Reviewed by Phil Thomson
Rick Pino is founder of Fire Rain Ministries and one of America's leading exponents in the prophetic worship movement where exemplary improvisation is integrated with pop rock structure. Here we have wailing lead guitar, thumping drums and a sweaty spike-hair thrusting the microphone out into the darkness as he yells his worship head off, occasionally stopping long enough to catch the audience in full vocal thrall. What has to be emphasised you have to understand is that this is serious rock ministry and Mr Pino is no ordinary singer, he is on a mission to win the battle - with every song a weapon of choice. So, what if there are a few 'C'mon put your hands in the air' tracks and the whole outing is a predictably formulaic parody of the genre? There is no mistaking the commitment and passion exuding from this album. And there is plenty to celebrate. Rick does memorable intros, such as the piano opening to his anthem "Show Us Your Glory", which builds wonderfully until the break, where he entreats 'just the brothers' then 'just the sisters' to sing along. Or "Nothing But The Blood" with its keyboard backed patchwork - and an unusual treatment of the old standard. Mystifyingly, he trots out one or two 12-string country ditties in mock-anger, complete with harmonica and suddenly the album does begin to sound a tad schizo. I mean, he just sounds uncertain, vocally, when he isn't belting it out. But a devoted audience/congregation respond to the growling exhortations of "Lift Your Voice" - which is thrust upon us with a filmic, Tolkein-esque, haunting horn calling the massed ranks to action. And Rick also makes a great job of the embarrassingly titled "Gorgeous Face", the nearest he gets to a power ballad. The thing is, I just don't think he's worked out how good it all could be. By the end of the very sensitive "You're Not Alone" you'll catch him telling his audience to put their hands together again - the man just can't help it. But then, "Penuel (Face To Face)" - the synth textured flute and piano piece with which Pinot literally whispers his way out of this album - is a master stroke. A rallying cry at its best.
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