Glorious Ruins

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1-gloriousruins-revHillsong LIVE
Hillsong Music
hillsongmusic.com

Let the ruins come to life, in the beauty of your name, rising up from the ashes, God forever you reign. And my heart will find refuge, in the shadow of your wings, I will love you forever, and forever I’ll sing         
     ”Glorious Ruins”

Hillsong LIVE, the congregational expression of worship from Hillsong Church, releases their 22nd live album, Glorious Ruins. Recorded for the first time in two locations—London, England and Sydney, Australia—Glorious Ruins is consistent with Hillsong’s passion to resource the Church around the globe.”Ruins can speak of crushing defeat or perhaps of something abandoned, but the good news today is that the ruins come to life,” explains Senior Pastor of Hillsong Church Brian Houston. “Through Jesus Christ what we look at is ruins that become glorious.”

“This declaration of the saving power of Christ reminds us that we can look to the Cross throughout life, in times of success or failure, he Christ is there with us,” shares worship leader Reuben Morgan. “We’ve never been diverted from viewing worship as both personal and corporate, intimate and celebratory. We don’t seek to make each project ‘better’ as such, because how can one form of worship be better than another? Instead each project is a continuation of the journey, and we are thankful to God that so many people take the journey with us.”

This is familiar musical territory for Hillsong LIVE: delayed Telecasters, velvety pop synths, pounding kick drums to get your hands clapping, and the simple warmth of acoustic guitars and piano licks. In classic Hillsong LIVE fashion, these live cuts move from stripped away heartfelt ballads to fist-pumping anthems declaring God’s goodness over our ruins. As big as these songs “feel,” they’re easily reproduced in the small to medium sized church family with far less—basic vocals and acoustic guitar, because a good song will sing itself. Using fresh lyrics, singable melodies, and progressive yet accessible sounds, the Hillsong team continues to provide listeners with solid tunes useable in the local church. Take a look at “Man of Sorrows,” “Closer,” and “Glorify Your Name.” “Man of Sorrows” puts the Isaiah 53 prophetic parallel put to beautiful use in a classic hymn-like cadence and stunning congregational song that helps worshipers praise the work of the Crucified one. “Closer” is a metaphor for going deeper, higher, further into the presence of the Father, and musically its uptempo makes it a suitable response song with a nice subtle synth-pop drive. The beautiful worship ballad “Glorify Your Name” soars in this recording as the congregation lifts the chorus above the production revealing the passionate prayer that was sung while inviting worshipers to join in. Glorious Ruins is easily one of the best worship album choices to date in 2013.

Once-upon-a-time Darlene Zschech’s signature sound set Hillsong apart from other church-based label releases. These days, the gamut of male voices on this album puts heavier pressure on the strength of the songs to break through the clutter of congregational worship. However, the captured authentic worship on this recording cuts through any din created by the over-abundance of available choices.

Glorious Ruins is an acknowledgment of humanity and a bridge to redemption. It includes 12 fresh new songs (14 songs on the Deluxe Edition) written by the Hillsong team members including Joel Houston, Reuben Morgan, Ben Fielding, and Matt Crocker. The album features the evocative “Man of Sorrows,” already being sung in churches internationally, and “Glorify Your Name,” a collaboration between Reuben Morgan and Chris Tomlin.

Mike Pueschell
4.5 stars

 

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