Acclaimed pop/rock/worship band The Neverclaim releases its first full-length live worship album, Encounter: A Live Worship Experience, Sept. 30 from Radiate Music. Recorded live at the Franklin, TN-based Vineyard Church just outside of Nashville, the album was produced by the band's Jeremiah Carlson (lead vocals), Mitchell Maldonado (guitar/keys), Chuck Hill (bass) and Beji George (drums), and expresses the band's story of being broken people who are now a testimony to the extravagant love, grace and goodness of God.
Encounter finds The Neverclaim reconnecting with their roots as a worship band and during a season where they are heavily investing into the local church. Carlson is the Young Adult Pastor at Vineyard Boise where Maldonado is Director of Media Production, George is at a Houston Vineyard church, and Hill is part of a Vineyard church plant in Bloomington, IL.
"Every story of hope in a desperate situation starts with an encounter with Jesus," shares Carlson, underscoring the passion for this project. "He alone holds the power to break off chains of fear, shame, anxiety and depression. He alone can redefine who we truly were made to be. He can take all the brokenness from our past and turn it into something beautiful."
Framing the overarching theme of the album, the anthemic title track gives worshippers language to call on God to intervene. "Through a simple encounter with Jesus, everything changes," says Carlson. "No matter what kind of life people have lived when they encounter Jesus, they are wrecked for anything else but Him."
The song "Testimony" on the album is the natural progression of an encounter with God, and is a collective shout of praise for Christ's redeeming work, while "Through Christ," first featured on The Neverclaim's 2015 album, The Joy, comes from a very personal experience in Carlson's story. Born out of an extramarital affair and sexually abused as a child, Carlson says he experienced anxiety, self-hatred and was suicidal.
"Christ alone has been my strength, guide and the only one who could speak the reality of my true identity in Him," says Carlson through the healing process of all these broken situations. "I am His child and through Him every battle I have ever faced and will ever face is already won in Him."
The album also features The Neverclaim's version of the classic hymn "How Great You Art," as well as the live versions of "Rules And Reigns" and "Our God Wins" from The Joy.
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The Claim to Fame| Posted September 21, 2016
Christian contemporary band The Neverclaim gained some success and media attention with their 2015 album, The Joy. Now, the band hopes to continue the gained momentum with its follow-up effort, Encounter: A Live Worship Experience, an album consisting of both original and cover songs.
Both contemporary and church bands (Hillsong, Bethel and Casting Crowns, among others) releasing live worship albums has become a trend. Consequently, the market is now full of live worship albums. Now The Neverclaim, similar to other contemporary bands, has to deliver a unique worship experience that differs from the competition in a crowded field. Did The Neverclaim achieve this with their new live album? Yes and no.
"Our God Wins," the album opener, is originally from The Joy. The live version has a rough start, but the song turns into a quality listening experience once the rough intro ends.
The Neverclaim's lead vocalist Jeremiah Carlson poured his heart into "Through Christ" lyrically--in his words, the song comes from a very personal place in his story. Carlson says, "Through the healing process of all of [my previous] broken situations, Christ alone has been my strength, guide and the only one who could speak the reality of my true identity in him." In the song, Carlson sings: "We are not condemned by the sins of our father / We have been restored, reborn to live forever."
The band hit a home run with two of the album's cover songs: Hillsong United's "Touch the Sky" and the timeless hymn "How Great Thou Art." By far, The Neverclaim's rendition of "How Great Thou Art" is the best song on the album. The band turned a reverent hymn into a highly energetic worship anthem. On "Touch the Sky," The Neverclaim decides to play it safe by staying true to the song's original arrangement--it is Carlson's vocals that give the song The Neverclaim touch.
Some songs--particularly "Testimony" and "Rules and Reigns"--on Encounter: A Live Worship Experience lack energy and sound similar to many other worship songs available on Spotify and iTunes. But on a positive note, The Neverclaim keeps most songs short and, for the most part, avoids chorus repetition. "Encounter," the album's longest song, has a great build, but falls flat after the five-minute mark.
"How Great Thou Art" clearly demonstrates that The Neverclaim can deliver solid worship anthems. I would love to see the band do this on future albums, both live and in studio. Some songs also had some very impressive guitar riffs, an important element when delivering any type of anthem. Carlson is a former drummer for a heavy metal band-- I would love to see The Neverclaim inject more rock influences into their music.
So, how did The Neverclaim differentiate themselves from other worship bands? Carlson's dynamic and unique vocals and The Neverclaim's impressive guitar riffs are two elements that help the band claim their own unique fame.
Song to Download Now:
"How Great Thou Art" (Get it on iTunes here.)