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Light Has Come by Future Of Forestry Light Has Come by Future Of Forestry
What You Need To Know
Future of Forestry previously...
And on Earth, Peace by Salt Of The Sound And on Earth, Peace by Salt Of The Sound
What You Need To Know 
And on Earth, Peace is the new Christmas-themed...
Prize Worth Fighting For EP by Jamie Prize Worth Fighting For EP by Jamie

What You Need To Know


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The Most Enthralling Christmas EP of the Year | Posted December-21-2019
What You Need To Know

Future of Forestry previously released 3 Advent Christmas EPto critical acclaim. They didn’t achieve the commercial success of much of modern Christmas music, but their renditions achieved cult favored status for their artistic value. Now the band is back with a 7-song EP that is sure to follow in the same path.



What It Sounds Like

Title track "Light Has Come" is a melodic delight, calling to mind something for King & Country may have cooked up. Other originals like "This Night" and "We Are Home" offer similar melodic goodness that proves that Christmas music can still be compelling. Forgoing covers of songs most artists do, the band opts for some lesser-known fare like "Wexford Carol" and "I Wonder As I Wander" which fit well within the reflective sonic presentation. Start to finish, this EP is one of the best holiday releases of the season. Without filler or fat, the strength of each track shines.



Spiritual Highlights

It's refreshing to find a Christmas release that is entirely focused on the wonder of the birth of Christ. The traditional songs chosen benefit from their lyrics not being so widely known, allowing their significance to resonate more easily. The originals balance typical expressions of how Christ is light and also reflecting on how Christ is our home at Christmas, in addition to the wonder and beauty of the entire mystery of Christmas. You'd be hard pressed to find a better release this season offering new ways to contemplate the majesty of Christ's birth.



Best Song

"Light Has Come"



Final Word


With a surprising EP that is both invigorating and reflecting, spiritually inspiring and imaginatively engaging, Future of Forestry ups the ante on their previous Christmas EPs and produces one of the sleeper hits of the season.

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Ambient Holiday Cheer | Posted December-05-2019
What You Need To Know 

And on Earth, Peace is the new Christmas-themed release from critically acclaimed husband and wife duo Salt of the Sound (Anita & Ben Tatlow). And on Earth, Peace invites the listener to encounter the Christmas message of hope and peace in the context of contemporary city life.



What It Sounds Like

Haunting vocals and an ambient musical backing drive this EP, evoking feelings of a quiet snowy night. "O Holy Night" foregoes the "bringing down the house" style usually gone for in favor of embracing this "majestic winter night" feeling. "Star of Wonder (Gloria)" shoots to be a highlight of the project, exemplifying all the best traits of the style and creating a Christmas feeling that is more reflective and surreal than standard Christmas fare. 



Spiritual Highlights

While this release is more for quiet contemplation and relaxing, the songs were chosen to point to the true meaning of the season. If one is familiar with the songs, it can definitely make for a great meditation on their deeper meaning.



Best Song

"Star of Wonder (Gloria)"



For Fans Of

Enya, Gungor, The Brilliance



Final Word

This isn't the loudest, most radio-friendly, spirit-soaring release of the holiday season. But it is unlike anything else you'll hear and is a refreshing invite to settle down into quiet contemplation of the real reason for the season, away from the noise and bustle of the Christmas rush.


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A Prize Worth Listening To | Posted October-27-2019

What You Need To Know

Singer-songwriter Jamie Kimmett grew up in a small town in Scotland. After finding faith while pursuing a music career in Los Angeles, the soulful singer’s journey wasn’t a simple one. Through a series of divine appointments, Kimmett’s heart was transformed into an all-encompassing love for Jesus, a love that’s woven throughout his songs and performances offering a picture of a man completely changed by the love of Christ.



What It Sounds Like

Kimmett’s music is easy to listen to and engage with. While checking all the necessary pop boxes of singable choruses and catchy hooks, Kimmett foregoes some of the overproduced bombast that often dings much of the output from modern CCM. Kimmett’s laid back approach allows both the music and message of his music to breathe and resonate on their own merits. “Since I Met You” and the title track are fine examples of how good Kimment can make a song sound without throwing in too many unnecessary ingredients. 



Spiritual Highlights

Kimmett addresses common topics of the Christian walk, including recognizing our self-worth (the title track) and the changes that occur when we give our lives to Christ (“Since I Met You”). The approach is fairly common to CCM circles, but these songs should find much relevance in the lives of its intended audience.



