Review: Unhindered by Unhindered

Unhindered by Unhindered
Released: Jan 03, 2012

From the Press Release:

When Unhindered began as a band they’d no idea they’d one day write songs that would touch the nations.

“We were just a bunch of guys who wanted to see our God do something extravagant in our community”, explains guitarist/vocalist Pat Barrett, remembering their early days in a youth group praise band who soon found themselves leading worship at national gatherings of thousands, hands raised, abandoning themselves to God in unhindered praise. “It was raw, unhindered, intense…”, hence the name: Unhindered.

Ben Smith & Pat Barrett, solidified their line-up in college, officially adding J.R. Collins & Christian Paschall – whom they had ministered with in High School – & Ashley Dasher rounded things out. From there, their growing grassroots success drew the attention of many large, high-impact, national ministries, leading to regular ministry opportunities at conferences & camps such as Teen Mania, Acquire the Fire, Battle Cry, Xtreme, & Student Life, putting Unhindered regularly on stage in front of audiences from 2,000 to 20,000.

Currently, Unhindered’s front men are both serving as worship pastors at thriving Atlanta area churches, & the whole band are heavily invested in their own local congregations. Ben pastors/leads worship at Bethel Atlanta – a plant of Bethel Redding (Jesus Culture, Brian & Jenn Johnson, Kim Walker), & Pat leads/mentors volunteer worship leaders at Grace Midtown, part of the Grace Fellowship churches (Aaron Keyes). This commitment to the local church has shown in their songwriting.

“We used to write songs for a record,” says Ben, “but now we write for the church. These songs have been sung in our local churches for the past few years, so we are excited to finally share them with the world.”

Having already released 3 studio albums, a live e.p. & DVD, their self- titled 2012 release consciously reflects this commitment to the local church, featuring singable, intimate ballads, & huge, hook-ladened corporate anthems – this CD contains songs the greater church will be singing for years to come.

Already sung in churches internationally, “I am not the Same” has staying power – it is not easily shaken. With the hope that listeners would be taken on a journey into God’s presence – transformed by what they see & hear there – they desire the melodies & lyrics they sing to sink deep into the hearts of their listeners, that they – too – would worship God unhindered.

Review

Folks familiar with Unhindered will already be fans of some of the songs on this album. But for those who are new to Unhindered get ready to add a good number of corporate songs to your arsenal. These guys have really hit the zone with this self-titled release.

I’ll be hitting on what are MY personal favorites and songs that I personally recommend that you add to your Sunday Setlists. That being said, ALL of the songs are great. This is a wonderful collection of congregational songs that you’ll definitely want to take a look at for your gatherings.

Dance In Your Freedom

The project opens up with Dance In Your Freedom - a great song that is infused with a message of hope and expectation of great things to come in and through God. It is driven by a catchy, synth-driven hook and a straight-forward groove that works well in high-energy, up-tempo spots in a setlist. With lyrics like “Let Heaven shout / The earth resound / With the songs of Your Kingdom / Let love arise / Your glory shine / As we dance in Your freedom” in the chorus, it’s hard not to get excited about the joy “bottled” up in this song!

I Am Not The Same

Moving on to the second, and arguably the most sing-along-able, song on the album, I Am Not The Same, we’re treated to a masterclass in good worship songwriting. This song is brilliant.

The roots of “I am not the Same” lie in Georgia, but the song came to full fruition in the UK when Ben & Pat sat down to co-write with Matt Redman. Pat shares, “We knew as we were writing that this song was something special.”

A piano-driven, mid-tempo almost acoustic rock feel drives this song. With a solid declaration of “I am not the same / I’m a new creation / I am not the same anymore / I am not ashamed / I will not be shaken / I am not the same anymore” this song soars. Even though we see a lot of “I” in the chorus, the song is so obviously God-centered that is a great addition to any Sunday Setlist at any church, regardless of age, style, or genre preferences.

Song Of Moses

Another great singable song that I highly recommend for your Sunday Setlist. I’ve been on drums on this one and it is such a worshipful song. I’ve never even led it in a live situation, but it’s so beautiful and memorable that every time I’ve been a part of the band when this song was included in the set, I couldn’t help but sing/play my worship to the Lord whole-heartedly!

The bridge is so simple and singable – “The Lord shall reign forever and ever” – such a beautiful truth to declare over and over!

Did I mention this song is HIGHLY recommended for your setlist! Do it!

Where There Is Love

This piano driven ballad is beautiful. The lyrics are honest, and sincere, rich and thought provoking. Not surprisingly, the statement the chorus makes “Where there is love / There is no room for fear / Where there is hope / Every doubt disappears / Where there is faith / Mountains are cast away / Where there is love / All things are beautiful” is such a simply and beautifully written expression of solid Biblical truths.

This song has a little bit of an intoxicating compound meter lilt to it that really makes this song a joy to play, sing, and listen to.

Selah

This musical interlude is a refreshing pause on the album. Not because you need a break from the great collection of songs that Unhindered has put together, but just because. It’s a nice variety. There are a few “background” vocal moments that happen in Selah, but they are really just accents to the pause that’s happening in this song. It feels very spontaneous.

You Are Good

Another lilting compound meter driven song. It has a complex-feeling groove, but it can be simplified. This is a song that can be arranged for a variety of worship environments. “You are good and Your love endures forever” drives the chorus.

Coming Alive

The project ends with Coming Alive, a song about the change that happens “When I’m with You.”

Oh, oh, oh / I’m coming alive in Your presence” is the statement made in the chorus. It’s a simple one, but that’s what I love about the lyrical style of Unhindered. Deep, rich Biblical truths that are stated in a straight-forward, simple manner. This song would be great for just about any worship setting, but especially those wear intentional prolonged “soaking” times are planned and facilitated.

Overall

In summary, this is an album that you need to have. If you’re a worship leader you definitely want to add as many of these songs to your repertoire as you can. ALL of the songs on the album are worship set worthy, but the standouts to me are Song of Moses, I Am Not The Same, and Coming Alive.

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Russ Hutto is the Editor of The Worship Community. He mentors college and high school worship leaders through The Gathering Place and St. Simons Community Church. He and his wife live in the beautiful Golden Isles (Brunswick) in Coastal Southeastern Georgia.

 

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