Job 9, specifically in verse 5, finds the impoverished Job describing the power of God ("He moves mountains without their knowing it and overturns them in his anger"). While singer/songwriter Kristian Stanfill didn't bring too much new to the table with his debut, Attention, Stanfill gives it another go with Mountains Move, borrowing the title from this passage of Job for his sophomore effort on sixstepsrecords. Unfortunately, compared to his last outing, we find excellence on the decline.
Stanfill's sound from Attention makes an appearance again on Mountains Move, and it's apparent from just the first few seconds of "Lord Almighty" what sort of record the listener is in for. And it never changes. While several ballads are tossed in the mix ("You Will Reign," "My Reward," "Always," "Holding My World," "We Glorify Your Name"), the overall sound doesn't ever seem to vary from the beginning of the record to the end. With the standard mix of electric guitars and fast-paced drumming, there's no revolutionary sound to speak of on the album, and a number of the songs sound virtually the same and undistinguishable. This is most obvious when one listens to Mountains Move straight through from start to finish. But while listening to songs individually wouldn't make this as large of an issue, this doesn't excuse the lack of range of musicianship throughout the project that a quality album would demand.
Mountains Move is centered on the common theme of faith in the Lord, and every song on the record relates back to the idea. Concept albums aren't too common in the praise & worship realm, but as such, it's an inspired idea for Stanfill to implement. With this attempt to be different, however, there's the disadvantage of a real lack of lyrical variety on the album. Because every song covers the same subject, they all run together as a whole and it's not easy to differentiate between specific tracks. Some lyrics are even repeated within the record; while musings along the lines of "I lift my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from?" is Scriptural and inarguable, is doesn't benefit the record's variety to use the near-same wording in both "Lord Almighty" and "Always." It's almost as if Stanfill has run out of unique ways to convey the same thing, and therefore, he repeats himself. In doing so, "worship catchphrases" abound, bringing the entire project down as devoid of imagination. At the end of the day, when it comes to worship records, profundity of lyrics is essential, and Mountains Move's feel nothing but stale and tiring.
Stanfill was sixstepsrecords' first signing of a new artist since the label was established in 2000, so it's still baffling to see this signing bring sub-par to bottom-of-the-barrel results. While Attention was a fairly unimpressive record, it's even more disappointing to find that Mountains Move shows no improvement and is, in some ways, a step backward. Ordinary at best and recyclable at worst, it's variety, or lack thereof, that makes the project falter the most, both from a musical and lyrical standpoint. Worshipful as it may be, there's just not reason enough to bypass other more accomplished worship efforts for Stanfill's Mountains Move.- Review date: 1/6/11, written by Roger Gelwicks of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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