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Monday, October 11, 2010

Lampmode Recordings The Church:Called & Collected Review

Label- Lampmode Recordings

The Church; some define it as an institution, some define it as a building and some call it The Body of Christ. Some even look at The Church as a living, breathing being and call her The Bride of Crist. So who’s right and who’s wrong? Well listening to Lampmode’s compilation should offer a lot of helpful answers.
One of my favourite TV shows is Lost and I’ve often imagined what I’d do if I was stranded on an island with a bunch of strangers. Well aside trying to get all of them saved assuming they aren’t I’d love to have my Bible and this album so I’ll organize them (even better than Jack Shepherd or Ben Linus) and of course hear the kind of music I classify as “dope”. Trust me when I say this one of the few albums that’s got it all; five star production, tight emcees spitting truth and a theme that is both relevant and properly dealt with. Based on a book by Mark Dever called 9 Marks Of The Church, The Church is basically an album that lets you know what the church is and why what a lot of Christians claim to be part of might just be a cult or social gathering, oops!!!
Who better to feed us on the subject than the cats who are versed in the art/gift of ‘Lyrical Theology”? I mean, they’ve got a credible MO as far as such things are concerned and I wasn’t surprised they delivered a well packaged project.
Starting things off for us is the beautiful combo of God’s Servant (who I think is a monster) and Azriel on the song “Take ‘em To Church” a nice anthem making a case for belonging to The Church is necessary. From there on out it’s fireworks as shai linne’s two songs “Biblical Theology” and “Expositional Preaching” both get your head nodding but actually emphasize on sound doctrine as opposed to your pastor’s philosophy or his captivating style of preaching. On the latter song shai proclaims “Y’all should be mindful of this devout thesis/all of the Bible’s about Jesus, The Old Testament? Jesus Christ concealed, the New Testament? Jesus Christ revealed!” hmmm… also along for the ride is Trip Lee with “Conversion” a wonderful expose on the subject with relevant excerpts from Mark Dever sermons for the hooks. Flame weighs in with “Leadership” a flawless analysis on church administration/leadership structure from Christ down to us. Then of course there’s Hazakim with their signature messianic “uncut and raw” approach serving us “Evangelism” and “The Good News” two absolutely necessary gems. With all this quality you would think that’s about as far as it gets but you’d be wrong as the high points of this album are Stephen the Levite and “Church Discipline” a track exploring how to deal (in love) with erring members of the flock and it’s done over a sick DJ Essence beat and a beautifully sampled hook, his other contribution “Membership” is as good and is a very nice discussion starter as he examines the state of modern day church membership accompanied by the legendary sound s of Tony Stone. By the time we’re through and have gotten to the end of the album we’re bursting at the seams with so much to process but Evangel doesn’t seem to care as he rounds it all up with “Beautiful Church” an ode cum history lesson on the journey the institution we call The Church has made from the tower of Babel to our present day. The beat for this was crafted by Big Juice and was just celestial and Evangel duly killed it!
The production on this project borders on illegal, yes we’ve come to expect quality production on Lampmode projects (from the Tim Brindle days to Jas Knight) but Alex Medina, Big Juice, Tony Stone, DJ Essence (my favourite producer) all contribute the kind of beats that are masterpieces on their own and yet do not take anything away from the featured emcees, they are just skillful anointed fellows who deserve much props.
There’s one little issue though, Tedashii’s song was a little to mediocre, not bad but we’ve heard him at a much higher level. That aside this album is one I’ll like to play to my grandkids (alongside a few Cross Movement albums) and say to them “this is what classic music sounds like”.

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