Music Review by Luchae Williams
Bethel Music enthusiasts will be pleased to know that the Christian music collective, hailing from Bill Johnson’s Bethel Church in Redding, California, has released their 11th live album in January 2019.
Titled Victory, the album features 14 songs of declaration, recorded live at Bethel Church. The album theme was inspired by the Scripture in Chronicles that speaks about Jehoshaphat’s unlikely victory, when he sent worshipers to the frontline of the battle. “As they began to sing and praise the Lord set an ambush against the men who were invading Judah and they were defeated.” 2 Chronicles 20:22
The album welcomes back Bethel Music worship leaders Brian and Jenn Johnson as well as Bethel favourites such as Corey Asbury, Sean Feucht, Kalley Heiligenthal and Hunter Thompson.
I was also pleased to discover the addition of some of the newer, emerging voices such as Emmy Rose and Bethany Wohrle. Other big names, on the Gospel music scene, included in the recording are Molly Skaggs (of Cageless Birds ministry) and Daniel and Harvest Bashta.
Victory – Raise a hallelujah!
Opening track, Raise a Hallelujah, is a fitting album opener, acting as a call to worship as worship leaders, Johnathan and Melissa Helser remind listeners to sing in the middle of the storm. “Death is defeated, the King is alive!”
Another catchy praise song that left an impression on me is Daniel and Harvest Bashta’s fun track, Drenched in Love. The song’s chorus is a hand-clapping, foot-stomping anthem that contains a large chunk of age-old classic, “Nothing but the blood of Jesus”. This one had me bopping along in my seat.
Jenn Johnson’s smoky tone adds an element of depth and gravity, with her track, Goodness of God. She is joined by her husband, Brian, to lead worship ballad called Living Hope. This is your typical congregational anthem, speaking about freedom, grace, identity and Jesus Christ, our living hope. Brian Johnson also leads Praise is The Highway – a mid-tempo praise song that was written by Johnson and Sean Feucht.
One of my favourite moments on the album is the addition of Molly Skaggs cover of an old Gospel anthem, Aint No Grave. With an undeniable grassroots meets Country Western flavour, this track is a refreshing deviation from the album’s almost contemporary Christian sound. I enjoyed the musical production, Skaggs’ earthy vocals and the powerful declaration especially in the bridge where the worship leader belts out “If you walked out of the grave/I’m walking too!”
Josh Baldwin’s mellow, acoustic-driven worship track, Stand in Your Love has a strong melody and a powerful message. The chorus simply says: “My fear doesn’t stand a chance when I stand in your love!” What a beautiful reminder! I really enjoyed this one.
Strong worship moments on the album include Bethany Wohrle’s Victory is Yours – a track that speaks about the unfailing name of Jesus. Prolific songwriter and worshipper, Sean Feucht, adds his depth to the album with song There is A Name. Both tracks are beautifully written, with likable melodies that are easy to get hooked onto.
Bethel Music newcomer, Emmy Rose, shares her song Promises Never Fail, with a beautiful innocence that is evident in her vocal. The song is another anthemic worship track, with a strong chorus that says: “I know your thoughts/Your plans for me are good/I know you hold/My future and my hope/Your promises never fail.”
Kalley Heiligenthal’s rich vocal always astounds me which she delivers beautifully, once again, with track Every Crown.
The album closer, Endless Alleluia, made popular by singer and songwriter, Cory Asbury ends the album on a high note. This melodic, almost emotive, worship anthem speaks about singing out an endless hallelujah to a God who is worthy of it all!
With heartfelt praise and anthemic worship songs that are both congregational and personal, I must say, this is one of the better Bethel worship releases that has crossed my desk in a while. The host of strong worship leaders, singers and songwriters that have added to this compilation, has certainly made it an album worth getting your hands on. The music production is impressive and I love that the songs speak about living a life of victory, through Christ Jesus. I thoroughly enjoyed this one!