For Fans Of

Sidewalk Prophets, Stars Go Dim, Matthew West



Best Song

“Since I Met You”



Final Word

Jamie Kimmett offers the sounds you love from CCM with a more organic musical presentation that lets his naturally earnest voice carry the tunes freed from the overproduction in much of the modern music scene.




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Unveiling An Energetic Surprise | Posted July-31-2019
What You Need To Know

Amy Savin is a dynamic and powerful vocalist and songwriter who crafts melodic, alternative-rock songs that weld huge sounding guitars and intricately designed drum parts together in explosive declarations.



What It Sounds Like

Amy Savin blends a ridiculously infectious pop/rock sound with full and lush instrumentation to deliver an unexpected highlight of the summer. Opener "Creator and the Cosmos" boasts a memorable chorus driven by Savin's passionate vocals. The title track ups the ante as far as infectious pop goes, and "Us and Them" offers some actual guitar rock even many rock artists haven't seemed to offer in a few years. On paper, Savin doesn't really reinvent any musical wheels - yet, every note seems to resonate more deeply than so much of modern worship. Perhaps it's clear influences from 80's and 90's hits or it's the earnest and crisp delivery of Savin's versatile vocals. Whatever the secret ingredient, this album proves it can make familiar waters truly enjoyable and fresh.



Spiritual Highlights 

Savin offers thoughtful worship that goes beyond simple cliches. The opening track expresses God's greatness and marvels at how such a great being takes time to love us. "The Cure" explores whether we could "see heaven on earth" if we truly loved our neighbors. Each song wades through the wonder and mystery of creation (and the Creator) in a more profound and inspiring way than much of modern music.



Best Song On The Album

"Unveiled" is the biggest example of Savin's strengths and a strong choice for a single.



For Fans Of 

Plumb, Natalie Grant, Rebecca St. James



Final World

With a full and engaging sonic and musical framework, Amy Savin has put out one of the most unexpectedly enjoyable records of the summer and one that dares to be epic. 



Check out Amy Savin on Apple Music and Spotify. 


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A Much Welcome Rocking Return | Posted July-22-2019
What You Need To Know

Scott Stapp was the lead singer for Creed. He has a new album out! (Do you really need to know anything else?) 



What It Sounds Like

I was somehow one of the few who didn't really hear Creed during their initial run. Nothing against them; I just sort of ran in different musical circles. So, I went into this album without much bias, aside from a general knowledge of what Creed sounded like and a healthy respect for the influence they've had on a genre I've come to cherish.



Scott Stapp's new album stands out in an industry that has a growing affinity for all things electric pop. With a sound very reminiscent of his Creed days, The Space Between The Shadows would have felt at home with most mid-2000's releases. Balancing outright rock with the obligatory rock ballads, Stapp threads a careful needle to craft an engaging rock album. Lead single "Purpose for Pain" delivers exactly the thrills you'd expect and is a great sample of what this album has to offer. "Gone Too Soon" proves itself capable of providing emotional balladry to balance the guitars. "Red Clouds" finds Stapp near shouting one of the most powerful and emotive choruses of the year, creating a definite album highlight. "Mary's Crying" is catchier and more memorable than it has any right to be, balancing well the album's rockier and softer moments on one of my personal favorites from the record.



Spiritual Highlights

Stapp offers a meatier rock experience than is typical of the genre. While looking for meaning in suffering is present, Stapp goes deeper by presenting legitimate explorations of his faith in a troubled world. "Mary's Crying" is a highlight lamenting the problems of our world causing Mother Mary to weep for us. Stapp sings of the finiteness of our days in "Last Hallelujah." A recurring theme of the album is how, despite our sinfulness and the damage it causes, God hasn't abandoned us. "There's still a little heaven in me."



Best Song On The Album

"Mary's Crying" boasts some of the best melodies and lyrics in an all-around standout album.



For Fans Of 

Creed, Decyfer Down, Skillet



Final Word

Whether you miss Creed or just are longing for actual rock music again, Scott Stapp has crafted a definite crowdpleaser that should find itself counted among the best rock releases of the year.



Check out Scott Stapp on Spotify and Apple Music 


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Hope Amidst Chaos | Posted May-25-2019
What You Need To Know:

Seventh Day Slumber has long been a staple of Christian rock, quietly riding in the background of the industry while other acts have come and gone. Now they return with their rockiest release in years. 



