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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

Mighty to Save

  • reviewed by Andree Farias Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2006 1 Sep
Mighty to Save
Sounds like … Hillsong's customary, stadium-sized live recordings, which entail a combination of high-energy praise rockers, sweeping ballads and corporate value to spareAt a glance … Mighty to Save is another notch in the extensive Hillsong catalog, and one of their better efforts in recent memoryTrack Listing Take It All The Freedom We Know For Who You Are You Alone Are God At the Cross From the Inside Out Found More to See Adonai I Believe Oceans Will Part None but Jesus Higher (with I Believe in You) Mighty to Save

After tinkering with double albums for 2003's Hope, 2004's For All You've Done and last year's God He Reigns, Hillsong Australia is returning to the single-disc album format for Mighty to Save, the church's annual live recording. Though still packed out at 76-plus minutes, apparently the worship team led by Darlene Zschech has realized that more doesn't necessarily mean more, and that conciseness and focus go a longer way than an overlong, repetitive worship extravaganza.

The results are indeed more digestible than recent output, not to mention more diverse and unexpected. Take for example "More to See," a lively number that could very well be Hillsong's first attempt at a contemporary gospel song. Or "Found," a shoe-gazing prayer reminiscent of Sigur Ros that's carried by an otherworldly keyboard bed. And then there's "None but Jesus," a gentle congregational sing-along that features a solitary acoustic guitar—a rarity compared to the group's grandiose, wall-of-sound dynamics.

The worship ensemble has also tightened the way they funnel their recordings. Instead of the abrupt juxtaposition of fast-paced praise rockers and sweeping ballads (or half-hour-long worship stretches) the sequencing is more natural—from "The Freedom We Know" to "Found," the progression is nearly impeccable. There's a little drag toward the tail end of the disc, but that's more attributable to Hillsong's propensity for grandstanding than poor song ordering.

Let us not forget the songs. Mighty to Save showcases Hillsong at their melodic best, starting with the jangly "For Who You Are" and the energetic, though a bit mundane, "Take It All." On the ballad front, the trifecta of "You Alone Are God," "At the Cross" and "From the Inside Out" is rich in corporate value. "At the Cross," in particular, is classic Hillsong, and could very well be a future Easter standard. Collectively, it all amounts to one of the better albums from the popular Aussie worshippers.

© Andree Farias, subject to licensing agreement with Christianity Today International. All rights reserved. Click for reprint information.