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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

Consuming Fire

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2004 1 Apr
Consuming Fire
Sounds like … standard live worship driven by guitar rock, somewhat reminiscent of recordings by Paul Baloche and Rita SpringerAt a glance … Evans' strengths as an energetic worship leader are downplayed due to a numbing array of repetitive and forgettable songsTrack ListingWorship IntroConsuming FireJesus, I Come to FollowAnywhere with YouPrecious JesusExaltedBlessed Be the LordMy EverythingFields of GraceMy RewardThe One and OnlyJust as I AmHarp in My HeartDream Before YouLet the River Flow 2

Known for worship classics like "Trading My Sorrows," "Let the River Flow," and "Fields of Grace," it's been a long five years since the release of Darrell Evans' last album, the highly popular and acclaimed Freedom. We've seen growing popularity and disenchantment with the worship renaissance in that time. Evans breaks his hiatus with Consuming Fire, a 70-minute live recording with guest appearances by worship leaders Paul Baloche, Kate Miner, Charlie Hall, and Kevin Prosch.

Worship paradoxically (and sadly) can divide the church as much as unify it. There's traditional vs. contemporary, spontaneous vs. liturgical, charismatic vs. reserved. And then there's the matter of songwriting. Some prefer poetic stanzas, while others prefer simplicity and repetition. One's not necessarily better than the other, but each attracts a different listening audience.

Evans has always leaned toward the repetitive, but never more so than on Consuming Fire. The listener knows exactly what to expect after the first two tracks: a charismatic (i.e. long and noisy) worship intro, followed by an extremely repetitive and tiresome title track. The other new songs are just as numbing, often stretching six lines of lyrics over a lengthy, monotonously patterned worship sound. Evans accurately describes the guitar riff on "My Everything" as Dave Matthews meets Hanson's "Mmm Bop"—that's as interesting as the song gets.

The album's best moments are an extremely spirited rendition of "Fields of Grace" (recently covered by Big Daddy Weave), an enjoyable secondary praise chorus to "Let the River Flow," and the three songs not by Evans—Prosch's "Harp in My Heart," Baloche's "My Reward," and Miner's "Dream Before You." I hate to critique a worship experience that may speak to someone's heart, but objectively speaking, these songs just don't measure up to the best in modern worship, including Evans' far superior past work.