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Jesus Over Everything by Planetboom Jesus Over Everything by Planetboom
What You Need To Know
A youth ministry wing of Planetshakers Church, planetboom is out to reach a new generation facing a whole new set of challenges.
City of God by The Cashmans City of God by The Cashmans
What You Need To Know:
Husband and wife duo Jonathan and Britney Cashman, The...
To The One by Upperroom To The One by Upperroom
What You Need To Know
UPPERROOM...

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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 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 completely 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 with 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 rooted in worship.

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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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In The Tradition of Modern Megachurch Worship | Posted February-19-2019
What You Need To Know

UPPERROOM independently releases its fourth recording and first full-length album, To The One, Feb. 22. "We believe these songs will inspire the Church to gaze solely, in awe and wonder, at Jesus," says Elyssa Smith, who leads worship at UPPERROOM's main church campus in Dallas, TX. "As we've encountered Him, He's given us language to minister to Him. He is the One and every song is for Him.



What It Sounds Like

Fans of popular megachurch worship bands should feel right at home here. With both male and female-led anthems, these songs give the extended worship ballad a drive through nine tracks that should satisfy fans of the genre. 



Spiritual Highlights

The limited lyrics force the songs to get to their points quickly, and worship fans should not be disappointed with a collection of explicit praise and lyrics of adoration and thankfulness to Our Creator.



For Fans Of

Hillsong, Bethel Music



Final Word

While probably one most appreciated by fans of the genre, there is a definite passion and simplicity to the songs here that should resonate with many a congregation. 

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Clearing Out The Temple | Posted January-31-2019
What You Need To Know

No stranger to leading worship, the Voice in My Head Podcast host preps his sophomore worship record, with inspiration from some great names in the business and themes of chasing the merchants out of the temple, Rick Lee James seeks to restore the sacred to the often corporate nature of Praise & Worship. 



What It Sounds Like 

Scripture readings are peppered throughout the project, grounding the album firmly in Scripture. The title track is the first proper song and is an instant attention-grabber with a bit of a Western feel thanks to an edgy riff. During the song, I couldn't shake a feeling that it was calling to mind something the late, great Rich Mullins would have done, though I couldn't put my finger on just what it was. Sure enough, a little bit of research revealed that the song was a long lost track of Mullins', never released and only left behind through scratchy old recordings. James decided to rescue the track and finally release a properly recorded version to the world. While this undeniably makes one wonder what Mullins' would have sounded like, James does a strong job of bringing to life a lost treasure of one of the industry's greats. The song sets the tone for the entire record, with songs sounding more like something you'd hear at a small country Church than at a packed megachurch arena. 



Spiritual Highlights

The title track's themes of chasing out merchants from the temple resonate through much of the album. While direct praise is the dominant presence, there is also reflecting on how Christians are called to love our enemies. In the most personal cut, "The Lord is Our Shepherd (To The Babies We Lost)," James sings to the babies who died too soon. The juxtaposition of loss and worship makes for a powerful moment in the record. 



For Fans Of

Rich Mullins, Andrew Peterson, Jamie Slocum



Best Song

"Thunder"



Final Word

Rick Lee James has crafted a unique worship project that clears out a lot of the "corporate worship" trappings for a more personal and intimate praise collection.


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Beautifully Haunting | Posted December-15-2018

What You Need To Know

Named after a Lord of the Rings character, Eowyn has been around awhile in the background of the Christian rock scene, offering a gothic/industrial-influenced hard rock sound that is fairly unique among the Christian rock scene. Back with her first new album in years, fans will finally have a new gift to unwrap this holiday season.



What It Sounds Like

Shedding some of the harder-edged rock that defined some of her previous hits, Eowyn leans full into the piano-driven side of her sound with this new release. With piercing, haunting vocals and emotive piano-driven hooks, many of these ballads reach strong and powerful musical heights. While not something to headbang to, the music takes you in and paints a raw picture of vulnerability. I’d love to see some of these songs in the background of a television drama. 



Spiritual Highlights

Ewoyn gives common spiritual themes of rock a unique delivery with a raw and honest approach. Themes of belief and facing the trials of life are given an emotional core. Regaining lost faith drives the quasi-title track while reliance on God is another recurring theme. 



Best Song On The Album

"Drenched"



For Fans Of

Evanescence, Plumb, Zahna



Final Word

While rock fans will miss some of the guitar-driven goodness, those willing to embark on this emotional journey of an album will find themselves rewarded. 




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A New Beginning | Posted November-10-2018
What You Need To Know

VERIDIA was one of the most promising new voices in Christian Rock a few years ago, with several hits that captured much radio attention. They were seen by many to be the next big thing. When a full-length album never materialized from their many hits, it seemed possible they had missed their window. But, after several hiccups, the band has finally delivered their debut full-length record.



What It Sounds Like

Those familiar with VERIDIA’s previous EPs may take some time to adjust to the band’s new home in techno pop. While the techno angle was always a major part of their sound, VERIDIA was still framed in an accessible rock package. While those influences still remain to a degree on The Beast You Feed, the band has made a definitive move toward their technical side. Some of the technical choruses sound like something from a mainstream pop powerhouse, and sometimes this works better than others. A few of the vocal effects can be an acquired taste, and keep a few of the numbers from popping quite as much as they could. “Reckless” stands out as a highlight on the disc, bringing a bit of the band’s older rock sound back for a song that could’ve fit on one of their early EPs.



Album closer “I’ll Never Be Ready” is the most familiar sounding, a gentle ballad in the tradition of some of the band’s previous offerings. It’s a brief number, but one that is carried by Deena Jakoub’s powerful vocals as well as a guest appearance by Evanesence vocalist Amy Lee. Those vocals remain (and always were) one of VERIDIA’s strongest assets; they carry emotion and sell whatever it is Jakoub is singing. 



