Prime Cuts: Endless (featuring Shae Wilbur), You Are Holy (featuring Joshua Aaron), O We Praise (featuring Ryan & Marie Hodges)
Overall Grade: 4.5/5
"Roar from Zion" isn't just the titular of this record; it's also the thrust and ethos of these songs. Bold, epic, kinetic, dramatic and engaging are Paul Wilbur and his team. In fact, the energy is so palatable that you can't help but want to prance along when Wilbur sings: "Shout For Joy with a voice of triumph..." Recorded at the Pavilion Center in Jerusalem during the Feast of the Tabernacles last year, this record seeks to serve as the soundtrack for such a jubilant time of celebrating God's provision, particularly in Jesus. To further enhance the celebratory tenor of the occasion, Wilbur has brought in the who's who of Messianic music to sing with him. They include Shae Wilbur, Sarah Liberman, Joshua Aaron, Jamie Hilsden, Becka Shae, and an Israeli choir of millennial Jewish, Arab and Christian believers. Also, there will be several Israeli instrumentalists and the finest Nashville musicians.
In keeping with the Jewish tenure of the project is the title track "Roar from Zion." Featuring a serpentine eastern melodic swirl around a thunderous anthem of militant percussion, Wilbur wastes no time in declaring that Jesus is indeed the Lord of all nations. Equally majestic is the thumping "Song of Victory." But not everything is loud and anthemic. Shae Wilbur (Paul's daughter) gets to sing the nerve center of the record. "Endless" is a heart-tugging power ballad where Shae recounts the love of Yahweh in poetic proportions. Never one to be resorted to predictability, Paul Wilbur and Beck Shae on the groovy samba-esque "The King is Coming."
Joshua Aaron, a messianic singer-songwriter who resides by the Sea of Galilee, gets to sing his 2012 composition "You Are Holy." Harkening back to the Hebrew prophets, "You Are Holy" addresses this theme of turning away from idolatry, a topic that is often missing in today's worship music. A little more nondescript especially in the lyrical department are "It is Good to Praise the Lord" and "Great is the Lord (Hallelujah)." Much better is the Ryan & Marie Hodges-led "O We Praise," which revisits the Easter story over a melody Joel Houston (of Hillsong UNITED) would be proud of.
Not to be missed also are the updated versions of Wilbur's earlier hits. Wilbur imbues "Even So" with a holy and prayer disposition that is awe-inspiring. Wilbur tackles both "Days of Elijah" and "Adonai" as though he's singing them for the first time. Not only are there no signs of lethargy, Wilbur sings them as though his life is dependent on their every word, making them sound contemporary again. If you are looking for a record that is not endemic, but one that flourishes with vitality, life and worship, then heed the "roar from Zion."