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Unveiled by Amy Unveiled by Amy
What You Need To Know
Amy Savin is a dynamic and powerful vocalist...
The Space Between the Shadows by Scott The Space Between the Shadows by Scott
What You Need To Know
Scott Stapp was the lead singer for Creed....
Closer To Chaos by Seventh Day Slumber Closer To Chaos by Seventh Day Slumber
What You Need To Know:
Seventh Day Slumber has...

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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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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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Showing 1-10 of 224 |   View Next 10 Album and Book Reviews

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