Spiritual Highlights

The songs on this album tread more toward the “positive message” side than anything too blatantly spiritual. The album’s theme (portrayed beautifully on the cover) of choosing which of your inner beasts you will feed carries important spiritual lessons. Elsewhere, there are themes of both challenging us to abandon our darker behaviors along with embracing a positive view of ourselves.



For Fans Of

Lady Gaga, Evanesence, Icon for HireManic Drive



Best Song on the Album

“Reckless”



Final Word

VERIDIA may have drifted from their techno-rock beginnings toward a more commercial techno-pop, but they still retain the driving heart that makes them one of the premier acts of the current musical landscape. 





Buy it on Apple Music or stream it on Spotify.

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Inspiring, Christ-Centered, and Brimming With Nostalgia | Posted November-02-2018
What You Need To Know

Brothers Jason and Paul Watkins have been in the business awhile with their own respective projects. Joined by old friend Matthew Linton, the trio has produced a standout worship project that could be one of the genre’s better-kept secrets of the year.



What It Sounds Like

With throwback synths and emotive choruses, there’s a good deal of nostalgic throwback sounds here. Much of the music reminded me of songs I grew up with that released in the 80’s and 90’s in CCM, while still coming packaged with enough modern flare to remain in place with the current landscape. From moment to moment, I can pick out different influences without any dominating too much to ever become a ripoff. The slow synth key hook of “Keep The Fire Alive” stands out as one of the album’s more memorable moments, while the energy of the chorus of “Sing!” will shine as one of the most singable. 



Spiritual Highlights

This is pure, vertical music. The topics tackled are common themes in the genre, singing of the great acts or God and their effect in our lives. However, the delivery is a bit more alive than the common offerings. Whether it’s outright worship or encouragement for the Christian walk, the material should be appealing to CCM fans everywhere.  



For Fans Of

Hillsong, Matt Redman, Rick Cua, Matthew West



Best Song on the Album

Keep The Fire Alive



Final Word 

With echoes of CCM’s past, this release is a welcome and refreshing surprise for CCM worship that can serve as an alternative to those wearied from some of the current popular worship styles.





Buy Volume 1 on Apple Music or stream it on Spotify.


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EDM-Infused Worship | Posted October-24-2018
What You Need To Know

Formerly touring as part of the Esther Melody Band, brother/sister duo Esther Smith and Caleb Eversmith have embarked on a new project, combining their love of several genres into a dynamic new sound.



What It Sounds Like

EDM influence dominates much of the sound of the 2 songs that make up the Rapt In You Ep. The heavy EDM beats also bear traces of rock in their arrangement. While the melodies themselves fall comfortably within much of the modern worship/pop sound, the strong EDM framework gives these tracks some identity that sits above the standard genre offerings.



Spiritual Highlights

With entirely vertical lyrics, listeners looking for uncompromising praise and worship will be able to count Embassy as an act to watch. The themes of remaining close to Christ and setting our hearts on fire for Him should resonate with listeners.



For Fans Of

Hillsong Young & Free, Esther Melody Band



Final Word

At just a small 2-song time commitment, fans of EDM and worship music would be well served to check out Embassy’s new EP.



But it on Apple Music or stream it on Spotify.

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Genuine and Heartfelt Worship | Posted October-02-2018
What You Need To Know

Abbie George Maggio is a worship leader from Redemption Church in Mobile, AL. Her debut EP, There Is No Shadow, released in early Spring, 2018.

 

What It Sounds Like

The Hillsong effect on praise and worship is definitely felt throughout the EP, with extended instrumental bridges, reflective verses, and strong climactic finishes. Her collaberation with Ryan Jackson on “Rising on the Wind” feels like it could fit into many modern Sunday morning services. Closing track “Shepherd” adds a burst of worshipful energy into the mostly laid-back offerings and is a strong finish to the EP.

 

Spiritual Highlights

Standard and accessible worship themes populate the record, reflecting on the different roles of Christ and the greatness of His saving power in our lives. One may not discover a new perspective or understanding on theological themes here, but there is genuine and relevant praise present throughout that will encourage any open spirit. 

 

For Fans Of

Hillsong, Bethel Music, Natalie Grant

 

Best Song on the Record

“Shepherd”



Final Word

Quiet and reflective, those looking for a simple and accessible worship experience will be pleased in what Maggio delivers in her debut EP.



Buy it on Apple Music or stream in on Spotify.

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String Driven Worship | Posted September-11-2018
What You Need To Know:

A songwriter and worship leader based out of Alaska, Austin Mark Adams is here to deliver his debut worship EP.



What It Sounds Like:

Driven by strings, this simple EP takes a standard approach to worship and gives it an ethereal twist. While the style and melodies evoke common trends in stripped down praise and worship, the EP is at it's strongest when it leans into the more ambient violin and fiddle-based sounds. The sections that let the guitar carry the song also fare well in creating a relaxing and atmospheric worship experience.



Spiritual Highlights:

Praise and worship themes that have endured populate the album, including a cover of traditional favorite "Come Thou Fount." I was most personally struck by the honest meditation on the crucifixion present in "My Savior There." 



For Fans Of:

Jars of Clay, Crowder



Best Song on the Album:

"My Savior There"



Final Word:

For those looking for a worship experience to draw them into a peaceful and meditative adoration of the Savior, Austin Mark Adams may have just what you need with this EP.

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Showing 1-10 of 221 |   View Next 10 Album and Book Reviews

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