After a two-year wait for the next original UNITED project, the band has announced the February 26, 2013 release of Zion, which will be the 12th full-length album and third studio recording from the band. This new studio album follows the highly impactful 2011 release Aftermath, which topped the charts internationally and was their highest selling album to date.
To label the new album as a fresh sound is to understate the originality that is Zion. It is noticeably different from past projects, yet it retains the indisputable feel of the band that has brought some of the world’s most popular praise and worship songs to the Church.
“In the aftermath of Aftermath, we all took a little break and in that time caught a fresh vision for what it is that we do, why we do it, and what it means to be a part of the church,” reveals UNITED’s Joel Houston.
The result is a collection of songs that takes the listener to the core of passionate and uncluttered worship, where intensity intersects with intimacy. Many tracks are set to become anthems of praise in churches and youth ministries across the globe.
Houston says the point of the album is “The realization that God is doing His thing, and He has already done it. He is establishing His Church, and it’s through us. The album was birthed out of our cry, ‘God I want to be a part of what it is you’re doing. If that means write a song, we’ll write the best songs we can. If it means serving the poor and those who are hurting, then we’re going to do it better than we’ve ever done it before.’”
Featuring 13 tracks (plus a deluxe version that includes bonus songs, remixed versions and a video "Welcome to Zion"), Zion sets the theme with the opening track “Relentless” that declares, “Your love is relentless.” Uniquely, the title track “Zion” is instrumental, but still compels the listener to focus on God. “Heartbeat” is a prayer, “I want you, I need you, I love you, Jesus - my heart beats forever just to know you.”
“Everything we do as UNITED, from writing and recording these songs, to playing them in front of people and all the production, is an expression of a really extraordinary God doing what only He can do through really ordinary people who love Him and want to serve Him,” Houston explains. “I hope these songs, in some way, are an encouragement for people everywhere.”