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.
Multi-platinum selling and GRAMMY-award winning band CASTING CROWNS has been awarded RIAA Platinum certification for their Christmas album Peace On Earth. This marks their fifth career Platinum certification in addition to their 2x multi-Platinum album, two RIAA Platinum DVDs, seven RIAA Gold albums, four Gold DVDs, one RIAA Platinum single and five RIAA Gold certified digital singles. The group continues to hold the position as Billboard’s top-selling act in Christian music since 2007 with more than 10 million album sales.
CASTING CROWNS : The Very Next Thing. (Reunion : B01HKSZJ46)
For more than a decade, Casting Crowns have been making hit record after hit record. Their musical style has slowly evolved over the years, and this new release crosses a few musical genres. The first song is called “Hallelujah.” It’s a big production number that includes thumping drum beats and loud phrases of praise. The title track asks God to show the listener what He would like them to do next in their walk with Him. I can’t say that I was really impressed with the song, but that opinion changed with “One Step Away.” This is the sound that Casting Crowns fans know and love. Pop meets rock, and a smattering of big ballad sound results in a great song. From there, I thought that the album quality seemed to dip a little. As usual, there was nothing wrong with the message of each song, but the portrayal didn’t exactly excite me. However, that all changed with “When the Man of God Passes By.” Think country hoedown, and you’ve got a good idea of how this song sounds. For me, it’s the pick of the album, although “Song That the Angels Can’t Sing” runs it a close second. Ending things is an acoustic praise number called “Loving My Jesus,” which reminds us all of our relationship with Him. On the whole, it’s a good album, and fans will soon be clamouring for more. 8/10.
CASTING CROWNS : A Live Worship Experience. (Beach Street : 02341020725)
This album was recorded live during summer 2015 at Eagle’s Landing First Baptist Church, which is Casting Crowns’ home church and where frontman, Mark Hall, has remained a full-time youth pastor for more than 20 years. Although I knew very few of these songs, by the end of the album, they meant so much. The live recording really captures the essence of being there, and the music is excellent. The striking “At Calvary” starts things off, and the worshippers love it. “Good Good Father” comes next, closely followed by “Great Are You Lord”, more of a ballad in style. Mark Hall’s vocals are so engaging, and it was “You Are the Only One” that really began to lift my own praise to God. “Here’s My Heart” is a beautiful track, were Mark duets with Melodee DeVeevo. She, then, takes over lead vocals for the driving song that is “No Not One.” I’ve got to admit to been taken aback by the power of some of the songs. “Here’s My Heart” and “Just Be Held” both stood out as tremendous songs of worship. Lyrically, you need to read the inlay for full details but “Let Our hearts be led by mercy, and reach with open hearts,” are just a few of the great words from “Jesus, Friend of Sinners”. I’ve got to say that this recording just blew me away. It’s got to go down as one of the best live worship albums to date. 10/10.
The highly anticipated new album from the bestselling band CASTING CROWNS will be released on 16th September. This album is perhaps their most personal to date. It includes the song “Oh My Soul,” which Mark Hall wrote in response to his journey through a cancer diagnosis, giving this album a real authentic resonance. The Very Next Thing is full of intimate songs as well as upbeat, fresh sounding tracks that will meet the listener with lyrics that impact with a strong message song after song.
One of the world’s biggest selling Christian bands, CASTING CROWNS, are set to release their seventh studio album ‘Thrive’ on 28th January 2014. The album comes more than two years since the band’s acclaimed album ‘Come to the Well’ and includes the new lead single ‘All You’ve Ever Wanted’. Accompanying the record is Casting Crowns lead singer, Mark Hall’s newest book ‘Thrive – Digging Deep, Reaching Out’. The book hits retailers on 11th February 2014 and includes powerful stories and teaching for those looking to take the next step of faith.
CASTING CROWNS : The Acoustic Sessions Volume 1.
(Reunion Records : 02341 0178 2)
This is a fairly enjoyable CD on the whole. As the title suggests it’s a CD containing acoustic recordings of some of their classic tracks, including “Who am I” and “Praise You in this storm”. I liked most of the stuff on here, but of the songs that I’m familiar with, I prefer the originals. I liked the unfamiliar tracks more, I suppose because there was nothing to compare them with. There are two new songs on here too, presumably necessary to entice the fans to buy an album of material that they already own. (Or perhaps I’m being cynical). It was interesting to see how the lighter arrangements sounded, compared to the originals, though I must admit to owning only four of their songs on compilations. If you don’t own any of their albums, then this is probably a good one to try and get an idea of the kind of material that they play, although on the whole you won’t be hearing the normal sound of this band. On the whole then, not a bad effort. 7/10 Andy Sayner.