Posted January 12, 2015
By MaryNikkel_NRT, Staff Reviewer
Over the past several years, the worship songs emerging from Bethel Church in Redding, California have become some of the most well-loved and widely-sung songs of the worldwide Church. They are one of the loudest voices in the universal vertical conversation between Christ and His people, including such songwriting voices as Brian and Jenn Johnson, William Matthews, Jeremy Riddle, Amanda Cook and Steffany Frizzell-Gretzinger over the years. Their songs are part of the rhythm of life and growth for many of the charismatic, Spirit-focused churches worldwide.
Even as 2014's You Make Me Brave continues to make waves and impact worshippers, early 2015 sees the release of new album We Will Not Be Shaken (released alongside a special film of the same name). We Will Not Be Shaken follows the standard of chill, electronic-indie-fusion orientation that the group has largely followed since 2012's Loft Sessions. The title track exhibits this sound well while setting the tone for the album. "Jesus We Love You" and "Nearness" also follow steadily in that musical path, with mellow, calm melodies carrying the lyrics of praise. "You Don't Miss A Thing" is another moment of this style at its best, with atmospheric synth layered with chill keys and clear acoustic guitar.
Thematically, the album focuses in on the concept of being rooted in God's identity and in turn standing firm in our identity as His love teaches us who we are. "Seas of Crimson" strips back doctrinal complexities to allow the Gospel to stand on its own, praising Jesus for His redeeming sacrifice. "No Longer Slaves" proclaims our identity in light of that reality, earnestly laying down the words "I'm no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God."
A definite album highlight is "Home," featuring an exquisite piano and guitar intro building into ethereal instrumentation as it tenderly sings a personal love song to Jesus. The bridge features the beautiful admission and personal challenge "It will never be enough just to know about You, Jesus, and never call you my own."
Bethel Church's music ministry has been extremely prolific recently, both in the releases under the Bethel Music name, but also in strong recent solo releases from Steffany Gretzinger and Hunter Thompson. All of this seems to have given the ministry an incredible amount of momentum. This new project continues strengthening the areas Bethel musicians have come to excell in: anointed lyrics that are both emotionally stirring and grounded in truth alongside musical atmospheres that quiet the soul while simultaneously clearing space for God to speak.
That said, We Will Not Be Shaken does leave the impression at times that the group does not have much new to say since the release of You Make Me Brave, in part perhaps because they were so close together. However, there is a timelessness in the truths the album contains that will serve to help root listeners in the unshakable reality of who God is and the identity we are gifted through the sacrifice of Jesus.
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