STYLE: Rock RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 49588-14761 LABEL: Reunion 602341012928 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RELEASE DATE: 2008-10-15 RRP: £9.99
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
Every year discerning British followers of Nashville CCM wince as the first batch of Christmas albums, recorded by many of the top names on the US scene, arrive in the CD racks. It's long been a mystery as to why so many of America's finest vocal talents and gifted record producers momentarily lose all their creative faculties and turn in aesthetically poor and sometimes theologically compromised Christmas albums. So it is pleasing to report that this, the first Christmas project from the best selling Texas band, bucks all the trends in that it doesn't contain saccharine, sleigh bell-drenched arrangements nor those ghastly songs about Santa and chestnuts roasting in an open fire. Instead, this album is an inventive and on occasions brilliant exploration of the wonders of the incarnation and when evergreen carols are employed, the versions here of "Silent Night", "Away In A Manger" and "O Come All Ye Faithful" are done without resorting to camp overkill. Pride of place on this set is "I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day" which showcases a Chattanooga, Tennessee-based boys choir singing the sound of bells and a lyric from poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow which moves from the agony of grief (Longfellow lost his wife in a house fire and soon after saw his son crippled in the Civil War) to triumphant hope as he realises God is not dead, nor does he sleep and that God will prevail. Beautifully sung by Casting Crowns' frontman Mark Hall, it is one of the most moving tracks the band have ever recorded. If you're thinking of buying a Christmas album this year, this is the one to purchase.
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Following the highly successful The Altar and The Door album and tour, GRAMMY Award winning group Casting Crowns is set to release its first Christmas record titled Peace On Earth.
Known for their life-changing ministry of renewal and discipleship, Casting Crowns continue that mission with an album of songs dedicated to the meaning behind this holy season.