In 2000, a series of worship projects called City On A Hill was launched, joining together an A-list selection of Christian pop artists who collaborated to create a unified thematic album. Three installments of the City albums were produced, including a Christmas project, before its finale with City On A Hill: The Gathering in 2003. Now nearly four years later, City alumnus Mac Powell (of Third Day) and author/minister David Nasser have joined forces to create a new project that joins artists together once again, this time to present an album of music inspired by scripture, titled Glory Revealed: The Word of God In Worship.
Musically, Glory Revealed bears a similar feel as the City On A Hill projects, almost making the record seem like an extension of those ventures. However, the biggest distinction is that the fingerprints of producers Marc Byrd and Steve Hindalong aren't anywhere to be found on Glory Revealed. Instead, this record is solely the brainchild of Powell and Nasser, helping it differ enough to stand on its own as an entirely separate entity. Trevor Morgan's "He Will Rejoice" earns the lead off spot, bearing a folk flavored acoustic song that even slightly harkens back to the days of the legendary Rich Mullins. One of the standout tracks follows, "By His Wounds," if not solely because of the talent assembled together in just one song. Powell kicks off the track and is soon joined by Steven Curtis Chapman, Brian Littrell and Casting Crown's Mark Hall. With such great vocalists collected on one track, however, it's a stark contrast when Hall's straining vocal style enters the mix of such naturalists as Powell, Chapman, and Littrell. Hall may have fared better leading a track by himself. "Waters Gone By" is a sizable stylistic departure from Shawn Lewis' usual outfit, Hyper Static Union. The folk fashion of the song is a surprising fit for the vocalist. David Crowder makes a welcomed appearance on the album with "To The Only God," teaming with worship duo Shane & Shane, who are no strangers to the folk groundwork for the album. Crowder's vocals carry the song well, but the track loses a bit of strength when the Shanes timidly deliver their verses in the form of an almost hesitant whisper. Candi Pearson-Shelton's title track offers a vocal style that's a bit of a marriage between the qualities of Plumb's and Nichole Nordeman's for a familiar yet unique result. Josh Bates' "Altar Of God" is one of the soloist's most unique vocal recordings, even bearing a slight resemblance to Chicago's Peter Cetera along the way. The harmonica seasonings on the acoustic track is also a nice touch.
CCM staple Michael W. Smith leads "Come, Worship The King," with Shane & Shane appearing again to back up and more so accompany Smith this time around. As opposed to their appearance with Crowder, this is Smith's show, so the Shanes put more energy into their vocals to compliment Smith's. In the end, "Come, Worship The King" is one of the stronger tracks on the record. Starfield's Tim Neufield carries "Who Is Like You," sounding a bit like Steven Curtis, but more youthful and without as much control and restrain as the veteran. "Restore To Me" teams Mac Powell with Candi Pearson-Shelton, but the presence of the other members of Third Day that usually accompanies Powell is distinctly missed. Glory Revealed closes with Brian Littrell's "You Alone," a modest and subtle way to end the ten-song project.
In the end, Glory Revealed: The Word of God In Worship is a good modern worship collaborative effort that falls short of greatness due to a short running time (33 minutes) and the lack of any songs that can reach epic proportions like City On A Hill's "God Of Wonders." The entire record bears a banjo-driven acoustic folk styling that unifies the project but may seem a bit overused by the close of the album. But despite its occasional shortcomings, Glory Revealed: The Word of God In Worship is still one of the better worship albums you'll find today as it breaks out of much of the sameness that plagues the genre today. For fans of previous projects like the City collections, or any of the included artists, Glory Revealed: The Word of God In Worship is well worth a listen.- Review date: 3/3/07, written by John DiBiase
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