Over a year had passed since the release of Coming Up To Breathe, and November 2007 marked the release of two versions for the latest MercyMe studio album, called All That Is Within Me. INO Records released a standard version, with the music only, and a special collector's edition featuring three bonus acoustic tracks and a compatible DVD with bonus content. While Coming Up To Breathe was more of an experiment into the rock/alternative and pop genre, the group wanted to go back to their original music roots and create a pop/worship-based album that blends very well with their predecessor. With the bonus acoustic tracks, MercyMe experimented a little more with broken down, softer versions of "God With Us," "Sanctified," and "Finally Home." Needless to say, bonus tracks do not blend very well with an album, especially when they are stripped down versions of songs we have previously heard and because they do not have the proper feeling and emotion compared to the rest of the album.
Moving on to the DVD material of All That Is Within Me, viewers are rewarded with a documentary of the band as they were recording the new album, the press kit comprised of the album's promotional material, and a live concert filmed in Hawaii. The making-of documentary is primarily bass player Nathan Cochran giving a tour of Cider Mountain Studios while the band was in the process of recording the album. Nathan offers a few wisecrack jokes here and there, such as his description of Bart Millard's gold microphone he sings into, which adds a little fun to this release. Drummer Robby Shaffer is seen towards the end showing what goes on outside the recording studio, but no one else in the band is interviewed for the documentary, which is quite disappointing. The press kit eliminates the disappointment and is comprised of interviews from all six members speaking about the new album while presenting previews of their new songs such as "You Reign," and "God With Us."
The live concert was filmed in Hawaii during the Coming Up To Breathe Tour and directly after Audio Adrenaline's final performance. The concert by itself is very memorable as viewers get to see and hear live performances of "Hold Fast," "Spoken For," "Word of God Speak," and the group's ground-breaking single "I Can Only Imagine" (If you look closely at the stage, there is a brief glimpse of Audio Adrenaline's Mark Stuart backstage during the performance). Bart Millard takes a time-out after "Word of God Speak" to talk about the moving of the Holy Spirit and God reigning down on our lives, which blends well with their next song "Bring The Rain." Despite a wonderful performance, the show runs under 37 minutes while many fans that have seen them live know that their set runs over one hour and fifteen minutes.
As an entire package, this Collector's Edition is a good solid release that will receive praise from several die-hard MercyMe fans. With that being said, not all of the bonus content, including the bonus acoustic tracks, brings enough energy to this release. The Hawaii concert is enjoyable to watch, but anyone that has been to a MercyMe show will notice something is missing. If you already own the original album, please know that there is not enough material on this release to make fans spend money on something they already have. All That Is Within Me will not go down in the history books as their best material, but there is still plenty of good stuff on here for all MercyMe fans to enjoy.- Review date: 5/19/09, written by Fred Keel
Disc: 1 - CD||
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