Avalon has rocked Christian radio time and time again as they release hit after hit after hit, pausing in 2003 just long enough to release a greatest hits album before moving on to the studio project The Creed. With a dance pop/synth rock feel, their songs are catchy and upbeat. Probably the best way to define their sound is to compare their later work (after 1998) with Darlene Zschech and Truth. Their "mature" sound's repertoire includes "Best Thing," "Undeniably You," "Wonder Why" and "In Not Of" - adult contemporary pop at its best.
However, for A Maze of Grace, we go back to a sound that they have really moved away from a more pop-like, synth-heavy and electric sound, with a very ABBA feel - one that can easily be labeled as dance music. Also of note on this album (their second project), is that it includes the vocal talents of first Avalon soprano Nikki Hassman-Anders, who left her slot in 1998, being replaced by Cherie Palliota (1998-2002) and more recently, Melissa Greene.
"Testify to Love" is a worshipful anthem of praise for God's creation, a radio hit and all-time classic. "A World Away," a song which sounds almost identical in feel to ABBA's "Voulez-vous," follows up be telling how, thanks to God, we are now "a world away" from where we were in sin. The album moves on to a calmer drum-based title track, about God's carrying us, before it launches into the happy tune "Knockin' On Heaven's Door," a song about the power of prayer. "Adonai," the song used to represent Avalon on WoW the 90's, is an extremely powerful worship song, another classic to the fans of Avalon, vocally-based before leading up to a wonderful, forceful climax of joy in Christ's power. "Speed of Light" and "The Move" continue an even heavier dance vein than "A Maze of Grace" before finally yielding to more sentimental songs, "Forgive+Forget" and "Dreams I Dream for you," a beautiful closing to the Avalon experience.
All in all, as stated earlier, if you're into a big fan of synthpop, rock and dance with a slight techno feel, this is for you. If, however you prefer the more "mature," polished feel of their albums In a Different Light, The Creed and Oxygen, then I recommend checking out their post-1998 albums.JFH Reader Review: Review date: 9/3/04, written by Jonathan Bolin for Jesusfreakhideout.com
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