Artist: Roma Waterman
Title: Release the Sound
Release Date: 4/10/12
Reviewer: Jonathan Andre
- Release the Sound
- Footsteps of my Father
- Hallelujah (He’s Alive)
- Emmanuel (God is With Us)
- Invite You In
- His Name is Jesus
- Til My Bones Sing
- Like a Flame
- Poured On Us
- The Burning Ones
- With the Angels of Heaven
Roma Waterman has always been one of the underrated Australian Christian artists of recent history. With other Australian acts rising to prominence like Newsboys, Rebecca St. James, Planetshakers and Hillsong, even Nathan Tasker; it seems like Roma is only known in the Australian market. But as I checked iTunes recently, I was certainly surprised to see Release the Sound available in the U.S. As I sat back and listened to the album by the same artist that has written songs like ‘I Was Carried’, ‘Wings of Love’, ‘No Ordinary Life’ and ‘Love on My Skin’; I was impressed at what I heard. With such poetic and uplifting musical elements crowning this achievement as one of my favourite albums by an Australian artist since Peter Furler’s On Fire, Roma has crafted 11 melodic moments full of reflection and restoration, hope and healing, with fear and faith colliding in a cataclysmic event full of worship and realisation as the listener gains a piece of the Father’s heart through these eleven heartfelt pieces of the journey called ‘life with Christ’.
‘Release the Sound’ sets off the musical journey as Roma begs the question that needs to be asked by everyone that calls themselves sons and daughters of Christ; ‘…if healing was a sound, what would it sound like? If freedom was a song, what would it sing like? Would the melody set people free?…’ Urging us that as we journey on this venture of life we must be carriers of His love if we profess to have it in our hearts and lives; Roma sings across the grunging guitars and light percussion to create this confronting, yet equally worshipful melody. With a bridge similar to Daniel Bashta’s ‘God’s Not Dead’ ‘…make a noise from the heavens, start a rumble, a mighty roar…’, we are encouraged to share what’s inside our hearts to all those who will hear. A fantastic opener to an album full of worshipful gems, Roma has created a hit for churches to sing for months to come!
‘Emmanuel (God is With Us)’, ‘Hallelujah (He’s Alive)’ and ‘His Name is Jesus’ are all anthemic musical offerings that showcase some of Roma’s most poignant lyrical moments as she expresses utter adoration to her King. ‘Hallelujah’ is a simple track of praise as a strong piano under-layer is used to create a soothing melody as Roma performs a duet with American worship leader Dave Fitzgerald. Singing the lines ‘…Hallelujah, He’s alive…’ is sometimes all that is needed to show adoration before a King where words can’t describe how much He’s done. With the introduction of orchestral musical elements; this is worship music at its best as a choir is used through the closing moments as the music builds to a resounding finish, when all you can say is ‘…He’s Alive…’! ‘Emmanuel’ is another one of the standouts, simple yet effective, profound and emotional as Roma declares her intentions through stating who He is, rather than focusing on who we are in relation to Him. A vertical song from start to finish, this is how worship should be as Roma sets her sights on the ‘…Redeemer who frees us, Ruler over all…’ The introduction of strings is a nice addition in a song that is treasured as one of my favourite worship songs since Christy Nockels’ ‘Sing Along’! ‘His Name is Jesus’ is also yet another declaratory song as Roma touches on themes also evident in Nichole Nordeman’s song, ‘When Love Sees You’, sung famously by Mac Powell on Music Inspired By: The Story. Through strong emotive vocal arrangements, we are met with the revelation that Jesus did miracles, healed the sick, and performed much signs and wonders, but His greatest achievement was to die for our sins. As Roma sings out ‘…He died for me, this Son of God…and now He lives, He lives in me…’, I am able to just soak up the moment and release the overwhelming truth that God loves me so much. A potential radio single; ‘His Name is Jesus’ certainly should be in every church’s Easter Service set-list for worship!
‘Poured on Us’ is a prayer, with booming drums and an electric guitar riff as Roma starts to proclaim ‘…You’re coming like a cloud, full of rain in a drought…’ as we immerse ourselves in the knowledge that nothing can stop the revival of God’s love that is sweeping the globe, as each person starts to awaken to His overwhelming presence and unconditional love poured down over them. ‘The Burning Ones’ and ‘With the Angels of Heaven’ end the album just as profoundly as ‘Release the Sound’ starts it. With themes of releasing the fire within us as we undertake God’s work within us, understanding that ‘…there’s more than this, And so we say “we are the burning ones”…’ (‘Burning Ones’); as well as proclaiming that God is worthy, singing ‘…a new song with the angels of Heaven…[joining] all the earth in an anthem of praise…’ (‘With the Angels of Heaven’); the refreshing sound of Roma’s insightful praise anthems has been a blessing and a good surprise as I sit to review this lyrically rich album. Ending with the same anthemic quality as it has started, Release the Sound is a blessing to those who listen!
From shouting out that God is worthy, even until our bodies cannot anymore (‘Til My Bones Sing’) and longing for God’s glory to fall on His people as we bring our worshipful offerings to Him (‘Invite You In’), to coming back to the Lord after losing our way, thereby proclaiming that ‘…Your love is my desire…’ (‘Like a Flame’); every song on these 11 spirit-filled melodies brings with it a story to share, a song to sing to the God who is our Father, our Provider, our Protector and friend. Musically, each song is a treasure as soft pianos, light percussion and string instruments are the main choice. Each song employs a choir towards the end; increasing the intensity as we join in with Roma as we worship corporately give our praise to our God. Reflecting upon each of the lyrical moments throughout each track, ‘…Holy fire light my way, burn in me like a flame…’ (‘Like a Flame’) ‘…let Your glory fall upon us, as we raise our hands in worship, let the power of the cross, overwhelm us…’ (‘Invite You In’); I am able to rest assured that God has done everything for us to be reconnected to Him.
Overall: These 11 melodies have awakened the worshipper in me as I sit and enjoy, worshipping along with Roma as she gives everything that she is to Jesus. From ballads to faster-tempo songs; Roma has produced one of her best albums (and underrated, certainly in the American CCM market) as she humbly invites her listeners to join with her as she gives honour and praise to the worthiest of Kings. Some of the most humble worship since Christy Nockel’s Into the Glorious and Paul Baloche’s The Same Love; this is an album that is hard to forget after listening to such soul-soothing and uplifting music! If you’re a fan of modern worship like Christy Nockels, Chris Tomlin or Jesus Culture, look no further than Release the Sound!
RIYL: Chris Tomlin, Meredith Andrews, Christy Nockels, Jesus Culture
Buy the Album: iTunes/Amazon mp3