What It Sounds Like:

Seventh Day Slumber has found success both for their raw hard rock sound as well as a rock-driven worship sound. The styles have often dueled from album to album, with some even splitting the difference between the two. With a rumored worship release forthcoming, Closer to Chaos eschews softer material entirely and goes all in on a full-fledged rockfest. Rousing opener "Alive Again" is an instant SDS classic and should remind listeners of the band's Finally Awake album. Guitar hooks drive standouts such as "Burning an Empire" and "Light It Up." No songs really tone down the guitars enough to be considered legitimate ballads, keeping the octane level high from the first riff to the last. That said, songs like "Still Breathing" offer enough melodic power to balance some of the more aggressive highs. 



Spiritual Highlights:

Seventh Day Slumber has always been among the boldest rock acts around. "The Letter" is a suicide letter exploring the feelings of someone so lost in their pain that they'd consider suicide. "Still Breathing" offers a counterpoint of someone saved through Christ. "Burning an Empire" talks about our selfishness as a nation in throwing Christ out so we can justify our sin. One line that feels relevant amidst certain debates in politics today: "We want to decide who lives and who dies/we let the unborn pay the price/All just murder for hire/so we can fill our desires/and we go on with our own lives." "Drama" also employs a critique of our current societal failings. Yet, there are also proclamations of hope, triumph, and seeing value in ourselves in songs like "Alive Again" and "Your Eyes." For every examination of the cracks of our fallen world, the band also shows the hope of Christ, who mends those wounds. 



For Fans Of:

SkilletNine LashesDisciple



Best Song on the Album:

"Alive Again" is probably the most "single-worthy" track, but the consistent quality from start to finish makes it hard to pick a favorite. 



Final Word:

Fans of the edgier side of Seventh Day Slumber have an album they've waited years for with the band's most aggressive full-length effort in years. With relevant themes and a raw guitar rock energy that is increasingly rare in this decade's music, Closer to Chaos may prove one of the choice releases of the year for rock fans.



Buy Closer to Chaos from Apple Music or stream it on Spotify.


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Newsboys Assemble | Posted May-10-2019

What You Need To Know

It's been a little over a year since Newsboys legends Peter Furler and Phil Joel returned to the Newsboys for what turned out to be a legendary night of music. Now, the culmination of both eras of the Newsboys working together has produced a brand new album featuring both Furler and Tait on vocals.



What It Sounds Like

While both Furler and Tait have their distinct brand of Newsboys quirky flare, both also have a distinct style of pop worship, and it's the latter that gets the overwhelming focus on this album. Luckily for fans, the Newsboys have always been great at crafting an anthemic worship song. Even when it's a familiar and safe tune, they've produced some of the most singable and powerful worship songs of our generation. Lead single "Greatness of Our God" is a great example of everything that works with Newsboys worship, and also the great treat of hearing both Tait and Furler in one track. These two play so well off each other that it lifts songs like this one and "Symphony" to instant classic heights. Musically, I'd have liked them to explore a bit more - but, when both men have some legitimate classics written already, it's hard to fault them for going with what flat out works.



There is a smidgen of old school Newsboys feel to "Only The Son (Yeshua)" in it's guitar riff, hook and chorus. This song is another standout and sure to be a favorite live due to its overwhelming energy. 



"Never Setting Sun" is a favorite on the album for its catchy power. "Beautiful Story" brings in a needed reflective tone to balance out the energy. Both songs also feature each singer more or less solo, helping to avoid the oversaturation of the duet's novelty. 



Only "Love One Another" really feels like it explores the "fun" side of the Newsboys, even bringing in Tait's former bandmate Kevin Max for vocals. However, what should be an epic track feels a bit underdone and slightly clashes tonally with the anthemic worship. Perhaps another collab featuring all these types of songs is in order?



Spiritual Highlights

The Newsboys brand of worship excels at crafting strong imagery into worship. "Never Setting Sun" offers Furler's classic nature imagery to portray the wonder of God, while songs like "Beautiful Story" veer more toward the intimate personal side often found in the Tait era. Each song offers an effective worship experience, and even if new ground isn't exactly broken, there's legitimate quality here that stands above the genre's standard. 



