Album Review :
Vertical Church Band - Live Worship From Vertical Church

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Artist: Vertical Church Band
Title: Live Worship From Vertical Church
Label: Essential Worship
Release Date: 7/31/12
Reviewer: Jonathan Andre

Tracklisting:

  1. Open Up the Heavens (Andi Rozier, Meredith Andrews)
  2. Light Shine In (Jacob Sooter)
  3. Not For a Moment (Meredith Andrews, Jacob Sooter)
  4. The Greatness of Our God (Kyle Fredricks, Lindsay McCaul)
  5. All Glory (Heather Headley)
  6. I Believe in You (Seth McConkey)
  7. For All You’ve Done (I Worship You) (Jason Ingram)
  8. How Great Is Your Love (Heather Headley)
  9. Word of God (Andi Rozier)
  10. Thank You Jesus For the Cross (Seth McConkey)
  11. Who Will Rise Up (Lindsay McCaul)
  12. God, You are My God (Meredith Andrews)
  13. Open Up the Heavens (Reprise) (Andi Rozier)

It’s been a long time since worship artist Meredith Andrews released any new songs. One of my favourite female Christian artists of all time along with Christy Nockels, Britt Nicole, Natalie Grant and Rebecca St. James; Meredith’s honest lyrical moments with her songs ‘You’re Not Alone’, ‘Can Anybody Hear Me’ and ‘New Song We Sing’ has led her to become one of today’s most popular worship artists along with Hillsong, Passion, Kari Jobe and Jesus Culture. Eagerly anticipating her 3rd label album (4th in total) on Word Records later on this year, Live Worship from Vertical Church gives listeners a taste of what’s to come from Meredith, as well as giving us a conglomeration of other artists’ melodies (worship leader Andi Rozier, Reunion Records recording artist Lindsay McCaul, and songs from worship band One Sonic Society) in the process, as Vertical Church, grown from Harvest Bible Chapel (Meredith’s home church) and launched as a ‘…platform to comprise book, music and film projects…’; debuts their first live record. With well known melodies from One Sonic Society (‘God, You Are My God’, ‘Greatness of Our God’) and Meredith Andrews (‘How Great is Your Love’); these 12 musical offerings of worship have many melodies that offer plenty to listeners. With heart-stirring anthems like the Grammy award winner Heather Headley-led ‘All Glory’ and Lindsay McCaul’s heartfelt reminder in ‘Who Will Rise Up?’, encouraging listeners to ‘…help the church, the One that Christ loves, who will rise up…’; Live Worship from Vertical Church is a nice collection for many who love to listen to a great worship album!

Arguably the most well known song on the album is ‘The Greatness of Our God’, sung on this album as a duet between worship leader Kyle Fredricks and Reunion Records CCM artist Lindsay McCaul. Sounding similar to Samuel Jay Hancock and Jason Roy, of Luminate and Building 429 respectively, Kyle gives his all as he proclaims that ‘…there is nothing, that could ever separate us from Your love, no life, no death, of this I am convinced that You my God are greater still…’; complete with drum kicks and a great harmonisation with Lindsay on background vocals. Reminding us how God is greater than we can ever know, one of my favourite worship songs has another makeover, recently covered as Natalie Grant’s first radio single on her album Love Revolution; as well as Hillsong and One Sonic Society on their own respective albums A Beautiful Exchange and Forever Reign. With a passion and energy that brings even the most stubborn of listeners into a realisation of God’s realness and longing for listeners near and far to draw closer to Him; ‘Greatness of Our God’ has harnessed many musical techniques, including a reverbing electric guitar and passionate vocals, to remind us of how close God is to us, even during the moments when we may not ‘feel’ Him! Well done Kyle and Lindsay for creating a track that we can so easily sing along to, as we collectively praise God’s greatness!

‘Not For a Moment’ is Meredith’s new radio single releasing late July, and listening to it the first time in a live worship setting is personally one of my album highlights. As Meredith declares over herself and everyone in Vertical Church what Christ is longing for us to hear, that ‘…after all, You are constant…You are only good…You are sovereign…not for a moment did You forsake me…’; we are able to witness God’s heart to His children- that He will never leave us in the times that we need Him the most, but rather, it’s the ‘footprints-in-the-sand’ story, with Christ carrying us in His arms during our difficulties. Through Meredith’s passionate vocals, lively electric guitar and thousands of people in Vertical Church praising along with the worship team; we are swept up into a worship moment like no other. Full of heartfelt honesty as Meredith reveals that her recently written melody helped both her husband and herself through a recent difficult time; ‘Not for a Moment’ exalts Christ in the highest place as we give Him our songs of declaration! Similarly, ‘God, You are My God’ gives God similar praise, with an added musical bonus of strong looping percussion and a soft keyboard undertone. With Meredith leading this One Sonic Society penned melody, we are given access into Christ’s character, and how ‘…no light can outshine You, no power can’t defeat You God, no other one is Holy, no other one is high and lifted up…’ Filled with a great melody that anyone can become infectious with, ‘God You are My God’ is certainly climbing the personal ranks as I see it compete with Matt Redman’s ’10,000 Reasons’ for Worship Song of the Year at the 2013 Doves. Filled with a musical intensity as the song progresses, ‘God You are My God’ is destined for the churches soon!

