this new album is full of awesome lessons such as that through the whole thing.
my favourite song has to be 'East To West' this song basically explains about the sacrifice made by Jesus and how he took our sin's away! This song makes me thank Jesus every time I hear it.
When Mark Hall said he was singing to the church i think he was wrong, i think that the songs on the new album can not only mean a lot to the church and the believers but also non believers because the songs answer so many questions that would be difficult to explain in words.
If i could give this song 10 stars out of 5 I would!
this album really shows how the world sees us as and how they try to treat us but really need what we have in our lives. i pray people will see what they need and we can help them see that by being happy, reaching out to them, acting different from our neighbors and not being afraid of inviting them to christian events which they may not be used to going to.
The Altar and the Door| Posted November 14, 2011
Yet another great release from Casting Crowns. It's great to have a band that is upfront, straightforward and direct in their focus on Christ and their musical mission. This release initially didn't attract me as much as the bands first two releases, but the songs have grown on me over time and are as engaging and thought provoking as always.
A very good cd.| Posted November 05, 2011
It is a very good cd. I highly recommend it. I've actually seen a lot of the song on this cd made into skits that were very powerrful. I feel like when I hear Casting Crowns songs it's like God is talking to you. I believe that God is using them to help people.
TOP O' THE CHARTS| Posted July 02, 2011
This is probably my favorite Casting Crowns album of all time. Okay, I like all of their material but this album just has something about it that makes you want to listen to it over and over. "What This World Needs" is in my top 10 list of greatest Christian songs. "Slow Fade" is a song that really makes you think about your life and the choices you make. "Every Man" is also a great song that makes you think. "East to West" gets the most credit on this album but all of the songs are top quality. A high recommendation to all.