Reviewed by Mike Rimmer
Praise God for M8 distribution, an American label specialising in re-releasing classic Christian albums in limited pressings and also putting out a few new releases from alternative/indie rock bands. This 1980 release, originally on Star Song, was on my list of vinyl albums that I longed to see make it onto CD and it still sounds fresh 20 years after its original release. Mixing folk, Celtic and rock styles before Iona made it trendy, the band, led by the talented Kemper Crabb, described themselves as "the spirit of apocalyptic rock" and there is something epic captured in these songs. The title track has always been one of my all time favourite songs with its psalm-like lyrics and powerful music - hey, even the bagpipes sound cool. Got to say a decade before lona started doing it, ArkAngel were creating huge sounds and pieces of music written in different sections with instrumental passages conveying the power of the lyrical ideas. Thus a track with the dubious title "Elohim Considers Antedeluvia" turns out to be a bit of an epic. At the other end of the musical scale, there are rootsy Celtic arrangements, the highlight being the Gaelic prayer "Praises In The Old Tongue". The mellow "Dwelling Place" has also been a song which has inspired me over the years with its call to intimacy with God. There are some amazing musical moments captured here, like the haunting violin, which forms the intro of the brilliant "Morning Anthem" and the simple arrangements and pure vocals of "Greater Love" which captures the pain of the fall of Adam and Eve and the eternal consequences for mankind. Basically, this is a classic Christian music album, musically adventurous and lyrically moving. If you're into prog music or you're an lona fan you should consider checking it out or if you simply want something a little different. Full marks to M8 for the re-release! They don't make 'em like this anymore, more's the pity!
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