Filled with plenty of passion and powerfulness, Live Worship from Vertical Church has been able to pack in plenty of anthemic melodies as listeners are granted access into a typical night worship service in Harvest Bible Chapel. Recently on One Sonic Society’s Live at the Tracking Room, the Jacob Sooter (Meredith Andrews’ husband) led ‘Light Shine In’ parallels Jason Ingram’s version, right down to the electric guitar undertone melody giving it a country atmosphere. With Meredith on backing vocals, we are given a great harmonisation as both worship leaders and listeners declare that ‘…You are, You are the matchless King that tore down the gates of the enemy…let Your kingdom come…[and] Your light shine in…’ Grammy award winner Heather Headley gives her own stirring rendition of Meredith’s hit song ‘How Great is Your Love’ (that won Meredith best worship song at the 2011 Doves); adding her own Gospel flavour as she makes the song her own, with passion evident through the stirring chorus ‘…Jesus, faithful King, Lord with grateful hearts we sing, how great is the love…of our Saviour…’ Heather also leads the first single of the album, ‘All Glory’, written by lead worshipper Andi Rozier; and is able to carve a jewel of a song as I am reminded of both the Lord’s Prayer and ‘Revelation Song’ as Heather cries out ‘…Holy, You are God Almighty and You reign victorious over all the Earth…’ With a heartfelt plea for Christ to come to earth as we lift up our praises to Him, we are encouraged that Christ will use even our praises to ‘…let Your kingdom come…on earth as it is in heaven…’ through this guitar driven melody as Heather distinctly sounds like the late Whitney Houston throughout the song.

Jason Ingram lends his vocals to ‘For All You’ve Done (I Worship You)’, a song about giving thanks to Christ ‘…for all You’ve done and yet to do, I worship You…’ Wondering why this melody wasn’t on Live at the Tracking Room, Jason has created a heartfelt melody of honest worship as listeners proclaim God’s goodness upon their life. Andi Rozier, lead worshipper at Harvest Bible Chapel, also gives both stirring and poignant melodies in ‘Open up the Heavens’ and ‘Word of God’, both showing listeners of God’s awesome powerfulness and how ‘…You will not fail us, oh Word of God…’ (‘Word of God’) and how as we proclaim Christ to ‘…open up the heavens, we want to see You, open up the floodgates, a mighty river…’ (‘Open Up the Heavens’); our life perspective will shift from our lives to the life giver. However, one of the most heartfelt, confronting and necessary tracks on the record is Lindsay McCaul’s ‘Who Will Rise Up?’, a cry for God’s people to move the church outside the four walls of the church building, giving motivation in the words ‘…who will help the church, the one that Christ loves, who will rise up…’ With a vocal similar to Bethany Dillon and Christy Nockels, Lindsay is quickly becoming one of my new favourite female artists, with this song also quickly rising the ranks of favourite melodies by her as well. Stirring and convicting like Leeland’s ‘While We Sing’; well done Lindsay for such a poignant call to action!

Overall: Filled with a raw passion and intense urgency as Vertical Church showcases the best from One Sonic Society, Lindsay McCaul, Andi Rozier and Meredith Andrews (also adding Gospel singer Heather Headley to create a dynamic vibrancy!); Live Worship at Vertical Church is a breath of fresh air, as listeners from around the world immerse themselves in Christ’s love for them, collectively giving praise to the Father as we all sing ‘…all glory and honour, are Yours alone forever…’ Giving me anticipation of both Lindsay and Meredith’s new records, as well as giving me curiosity as I investigate Andi Rozier’s musical sounds; Live Worship at Vertical Church has been a very enjoyable worship experience. Well done guys for creating this album of compelling worship!

RIYL: Passion, Meredith Andrews, One Sonic Society, Chris Tomlin

Buy the Album: iTunes/Amazon mp3

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