Recorded live at Shasta Lake in California, We Will Not Be Shaken is an evening of worship led by the artist collective, Bethel Music. Though artists like Jeremy Riddle and Steffany Gretzinger are missing from this project, the artists that are featured here provide an intimate worshipful environment for these eleven brand new songs.
For having nine lead singers, We Will Not Be Shaken is surprisingly cohesive. Brian Johnson and Jenn Johnson each lead two songs while returning artists Hunter Thompson, Amanda Cook, Matt Stinton lead one song a piece. There are also a handful of artists that make their debut on here on the album, including Kalley Heiligenthal, Hannah McClure, Paul McClure, Jonathan Helser and Melissa Helser. All of these vocalists are relatively talented and help foster the true heart of worship: Jesus. There are even a few points where their passion for Jesus really bursts through, such as at the end of "No Longer Slaves" where newcomer Jonathan Helser cracks his voice out of complete abandonment while singing.
Charles H. Spurgeon famously said about worship, "True Christian worship addresses God, not merely as Creator and Preserver, or as the great Lord of the Universe, but as one who is very near of kin to us, our Father, beloved of our souls." Though the artists of Bethel Music focus more on the personal qualities of God, they effectively communicate both these awe-inspiring and fatherly characteristics of God. However, there are several areas throughout the album that seem to lack vulnerability and urgency in our need for Jesus. Even still, most of the songs do have strong lyrical moments, and a few even manage to avoid any problems completely, such as the beautifully penned "Nearness" and "In Over My Head."
The music on We Will Not Be Shaken boasts a gentle tone which could be described as a cross between Hillsong and All Sons and Daughters--though not as unique as the latter. The Bethel Music band contains two violins, a cello, a couple keyboardists, two drummers, acoustic and electric guitars, and several background vocalists. Despite the plethora of singers and instrumentalists, none of the songs feel overdone or over performed--in fact, the whole album has a magnificently peaceful ambiance that is layered with elegant instrumentation. It is not unexpected that the energetic pop and electronic sounds from previous songs like "Chasing You" are put on the back burner considering the informal setting.
Filmed with two drone aircrafts and a couple manned cameras, the DVD does a fairly good job capturing the experience of the one-hour evening of worship. The scenery overlooking the lake and mountains is absolutely gorgeous and offers a unique location to worship the Creator. The breathtaking landscape background and audience of less than 100 people (totally guessing) is a nice change from the sometimes flashy worship in other corporate worship contexts. As the daylight starts to fade and dusk begins, it only gets more beautiful. Sadly, dusk is short lived as the darkness blankets the background by the fifth song and spotlights illuminate the stage.
There are a quite a few things that stand out about this project--the tender tone, the excellent musicianship, and the quality of the singers' voices--but the lyrics could have been stronger and the album's running time could have been cut down considerably (the eleven tracks clock in at a whopping hour and three minutes). If you are a fan of Bethel Music, you will surely find a lot to love here, and if you are new to the band this is a good place to start.- Review date: 1/25/15, written by Christopher Smith of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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