Bethel Music – Victory

Bethel Music – Victory

Bethel Music is an American worship group from Redding, California, where they started making music in 2001, at Bethel Church. They focus on producing worship songs and albums that are largely written and recorded by members of their Artist Collective.

From 2009 to 2013, Bethel Music rapidly grew from being a relatively small local church music ministry to becoming a fully-fledged record label and publishing company, featuring songwriters and worship leaders based out of Bethel Church.

The group is firing on all cylinders for an ultimate victory with their new album, which is their 11th live album. Birthed out of a time of true testing that spans the reach of out-of-control wildfires, hope-filled adoptions, health issues, and more, Victory, takes the praise to the front lines.

It boasts a whopping 14 cuts led by a red carpet of some of the team’s biggest names including Brian and Jenn Johnson, Jonathan David, Melissa Helser, Cory Asbury, Bethany Wohrle, Sean Feucht and others.

As if the list is not long enough, they have also brought in outside help from Molly Skaggs, Daniel Bashta and Harvest.  At least half the record were already worship favourites on various other releases prior to the album release. Victory is an album that ripples with excitement. Safe to say, this record is loaded with future as well as current worship favourites.

Months before the album came into view, Josh Baldwin’s Stand in Your Love has already been a hit on its own.  Flexing his muscle of faith, Baldwin offers one of the most daring assault on fear with Stand in Your Love. Those who already own Phil Wickham’s latest album will immediately warm up to Christ is Risen and Living Hope.  Since both songs were co-written with Brian Johnson, it’s no surprise that they resurface here. And, to prove that he’s no hit wonder, Cory “Reckless Love” Asbury contributes the second most popular song on his latest release, Endless Hallelujah.

Watch Stand in your Love here:

From the offset the group is sharing a powerful message of victory. Just take a look at the track list and a theme of triumph really stands out: Aint No Grave, Victory is Yours, Living Hope just to mention.

The album opens with a rousing declaration, Raise a Hallelujah (led by Jonathan and Melissa Houser) in which the church sing the uplifting message:

“Up from the ashes, hope will arise, Death is defeated, the King is alive!”

It is unrelentingly hopeful, in the face of enemies, in the midst of a storm, you’re urged to sing a little louder. In true Bethel style, they use the opportunity not just to sing praises but to share the message of the Gospel, and encourage moments of personal praise.

Watch Raise a Hallelujah here:

And yet, amongst the hallmarks of Bethel, there is a new sound. Goodness of God and Aint No Grave will be a particular favourite if you’re a fan of Nashville or country music. Jenn Johnson’s acoustic-flavored Goodness of God is the instant must-listen, the lyric poignantly celebrating God’s faithfulness through every circumstance. Powerful in its execution yet intimate in its lyrical unfolding, The Goodness of God shows that you can be bold and tender in worship.

Newcomer Emily Rose’ shows promise as she steps out in confidence on the faith-packed Promises Never Fail.

Stand in Your Love, Daniel Bashta and Harvest’s Drenched in Love and There is a Name have a very familiar sound to that Northern Irish, banjo-loving Rend collective.

If you first missed Daniel Bashta’s My Resurrection, this is your redeeming opportunity.  Utilizing the hymn Nothing But the Blood as the hook, Bashta’s Drenched in Love is a celebratory boast about the accomplishments of the blood of Jesus Christ.

A surprising high point is Molly Skaggs and her cover of the old gospel favorite, Ain’t No Grave. The track needs to be congratulated for deviating from the album’s big stadium pop oriented sound.  Though it’s refreshing to find these guys touring in Americana, the song itself ironically gets too busy and too cluttered towards the end.

Watch Ain’t No Grave here:

The moody modern country vibe energizes until Bethany Wohrle delivers an anthemic declaration on Victory Is YoursHow Great a King, Every Crown and Victory is Yours are all typical Bethel’s power ballads. This means that they follow a standard template of a slow start before mounting towards a percussion heavy chorus to boot. All of them are good but they are a tad formulaic. Familiar hits like Living Hope and Cory Asbury’s Endless Alleluia close out the set on a very high note.

So with a mix of musical genres, who should listen to Victory? This album is for you if you’re in that storm, if you’re feeling fearful. It’s hope-filled and faith-empowering but it’s authentic praise. Keep in mind some of the lyrics were written the very night that Joel and Janie Taylor a family who helped found and launch Bethel Music faced the possible loss of their son Jaxon. This is praise from the dark valleys with the recognition that some seasons are really, really hard. But that there’s a God who is constant, and he has already defeated our enemies.

This is a very loaded album in many sense of the word.  The host of worship leaders is staggering.  The songs, half of them, are already soundtracks of many worship services.  And the other half will be.  The sound is impeccable.

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