Casting Crowns has quickly and remarkably become one of the fastest selling groups in Christian music history. With two full-length albums and two highly successful live projects in conjunction with those records, the band is poised to release their third album, The Altar and The Door. While their last two albums' success is nothing to sneeze at, the band in many respects of modern worship music has hit a snag in the originality department. With The AltarÖ, the group has upped the ante a bit, but still offers much of the same.
Highlights on The Altar and The Door include the rock-filled album kick-off, "What The World Needs," the single "East To West," the passionate "The World Is Alive", and the slow guitar-driven title track. Casting Crowns has been known for songs that have real life stories behind them, which has spawned hits like "Praise You In This Storm" and "Voice of Truth." But this time around, it seems that they've thrown in their own stories, but used others to speak for them. Some songs on the album feature people talking about topics that the songs are already touching on, leaving the listener with an overall feeling of disconnection. "What The World Needs" gets through much of the song without a problem, but then speaking parts tend to ruin it. Had it been left alone as-is, it would have made it much stronger. This tends to happen on a couple other tracks, ruining the listening experience, but making for a great message for radio.
Overall, most of the songs on this new release tend to copy what the group has done before, with slightly better lyrical content, yet more of the same musically. The album also ends with an almost bizarre hidden track, first sung in another language, then sung in English, serving as just an odd way to end the album. Expect less rock-infused anthems this time around, and more of what we've all come to expect from Casting Crowns: lack of originality, and millions of records sold.- PReview date: 8/4/07, Review date: 8/23/07, written by Justin Mabee
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