Swell

By | Categories: In Review, Music, Picks

Deluge
Integrity Music  |  delugeband.com

Swell breaks forth into a shining call to worship with a diverse and distinctive sound that can only belong to Deluge, worship band of Bethany World Prayer Center. Deluge has a special ability to bridge generations, cultures, and races and inspire anointed, Spirit-filled, corporate worship.  This well-produced, live album speaks to the band’s excellent musicianship, inspired writing, and unmatched desire to help others worship the risen Lord. 

Deluge hails from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where the lead pastor of Bethany World Prayer Center, Jonathan Stockstill, is also the lead singer and songwriter. The band arose out of the church’s worship conferences, simply known as “Deluge.”  These conferences focus on helping worship leaders and congregation members actively pursue the presence of God.  From these times of prayer and worship came new songs, new worship, and the evolution of Deluge’s unique sound.

It is no wonder that Deluge’s music ministers to such a wide audience.  Bethany World Prayer Center is a vibrant multicultural church with a large congregation of over 10,000 members. Bethany is host to a global network of affiliated churches as well as a very large youth ministry, known as 220. Under Stockstill’s leadership, Deluge encompasses a growing team of musicians, singers, and songwriters from Bethany.

Deluge’s characteristic style merges a bit of classic-rock ’n’ ’80s-roll with some surprising hip-hop spirit and lively pop/techno dance grooves. There is no lack of glimmering keyboard riffs, or heavy-handed rock guitar.  Beats are solid and driving, yet clear and unmuddled, showing off the drummer’s quick-sticking skills.  The heartbeat of the music is not hidden behind its cymbals.  The vocals are clear and resolute, both musically and spiritually, singing of lives lived out in faith.  For a live album, recorded at the annual 220 conference, the mix is amazingly clean, the parts are easily heard, and the musicianship is impeccable.  Deluge is one of those rare bands that sounds just as great live as in the studio.

Swell jumps right into the heart of its message with a highly spirited call to worship, “Lift Him High.” This song spotlights its talented guitarists and immediately focuses the heart and mind on Christ.  Spirited tempos, and uplifting music reinforce the simple, straightforward lyrics and easily singable melodies in songs such as “Swell” and “Your Joy.” Delightful and innovative piano accompaniments and solos create worship space for more meditative, inviting moments in “Simple Offering” and “He Rose.” “Coming on the Clouds” was written in response to a mocking of the rapture after Harold Camping made his unscriptural, erroneous prediction of the end of the world.  “Healing Is Here” was born out of a health scare involving Dan’s wife.  He believed that writing a song on healing would help.  

The sweet harmonies and straightforward lyrics tell the story: 
Sickness can’t stay any longer, 
Your perfect love is casting out fear.  
You are the God of all power, 
and it is Your will that my life is healed. 

The “220 Song” is a reference to Bethany’s youth ministry based on Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (NIV). Songs on this twelve-track album, produced by Brent Milligan, involve themes of healing, Christ’s return, worship, and especially, being filled with the Holy Spirit. Passion, praise, and a heavy dose of the Holy Spirit pervade Swell’s every song, word, and note.

Other albums by Deluge include their first, self-titled album in 2008, followed by Unshakeable, in 2010.   

Swell was created for and by the corporate worship and praise setting.  The melodies found within these tunes are interesting, yet simple and memorable.  Their straight to the point sing-ability makes them enjoyable and accessible for the corporate setting in churches small and large.  These songs are easily incorporated into a church worship set and should prove to be easy to learn and play, adjustable to a variety of skill levels and worship team sizes and shapes. This straightforward worship-rock speaks to and from the heart; this is excellent music for the sincere worship of a very real God. 

 4.5 stars 

-Amanda Furbeck

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    One comment on “Swell

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