The third album released by Integrity Music and Gateway Create is God Be Praised. It released on November 9, 2010. Gateway Church, which began ten years ago with just 200 people, has grown into an influencing and equipping center that weekly ministers to thousands. At the heart of this dynamic church is its vibrant worship ministry that has become known for offering some of the most popular new worship songs of this generation.
God Be Praised opens up with energy and driving modern driving rock sound punctuated by drums and guitar hits, this album carries the listener on a journey through a live worship experience that is bound to be memorable and moving.
God Is With Us Now is a great upbeat modern rock sounding song with a four-on-the-floor chorus that propels the worshiper higher and higher while declaring a great truth: God is here! He is with us now! I think you’ll find this song very usable in a congregational setting from more youthful worship gatherings to more contemporary adult gatherings.
The second song Praise Him kicks off another upbeat song with a U2 meets coldly sound that is modern yet familiar. The lyrical feel of this is almost a hymn set to modern music with a simple, singable, catchy chorus. Definitely recommended for worship gathering use.
Victory slows down the temp a bit with a mid-tempo rock ballad sound. Great truths about freedom and victory in this song. Would be great in the middle of a Sunday Setlist.
The atmosphere changes a bit with Stay Amazed as we hear the first female lead. This one is a soulful, piano driven ballad that is reminiscent of some of the earlier modern worship music from the late 80s/early 90s out of the Integrity or Maranatha camps and it even hints a little of the early Hillsong ballads led by Darlene Zchech. With a strong female lead this could definitely be a good addition to a worship gathering.
O For A Thousand (Hallelujah) This song has the modern hymn feel to it. An older, well-loved hymn given the modern stylistic treatment. I think this is a beautiful way to introduce the rich hymns of previous generations to modern worshipers. This is a great arrangement and one that is accessible for most worship gatherings, young and old.
O The Blood is a sweet, intimate ballad led by Kari Jobe. Just about anything she does is recognizable as her. I love the words and simplicity of the arrangement on this one. Great ballad.
Beautiful acoustic guitar work opens up One Single Drop and really reminds me of songs like El Shaddai or Via Dolorosa. This one would be a great special in those quiet moments or even a song in a worship set if arranged properly.
By The Grace of God has a distinct celtic vibe as it opens up with acoustic guitars and a penny whistle (or recorder). It is in three and just has the rich, vibrant “green” feel to it that you get with most celtic styled music. This one builds in energy and intensity throughout the song as it adds more instruments. It is very singable and also has a modern hymn feel to it. I’d be comfortable leading this in any of the worship gatherings I lead in.
Kicking the tempo and energy back up Praise Is The Offering brings us back to a little bit more rock worship sound. Very guitar driven. Has a very United Live feel to it. Would work fine in any worship gathering.
How To Worship A King brings back the four-on-the-floor vibe that works so well in modern worship (think Delirious?, Lincoln Brewster, etc.). This one also has a United Live feel to it. College and youth gatherings can really use this, and those edgy and contemporary adult gathering leaders will want to utilize this one as well.
Pulling back the tempo again Glorify You Alone is pretty straight forward in its arrangement, filled with great lyrics, and a wonderful singable chorus that is very catchy and will stick with you for a while after singing or hearing it. Definitely one that will be utilized in all worship gatherings. This chorus ranks high as one of my favorites on this album.
I Hear the Lord Passing By reminds me a bit of the early ccm/worship music a la Keith Green and Don Moen. Beautifully arranged piano and strings complement this tune throughout. A strong male vocal lead carries this song along. This song might be best utilized as a special or as a call to response.
Faithful God is another in a long series of great ballads by Gateway. This one has that early Hillsong vibe to it as well (which is a good thing!). One of my favorite songs on this album, this song beautifully expresses the truth of a faithful God.
You Are For Me This one features Kari Jobe again. Great truths in a singable, catchy hook mark this chorus. One of the best parts of the recording for me is the fact that you can hear the choir and congregation singing along. Great song.
God Be Praised is the title cut of the album. It starts off with a sweet piano intro. I was actually expecting it to kick into an upbeat high energy song to end the album with. Instead, we get a very singable, melodic song. You can also hear corporate singing very well in the background on this one. This one hints at that same modern hymn feel that many of the songs on this album reflect. As the song builds to the end it doesn’t disappoint. The energy and intensity build to the end in a sweeping crescendo of singable, catchy lyrics and melodies. I’d definitely look at this one for this BIG praise moments like Christmas and Easter (or any other gathering, for that matter)!
Overall thoughts: One of the main things that jumped out at me is the “feel” of the majority of the songs on this. Not that there’s anything wrong with modern rock worship “choruses” but there’s something rich and stirring about the way hymns feel. A lot of the cuts on this album really express a modern hymn vibe, which I loved.
For a live album, you can definitely feel the energy of the room, and the mix was just right to me. I love hearing the room singing along and as you get to the end of the album it really makes the last 3 or four cuts on this album shine!
This is probably my favorite album out in the last 6 months! I love the diversity of the songs and the splash of variety that you get from the different lead vocals. The majority of this album are songs that any church worship team can pull off with the right arrangements. This is a very singable and memorable collection of songs. If I were to give it stars, I’d give it 5 out of 5.