Worship Album Review: Lamb of God by Matt Redman
- From the historic Mission in San Juan Capistrano, Matt Redman captures a profound time of worship with his live album, Lamb of God.
Set in the weathered adobe walls of the historic Mission in San Juan Capistrano, as the sun sinks into the blue Pacific, Matt Redman captures a profound time of worship with his live album, Lamb of God. Backed by a large worship band that included live strings, Redman sings passionately about Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. He says, “The best songs help us breathe in truth, and breathe out a grateful, reverent, and passionate reply.”
Since the late 90s, Matt Redman has been composing worship and praise for the Church. Originally from England, he has led worship in countries across the globe. He is not only a worship leader, songwriter, and author, but a husband and father as well.
Every song on the album is great for corporate worship. The melodies are easy to sing and can be learned quickly. They address orthodox theological truths in a way that is palatable by the many tribes that make up the modern church.
Music and Production
Redman recorded the project live at The Mission in San Juan Capistrano, with a large worship band and a small choir of backup singers. The overall mix is balanced and well-engineered. Live, outdoor recordings always present certain challenges, and I think they captured well the overall experience. The passion of the vocalists comes through and Redman’s performance is wonderful.
The only issue I have with the project is in production. I realize that production covers a lot of real estate, so let me be specific. In my opinion, the project falls into the all too familiar modern worship sound heard on so many other worship projects out there. The songs themselves are well written, but the backing instrumentation and final production do not serve Redman’s compositions as well as they should. When you look back at his earlier projects, there is creativity in the accompaniment that enhances the listening experience and frames his singable and memorable melodies. In this project, I see little of that. I suspect this was not something in his control, nor serves his preferences as an artist.
Each song follows a similar roadmap, giving a worship leader who wishes to use them a firm foundation to start from. The songs stay in standard time in the moderate 68bpm to 85bpm range, with one exception being Even Still and Even So, which ventures into a refreshing 6/4 time. Redman has a knack for writing easy-to-sing, memorable melodies, and this album offers several tunes that will be sung for years to come.
With Lamb of God, Redman explores the cross and its centrality to our Christian faith. The first two tracks establish that theme with force and passion. The track Lamb of God reflects on the wonders of our world, our universe, and the might of God’s creation. Then comes the line, “The single greatest wonder my soul has ever seen is the Lamb of God on cavalry.” The juxtaposition of the majesty of God’s creation to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross serves to magnify the power of God’s love for us.
The project offers ten original tracks, a reworking of Heart of Worship, and two additional versions of the Son of Suffering. All the tracks reflect a traditional theology focused on Christ on the Cross. Aside from the title track and Son of Suffering, Even Still and Even So is a poignant, prayerful song of personal praise.
Lamb of God invites us to reflect on God’s life-changing truth and gives us a vehicle to worship him together. Redman has offered us a way for churches, big and small, to sing with a united voice of praise.
A well-reasoned and passionate collection of worship songs.
Some technical aspects do not do Redman’s compositions justice.
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Christopher Watson is an author of six books, both fiction and non-fiction. He is also a musician and composer with a B.A. in Music from Azusa Pacific University. For several years Christopher led worship at The Springs Church while attending Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas Texas. He's been involved with worship in a number of churches in California and the Pacific Northwest both as a musician and in production and technology. Now he lives and writes in Washington State with his amazing wife, wonderful daughters, and highly intelligent dog, Ellie Mae.