The Phantom Tollbooth

Nitro Praise: SE7EN Cherish the Soul
Artists: Various
Label: N*Soul
Time: 16 tracks 64:37 minutes

Just when you think it was safe to go to the dance section again at the local Bible bookstore, it hits: another Nitro Praise, another remake of current praise songs and classic hymns, and another chance to question if it was better to have left the classics alone.

If this album were to stand on it's own as a dance selection, it would have no merit. The beats aren't rave friendly, the singing doesn't have the garage style diva thing going on, and the instrumental tracks are too shallow to swim in.

The selection of songs for the album are songs from the past, and semi-present. The majority of the songs are familiar and that's what bugs. I'm sorry, but the remake of "How Great Thou Art" isn't worth the time it takes to listen to it. The melody and beat, and "harmonic" vocals do not do this song justice, and actually turn this hymn into an annoying little ditty.

The artists on the album range from Max Hsu to Maximillian to Gina, among others. Maximillian does work on two tracks and that is two tracks too many. His remix of "Holy Ground" and "He Has Made Me Glad" show little growth from his solo album and are catchy in the same way that "It's a Small World" is. "Holy Ground" sounds too close to SBOL's song on the Nitro Praise:Four album, and just adds to the easily seen truth that this is getting old.

The only musical track that could make it without the vocalist was "In His Time," by Joey Davis, who is 50% of Faith Massive. But it's a "praise" collection and for some reason, that alone gives it a boost for the listener. There is no way that I can hear the praises of the Lord with a semi-cool sound and not be a little moved. No matter how cheesey, repetitive, and unoriginal it is.

All in all, there are a few neat tracks that make you move your head, but nothing that breaks the barrier. I found this to be more shallow than the last three of the series. I studied a little bit of typology in Bible College and the number "7" always represented "completion," so let's just hope that Nitro Praise: SE7EN will mean the same thing: The completion of the series.

Justin W. Jones