TOP 10 ALBUM OF 2007 | Posted November 19, 2007 Staff Reviewer
Mark Hall, lead singer of Casting Crowns and the group's main songwriter, recently said that the group's music is simply a means to the message, and it's apparent through The Altar & The Door that Casting Crowns continues to have things to say. There's something about they way they encourage, challenge, question and entertain in every song that no other group in Christian music is doing.
The third studio release contains some of their most powerful songs and moments including the first single "East To West" which speaks of the immeasurable distance God places between Himself and our sin and "The Word Is Alive," an instant anthem on the fact that God's word and promises are as real today as they were two thousand years ago. As a father with a wife and daughter to protect, the song "Slow Fade" reminded me that Satan attacks with baby steps, barely noticeable in the day to day. It continues to challenge me to run towards God. "I Know Your There" finds vocalist Melanie stepping up on lead and she carries it beautifully.
However, the group's third album is also their weakest offering to date. Maybe it's the constant interruption of music for youth group chatter, shouting preachers or a daughter's serenade (I'll never say it isn't cute). It could be the suddenly weak ending with "Prayer For A Friend" and the confusing hidden track that made no sense until it was explained to me at a concert that it was inspired by their recent visit to China. That said, I keep coming back to these songs and having to stop what I'm doing to reflect on my relationship with Christ, and that's why I'm still extraordinarily interested in what they have to say.