Enter the Worship Circle isn't particularly a group, but a project. With Enter the Worship Circle: Second Circle acting as the second installment in the ETWC series, put together by Blue Renaissance Music, seven musicians with a heart for worshipping their Creator join forces to record an intimate experience. The result?
Enter the Worship Circle: Second Circle is a crisp sounding tribal-flavored coffee shop musical journey taking the listener on a more grass rootsy worship trip. Fifteen original songs flood this 70 plus minute worship project. What could have been accomplished better in 10 solid tracks, is stretched into 15 often lengthy songs. Fans of the acoustic and melancholy sounds of Five O'Clock People or the acoustic roots of Eli will find this project a pleasant surprise. "I Will Bow" opens the album nicely, a song musically reminiscent of stripped down earlier folk songs from Jars of Clay. But this infectious worship song stands out immediately.
Fueled my female lead vocals, "Near to You" offers a strong Chasing Furies atmosphere, soldifying itself as another album highlight. "Be Near to Me" showcases a vocal style very similar to Eli, with a less grittier edge to them. One of the things that works nicely at times for the effect of a different kind of worship experience, is the band's use of organic sounds, with a majority of the instruments originating from India. However, by the album's close, some listeners may be anxious to hear something more familiar or inviting. In "Lost Art of Living," the group composes a truly creepy instrumentation, something that hasn't made my skin crawl this bad since Dale Thompson's first solo project Speak into the Machine years ago (not to knock his solo project, but it was indeed eerie). The lyrics may portray worship, but the music is so haunting it's near disturbing. The foreign sounds are largely out of place, and by the time the pounding drums come in, you're liable to chuckle as Steve Taylor's tongue-in-cheek "Cash Cow" comes to mind. In moderation these foreign instruments would have been most effective, but here they seem to be used in excess, dulling the potential impact somewhat. The worship experience is strong on Second Circle, their hearts are in the right place, and that might be all the listener needs.
A decent worship project that may drag on a little longer than need be, the majority of Enter the Worship Circle: Second Circle will more than likely please the ears of the folk lovers and help draw them into a worship circle they'll not want to leave.- Review date: 3/11/02, written by John DiBiase
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