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Music Review: The Gathering by Chapel Band

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Updated May 13, 2017
Music Review: The Gathering by Chapel Band

Basic Details

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Album Details


Track Listing

One & Only
Fire By Night
Dreaming Again
Here I Am Now
Break Through
Take This Heart
The Gathering
Mighty Saviour
All In
All In (Studio Version)

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The songs of this revival were penned by the young worshipers of Chapel Band who had poured into this movement and were beginning to see all they had prayed and longed for. The songs on this album 'The Gathering' have become anthems over the nation of Ireland. The heart of Chapel Band is to minister to Christ and to minister to people. Each week, Chapel band lead hundreds of young people into worship and point them to who Jesus really is.

Chapel Band saw unprecedented success when their debut EP, 'Fire By Night' went to No.1 on National iTunes, being the first ever Christian group to reach number 1 in Ireland. Chapel Band champion the local church and play weekly, training up new musicians and worshippers.

Editor review

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The Gathering
Overall rating 
Personal Rating 
The Chapel Band is a relatively new worship band from Dublin, Ireland. They have grown out of St Marks Church and started with 6 college students gathering because they wanted to see God impact their city, just 4 years later there are now over 150 young people and College students who regularly attend the weekly meetings and special event nights. The band play at the weekly meeting and lead worship and released their EP "Fire By Night!" in September 2015 and that went to the top of the Irish iTunes chart, the first time a Christian release has done that in Ireland. This caught the attention of Dream Worship and it wasn't long before they had signed to the label and recorded this live album.

"One & Only" is the first track on the release and immediately introduces you to the dance / electronic / pop sound that is reminiscent of some of the Hillsong releases. In itself the song sounds fairly simple, in fact if I was going to release it through any of the Hillsongs music streams I think this one would have to go into the Kids label! There's nothing wrong with the track, it's actually one that I think kids would have no problem singing and it's got a nice simple structure to bounce around to.

"Fire By Night" which was the runaway success from the EP of the same name, has a much more mature sound and references the way we follow God. This track takes it's inspiration from the book of Exodus and the leading of the Israelites in the desert. This slower paced track is something that seems like a song that could spread across churches if they get to hear it at the right conferences and events this summer! The leading vocals shift around through this album, Ruth Rowntree brings us this track and "Dreaming Again" which again has the slower paced electro worship and her vocals have a good range and are pleasant. The lyrics though are quite vapid after the depth of "Fire By Night". We're back on something more solid feeling as Michael Rowntree leads "Here I Am Now" which relies on it's keys and vocal with just the occasional electronic effect and some heavy synths at a couple of points. This track has the real feeling of a proper corporate worship track and lyrically it's a much more Biblical and stronger worship offering.

The track "Break Through" brings back Hannah McCann who opened the album, it's another slower track about restoration and revival as we invite the Holy Spirit to do a work in us. Hannah's vocal which sounded quite simple on that opening track has a much greater complexity and passion which reflects the personal nature of this appeal. "Take This Heart" see's Ruth and Phil sharing the vocals and this track has themes that are familiar in modern worship, a song is not enough worship, it's our lives and hearts that we want to give. Despite the familiar themes, even some words are similar this song is very different from Tim Hughes or Martin Smith's songs on this theme.

The title track of this album starts off with a spoken word, it sounds like part of a sermon from the pastor of The Chapel Daniel Malone, before the worship kicks in around the theme of being a gathering not a crowd. It's a great observation of the difference between these two words. The actual musical part of this is like a big Bethel style crescendo where the spoken word acts as the built up. This is like a theme song for this album and the event that it was recorded at, but I think this is probably one of those "you had to be there" recordings which captures a moment in time and worship, but doesn't translate brilliantly for those not at the event. With that spoken word intro after a few times of hearing it, it's going to get skipped.

"Mighty Saviour" is a simple praise track this time lead by Michelle Burke. Lyrically this track is good at emphasising some of the nature of the strength of God in our lives, but musically it's like lighting a fuse that doesn't actually lead to a firework, the music has little change and stays fairly flat throughout, never quite soaring to the heights of some of these other tracks, it could have done with a strong bridge to really allow this song to break. There are 2 versions of "All In" on this album, the live version comes in the flow of tracks at this point, there is a studio recorded version at the end of the album. Personally I feel that the live track is actually has quite an electro feel that I'm not sure it needed a second version on the album. The song itself is a different way of expressing commitment to our Saviour using a common gambling phrase, when you are "All In" everything is on the line, it's win with this hand or game over. So perhaps this structure of the idea of surrender and sacrifice of the Christian life will be something that people can relate to. We are back into full on dance mode for the last track "Run" which is again shared between Phil and Ruth and this is about running with the vision that God has given, that the things that happen in our generation will not be forgotten, that the Spiritual changes in our lifetime will be a legacy in the Kingdom.

I guess the one thing that slightly disappointed me is the lack of anything distinctively culturally relevant to the Irish church on this release. There seems to be no Irish flavour to instrumentation or vocals that are particularly identifiable which is a real shame. Instead this echoes what many other churches are doing, particularly the big well known leaders in this area of worship. Having said that there are some good, solid songs here that deserve to be heard and I am really glad that Dream have picked these guys up. As they learn and grow together I look forward to a deepening and developing of their sound and abilities.

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