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Artist: Vineyard UK
Label: Vineyard
Time: 71:37 
Tracks: 14

The newest release from Vineyard UK Worship is a collaboration of modern worship songs, performed by a wide variety of artists and musicians. With such a large number of musicians on the album, each song has a unique feel, which lends a great deal of musical diversity throughout. 

'Holy' starts with a driven version of "Thank You For The Cross" and takes off from there, resulting in an album full of edgy, powerful and guitar driven worship songs. Though none of the songs are very well known here, they all are perfect for any worship team/service or for any listener who enjoys modern worship. 

The track list includes songs such as "What a Love (Redeemer)," the title track "Holy," "Shine," "You Are My Shelter," "Awesome God (Your Voice)," "New Day," "So Near," and many more. Out of all 14 tracks, there are only five tracks that are on the slow side; including "I Have Been Redeemed," "Let My Heart Be Your Home," "Above All Else," "What Love Is This?" and "Let My Life Be Like a Love Song." Though the other nine, more edgy and guitar-driven songs, give a fun and affecting way to sing along, the slow songs are just as good. Each is very touching, and carries the full feel of worship to God through them.

Because the songs are recorded with a live concert feel (with clapping at the end of most songs, etc.), the album gives the listener a more personal connection to the music by making it seem like you're really there. The intimacy is definitely a nice attraction to the album.

With every song giving full praise and worship through the lyrics, instruments and vocals, the overall feel of the album is very powerful and makes this a definite must-have for any modern worship music fan!

Jessica Heikoop 5/5/2002

The roots of the Vineyard Music organization stretch back farther than some might imagine.  Following closely on the heels of the establishment of the first Vineyard church in the Los Angeles area in 1977, the Vineyard company was started as a means to document the songs that the church's song leaders were writing and performing during worship services.  From such humble beginnings, the Vineyard Music Group has evolved into an international ministry operating in conjunction with a network of associated churches in over 60 countries.

Emerging from the expansive shadow cast by its top-selling predecessors, Hungry and Come Now Is the Time (voted the top praise and worship album in the UK for 1999), the Holy release serves as the third installment in the Vineyard UK's nascent Sovereign Series of live worship projects.  The driving album opener, "Thank You For the Cross," kicks things off in first-rate form, peppering its Delirious-influenced Britpop foundation with shimmering U2esque guitar embellishments.  Pulling from the same cache, the synth-infused "Awesome God (Your Voice)" throws caution blissfully to the wind for a rousing dose of straight-ahead rock & roll.  And the likewise invigorating "So Near" mines a raw, sludgy guitar tone that Neil Young himself would surely approve of.

The praise team exhibits a considerable aptitude on the album's most mellow pieces as well.  The magnificently austere "I Have Been Redeemed" couples concise, but profound, lyrical sentiments with Liz Bird's piercingly beautiful vocals for a thoroughly moving effect.  The similarly sparse "What Love Is This" uses equally stirring word pictures (How great this sacrifice/ Your death, to me, means life/ From darkness into light) for its affecting depiction of Christ's atoning death.  And the best-of-album "Above All Else" coalesces the best elements of pop and praise music - powerful vocals, poignant lyrics, heartfelt delivery and a memorable melody line - to fashion an end product that is as striking as it is lovely.

If Holy is superbly framed on either end by both its heartiest and its most subdued entries, the remaining midtempo tracks, which unfortunately constitute roughly half of the album, fall, for the most part, rather inconspicuously into the middle ground between the two.  That said, the powers that be do score points for their willingness to build the album entirely around original compositions rather than relying on cover versions. And, at least part of the release's considerable patchiness can likely be attributed to the fact that its fourteen songs were composed by no less than eleven different songwriters.  In the final analysis, while the Holy release comes, perhaps understandably, short of matching its imposing forerunners, it still stands as a largely worthwhile acquisition, bearing witness to the UK Vineyard's ample stable of talent and boding particularly well for successive releases from the British collective.

Bert Gangl 5/5/2002



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