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Crowns cast off worship woe

I am a D.O.R.K., but not the kind one may assume. The Casting Crowns lead singer, Mark Hall, another self-proclaimed D.O.R.K., proudly announced his status as a Disciple of Our Risen King last Oct. 3.

Only a band as inspiring and heartfelt as The Casting Crowns could defy all odds and debut their third studio album as No. 2 on the music charts. Not many worship bands are able to claim stake to such a title. According to castingcrowns.com, not only is the band a Grammy-winning group, their first two albums went Platinum faster than any other artist in the history of Christian Contemporary Music.

The Casting Crowns third CD, The Altar and the Door, is an album chock full of motivational Christian ethics, with songs openly inspired by various Bible verses. Each song quotes the rock-hard beliefs of the members and such a steady conviction has the potential to become meaningful for any listener.

Oftentimes, worship songs take a chorus and run with it, repeating the same lines numerous times and often boring listeners to tears. In the case of The Casting Crowns, this worship woe never surfaces. They manage to stick to creativity and never adhere to a lyric for too long.

The worship band, made up of seven members, is backed by contemporary musicality as well as interesting vocals. Chris Huffman (bassist), Hector Cervantes (guitar, background vocals) and Juan DeVevo (guitar, background vocals) each give a mix of their respective instrumentation, while drummer Andy Williams gives off a non-threatening rocker vibe.

The female members, Megan Garrett (piano/vocals) and Melodee DeVevo (violin/vocals), manage to stand out in the mostly male cast. Garrett’s powerful, resounding vocals and DeVevo’s stints as violinist give the band the extra push towards popularity.

The album’s title song, “The Altar and the Door”, written solely by Hall, maintains a quick pace that gains excess momentum and explodes towards the end. He writes on the official website that he named the album before writing the song.

For me, some of the most meaningful lyrics lie in “East and West,” a song inspired by the day-to-day struggle to live for God that discusses the difficulties concerning forgiveness. The end chorus states, “In the arms of Your mercy I find rest/’Cause You know just how far the east is from the west/From one scarred hand to the other.”

The Crowns even manage to inject humor into their otherwise serious theme. In “What This World Needs,” Hall, in a low, grinding voice, sings, “What this world needs is not another sign waving super saint that?s better than you/Another ear pleasing candy man afraid of the truth/Another prophet in an Armani suit.”

The seven Crowns are not only a success behind the glass windows of a studio, they also appear to achieve roaring triumph in concert. The group performed live at the Big Fresno Fair on Oct. 3. The turnout was massive, with hundreds of people lining up outside the Paul-Paul Theater to hear one of the most popular contemporary worship bands.

Above the stage, there hung a giant screen displaying not only close-ups of the members, but also videos pertaining to their music. Unlike many performers, the talent of the band did not fall flat due to weak live routines. In spite of a few sound glitches (the most prominent being the constant thrum of the rattling drum set), the group still managed to bring most of the superior qualities of The Altar and the Door to life.

Many members of the crowd proudly proclaimed their D.O.R.K.y status as well, shouting “amen” at the very mention of the Casting Crowns’ catchphrase.

The Altar and the Door is available at every local music retail center for around $17. For buying information, visit Borders.

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    Josh HopperDec 16, 2009 at 6:47 am

    That was amazing! You guys shocked so many people, It was so cool! I wish I could be in there with you!

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