** CLASSIC CHRISTIAN ALBUM ** One Sonic Society "Forever Reign" Album Review

One Sonic Society

Prime Cuts: Forever Reign, Greatness of Our God, Just to be with You

Sometimes the best worship songs are not those with rhyming poetic meter. Rather, they are simple heartfelt words directed to the Almighty aided by rousing anthemic melodies. Such is the template One Sonic Society has used on "Forever Reign." If you are looking for worship in the Hillsong Worship & Jesus Culture style, "Forever Reign" is the perfect soundtrack for creating some quality time we can spend with God. One of the reasons why One Sonic Society is of such appeal is that it is not just your average band. Rather, this trio is made up of juggernauts of the Christian music scene. Lead singer is none other than Jason Ingram. It's hard not to turn on the Christian radio dial without hearing one of Ingram's compositions. This includes Brandon Heath's "Give Me Your Eyes," Chris August's "I'm Gonna Sing," Chris Tomlin's "I Will Follow" and Mikeschair's "A Beautiful Life." While other band members include former Hillsong United producer/songwriter Paul Mabury and former guitarist of Delirious? Stu Gerrard. Naturally Ingram waxes his song writing prowess on all 10 cuts most of them with the group members and other notables such as Paul Baloche, Hillsong's Reuben Morgan, Ben Fielding and Mia Fieldes.

Since band member Paul Mabury has recently produced tracks from Hillsong's Darlene Zschech's solo album "You Are Love" and having been an integral part of Hillsong United, the Hillsong connection is tenacious. One Sonic Society has reprise two of tracks from Hillsong's repertoire. The first is the anthemic title cut "Forever Reign." Starting off slowly with a litany of God's attributes before an exploding chorus of surrender: "I am running to your arms," this is just a worship gem that every congregation should pick up. The other Hillsong cover is "Greatness of God." One Sonic Society's version has a more folkier and less bombastic. Though Ingram's vocals could not match Hillsong Worship's Darlene Zschech's more heartfelt take, the lyrics are just right on: nothing takes care of our on fears more than the greatness of God. The Hillsong connection does not end there: Hillsong Worship's songwriter Mia Fieldes has a hand in co-penning "As for Me." "As for Me" takes a break from the slow building formulaic anthemic worship style to a soft rock praise number that boasts a catchy chorus. Ben Fielding who has written Hillsongs' "Mighty to Save" and "The One Who Saves" co-writes with the boys the album closer "Burn." "Burn" is a piano worship ballad made even more beautiful by its gorgeous string backings.

Hillsong Worship aside, fans of Rebecca St. James would recognize "Almighty God." Don't let the pedantic title fool you, this is a tightly knitted worship piece centering on the Biblical image of God as our fortress. With drums increasing in intensity as the song progresses in the exaltation of God, "Always" is to be praised for the song's compositional genius. Most intimate is the Paul Baloche co-write "Just to be with You" a desperate cry for intimacy with the Almighty. This ought to be a prayer of every Christian. "Beautiful Savior" sticks to the Hillsong-type stadium rocker template that could easily be a church worship staple.

If there's any criticism, it's that "Forever Reign" can be too formulaic at times. Also, the straight ahead worship lyrics might work for mega church worship but at times they lack creativity, fluidity and intricacy. Nevertheless, this disc is geared towards congregational worship and to that regard this collection excels. Thus, it is no mystery why Hillsong, Kristian Stanfill, Rebecca St. James, Natalie Grant and so many others have all flocked to their songs. 

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