Prime Cuts: Grace will Lead Us Home, He is, Crucified
Overall Grade: 5/5
Coming from the other side of the pond, UK-based Elim Sound has two advantages over their peers in North America. First, they are not a church team unlike many of their American counterparts. Rather, Elim Sound is a worship movement garnering musicians and pastors from all over Europe. This gives them a leg up over the narrow confines of a church group where the pool of talents can be limited. Second, Elim Sound has not bought into the mega church mentality so prevalent in the US. Here, it is obligatory for these churches to release worship albums. And with their large numbers in their congregations grabbing up copies, little needs to be invested in ensuring that these albums are up to par or even worthwhile purchasing.
"One" is Elim Sound's debut record. Despite a very nondescript album cover and a pretty unimaginative titular, the album is stunningly good. Ian Yates, who is one of the key leaders in the movement, has a good hand in crafting songs without expiration dates. Teaming up with one of worship music's paladin, Matt Redman, they had crafted Redman's classic "No longer I" in the past. This time, they regrouped with Sam Blake to pen the album's apogee "Grace will Lead Us Home." With lyrical echoes harkening back to hymn "Amazing Grace," "Grace" is a gospel-soaked piece reminding us that it is always God's grace that will bring us through all the snares and toils of life.
If you are looking for a classic worship anthem-to-be that has a ear-worm hook, look no farther than "Great Redeemer's Praise." Without taking any sides in the worship war between hymns and worship songs, the team has offered "Crucified." A newly scribed hymn, "Crucified" is ladened with a almanac of great theological truths: The power of sin, forever slain, What looked like a defeat would change our destiny. To keep things astride, while "Crucified" is aimed towards the congregation, the gentle ballad "Journey Back to Home" (co-written by Chris Eaton) is deeply personal.
The other Chris Eaton composition, this time with Ian Yates, is the pop worship anthem "He is," which is the type of songs Passion or Hillsong worship would covet. Kudos to the lead singer of the ballad "When I am Lost" who goes into the song's jugular and tears into it with a heartfelt passion. On the whole, it's a challenge to fault this album. Each member of Elim Sound has truly put in his or her best in what is a wonderful album that took over two years to make.