Expressing concerns over the album title, leading American retail chain Walmart has refused to carry chart-topping rock band STRYPER’s new 10th studio album, God Damn Evil. Several Christian retail chains have also objected to the title and declined to carry God Damn Evil in their stores.
“We’re disappointed,” says STRYPER frontman Michael Sweet. “Stryper has always been about making people think outside the box. Our new album title God Damn Evil is a statement that’s needed in our society. We’ve seen evil rise to new levels and this title is simply a prayer request asking God to damn or condemn all the evil around us. Many chains have joined us in making such a statement. Walmart unfortunately has not. The odd thing is of all the chains out there we assumed Walmart would be one to understand exactly what our point and purpose is. Unfortunately not. Although we respect their decision and what’s done is done, it’s frustrating to see something that’s meant for good get misinterpreted and misunderstood.”
CASTING CROWNS : Glorious Day – Hymns of Faith. (Reunion Records : B00ZUTM9UU)
This new offering from Casting Crowns seems to be a bit of a compilation, as many of the songs are available on other recordings. It’s a mixture of original songs and timeless hymns – the latter given a complete revamp. It all starts off with the sweet acoustic duet “When We All Get To Heaven”. Indeed, this quickly became my favourite track on the album. There’s some great banjo picking on “Nothing But the Blood,” while “Glorious Day” sees the full band in its more traditional contemporary form. Mark Hall is in fine form vocally, and I particularly liked his delivery on the old fashioned sounding “My Jesus, I Love Thee.” One of my minor moans about this group is that they never seem to settle on one format of sound. Connoisseurs will argue that the sound is always evolving, but it leaves me a little confused, at times. “At Calvary” plods along, and is quite mediocre, until it’s lifted by an excellent guitar solo. “Praise You in This Storm” provides some very deep moments of worship, featuring that well-known phrase, “My help comes from the Lord.” A lot of the songs are sung as duets, but the sleeve notes leave you to guess which female member is accompanying Hall. That, in itself, is a pity, as “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus” is a particularly good example. Overall, I quite enjoyed this album, and will definitely give it more plays in the future. 8/10.
WORSHIP CENTRAL : All For Love (Gethsemane). (Integrity)
Worship Central is a movement of worshippers who want to see the worship of Jesus Christ made central throughout our communities, local churches and the world. This brand-new Easter song from Worship Central, features Luke & Anna Hellebronth, a husband and wife duo that head up the Worship movement coming out of St. Luke’s Gas Street, Birmingham U.K. “All For Love” is taken from the forthcoming Worship Central live album ‘Stir A Passion’, releasing this May. The single begins with some very dusky vocals from Anna, which I found rather off-putting for a congregational type of song. However, when the tempo picks up, I could easily imagine soon joining in. It’s a rather reflective number and centres around there been no greater name than Jesus. It’s not a bad song but, perhaps, it needs a few listens for one to really engage with it. 6/10.
HAWK NELSON : Miracles. (Fair Trade : B079HLWG3X)
This is pop rock of a very high quality, in a very modern style echoing One Direction, The Wanted, Bruno Mars and so forth with the slightly dancey keyboards behind a thumping bass drum and distorted electric guitars. Over it all is Jon Steingard’s voice, soaring and making you listen (see the “I am falling” line on “Parachute” for an example) and reminding me at times of Robbie Williams in his pomp. You can almost visualise the Big Weekend dance moves as it plays, with the crowd singing along to every word. I don’t recall being overly impressed with the last album (looking back it was actually the bonus CD I wasn’t impressed with), but this is very well performed and recorded. It’s equally in your face about the faith basis to their lives and music – “He Still Does (Miracles)” being a clear pointer. There’s some very good arrangements too, “Right Here With You” being an excellent example of how to build a song without resorting to key changes. The overall tone is uplifting, proclaiming God’s glory and grace in a way I don’t think I’ve heard for a while. It certainly gets its message across. Best track: He Still Does (Miracles) 8/10. Paul Ganney.
Helen’s new single LAST MINUTE, the title track from her forthcoming EP, is released TODAY!
Download your copy EXCLUSIVELY from her online store at www.helenjayne.com/product-page/last-minute for just £1.00!
Preview it here: www.helenjayne.com/last-minute. It will also be available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and all major online music retailers in the next few weeks.
Last Minute is an infectious country/pop track, with a shuffling back beat and an angsty lyric which is sure to resonate with anyone who’s lived, loved and lost! Here’s what a respected industry reviewer thinks:
“For those of you lucky enough to spend your weekday mornings listening to Ken Bruce on BBC Radio 2 whilst sipping your coffee, then this new song from Helen Jayne could well be one you’ll hear. With overtones of an American country sound, the song Last Minute features a piano sound reminiscent of Bruce Hornsby, complimented by a fine backing band and amazing vocals from Helen. The production provides such a laid back feel to the song it conjures up a vision of strolling through New York City on a quiet Sunday morning. So, sip your coffee, close your eyes and listen… you’ll be on Fifth Avenue in no time… over to you Ken Bruce!”
Thank you to everyone for your continued support for Helen’s music, it means so much to us.
Safe Management Ltd
Multi-platinum selling band MercyMe have released I Can Only Imagine – The Very Best Of MercyMe, a 13 piece collection of their most beloved songs alongside a special version of the monumental hit “I Can Only Imagine” made just for the anticipated movie of the same name called “I Can Only Imagine (The Movie Session).” Carefully selected by the band, the impressive track listing for this album includes their biggest hits such as “Flawless,” “Word Of God Speak,” “God With Us” plus the original version of “I Can Only Imagine.” A critic noted, “… they have become a formidable act not only in CCM but beyond through their carefully crafted songs. This collection is proof of this.”
The 5X GRAMMY® nominated band attended the world premiere of the much-anticipated new movie “I Can Only Imagine” last week alongside host Scott Hamilton and members of the cast including Dennis Quaid, Trace Adkins, J. Michael Finley, Madeline Carroll, Priscilla Shirer and more. The true story based on the life of Bart Millard who wrote the mega-hit song after the loss of his father to cancer opeed in theaters last month. Carrying the same name, Millard’s first memoir has also been released.