Take a Victory Lap
Posted December 19, 2017
By MarcusHathcock_NRT, Staff Reviewer
The past year was one where worship music took quantum leaps into a number of different genres, including urban, pop, rock and, perhaps most notably, electronic music. Originally pioneered by a wave of Australian churches--Hillsong and Planetshakers were at the forefront--2017 saw an explosion of worship movements embracing EDM as the vehicle for delivering its vertically oriented lyrics.
While some albums seemed to be formulaic--copying the genre frontrunners or the chart-topping DJs of the mainstream--it's pretty refreshing when something jumps out and surprises me. The incredibly artful and polished sounds of Portland, Oregon's Horizon Music do just that with their excellent debut, Victory.
The first place I have to comment is on the incredible production. Rather than seeking to replicate existing tastemakers, Horizon is making a taste of its own with the help of Northwest power-producer Dave Lubben--employing inventive arrangements and unpredictable patches to create a soundscape that is all their own.
Vocally, the band is at the top of their game. The five different worship leaders on the record offer different styles, steering away from the classic worship leader sound while, while not venturing all the way over to the sit-and-watch singer-songwriter vibe. They, and the songs themselves, are artfully inviting.
Lyrically speaking, there's no guessing as to what Victory is all about--Jesus' current victory in our lives and ultimate victory over sin and the grave. While Pastor Stan Russell ties it in a nice little bow with a spoken-word track "Basic," the Gospel is all over the record.
There are three big themes of the record: God's triumph, our need of Him and our desire to share about Him.
Highlights include the reflective and worshipful "Glory," the pulse-pounding and evangelically themed "Tell The World," the rhythmically fantastic "Waterfall" and the '80s-infused testimonial song, "Kindness."
The Bottom Line:
Look, it would take a lot of reading that people simply won't do to go into each of these very strong songs and talk about their ingeniously nuanced musical choices, their strong and overt lyrics and powerhouse vocals. Many times, the challenge in these reviews is finding a few songs to focus on. The problem here is that there's SO MUCH GOOD happening here, it's hard to pinpoint. How about this: Just listen to it.
At a time when worship music is inundating our ears from every direction, take special time to listen to Victory by Horizon Music. At a time when there are two camps of worship music--congregational, singable music, and reflective, meditative songs--and two camps of arrangement--raw instruments and over-produced, chipmunk-chirping EDM--it's nice to find a project that finds the radical middle, and by doing so, creates something new altogether.
Song to Download:
"Kindness" (Get it on iTunes here)
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