Music Review: The Rock Won’t Move by Vertical Church Band


Album Cover

The Rock Won’t Move by Vertical Church Band
Available Oct 29, 2013

From the Vertical Church Band website:

“Vertical Church isn’t a band. It isn’t the name of a church. It is an idea. The idea that worshiping Jesus Christ is best done not when we just sing about Him or what He has done or what He will do in the future. The highest and best worship is modeled by what the angels do: sing to God about God. Vertical.

Vertical Church is a collection of people who play every week in places all over Chicagoland as part of Harvest Bible Chapel, a place that believes singing isn’t a warm-up for the sermon; singing is a warm-up for heaven. So the faces may change. The style may evolve. But the aim will stay the same. Vertical.”

I was excited to get my hands on this one for The Worship Community. The first project was solid and this collective of worship leaders and songwriters has delivered some great music for worshiping churches everywhere.

One of my favorite parts of this “ministry” is the “multi-faced” approach. There’s not just one leader, there’s a family of leaders presenting their offerings in music and song.

The album opens up with the catchy call to worship Found In You. Fans of modern worship like hillsong united or Jesus Culture will enjoy this song. As much as I hear worship leaders “complaining” about whoah’s and oh’s it seems like writers keep including them. I say if people enjoy them and the “break the ice” a bit, bring em’ on! With lyrics like “Jesus, every victory is found in you, is found in You,” this song inspires the worshiper to worship  and “sing like never before.”

I’m Going Free (Jailbreak) is a song about grace and freedom. I can hear congregations singing the chorus, “Glory, glory, hallelujah, You threw my shackles in the sea. Glory, glory, hallelujah, Jesus is my liberty!

The Rock Won’t Move features a guitar driven intro and chorus to kick the song off. Once the groove kicks in, it’s a pretty mellow feel, but still with a nice rhythmic movement to it. It continues to build through the second verse and chorus all the way to a big “Whoah” bridge and then into a nice lyrical reworking of On Christ The Solid Rock I Stand. It eventually builds to a full rocked out chorus. And a reprise of the “Whoahs” and “The Rock of my salvation” lines. This arrangement would be well suited to younger congregations that like longer and building songs…but the song itself could be arranged to complement any environment.

Meredith Andrews leads out on Worthy Worthy and Strong God. I’ve seen Meredith a few times live and I was always inspired by her humility and sweet spirit. These are two great songs that paint a picture of our big and wonderful God. Recommended for worship environments of all flavor. Worthy Worthy is more of a medium tempo ballad arranged in a way that builds to soaring choruses and leaves a lot of space for “free worship.” It’s a 7 minute plus arrangement that can be trimmed down if needed.

Strong God happens a little later on the album but I’ll hit it now since Meredith also leads out on it. It’s a beautiful ballad that also builds to a big heartfelt bridge and chorus. With bands like hillsong united, Bethel, and Jesus Culture leading the way with more live albums that include longer arrangements, it’s a very welcome trend to move away from “radio” tracks for worship songs. Four minutes sometimes isn’t enough for a song to develop and these ballads sometimes need a little more time to grow and swell into soaring singalongs, which for me as a worship leader, is one of my goals…to get folks singing along, many voices raised as one in worship!

I Will Follow You is a great song of commitment to Jesus. It might work well as a special or in an intentionally crafted moment where it can reinforce a message of consecration. It will also work well in environments where songs don’t always have to be “corporate.”

“The Lord our God is mighty in battle. We are not afraid. His hand upholds us, through our trials. Our God is strong to save!” These lyrics drive the chorus of Strong to Save. This is a great high-energy (yet high-mid tempo) song that brings a great truth and will work well in places who want to balance out the “intimate” close encounter worship songs with more of the “powerful” attributes of God. I love it! Biblically we see a God who loves and FIGHTS for those He loves.

Call On Your Name is a mellow song with a strong groove that continues the theme of God being our salvation when we “need it most.” The melody is singable, and catchy and will most likely be one that folks find themselves humming along with and singing later in the day.

Only Jesus Can talks about the life-giving power that Jesus saves, redeems, and recreates us with. The chorus is almost shout-chant like, and folks will be singing along. The lyrics are strong and solid on this one. Recommended for environments of all flavors.

The album ends with He Has Won – a song that feels a little more like some of the music coming out of the hillsong and Jesus Culture communities. If you like your worship sets to have a solid groove and driving guitars, this is a great song (and arrangement). That being said, the song could be arranged for a smaller, more traditional instrumentation as well.


Overall Thoughts:

This is yet another solid project from Vertical Church Band. Because of the nature of their community their writing and crafting many new songs. I’ve always tried to live by the “consistent practice makes you better at something” life guideline, and the fact that the VCB has written more than one hundred songs this past year means that they are offering the best of their best.

This is a great project and The Worship Community recommends it!

Vertical Church Band | Facebook | @verticalchband | iTunes

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Russ Hutto is the Associate Director of Worship & Media at St. Simons Community Church where he mentors, oversees and helps lead Family and Student worship environments. He is also the content curator and editor here at The Worship Community.