STYLE: Rock RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 96227-17371 LABEL: Kingsway KWCD3175 FORMAT: CD Album RELEASE DATE: 2010-10-14 RRP: £7.49
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
In many ways the history of this release resembles the classic debut by Irish rock worship team Bluetree. Both albums were recorded with American producer Paul Mills (Third Day, Robin Mark) at Dublin's famed Windmill Lane studio (U2) and both were released independently before a Christian label moved in to give the album wider distribution. In fact, Bluetree's frontman Aaron Boyd co-wrote a couple of the songs here with Ryan, who is the Director Of Worship at Exchange Church, Belfast. More importantly than all this though is the fact that 'Refuge' is powerful passionate worship which deserves to be up there in terms of sales and recognition with Delirious?, Casting Crowns and Hillsong United. Surging layers of guitars spiral around anthemic choruses in a sound that is majestic and brings out the mood of abandoned engagement which permeates Ryan's lyrics. The two songs written with Boyd are particular highlights while the opening "Can't Contain" features an instrumental package which seems plucked from a movie theme. If there is one mild criticism one or two of the tracks seem to have lead vocals a little low in the mix but the sheer power of Ryan's take on contemporary worship and Paul Mills' skilled use of rise and fall dynamics will surely keep young Christians listening and worshipping.
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Director of Worship at Exchange Church, Belfast (home to fellow worship leaders Bluetree), Ryan started out leading worship in the local Elim church. Having served there for eight years he has developed as a songwriter and worship leader with a key focus on the power and person of Jesus.
Recorded at Windmill Lane studios in Dublin and produced by Paul Mills (Third Day, Robin Mark, Bluetree) the album contains a powerful range of songs, some cowritten with Aaron Boyd (Bluetree).
Having led worship at The Gathering and Serious4God events in the UK as well as at this year’s Summer Madness event and Hillsborough Bible Weeks, his debut album is as strong as they come.
With a fusion of classic songwriting and pop production, Ryan’s album is as fresh as it is magnetic. Featuring the songs: Can’t Contain, God Of The Impossible, Refuge, Faithful To The End and Joy Unending, many of which are already being sung in churches across the world.