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A Global Voice of Worship
Posted July 29, 2015
By DwayneLacy_NRT, Staff Reviewer

It is always refreshing to see what Israel Houghton is going to do next. He has always been a visionary, one who calculates when he is going act on things that God has placed in his heart. Israel has expanded the aggregation known as New Breed with the Deeper Level Unconference, the multimedia RGM New Breed (with Galley Molina), New Breed Africa and so much more. They have performed in every inhabited continent and even recorded in South Africa (Alive in South Africa, which was released in 2005). Ten years later, Alive in Asia is releasing this summer. Recorded in several countries in Asia, a documentary was also recorded to really help capture all that this huge undertaking entailed.

Alive in Asia helps to celebrate 15th anniversary of New Breed, a longevity which is a huge achievement for any group. What makes the album even more special is the fact that Israel's daughter Mariah Houghton is featured as both a member of New Breed and one of the leads on "Risen." She was only three when New Breed first started. Aaron Lindsay lends his hand on the album, with Kevin Camp serving as the co-producer while Chris Baker takes musical director duties. Charlin Neal serves as the vocal arranger for New Breed. 

Israel always gives a New Breed spin on popular worship songs, and he does so with songs that are sung across the globe. "Mighty to Save" (which they have been singing for at least four years) comes by way of a reggae splash, while "One Thing Remains" gets a electronica/reggae/Gospel makeover. That's what New Breed does: they take a great song and bring it to an even wider audience. When you will hear the way they reworked "In Jesus' Name," you will understand why I had the "that's my jam" moment! 

Having been a fan of the group since 2001, I have watched them sing song after song that draws the crowd into God's presence, encouraging participation with the focus fully on Christ. Basically, you cannot have a live New Breed album without that element. "Our God Reigns" (featuring B.J. Putnam and a little of Mariah) is perfect for those folks that cannot clap on the upbeat. It is one of those jumping songs that is great for young and old alike. 

"Chasing Me Down" was the perfect song for Tye Tribbett to guest on. It is a song that would fit well on an album for either artist. The tempo change from verse (funky) to chorus (80s pop) to bridge is nothing but heat. 

Those who remember "With Long Life" from the A Deeper Level album will instantly recognize how "I Will Live" was constructed. We could call it "With Long Life (The Reprise)" because for the most part, the song has Israel speaking to the audience and New Breed singing those very words. One profound moment of the song is when he gets the audience to sing these words: "The atmosphere of expectation is the breeding ground for miracles." It seems like the song can't get any better, then they throw in a portion of the classic "Whose Report Will You Believe?" 

"Breathe Your Name" is beautifully constructed and written. The words "Surround my life / Surround my heart as I surrender to you....This selfish pride / This hidden sin / My brokenness attracts you / You take my sins / I'll take You hand / I'm letting go / So I breathe Your name / And I raise my hands / Surrendering all I am to You." By the time the song builds to the vamp or tag, I am beyond moved. This song is constructed like a pop rock ballad, but it screams "worship!"

A Yolanda Adams and Israel and New Breed collaboration was like a dream come true. However, "How Awesome Is Our God" did not really work for me. 

Closing Thoughts:
This album has so many highlights, crazy licks (check out Justin Raines thumping the bass on "Thank You Lord"), powerful moments and declarations. Israel and New Breed never disappoint on a live album! This album has global appeal, from Asia to the rest of the world. There are many songs here for beginning worship teams to those with the professional musicians and seasoned singers. 

Song to Download Now: 
"Breathe Your Name" (Get it on iTunes here.)

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