If you have followed the "worship music" scene this year, you might have noticed an influx of releases from Mars Hill Music. The incredible offerings of such a motley crew have been welcomed with critical acclaim. However, with another full-length album can one of Mars Hill's most popular bands rise to the standard that those before them have set; where does Ghost Ship's The Good King fit into the mix?
The album begins on what seems to be a sad note with "Mediator." It's a cry for God's help in the midst of pain. While the message is not overtly sad, as it reflects on our need for Jesus, the overall tone carries a gritty tension of desperation. That tension is broken with "Orion" with a beautiful bluegrass-folk celebration of Christ's finished work on the cross. To complement this happy tone is the aggressive and serious "Lion Man." It truly captures the weightiness of God's wrath being transferred to Christ as He suffered and died in our place. Plus, if you're looking for something to sing with righteous anger - it is sure to fit the bill.
For those seeking a more mellow worshipful experience, Ghost Ship's rendition of "Holy Holy Holy" will surely bring a smile to your face. Its simple arrangement and bright sound honors the original song whilst updating it for today. Continuing with that cheerful sound is the stand-out track, "The Gospel." It's straight-forward joyful and biblical worship as lead singer Cam Huxford sings, "There is only one God. There is only one mediator standing between God and man. He's the only way to salvation." Good news with good music; not dressed up, but just raw, real, and beautiful.
The album concludes with the communal "What A Friend We Have In Jesus." Musically, it's a hoedown through and through. It'll get your feet tapping, and if you've got "yee-haw" hidden somewhere in your heart, it might find it's way out. Theologically, it really helps listeners ponder the truth that Jesus now calls us friends and we can now find joy, life, and peace because of Him.
So, without much estimation, it is easy to surmise that The Good King is surely good. However, it should be understood that the album is, in and of itself, a story. Some listeners may be put off by the folk/story format, while others may gravitate toward this style. Regardless, the loveliness of the narrative is complete truth: seeing our need for a savior, rejoicing that He is our king, and celebrating that He is our friend. Convicting truth combined with artful music and a hoedown to wrap it all up; that sounds like a party everyone should be a part of.- Review date: 6/10/13, written by Ryan Barbee of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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