Reviewed by Tony Cummings
Clearly the warship phenomenon from Redding, California pulled out all the stops with this release, bringing in special guests to sing alongside their hitmakers, releasing four singles prior to 'Victory''s launch and having at least half the album featuring songs heard on previous releases to maximise audience recognition. As I write this, 'Victory' is number one in both the UK and the USA Christian chart, so the marketing strategies are clearly working. It's full of good things. Josh Baldwin's "Stand In Your Love" is already making an impact in many US churches; both "Christ Is Risen" and "Living Hope", first heard on Phil Wickham's hit album 'Living Hope', were co-written by Brian Johnson and Wickham and here are given powerful new readings by Hunter G K Thompson and Jenn & Brian Johnson; and Daniel Bashta's "Drenched In Your Love" uses the old hymn "Nothing But The Blood" for its hook to make a hugely powerful anthem. Then we have Cory Asbury reminding us on "Endless Hallelujah" that "Reckless Love" isn't his only top rate song. There's a good track "Promises Never Fail" from newcomer Emmy Rose and, the big surprise, a move away from the big stadium rock sound that has brought Bethel such success with a bit of Americana, with Molly Skaggs guesting on "Ain't No Grave", the traditional song popularised by Johnny Cash. Probably my favourite track here is Jenn Johnson's acoustic "The Goodness Of God" which, thanks to a spine-tingling vocal performance, manages to convey tenderness and passion in equal amounts. Prior to its release, Bethel wrote that many of the songs here were forged in the midst of extreme circumstances for the church. Like King Jehosophat, they have seized a victory by sending worshippers to the frontline of battle.
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