Five Stones Media
Release Date: April 30th 2014
Reviewed by Joshua Andre
Various Artists- Praise And Arrows (Songs Inspired by the “Lion Of War” Book Series) (Amazon mp3/iTunes)
- Day Of War (Stellar Kart)
- Praise and Arrows feat. Jeannie Ortega (Trip Lee, Canon & Deraj)
- Cave Of A Million Songs (Kevin Max)
- Psalm 121 (All Sons And Daughters)
- The Covering (Alisa Turner feat. Jason Walker)
- Strong Enough (Hawk Nelson)
- Prayer For A Warrior (Kerrie Roberts)
- Battle Cry (Jeremy Rosado)
- Lion Leads The Way (Pillar)
- Raise The Banner (20:17) (Audio Adrenaline)
- David’s Song (People Of The Earth)
Inspired by Cliff Graham’s novel series Day Of War (which is inspired by the life of King David, and is an account of the events of David’s life not included in the Bible, namely his band of brothers called the Mighty Men), the soundtrack Praise and Arrows (Songs Inspired by the “Lion Of War” Book Series), has released recently. Featuring songs of inspiration, motivation and authority, we are called to be strong and courageous, fighting a spiritual battle against the principalities of this world. Meant to inspire fearlessness and bravery within us; this compilation, featuring signed and indie CCM and worship artists, is sure to encourage you and build you up. God breathed and Holy Spirit anointed, these 11 tracks are thoroughly enjoyable, and instil a sense of urgency as we fight for Jesus and defend our faith against those who want to tear us down.
Starting off with the musically intense and rock themed “Day Of War” by Stellar Kart, driven by high octane electric guitars, Adam Agee belts out impressive lyrics of imagery and metaphors, describing a spiritual war zone that each Christian is involved in whether we like it or not. As Christians, we will be attacked, and this song reminds us to put on our armour of God when battling adversity, and to be resilient and spiritually tough in the fight. As the comforting lyrics in the chorus remind us that ‘…I will stand up tall and sing the warrior’s song…in the face of my enemies, cover me, cover me in the day of war…’, we are encouraged that God will fight for us in all battles, and that He is with us every step of the way. One of my favourite parts of the song is Adam reminding us that the war is won; it is this fact alone that makes this track a brilliant opener- it’s positive and cuts to the chase, which is something needed in a CCM market that sometimes can be musically same-old, same-old.
With the rest of the track list giving us reason to fight on in the tough times as God is with us, we are moved by the songs and convicted to worship God because of His faithfulness. Kevin Max sings from David’s perspective, in this dc Talk reminiscent pop/rock track led by electric guitar and Kevin’s vibrato distinct vocals. On “Cave Of A Million Songs” Kevin accurately and emotionally takes on David’s fears and questions, as God prepares David for battle against Saul’s army. Because Saul and David were once close, it’s natural that David will feel some anguish and pain, and Kevin translates this to the song beautifully. As we are immerse in the person who is David, knowing his inner most troubles and secrets, All Sons and Daughters also deliver a revealing melody- the strong acoustic guitar and piano led ballad “Psalm 121”, a prayer where we can ask God for help and assistance in our problems and circumstances- a prayer that David penned essentially as he was in a place of seeking and searching.
Hawk Nelson, signed to Fair Trade Services, deliver us a piano ballad turn CCM/pop radio single, asking God for more strength, where Jon Steingard questions God, singing ‘…I need to know that right where I am I am chosen, right where I stand I am loved, that I’m in the hands of the healer, and they are strong enough…’ and Kerrie Roberts powerfully and majestically introduces us to a piano and synth based prayer of gratitude no matter the situation we are in, with the epic orchestral sounding “Prayer For a Warrior”, sung in the men and women’s perspectives during David’s time. Thus we are once again moved and encouraged by these accounts of bravery, valour and determination; as many artists try to imagine themselves in war like situations during David’s time and write from those imagined experiences.
“Battle Cry”, one of the most CCM songs on the album, is led by American Idol alum Jeremy Rosado (similar in vocal style to Dave Frey of Sidewalk Prophets), complete with catchy hooks, a moving beat and explosive vocals fit to be on radio. As Jeremy sings a commanding and maybe uncomfortable track, which is a cry to the opposition that ‘…we shout from the frontlines, let every arrow fly, Heaven will hear us now, this our battle cry, mighty is our God, He will deliver us, heaven will rain down when you hear our battle cry…’, the daring and welcome in-your-face anthem is what we all must strive to sing, as we stare down adversity in the face, and say that they have no power as Jesus is with us.
Another no-nonsense, straight to the point and patriotic like song is Audio Adrenaline’s “Raise The Banner (20:17)”, a cover of Dominic Balli’s song of the same name. In this song, Kevin Max sings about the fall of Jericho, with the band employing some unique Caribbean style instruments in the chorus, paying homage to Dominic’s heritage. Short and to the point, in the sense that Kevin doesn’t sugar-coat any words, instead proclaiming that we can raise the banner and lift Jesus up because He is worth and faithful; if this song doesn’t motivate us to stay in the fight and press on to the goal Jesus intended for us, then I don’t know what will. The addition of Group 1 Crew as backing vocals (Blanca in the verse, and Manwell in the bridge) is also genius.
From the haunting and soothing worship piano and strings prominent anthem “The Covering”, led by Alisa Turner with Jason Walker, a prayer to God declaring that we will still sing Hallelujah during the storms and trials of life; and the album closer, the 5 minute piano led worship melody “David’s Song”, led by People Of The Earth (vocally similar to Matt Hammitt of Sanctus Real)- a scripture-in-song track sung from David’s perspective, where God is lifted up and exalted, and given praise and adoration; to the comeback hard rock single by Pillar called “Lion Leads The Way” (to me it’s the song that doesn’t really fit among the much more quieter other 10 tracks), declaring that Jesus is the way and there is no other; it is the title track that is the soul and heartbeat of the album. Led by Jeannie Ortega in the choruses, and the trio of Canon, Deraj and Trip Lee each rapping in the 3 verses respectively; the worship style anthem praising God through song and rap works well with the theme of singing out to God in all circumstances with all that you have- this vibrant eclectic melody is sure to please many (especially fans of Trip, who is releasing his new album in October); as two genres infuse and remind us that God can use people in whatever capacity to glorify His name and better the kingdom of God. Well done everyone involved in this musically diverse and lyrically strong special event album that is sure to be enjoyed by myself and others again and again in the future.
As this album makes me intrigued to read Cliff Graham’s novel’s, it’s evident that this 11 track album has accomplished what it set out to do- to draw people into the person in the Bible called David, and to remind us that we live in a world with angels and demons, and that our fight to the devil isn’t to be taken lightly. In each of these songs, there is a common thread that I think is very important, and that is that in each songs, God is being called upon to help and rescue us. In relation to today, this is very important, as we can only accomplish spiritual battles with God on our side, so what are we waiting for? Let’s step into the battlefields with God with us, and then it’ll be guaranteed that we will succeed. With moving ballads, rap and hard rock, as well as pop tunes for variety, Praise And Arrows (Songs Inspired by the “Lion Of War” Book Series) is an album for the ages. Perhaps there will be a sequel CD based on the second book? I would certainly listen to it, even if it was with the same artists!
3 songs to listen to: Praise and Arrows, Prayer For A Warrior, Raise the Banner (20:17)
RIYL: TobyMac, Newsboys, Leeland, Lecrae, Desperation Band