How do you recharge?
What do you do in your down time? What do you “fill” yourself with?
As Christians, we are called to renew our minds (Rom. 12:2) in order to avoid conformation to the ways of the world. If we are to be effective ambassadors of Christ, we need to ensure that our minds are centered on the mission of of God’s kingdom.
Worship music is a way to fill oneself with truth, but if I’m honest, I’m not always in the mood to listen to worship music. That’s why I appreciate bands like The Substant, who just released their debut album Orthodoxy. This new indie worship band from Utah asked me to review their new album a few weeks back, so I gladly accepted and have been listening to Orthodoxy for these past few weeks. So without further ado, here are my thoughts on this album and band.
As the title of the album suggests, Orthodoxy focuses on God’s character and truths that Christians can grasp in the chaos of life. The 8-song album covers a variety of attributes, from God’s infinite qualities to his sufficiency to his victory over sin and death to his steadfast love. I feel that The Substant made excellent choices for their album; these are attributes and doctrines that can encourage Christians on a day-to-day basis. Are you experiencing loss, frustration, or despair in life? “Victory” reminds us that death doesn’t have the final word in life because God has triumphed over death and has given us new life with his blood. Do you feel let down by your relationships, career, or family? “All I Need” reminds us that our relationship with God is the only sustenance our souls need. Indeed, Orthodoxy’s songs bring to mind the vital truths that we need to encourage us in our walk as Christians.
There is one particular song from Orthodoxy that I would like to geek out over. “Sacred” surprised me with its skillful and artistic interpretation of Isaiah 6, in which Isaiah sees a vision of the throne room of God. I absolutely loved how The Substant communicated the real danger of being in God’s sacred presence while being unclean. The song starts out slowly as the lead singer Daniel (from the perspective of Isaiah) sings of the great contrast between God and him, emphasizing the inadequacy of the prophet (and humanity). Then as the song nears the end, the drums and electric guitar pick up, and Daniel’s voice becomes more desperate as he cries out, “I am a man of unclean lips. Cover me in your righteousness!” The ending of the song felt like a portal into Isaiah’s vision of the throne room; you could sense the danger and almost feel the quaking in the vision. I loved how Isaiah’s vision was portrayed in “Sacred” not just by the lyrics, but by the feel of the music.
The Substant’s debut album is impressive and worth hearing. As their first album, I feel that the band accomplished their goal of being an indie, non-traditional worship band. There were a few things from the album that could use some improvement in the band’s next album. The vocals occasionally sounded unintentionally strained or muffled when hitting high and low notes, and the piano in the last song (the only time the piano is used in the album) seemed a bit choppy. These, of course, are not deal-breakers; I really think that small bands like The Substant should be supported and listened to. I enjoyed the time I spent listening to Orthodoxy, and I am looking forward to the future albums that they make.
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