For Fans Of

Any era of the Newsboys, for King & Country, dc Talk



Best Song

"Never Setting Sun"



Final Word

"The Cross" has it, of course. See the track on the Deluxe version for details. 



In all seriousness, fans of either of the Newsboys' wildly successful but distinct eras will find much to love on United. Both Furler and Tait are legends in the business and their voices contain a power rarely matched in today's musical climate. United is landmark release and a stand out worship/pop release of the year - here's hoping there's more to come from Newsboys United. 



Buy United from Apple Music or stream it on Spotify.




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Like You're In Church | Posted April-22-2019
What You Need To Know:

Legacy - Live From Ireland is a new live EP from Vineyard Worship UK & Ireland that was captured at the inaugural gathering of Irish Vineyard church leaders in Lisburn in October 2018.



What It Sounds Like:

Vineyard successfully captures the feel of a megachurch worship concert. The slim track listing lends itself to making this EP feel like the soundtrack to a Sunday Morning service, albeit one where most of the songs build to a strong crescendo. 



Spiritual Highlights:

Vineyard goes for a straightforward worship approach, mixing together several hymns with their own offerings done in similar styles. While this isn't the avenue for the deepest of theological ponderings, it orients listeners to the basics of what really matters: Christ. 



For Fans Of:

Hillsong Worship, Bethel Music



Best Song:

"Show Me Your Glory"




Final Word:

Those looking for a simple worship experience to transport them to a modern megachurch worship service will likely connect with the latest from Vineyard.





Buy Legacy (Live From Ireland) EP on Apple Music or stream it on Spotify

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Dynamic Modern Worship | Posted March-23-2019
What You Need To Know:

A youth ministry wing of Planetshakers Church, Planetboom is out to reach a new generation that is facing a whole new set of challenges.



What It Sounds Like:

Probably the most notable thing about this project is how varied the styles are. About half the songs fall into a unique rap-worship style complete with techno backing. But, just when you think you know what this album is about, the songs do a 180 into more Hillsong worship territory on the title track which, along with one of the rap cuts, is featured both live and in studio. "Run to You" is the standout, featuring a worshipful approach amidst a touch of light rock chorus. Personal tastes admitted, this song also feels like it's the most sure of itself and its identity. 



Spiritual Highlights:

Clearly aiming at a youth demographic, this album touches on basic themes such as the necessity of relying on Christ and going to Him in our times of need. I'd have liked for some deeper issues to be touched upon, but at the same time, basic truths are often in short supply and could still benefit young listeners in need of that message.



Best Song on the Album:

"Run To You"



Final Word:

With 2 fairly dramatic styles dueling throughout the album, this record still succeeds in demonstrating an unshakeable thematic unity that is rooted in worship.



Buy Jesus Over Everything on Apple Music or stream it on Spotify.

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Building The City | Posted March-14-2019
What You Need To Know:

Husband and wife duo Jonathan and Britney Cashman, The Cashmans, are published authors and worship artists who travel full-time across America and internationally with their music and speaking ministry. Their mission is to provide authentic worship, and to assist the local church in building discipleship-based small groups. Together, Jonathan and Britney have written and recorded many worship and contemporary Christian albums, including their latest project, City of God, with Grammy and Dove Award winning producers Ian Eskelin and Barry Weeks.





What It Sounds Like:

Depending on who is on vocals, The Cashmans delve into a different flavor of popular worship music. Jonathan Cashman's vocals balance the deep and soft contemporary accessibilities of a worship leader with just a hint of rock power. This carries songs like single worthy "All Things New" to energetic heights. Britney Cashman's vocals fit more into the modern Hillsong United and Bethel Music molds, with the songs she leads often resembling hits from those artists in their crescendo structure. 



Spiritual Highlights:

These songs tackle straight worship and also songs reflecting on God's work in our lives. Listeners may recognize a few covers here, such as "Carried to the Table" (popularized by Leeland), an emotional song of thanksgiving to God for carrying us to a reward we do not deserve. These songs overflow with a desire to share the greatness of Christ, as "Reaching" proclaims, "what good is the truth if it can't be told?"





For Fans Of:

United, Bethel Music, By The TreeLeeland



Best Song:

"All Things New"



Final Word:

Capturing a multitude of musical influences, listeners are likely to find something for their tastes in this worshipful offering.



Buy City of God on Apple Music or stream it on Spotify.           

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