Prime Cuts: Still God, Still Good, Peace Over You, Taste and See
Overall Grade: 4.5/5
It is not coincidental that they are called Here Be Lions. One listen to this brand new Integrity Music release and the reason becomes apparent. These 13 songs are fierce, brave, and most importantly they lionize the character and presence of God. If there's anyone who can chase away the fears of this life, it's this big God that we have. Moreover, Dustin Smith, who fronts the team, has a bigger than life vocals. When he sings, you can feel the room shake with holy awe. And he has a way of making notes and lyrics become three dimensional awakening our souls to the flames of the Holy Spirit.
"Still God, Still Good" is the much anticipated follow-up to their Integrity Music debut release "Only a Holy God." This album was also recorded live in the newly constituted Hope UC Nashville church (where Darlene Zschech and her husband Mark serve as the global senior pastors). Unfortunately, Darlene Zschech doesn't make an appearance on the record, though she did sing a duet version of "I Speak Jesus" (which is only available as a single; the version that appears on the album is Smith's solo version).
If this a theme that pervades through the record, it's the big-ness of our God. Songwriters Mitch Wong and Hank Bentley join Smith in testifying to God's greatness and his goodness on the anthemic title track "Still God, Still Good." Then Smith takes a step further by inviting us to feast on this big God in "Taste and See" (a song that worship leaders may seriously consider adding to their Communion Sunday repertoire) and the aforementioned "I Speak Jesus." Here Be Lions know how to rev-up up the greatness of God loud and proud in the opener "Let It Out" (which features an impressive list of co-writers including Brandon Lake, Chris Quilala, Dustin Smith, and Bethany Wohrle).
If you are looking for congregational songs that will shake up the church with the presence of God, check out the current single "Peace Over You." The boldness of imploring God, the song's simple yet alluring melody, and Smith's commanding vocals, make this a holy moment captured on record. Mitch Wong and James Gailbriath join Smith in penning the moving "He'll Turn It Around." If you feel like you have reach a dead end in life, take a listen, and let this worship ballad remind you that Romans 8:28-29 is a reality.
One pleasant surprise comes with the team's cover of Matt Redman's 1995 classic "Better is One Day." Smith charges out at the song with so much gusto that he makes every note jump out with affections. Though there are a couple of tracks (such as "Crave" and "For Me and My House") that border on average, this is still a powerful worship record. Smith holds nothing back when he sings. When he sings, you can see fear being starved to death and faith growing in leaps and bounds. Watch out, this is dangerous (and yet soul-feeding) stuff!