Release Date: November 20th 2015
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Find My Peace
- Flammable Kingdoms (feat. SHINEBRIGHT)
- Have Your Way
- Holy, Mighty (feat. Charmaine)
Ever since I actively became a supporter of CCM music, which was about nearly 10 years ago, there have been a number of Christian music news sites that I frequent. Prior to me writing on a music review website, joining social media and following artists’ social media accounts, I regularly visited (and still do!) sites such as Jesus Freak Hideout, Indie Vision Music, CCM Magazine, Louder Than The Music, Christian Music Zine, and others, so that I could be in the know of everything happening in the CCM music industry. Well fast forward 10 years later, and things have changed quite a lot. A number of sites have been discontinued, newer sites have been established (The Christian Beat, the up and coming soon to be launched Breakout Press), and I have received my news firsthand from the artist from social media ever since I have started reviewing music. But one site has remained firm and centre as the first site I look at every time I turn on my computer (apart from my own!).
And that site is New Release Tuesday (now known as New Release Today!). You can view the site here, and now comes the real reason for my preamble in this. That the Editor in Chief of the site, Marcus Hathcock, known by his ‘internet name’ as MH Eternal, has started a solo music career. His EP Songs For Tomorrow dropped a few weeks ago, and I had the pleasure of receiving a review copy from Marcus himself! Wow, what an honour, I thought, considering we are ‘rivals’ so to speak, coming from different websites. So, subjectively, one may have thought that I would bag this EP, this batch of 5 songs, so that more NRT viewers would flock to 365 Days Of Inspiring Media. But with one listen to this brilliantly recorded EP, and I was floored. I could not not give this album a low rating! So, is MH Eternal’s debut release worth all the fans of NRT and other CCM review sites checking out! Most definitely, and let me tell you why!
Opening the track list is the vibrant, energetic electro-pop remixy melody “Find My Peace”, a song fit for dancing to in corporate worship, as we declare that Jesus is the One who gives us peace above and past all understanding. As Marcus eloquently sings out to God ‘…help me find my peace in You, speak to my heart You’ll see me through, over and over again, tell me I am yours…’, we are reassured that no matter the hardships we are facing, that Jesus is right by our side, that we shouldn’t fear or worry. What a melody to comfort right of the bat, kudos to Marcus for this song as the opener, setting the tone for the rest of the EP. While another celebratory and joyous pop melody, with plenty of instrumental experimentation, is the metaphor and imagery heavy “Flammable Kingdoms”, featuring Emily from SHINEBRIGHT on guest vocals. As Marcus and Emily brilliantly sing in perfect harmony, we realise, just like Casting Crowns’ “American Dream”, that thing on Earth are transient and will fade away, so we shouldn’t be spending our time and money on things of this world that will not matter in the end, ‘flammable kingdoms’ if you want to call it that. Instead, we should be focusing on Jesus, and what He wants for us to do and accomplish. Thematically one of the most necessary songs on the album, lyrically “Flammable Kingdoms” is the most ingenious, however the more emotional and worshipful tracks are yet to come!
“Have Your Way” is a vertical prayer as Marcus emotionally reiterates to God that He can take total control of our lives, sort of a continuation to the previous song lyrically, as Marcus surrenders everything to God, including this ‘flammable kingdoms’. Asking God to have His way, and do what He wants, is a very bold, courageous and somewhat scary move, however Marcus has stepped out of his comfort zone, and definitely needs to be congratulated here, as he earnestly prays a prayer of gratitude and reverence, proclaiming ‘…have your way, Lord, have your way, this with all my heart I say, in your love I’ll trust and I’ll obey…’!
Worship continues with the next track, the simple yet refreshing duet with Aussie singer Charmaine “Holy, Mighty” once again reminding listeners the eternal truths of God, that ‘…You are holy, You are mighty, oh Lord, we stand and declare the truth, You are holy, You are mighty, oh Lord, we stand and declare it to You…’, sung passionately and fervently across a vibrant array of keys and an epic synth crescendo reminiscent of a pop/dance atmosphere. However it is the EP closer “Evergreen”, sung in the viewpoint of Solomon during his writing of Ecclesiastes, which touches my heart the most, and is Marcus’s crowning achievement out of all of the 5 songs. “Evergreen” is led brilliantly by captivating keys, as well as Marcus having an infectious zeal for Jesus well worth the listen and/or purchase of this album, based on this song alone! As he breathes extra life into an already near flawless EP, I am amazed at how Marcus is able to pull off worship leader, singer songwriter, and editor of NRT. As Marcus is displaying his many arrows in his quiver, let’s take a breath and listen to the album again, if only to solidify our viewpoint at Marcus is someone who will be around for much longer musically, even if NRT is discontinued, which I hope and pray that it won’t be anytime soon.
A surprise coming out of left field, MH Eternal’s debut EP hits all of the right notes and is a winner in my opinion. Employing plenty of musical genres, as well as guest vocalists and a strong vocal to complement, there’s nothing much more that I can say here. Except…buy Songs For Tomorrow, as I am sure by tomorrow, most people will actually be singing along to the songs, and remembering all that Jesus has done for us. Well done Marcus for a compelling EP, and one that deserves accolades and praise!
3 songs to listen to: Find My Peace, Holy Mighty and Evergreen.
RIYL: Charlie Hall, Crowder, Kristian Stanfill, Matt Redman