Worship on the mountain

GREATER: Live at Chapel
Length: 11 songs/57 Minutes
Label: Venture3Media

One of my favorite moments on GREATER: Live at Chapel comes early. It’s more for the R&B style than the sentiments, though I like the thought of letting God’s praise be preeminent throughout the day. It’s the rhythm that delights! It is a joyful mix of acoustic and electric R&B. This style doesn’t seem as prevalent in modern worship, which is a shame. Planetshakers continually show how good it can sound on their releases, even though they use it sparingly.

The title song, like most if not all of the tracks, has a short intricate instrumental opening, which adds artistry to a genre that can lack it. “Greater” becomes a pounding anthem extolling Christ as being above everything.

My favorite part of “Victory of Jesus” is the creative guitar improvising at the end of some of the lines. Is it needless embellishment? I don’t think so. Recall the beauty of the High Priest’s garments. They reflected God’s glory. Subtle adornment in music can do the same.

The words “God of miracles” in this song and “Move in Power,” the next track, show charismatic influences, which provides some indication of the content. It’s contemporary as opposed to more conservative hymn-like songs along the lines of Keith and Kristyn Getty. One small drawback is that it gets a little repetitive and drawn out in spots, but that is often typical of contemporary styles of worship.

A welcome change is the acoustic adaptation of Psalm 23. The Gettys and those favoring more traditional expressions might approve. It’s a fine rendering and this trend continues on the following.

“Emmanuel,” which is not a Christmas song, is also stripped-down. It puts the words and singing in the forefront. Then to close the release the last four tracks return to the full band sound, which makes for an appropriate contrast.

Reading about the setting for this event is a bit of surprise: a mountaintop near Melbourne, Australia with the band joined by Planetshakers Bible College students. A studio version of GREATER, an earlier release, is also available along with streaming of the concert.

The musicianship and production are first rate. I never would have guessed it was recorded on a mountain but how appropriate given the significance of such in Scripture.

Michael Dalton