Open Heaven is a worship band based out of the Faith Life Church in Columbus, Ohio. The group has surprisingly pushed the musical boundaries of mainstream worship with their previous releases, and they continue that trend with their latest record, Revival Rising. While some cliches of the genre are still present, the band does enough to stand out from the rest of the crowd and create a fresh worship experience for the listener.
Album highlights include such infectious tracks as "Here And Now" and "Walls Fall." Right away, it's clear that the band doesn't try to hide the talent they have been gifted with, as both songs are filled with impressive musicianship. The band's passion to bring their praise to God is evident, with lines such as "I won't let the rocks cry out in my place." When so many modern worship acts follow the same formula, it is a breath of fresh air to hear a lesser known band like Open Heaven shaking things up with various styles throughout the record. "Heaven's Song" takes more of a reserved, atmospherical approach led by female vocals, and is a beautiful addition to the album. A standout is the epic anthem "Incredible Goodness." The song is a bold declaration of the incomprehensible nature of our God, and includes a spoken word segment from the church's Pastor; before breaking into an unexpected Lincoln Brewster-esque guitar solo, closing out the track on a high note. Another song worth mentioning is the stripped down, piano-driven "For Your Glory," which shows the band's desire to bring all the glory back to God, "May my heart beat a rhythm, to the greatness of you Lord / May my words be a witness, of your grace that restores."
Of course, this album has some shortcomings as most worship endeavors do. While the band impressively avoids falling completely into the cliches of the worship genre, some tracks definitely sound more like fillers, such as "Warrior" and the title track. Certain production choices seem a bit cheesy at times, like the 80's style synths that make appearances in a couple tunes; sometimes they work, but sometimes they don't. From a lyrical standpoint, the band doesn't really break any new ground; That being said, they do manage to give a fresh perspective on several already covered topics, and the weaker offerings are still worth a listen.
Despite these imperfections, the band succeeds in creating an enjoyable worship album that sets itself apart from other works within the genre. Songs like "Here And Now" and "One Promise" showcase their ability to create joyful worship tracks that rise above the status quo; and slower, more reflective moments, such as "Breathe" and "For Your Glory," add different dynamics to make it a fuller record. Also, the healthy balance between male and female led vocals is an added element that keeps things fresh and cohesive throughout the album. Revival Rising offers something for all fans of the genre, and is a welcome addition to their catalog of music. If you're looking for an album full of worship and diversity (something hard to come by these days), this release comes highly recommended!- Review date: 5/7/19, written by James Larsen of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: DREAM Worship
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