Release Date: June 16th 2015
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Great God
- Eternal King
- This I Believe (The Creed)
- Holy Spirit
- The Rebel
- This Is Amazing Grace
“…The God we serve is constantly good, constantly powerful, constantly loving. We long to match that consistency with hearts that worship Him regardless of the circumstances we are in. Our desire is to challenge people to lift their eyes up above their current circumstance and worship God with what He deserves: Everything…” Comprising of husband and wife duo Emily and Johnny Hamilton, and friends Jeff Luckey and Randy Charlson; For All Seasons may seem on the surface like another worship band similar to Hillsong, Desperation Band, Planetshakers and every other live movement that seemingly pops up every once in a while. Though right now there seems to be a glut of worship themed albums, worship movements and worship bands, personally I would assert that For All Seasons is one band that is sure to make an impact in the worship music ministry, in the coming years. Already a band for more than 8 years, lead singer Emily (whose voice sounds errily similar to both Brooke Fraser and Lindsay McCaul!) and co. have unveiled a brand new EP called Live Sessions Vol. 1, and it’s clear that one listen to these vibrant and eclectic 6 worship anthems that the band are simply not existing to make up the numbers of being a worship band. Rather, they are making music to praise Jesus, and the make His name renown, and because they feel like it’s their calling from God to do.
Releasing their self titled debut album in 2014 (after many years of being known as the band Reveal); For A Season’s name change was associated with a number one album on the Christian iTunes charts last July. Now that the sophomore record has dropped, this EP further cements their rising stardom in worship ministry as they seek God’s kingdom and passionately draw people into a relationship with Jesus. With original songs and well known worship covers present in this track list, the poignancy and importance of these songs and of this band is quite evident across the 30 odd minutes of this explosive and celebratory EP. So let’s dive in and see what makes this release so special.
Labelled as a live EP, we are treated to a couple of re-recordings from previous albums. “Great God” starts off with a captivating guitar riff, as the high octane tempo melody highlights the fact that God is great and that His love that He has for us knows no end, and is everlasting throughout all the ages. As Emily cries out ‘…oh great, great God, You are the song, the song of this heart, Your great love has won me over…’, the energy of the melody and the passion in Emily’s voice and the instruments, makes this track a perfect inclusion on this EP. The Rebel is the next re-recording, and this stripped down acoustic guitar reflective and contemplative ballad, which includes an epic and rousing crescendo to an out of this world impressive finish, reiterates the fact that we were once rebels, and we were once disobedient to God, but His love for us nonetheless and sacrifice for us, has paid our debt, confirming our freedom. No longer should we act like sinners but rather saints, and For All Seasons brilliantly convey this theme in this vivid prayer of thanks and gratitude, one of the songs that could be sung in our personal quiet worship time.
Releasing their live video of the last original track “Eternal King” recently, this original melody isn’t a re-recording, but in fact a new song specifically written for this EP. A guitar led mid-tempo anthem, we are introduced to a melody that vividly praises God for His unending qualities, and that He is our Father and our friend. As Emily fervently declares ‘…Saviour, who was and is, forever be almighty God, Your glory reaches farther than the highest star, eternal King we shout how wonderful You are…’, we are ushered into a moment of praise and worship, one that has me in awe and wonder as I sing God’s praises over and over. Well done guys for these 3 original songs that stand tall amongst the smash hit songs of this year and last year!
The remainder three songs out of the six are worship covers, and Emily, Johnny, Jeff and Randy have made these songs their own and beautifully altered some instrumentations yet also preserved and respected the original recordings. With one of my favourite songs this past year being the worship anthem “This I Believe”, based off the Nicene Creed, the previous piano prominent but now electric guitar led hymn like track is beautifully covered here, with Emily eloquently leading the stellar track, fervently crying out that ‘…I believe You, I believe You rose again, I believe that Jesus Christ is Lord…’. As we are immersed into a vertical worship song bound to impact all who listen, the lyrical content is simple yet effective, and Emily’s voice brilliant as ever (I would say this version is the best I’ve heard, yep even more so than Newsong and Hillsong!). It’s a nice reminder of our faith and the reason we worship Jesus, without being too sophisticated in the language. Its accessibility is great for me, and this song feels right at home in and amongst the rest of the covers and the original material.
As For All Seasons expertly and passionately cover Bryan and Katie Torwalt’s radio single and smash hit “Holy Spirit”, also previously covered by Francesca Battistelli; this melody is quickly becoming one of my favourites of late. Though Francesca sped the tempo up quite a bit, Emily sings this song at the same pace as the Torwalts, improves upon the original melody as well. Clocking in at a staggering 7 minutes, this God-breathed inspring melody has Emily singing with zeal and raw vulnerability ‘…Holy Spirit, You are welcome here, come flood this place and fill the atmosphere, Your glory God is what our hearts long for, to be overcome by Your presence Lord…’, and with the inclusion of a captivating electric guitar solo in the bridge; this song alone is worthy of you taking a listen to For All Seasons’ entire discography! The album closer “This Is Amazing Grace”, written by Phil Wickham and Jeremy Riddle, yet another highlight, is also covered with aplomb and professionalism, as this number one single is sung with abandon and utter devotion to God. As Emily and the band invokes the sense of vulnerability and a heart of worship throughout this track, the song is also quite accessible to fans of CCM, and that’s definitely a good thing! With Emily clearly defining grace and love being that ‘…You would lay down Your life that I would be set free, Jesus I sing of all that You’ve done to me…’; Emily, Johnny, Jeff and Randy fervently give glory and thanks to the God who has saved us and gave us new life- a brilliant way to end a fantastic album!
What else can I say about For All Seasons? They’re young, talented and passionate musicians and worshippers who are on fire for Jesus, making music to further the kingdom of God and make Him known and famous! Well done guys, I pray that many are blessed from this EP and from others in the future! This EP is one of my favourites of 2015, and one that everyone should take a look at and a listen to!
3 songs to listen to: Great God, Eternal King, Holy Spirit
RIYL: Jesus Culture, Kari Jobe, Lindsay McCaul, Meredith Andrews, Paul Baloche