"Power Of The Cross" Album Review
Featuring Free Chapel Posted on May 29, 2009
"Power Of The Cross" (Free Chapel) “ReVue” from The Worship Community - where we ask several worship leaders to give their thoughts on albums and resources for worshipers.
From Fred McKinnon, Worship Pastor at St. Simons Community Church and Founder/Publisher of The Worship Community:
"Having worshiped at Free Chapel on several occasions, I was excited to get a pre-release copy of this recording. It exceeded my expectations with incredible production quality, Christ-centered lyrics, and a diversity of styles that brings a welcomed new sound to live worship. This is one of those records that I actually listen to over and over and there are several keeps that I can use for corporate use."
From Mandy Thompson, Songwriter and Worship Leader in Boston, MA:
"Can I be honest? When I was asked to do a review of this upcoming worship album, I had very low expectations… I’d never heard of Jentezen Franklin or the Free Chapel or Ricardo Sanchez. After listening to these tracks, I must admit that I am VERY impressed. This is a phenomenal set of new (and a few old) worship songs, with an innovative approach to different styles, cultures, backgrounds, and blends of music. Granted, the lyrical content is what you would expect and hope for: The Cross, Forgiveness, Freedom from Sin, Confession, Grace; but the composition and arrangement of the songs is very fresh. I’m putting this album on repeat, and taking it with me to the gym, and scoring some sheets to introduce at my church."
From Joel Klampert, Music Director, Worship leader, Youth Director, Marketing and Design Guy at Lifepath Church in Middletown, RI:
"Overall I liked this CD. It has styles and sounds for everybody. The production is fantastic and there are a few real standout songs. There are also a few cliche songs that I just could not get into. I think that most will enjoy this CD and there are a few tracks on here that can be easily adapted for use in your own church."
1. I Am Forgiven
Fred: Full of energy and drive, more of the U2/Rock style we are used to these days. The Chorus is a great declaration and easy to sing.
Mandy: THE rock song of this album, an aggressive and catchy start to a worship set. I can’t help but feel the energy, and love that they include a choir/crowd sound in the mix. Youth/young adult services would really connect with this sound.
Joel: Very cool amped song. It has high energy and a great full sound. I like this one.
2. Broken the Chains
Fred: Another driving, energetic song. This song has the “leader, then BGV echo” type riffs that could make it a bit harder for corporate singing. If your church is a dancing church, you’ve gotta put this song in the lineup.
Mandy: Impossible to sit still listening to this groove. Very happy. Very catchy. Very energetic and fun to sing along to ~ another one for the youth crowd.
Joel: Starts with a cool guitar intro and the chorus is great.
3. I’m Not Ashamed
Fred: Slow it down with a great groove and powerful lyrics. The vocals here remind me of a “Tommy Walker” sound, I love it. You can really hear the choir and people singing in the background on this track, which is my favorite thing about a live recording. Plus, you can’t hear the word “the Name - Jesus” too many times in a worship song, right?
Mandy: Big song, but slower in tempo… A little more reflective, devotional, intimate. I found myself asking if I am not ashamed… This song will challenge congregations and listeners.
Joel: Ah..the power ballad complete with strings and wind chimes. Overall I like this song. The choir and the lyrics are powerful. I think it was in real need of a key change though.
4. I’m Alive
Fred: Nice open arrangement, powerful lyrics. Double-time Chorus … this is a very creative arrangement, but I don’t see many congregations jumping on this one. The melodic line of the verse is very syncopated, and the groove between the Verse and Chorus is totally different.
Mandy: Celebrating the fact that we are alive because of Jesus’ resurrection, this song is filled with modern tones with an interesting production. The melody and concept is catchy, but I’m not sure if it’d work as effectively without all the bells & whistles of the production.
Joel: This one was pretty cool. Great bass line. I think this a song I could use in my own church.
5. Power of the Cross
Fred: Big anthem, powerful lyrics. The Gospel is clearly presented throughout the songs of this album. “we have now received by grace the greatest gift of love … the power of the cross”. Be sure you hang with this song long enough to get to the big bridge. “now it is finished - His blood has spoken”. Wow. That’s the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Mandy: A soaring song of worship, that reflect on and celebrate the redeeming sacrifice Christ made on our behalf. Beautiful string and vocal accompaniment that inspire worshipers. This will be a great congregational song focusing on Christ and what his sacrifice has done for us.
Joel: This song has a feeling of being a tag on song similar to same power or stand by united. You could use this chorus with tons of songs.
6. At The Cross Medley (featuring Israel Houghton and Rory Comtois)
Fred: Special guest appearance by Israel Houghton, a long-time friend of Free Chapel, and Rory Comtois. I love this, because we bring back an old, classic gospel medley. Take a medley like this and you’ll capture the hearts of generations who came to Christ singing these old gospel, “camp meeting” songs, not to mention the memories of singing these songs as kids.
Mandy: Making a huge shift in tone, this song is simple in the best way. It’s carried by that classic gospel organ sound, with a cameo appearance by Israel Houghton. Soulful, easy, heartfelt. Inspiring. A very different feel from the rest of the album, but this brings the heart of worship right to the top.
Joel: A very powerful old school style song. Israels voice is insane. This track was fantastic.
7. The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power (featuring Pastor Jentezen Franklin)
Fred: Features Pastor Jentezen Franklin, a talented singer and saxophonist. Isn’t it GREAT to have a worshiping Pastor? I totally dig this middle segment of the songs with the gospel, blues side.
Mandy: Another sweet and soulful track, most fitting to follow “At the Cross,” with a beautiful and meditative saxophone at it’s core. This song is like a sermon set to music, with a rocking gospel choir carrying this hymn with soul.
8. Very Same Power
Fred: Very cool groove. I want to sit back and just enjoy listening to this track. Ricardo has a monster voice, and when the chorus hits, I find myself singing along. And there’s that Tommy Walker sound again. And yes, that’s big kudos.
Mandy: Loved this track. Back to a more pop sound, with a bit of jazz and rock and gospel choir all mixed in at once! The heart of this song is that we can overcome because Christ’s power is in us as well. A great reminder for the Body of Christ at this time of financial uncertainty – bringing us back to the basics with fervor.
9. A Thousand Miles (featuring Adam Ranney)
Fred: Features guest, Adam Ranney - a great changeup with a guest vocalist, big worship ballad. This is a great closer or invitational song. I’d suggest using a solo lead singer on the verses, and bringing in your choir or BGV singers on the Chorus.
Mandy: A refreshing song of renewal, recognizing that God brings us to Him and gives us the strength to stay close. I can see this song ministering to congregations in a powerful way.
Joel: This one could be the radio single. It’s a piano driven ballad. Very “Phillips Craig, and Dean” sounding.
10. For Who You Are
Fred: Beautiful, song of personal worship, declaration, and devotion.
Mandy: Epic sound with powerful dynamics. This song is very singable, but not too simple that congregations would be bored with it. Possibly one of my favorite tracks on this album. I can see this working for a number of churches.
Joel: The vocal range on this one is tad crazy so it makes the verses very low, but that chorus is really powerful.
12. Eres Todo Para Mi
Fred: This final song brings the drive back in celebration. English/Spanish versions in a community that has lots of ethnic diversity (Gainesville, GA).
Mandy: Great cross-cultural song, with lyrics in English and Spanish. A creative way to engage a multicultural congregation. Solid lyrics.
Joel: A great song in english with a spanish chorus. I don’t really know why it isnt in all one language and I don’t even know what the chorus means but I love the energy and passion of this song.
All in all, an incredible album that is powerful for both personal and corporate use.
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