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Hillsong UNITED [Aftermath]
Posted February 08, 2011
By christianmusicreview,


[MAIN REVIEW]
AFTERMATH is the highly anticipated, 11th full-length album and second-ever studio recording from Hillsong UNITED that released Feb. 15, 2011. Inspired by the ‘aftermath’ paradox of the Cross, AFTERMATH is also the first new album from Hillsong UNITED in over two years. The band members took the time to challenge themselves musically and lyrically. Hillsong UNITED offers a creative collection of new songs that celebrates the One who saves, redeems and is the true representation of Hope in a world where hopelessness abounds. Known for such worldwide worship anthems as “The Stand,” “From the Inside Out,” “Hosanna” and “Lead Me To The Cross,” I eagerly await each new Hillsong UNITED release. The last UNITED studio recording was All Of The Above in 2005.

AFTERMATH opens with a new song written and sung by Joel Houston called “Take Heart.” It is an epic opening track, over 7 minutes long, and it sets the tone nicely for the new album. It’s very contemplative and reflective, similar to “A Beautiful Exchange.” Joel’s songs have always moved me and he sings with an emotional intensity. “Go” is next and will certainly be the concert anthem from this album in the style of “Take It All” and “One Way.” The song includes the classic Coldplay-type guitar riffs that I eagerly anticipate with each new album and picks up the Brit-Rock torch from recently retired Delirious?. Interestingly, the opening set of songs are the most Brit-Rock sounding on the album, as the last several songs transition over to a more electronic rock style, similar to Keane and Phil Wickham. I’ve been singing “The Stand”, “From The Inside Out”, “Mighty To Save”, “Soon” and many other Hillsong classics at my church for many years and I expect there will be several more worship classics from this album. One of the standout songs to me is the next song “Like An Avalanche.” The female vocals are beautiful and although Brooke (Fraser) Ligertwood is not part of this album, the song engages me similar to “Lead Me To The Cross.”

“Rhythms Of Grace” is a cool song and like most Hillsong UNITED songs, it has a great melody and great congregational chorus: “There is None beside You God, there is None beside You God, I live my life to shine Your light, There is None beside You God.” Title track “Aftermath” is another ballad and really anchors down the theme of this album with the worshipful lyrics: “In a moment of glorious surrender. You were broken for all the world to see. Lifted out of the ashes. I am found in the aftermath.” The album changes musical styles with an instrumental interlude “B.E.” which flows into a synth-rock song called “Bones,” which has another stellar female vocal and I’d love to sing this song with fellow believers. For sure, this will be one of the most popular songs from the new album and musically reminds me of The Killers, one of my favorite bands. “Nova” really grabs me with the upbeat musical style and I having seen this amazing band live in concert, I expect this to be another great song to hear performed live.

”Light Will Shine” is synth-rock at its best, and really displays the musical talent of this band. The song sounds like many mainstream alternative rock hits I’ve enjoyed over the years with an unashamed Gospel message. First single “Search My Heart” also has a pulsing electronic beat and I find myself singing the great chorus all the time: “So with all my heart and all my soul. With all I am. Lord I will follow You. You took the cross. You took my shame. Restored my life. Now I live to worship You.” “Awakening” is my favorite new worship anthem of the past year, which I hope will soon be a song I'll be singing with fellow believers. "Awakening" has a great worshipful chorus which ends with "Let Your will be done in me," which is the cry of my heart as well. The song also appeared on the last Passion album and most recently Chris Tomlin’s studio album, co-written with Reuben Morgan.

CLOSING THOUGHTS
I'm impressed by the consistent quality and fresh worshipful songs that come from Hillsong United. AFTERMATH is no exception. For me, the standout songs are “Go,” “Like An Avalanche,” “Bones,” “Nova,” “Search My Heart” and “Awakening.” AFTERMATH is a must-have for your praise and worship collection.

Rating: 9.3 out of 10 (93%, A)

Review written by: Kevin Davis | Review can also be found here.

This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission from ChristianMusicReview.org. Click here to visit ChristianMusicReview.org today!

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