This is a review of the Everlasting Word Band‘s first album, Rise Up, O Just One, which was released August 2009. Everlasting Word Band is a ministry of Christ The Word Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Toledo, Ohio.
The album starts out with a rendition of Psalm 94 titled O Lord of Vengeance, followed by a setting of Revelation 15:3-4 titled Song of the Lamb. It is good to have the excellent Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted (track 3) brought back to mind, and the band does a good job with it.
The album really takes off with the singing of the warriors of the cross in Why Do The Heathen Nations Vainly Rage?, followed by the women’s song in We Will Dance. Beautiful sequence there.
After stopping to consider the discipline of the Lord with Lamentations 3, the band turns our thoughts to heaven; the cost of getting there; and the witnesses who have gone before, with Cloud of Witnesses (track 7); and we then finish with a rousing rendition of How Firm A Foundation.
A few thoughts
I have listened to this album through many times, always to my profit, and I’m not done listening and profiting from it yet. Especially outstanding are Why Do The Heathen Nations Vainly Rage? and Cloud of Witnesses — when was the last time you heard the soldiers of the cross raise the battle cry? The former song draws it out of you (especially if you crank the volume); and in the latter they give us a strengthening reminder of the company we keep when we endure suffering for our Lord, hoping for our reward along with all those faithful ones who have gone before.
On the negative side, there is a whiny tone to some of the songs that detracts from the appeal of the album — the first two tracks suffer from this and it makes the album seem to start out slowly. And in our our upside-down day I think it would have been better not to have a male backup vocalist singing the echoes on a song led by women, as in We Will Dance.
This album is part of a great work the Everlasting Word Band is undertaking. From the CD insert:
…if our music is ever going to teach and admonish us to fear, love, and serve our God aright, as it is supposed to do (Col. 3:16), then it must begin to encompass more than sentimental, feel-good mush. The themes of God’s grace and mercy should sit side by side with those of His righteous anger and judgment; jubilant expressions of our rejoicing must go hand in hand with a heavy sorrow over sin. These are the themes of the Bible. Let us then make them the themes of our song.
Rise Up, O Just One is a solid step in that direction, and I commend it to you.
The band has made the whole album available for free online listening (and free download with optional donation), and they’ve posted lyrics and lead sheets for some of the songs.
Thanks to the Everlasting Word Band for doing the hard and good work of producing this album. God bless you and your families, your church, and your continuing work for the Lord, dear brothers.