The Voice to Serenade Your Christmas| Posted November 14, 2016
Marc Martel has one of the most treasured voices in CCM, and now the former Downhere frontman is getting in on the season's flurry of Christmas EPs. The Silent Night EP is a collection of traditional carols set to Martel's signature vocals, with a new version of his signature original "How Many Kings."
Two of the tracks, "O Come Emmanuel" and "O Holy Night," have been released in the past few years as singles. The former is an emotional take on the traditional Advent hymn, with Martel's vocals driving it to new heights. The track builds to a passionate and climactic bridge that feels like it always should've been part of the song. The latter is a more straightforward adaptation, reverent and powerful. That's the real pattern of this EP: the music is intricate, but it doesn't try to get in the way.
The Silent Night EP is driven by Martel's passionate vocals. Whether it's a straightforward delivery or a retooling such as "In The Bleak Midwinter," Martel pounds home some of the most emotional modern renditions of these classics you'll ever hear. With Martel, he doesn't just sing; he infuses every note with himself.
The third version of "How Many Kings" (done twice previously by Downhere) follows the simplicity of the other songs, while offering a less cinematic and more electronically driven musical backing. Still, don't expect a dance/pop version. The synths are restrained and the beat is simple, allowing the vocals and the powerful message of the song to truly resonate. No matter how many times I hear this song, it never ceases to amaze me how much of a Christmas classic it is. While I still probably prefer the originals, this new version definitely offers a strong new impression.
The Bottom Line: Every track on The Silent Night EP is a worthy rendition, and Martel is still one of the best voices in the business. Check this one off as a must-hear for the Christmas season this year.