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Hillsong Builds Up the Church with Tear Down the Walls

  • Andrew Greer
  • 2009 25 Aug
Hillsong Builds Up the Church with <i>Tear Down the Walls</i>

Artist:  Hillsong United
Title:  Across the Earth:  Tear Down the Walls
Label:  Integrity Worship

More of what we love from our favorite Aussie worship band …

For the past decade, the Hillsong United band has extended a youthful arm to the enormous Hillsong congregation and millions of listeners worldwide.

An amplification of the Australian church's youth ministry of the same name, the band successfully reaches a younger generation that may remain untapped, or at the very least uninterested, by the more "adult contemporary" stylings of, say, former worship pastor Darlene Zschech.

Now releasing their first completely live CD in three years, the modern-rock worship gurus forfeit the studio for a stage, returning to the format that first made them famous.  With cuts by such United dream team members as Reuben Morgan, Joel Houston and new artist sensation Brooke Fraser (who became a contributing member after joining the church), Across the Earth: Tear Down the Walls features 12 sensational, stadium-sized songs of worship.

SEE ALSO: Hillsong United: The Point of Difference

Comparable to Passion recordings here in the States, tight radio edits are traded for extended arrangements, and three-minute pop is exchanged for colossal climaxes, slowly building from the first solo lyric to the last communal phrase.

But when their songs of worship give way to fist-pumping arena rock, it's hard to discern whether the band is promoting entertainment or corporate praise. United, however, purports its purposes are bigger than performance and its message more than a platform.  And countering the idea that this musical outlet is solely about them as a band, they frequently rotate lead vocals, initiating a common spirit from the get-go.

Tear Down the Walls definitely further defines the band's aptitude for creating relevant worship music for the church.  And considering that is their explicit aim, I'm not sure what more we can ask from this fine Aussie collective.

 © 2009  All rights reserved.  Used with permission

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**This review first published on August 25, 2009.

SEE ALSO: This Is Our God Introduces Hillsong's Newest Faces