Album Review :
The Ember Days - Emergency

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Artist: The Ember Days
Title: Emergency
Label: Come&Live!
Release Date: 8/30/2011
Reviewer: Joshua Hedlund


  1. Unite Your Bride
  2. Make Us One
  3. All Honor
  4. Run To You
  5. Yeshua
  6. How Great Thou Art
  7. Emergency
  8. High Above
  9. Adore
  10. Sound of You

While the Finger Painting EP featured lush instrumentals and occasional vocals led by Janell Belcher, Emergency sounds more like a polished version of the sound from their older, self-titled EP. The opening track, “Unite Your Bride,” is led by her husband Jason: Lord, come unite your bride / She’s hurting deep inside. The song’s got an energetic drive pulsating through the drums, bass, and electric guitars. The subtle gang vocal echo that appears on the last chorus is a brilliant exclamation point on the song’s powerful statement and the band’s creative energy. Janell takes the lead for the similarly-themed “Make Us One,” which has a softer intro that gears up again on the chorus. The general sound isn’t quite as fast and crazy as Hillsong United, but not quite as slow and introspective as The Glorious Unseen – just passionate, driving worship.

My favorite song from the old EP, “Run to You,” was re-recorded for this album, and it retains the dynamics of the original while adding a little more polish and energy. I come alive when I’m in your presence / O God of my salvation! “Yeshua” is another older track that’s enhanced with its catchy melodies and another pounding, driving bridge. The only instrumental is the evocative title track. “Emergency” displays a sense of urgency that feels like a combination of rolling piano riffs from Falling Up and the driving ethereal guitar work of an Underoath instrumental, and my only complaint is that it’s over too soon.

From the stripped-down piano and cello that begin “How Great Thou Art” (another loosely-hymn-inspired original in the vein of “It Is Well”), to the bells and atmospheric layers that decorate “High Above,” The Ember Days reveal a concerted effort to be creative as they explore their worship jam sessions. I want to listen more / To your spirit’s call / You are holy and righteous… You’re the maker of the universe / High above all else. “Adore” is a long, intimate track, and “Sound of You” picks it back up to close us out with full instrumentation, including violins and a group of voices.

Overall: Full of prayers for unity and declarations of praise and surrender, the much-anticipated full length from The Ember Days is one of the best worship albums of the year, featuring a solid production and execution of their dynamic, driving passion. Some may feel there’s a bit of formula in the way nearly every song crescendos into a post-rock pounding session, but it’s all done very well and sounds great, and it’s a treat to experience the dynamics and talents of this group of musicians feeding into an atmosphere of worship. There’s no reason not to head over to Come&Live and download this fifty-one minute worship set – and if you can, don’t forget to donate for this humble gift.

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