Music Review Archive
Music Review: Hillsong United's "Across the Earth: Tear Down the Walls"
For the past decade, the United band has extended a youthful arm to the enormous Hillsong congregation and millions of Hillsong listeners worldwide. An amplification of the Australian churchís youth ministry of the same name, the band successfully reaches a younger generation that may remain untapped, or at the very least uninterested, by the more ďadult contemporaryĒ stylings of, say, former worship pastor Darlene Zschech.
Now releasing their first completely live CD in three years, the modern-rock worship gurus forfeit the studio for a stage, returning to the format that first made them famous. With cuts by such United dream team members as Reuben Morgan, Joel Houston and new artist sensation Brooke Fraser (who became a contributing member after joining the church), Across the Earth: Tear Down the Walls features 12 sensational, stadium-sized songs of worship.
Comparable to Passion recordings here in the States, tight radio edits are traded for extended arrangements, and three-minute pop is exchanged for colossal climaxes, slowly building from the first solo lyric to the last communal phrase.
But when their songs of worship give way to fist-pumping arena rock, itís hard to discern whether the band is promoting entertainment or corporate praise. United, however, purports its purposes are bigger than performance and its message more than a platform. And countering the idea that this musical outlet is solely about them as a band, they frequently rotate lead vocals, initiating a common spirit from the get-go.
Tear Down the Walls definitely further defines the bandís aptitude for creating relevant worship music for the church. And considering that is their explicit aim, Iím not sure what more we can ask from this fine Aussie collective.