Prime Cuts: Fall Away, Faithfulness, On and On
Overall Grade: 4/5
You can't fault Iron Bell Music for being devoid of passion. Ever since the first note of this record strikes right until the very end, the guys of Iron Bell Music sing as if their lives depended on every note. There's a holy sense of authenticity that when these men sing of Jesus, you can't help but believe every word they utter. Not since Rend Collective has there been a worship band that demonstrate such a robust declaration of faith over songs that are iron-cladded in the praise of Jesus sung over huge anthemic hooks. Just like the aforementioned Rend Collective, Iron Bell Music also enmeshes rustic instruments such as fiddles and mandolin into their brand of worship rock. Thus, vibrating through these power-packed anthems is a warm wooden acoustic vibe, making their sound intense yet intimate.
Comprised of songwriters and performers Stephen McWhirter, Joel Gerdis and Josh Glauber, Iron Bell Music is the fruition of worship nights held year-round for the community of Louisville at an area barn. Performing well-known worship songs along with their own originals throughout each evening gathering, the worship nights exist so that people can come as they are and encounter the presence of God. God That Saves was recorded live at the barn during one of those nights of worship.
Opening the record is the current single and title cut "God That Saves." Despite the investments the trio have placed in promoting the song, it's not the record's glowing apex. The major flaw of the song is that it covets the standard worship-song cookie-cutter of starting slow before exploding into a stadium-filling chorus sound. The song is not bad, but it's just a tad too formulaic and the words are predictable. Much more superior are the big ballads. And they all dominate the mid-section of the record. "Fall Away," written by Stephen McWhirter, Mia Fields and Jonathan Smith, is definitely a song to write home about. Functioning as a powerful prayer to God to strip away any hindrance between Him and us, you can't help but stop and worship along. This song is a definite A++ material.
"On and On" is the nerve center of the record. Though there are countless worship ballads that give exposition to the love of God, the way the trio weaves in and out threads of Scripture in depicting how God's love lasts forever has a way of touching both the mind and heart. For those who like a ring of hymnody to their worship music "Faithfulness" fits the bill. Tampering down the bombast a degree or two and accentuating a warmer campfire singalong is the delightful "Burn for You." "Sons and Daughters" is a worship song with a difference. While many songs emanate from our vantage of us responding to God, "'Sons and Daughters" comes from God's perspective of how He sees us.
Nevertheless, their propulsive worship burners have some catching up to do. With "Your Love is a Fortress" and "Free in You," the boys come in at full vocal force which can be come across as a tad too aggressive and far too overwhelming. But when they croon those power worship ballads, they excel with flying colors. When they sing, we can't help but be grabbed at the heart and worship.