Belfast, Northern Ireland-based modern worship band Bluetree, whose acclaimed album, God Of This City, became one the best selling Christian recordings of 2009, was also nominated for a Dove Award for New Artist of the Year and received Worship Leader's Readers' Choice Awards for "Breakout Artist of the Year" and "Song of the Year" ("God Of This City"). In addition to recording, Boyd also released a book in 2010, God of This City: Greater Things Have Yet to Come (Regal).
Kingdom is a passionate reminder of Jesus's redemptive work on the Cross. Mirroring the grace-centered approach that's a hallmark of Exchange Church Belfast, the album is meant to encourage believers to walk in the fullness of life.
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After making a name for themselves with 2009's worship project God of this City (best known for the hit song by the same name), Bluetree is back with another album of electronic-infused worship anthems on their third studio release, Kingdom.
Bluetree is led by Aaron Boyd and completed with other gifted musicians from Exchange Church in Northern Ireland. The success of God of this City has allowed them to take their tunes away from their island and across the globe.
This latest project deeply emphasizes the coming of the Kingdom of God and the freedom that comes through the cross of Christ, drawing on energetic, full-bodied percussion and electronic fills that frame and encourage a deep encounter with God. These themes are introduced with the first beats of the opening track "Glorious Victorious." The following track, "You Were You Are," introduces more of Bluetree's signature synthesized flavor, filling out the powerful anthem with strong corporate backing vocals. Throughout the album, layering the vocals in this way provides for a strong sense of the experience expanding beyond the structure of the songs themselves, inviting a much bigger community into the music.
Their ability to introduce enough synth to keep any electro-rock fan happy without it overwhelming the song is expressed beautifully in "It Is Finished," a track focusing on the victory that comes through Christ's cross. The album also evokes a sense of expectation in the hope of Christ's return with songs such as "Exalt Him." There are also moments when the bright synth melodies filling in the tracks are reminiscent of Celtic tunes, betraying the Irish background. This is particularly evident in "Destined to Reign."
The album, extremely energetic to this point, begins to change pace with "Jesus Healer." Although the steady strong influence of percussion is maintained, a more gentle tone is introduced. This theme is continued with the beautiful, restrained track "Shine," featuring gentle piano breaking into the throbbing percussion, a musical picture of the visual of Christ's light in dark as Boyd sings, "shine, shine, shine, in the darkest place."
Bluetree continues to show how they can employ musical restraint in the following selection, "You Are My Rock." Here the victorious theme present throughout the album is expanded into more of a theme of comfort: "what heights of love what depths of peace--You are my Rock."
"Rest" begins with the same themes of a strong God souls can cling to, steadily building the quiet introduction into a much more energetic climax. This sets the stage perfectly for the techno rock offering "Lightens Up," a song massive enough to fill an arena with its heavy synth edge, waves of guitars, and soaring vocals declaring God's light. "Under My Feet" wraps the album up with an even stronger techno vibe, drawing on distorted vocal and synth loops in a moment almost reminiscent of Daft Punk. This final moment of the album portrays the completion of the Kingdom: "the old is gone and the new is here for us. Saints rise and sing, rise up and sing, join the creation and every living thing."
Bluetree does a very solid job following up their successful God of this City, establishing themselves even more firmly in the worldwide community of worship artists. Their voice is developed beautifully by their victorious lyrics and the energetic techno charge surging throughout each track. Every song is strongly vertical, addressing a powerful and glorious God, inviting listeners to experience Him. This album vividly captures a freeing encounter with a conquering, healing Savior and a present and coming kingdom of God.
Blueetree -- Kingdom Review| Posted June 25, 2012
Bluetree certainly knows their fair share of success. Three years ago, their worship song “God of This City” was covered by Chris Tomlin, pushing this worship group to the forefront of Christian radio. But just as their success began, Bluetree pulled away from the Christian music world altogether to spend more time where they believed God was calling them – their home church in Belfast, Ireland. After spending time as the worship team there, Bluetree was rebirthed, this time with their heart more focused on ministry than success.
Lead singer Aaron Boyd says that the difference between their debut project and their latest offering Kingdom is that through this project the listener will be able to hear the heart of his church, Exchange Church – and that is the case. This eleven-track worship project takes its focus on the offering of Christ and the freedom we can experience through His gift for us. They take it back to the basics – no “agendas or flashy programs” as the band puts it. They contemplate the goodness of God and bathe it in pure Scripture.
Right from the beginning, Bluetree celebrates the freedom we find in God through the opening track “Glorious, Victorious,” mixed with Aaron’s Irish-accented vocals: “I am healed, I’m restored, I’m forgiven/ by the life You gave to set me free/ I’m a saint, I’m a brand new creation saved by grace through faith in Jesus name/ This is Your kingdom God…” After the energetic track with plenty of choirs backing it up, the extra bassy “You Were, You Are” follows. The verses are very beautiful and descriptive of the creation God has made, but the highlight proves to be the bridge: “Even rocks cry out Your praise!”
And from there, the album continues to contemplate the death and resurrection of our Lord. As Paul stated, “If Christ has not risen, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” Bluetree knows the simplicity yet grave importance of this. “It is Finished” speaks of how Jesus completed it all with His last words, while the happy-sounding “Exalt Him” is a timeless declaration of praise. But, what proves to be the highlight of this track and most of Bluetree’s powerful worship songs are the thought-provoking bridges. In the case of “Exalt Him,” there is this: “It is done, death is defeated now/ it is won, the battle is over now!” Furthermore, we are reminded that in the same way Jesus left this earth, He will come back again.
Through the melodic “Destined to Reign,” Bluetree explores the aftermath of salvation – that “we are more than conquerors in everything.” The first single off Kingdom, “Jesus Healer” follows next. The single is simple, yet has a futuristic feel to it that reminds me of Natalie Grant’s single “Your Great Name.” It’s not hard to see why this single has been received so well by the church, for its same message of “God of This City,” a prayer that God’s will would be done on earth as it is in heaven.
With a tropical feel, “Shine” and “You are My Rock” both follow nicely, “Shine” being a prayer for God to invade the darkness and “You are My Rock” being a piano-based declaration that we as God’s people have chosen to put our trust in Him. “Rest” completes the message of this set of tracks, that Jesus will never let us go.
But just as you expect the album to close on a slow note through the last two tracks, we get the two most upbeat tracks on the record instead! Both have techno effects infused in the upbeat worship, “Lighten Up” praising our God who causes the darkness to flee and “Under My Feet” concluding the message of the entire Kingdom album. Jesus Christ died and rose again for our sins, and now WE have power over the enemy! “…the devil’s under my feet/ the old way is gone/ the new day, here for us!” I was happy they closed with these two upbeat tracks. There was a bit of musical repetition throughout the first handful of tracks, so hearing these surprisingly upbeat tracks were enjoyable.
It’s obvious that Bluetree’s heart is in the right place with their sophomore project Kingdom. The album invites the kingdom of God into earth as it is in heaven and surrounds the listener with freedom in the power of God! It really is an exciting listen! There are some tracks that appear a bit repetitious, but every track is freeing and celebratory.
Glorious Victorious| Posted June 28, 2012
in this album showing to us brightly what Jesus did for us. A mazing songs like "Glorious Victorious " in this CD make this one of my best buys this year! God Bless this guys so much!
good music| Posted June 28, 2012
kingdom is the latest album by bluetree. they are a very interesting band with some very good music throughout the years. kingdom is one of the best christian albums you will listen to this year. go get it!