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August 2001 Pick of the Month

Faith and Devotions of a Satellite Heart
Artist: The Violet Burning
Label Sovereign
Length: 10 tracks

The Violet Burning. They are one of the legends of Christian alternative music in the '90s. They continually push the envelope and defy being a normal rock and roll band in Christian music. Daring to be different, they make quality music that doesn't fit into anyone's preset mold. It is bold and original. Through the course of creating this wonderful alternative music manifesto, the band also led people in incredible authentic worship. It is something that just grows naturally out of their music. Even though a large part of their music was love songs, God worked through those songs to show more than just love between man and woman. There was also that love between God and man. Worship is something that The Violet Burning knows how to do.

Worship has been a big thing in Christian music lately. While worship is certainly a good, biblical thing, many ways these days worship albums find themselves overproduced, over polished, and more aimed at pocketbooks than at the spirit of God. In a few cases (such as the Delirious Glo album) you can find good worship music that passes through Nashville. However, there is a certain satisfaction and genuine quality when you know that a band has made a worship album on their own and not released it through a big company. It gives the album more of a real feel.

Faith and Devotions of a Satellite Heart has much going for it. It is genuine and it is genuine Violet Burning. The atmospheric sound that the music of the Violet Burning creates melds perfectly with lyrics of praise and worship. The music is generally gentle and peacefully ambient with splashes of distortion thrown in to accent certain parts. Lead man Mike Pritzl has the perfect voice for music like this. Every note makes the point sink in. Melissa Barnett provides gorgeous background vocals. The music itself leads your heart in worship.

Then there are the lyrics. They seem to generally center on simple truths of God that we many times don't take the time to think about and appreciate. The opening song "Invitacion Fountain" works perfectly as an invitation to worship: "All who are weak, all who are weary, all who are tired, all who are broken, all who have failed, all who are thirsty, come and worship at His feet. Come and be set free." After the invitation, "Clean (My God Has Rescued Me)" follows, rejoicing in the deliverance that the Lord gives and acknowledging that as a result, we have a duty to him. "My God has rescued me. Taken my wounds and made me clean. Opened my eyes so I could see. My God has rescued me. And all I have I give to You. I lay it at Your feet." Honesty and dependence upon God is expressed in "Forty Wait"--"Lord, my cup is empty. Won't you come down and fill me up." The bass line to the song seems to really pull it together, making the worship not just consist of a poignant prayer to God, but also giving him an offering of beautiful music.

As the album continues, you will notice that The Violet Burning has not made a record to please people. They do not rock out on every song. They make incredible music for their Savior on this album. Songs like "Beautiful (I Can't Live Without You)," the album's only true rock song could also double as a love song. But isn't that how much of the band's music works and is love between man and woman not a picture of how God loves the church? This is a concept that The Violet Burning has grasped in their music and I am starting to see as well. My personal favorite song on this album is "Nobody Else," a song that is slow, yet full of life as it proclaims that "there is nobody else who is like You" and expresses the reasons that we love God and the things that He does.

Start to finish this album is top-notch. Every song can be sung to the Lord, knowing that it is good and He is pleased. After all, that is the purpose of worship, to be in the Lord's presence and know that He is pleased. This is a very powerful album and I have no problem calling it not only the best Violet Burning album made, but also the best worship album that I have heard. I can't help but believe that God's ears are pleased with what he hears in this music.

Trae Cadenhead 7/12/2001

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