The Review Zone – Rend Collective : Build Your Kingdom Here (A Rend Collective Mixtape) @rendcollective

rend_collective_a_rend_collective_mixtape_final_coverREND COLLECTIVE : ‘Build Your Kingdom Here (A Rend Collective Mixtape)’ : (Integrity Music)

It is a few years since I first came across the Northern Irish ‘Rend Collective Experiment’, giving a favourable review to their release ‘The art of celebration’. With a strong Tony Campolo endorsement behind them and a couple of albums on (one studio, one live), here we have a fourteen track compilation of selected songs to date – now with the ‘Experiment’ part of their name gone, implying that they must consider themselves fully proven! Being a compilation, existing followers will know what to expect. For those yet to catch up with the band, the Rend formula consists of well developed arrangements that usually build to a climax, featuring Gareth Gilkerson’s slightly raspy but note perfect vocals. These are usually set over repeating guitar riffs with a variety of other instruments coming in as the climax develops, all driven along by prominent drumming. There are a lot of well written songs here – lyrically (majoring on a personal relationship with God) and musically. The standout for me is probably their 2014 hit ‘Boldly I approach (The art of celebration)’, but others I specially enjoyed were ‘My lighthouse’, ‘You bled’, and ‘Alabaster’. ‘You are my vision’ is particularly effective – being a slight modification of the the hymn ‘Be Thou my vision’. The original of course is a request to God, whereas the Rend twist makes it a proclamation of faith! Sadly, with so much good about this release, sound quality is a let-down. Volume levels also vary noticeably, one example being track 7 ‘Second chance’ which is at a much lower level than tracks 6 or 8. Having first listened to the review MP3s I checked Tidal and found no difference. This is inexcusable really, and should have been sorted at the mastering stage. Great music then, poor sound. 8/10. Dave Deeks

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