‘The Ascension’ is the sixth full-length album from American worship leader Phil Wickham.
In the past, Phil has written/co-written such songs as ‘You’re Beautiful,’ ‘At Your Name’ and ‘Because of Your Love.’
‘The Ascension’ is full of great worship songs; from big anthemic songs like ‘Holy Night’ and ‘The Ascension’, to the more personal expressions of worship like ‘When My Heart Is Torn Asunder’ and ‘Thirst.’
The resounding theme throughout the album is the constant need to draw near to the Father, whether it is us seeking Him out; starting our Ascension up the hill of the Lord to His holy place (Psalm 24) or crying out because we are thirsty for Him to come and meet with us.
Coupled with the lyrics are some really good musical ideas and arrangements. My favourite aspect is the way the vocals are layered throughout the songs; with different effects and harmonies being used it creates a vibrant sound that fills the sonic space extremely well. In some instances the vocals are used to drive the song rather than the band, which is really refreshing to hear. Furthermore the balance between the more old school rocky guitar riffs and new school electronic sounds (synths/pads etc…) gives the album a very dynamic feel. It gives each song its own unique identity rather than hearing the same song 11 times. The album covers a variety of musical styles from Phil’s country roots to more contemporary Top 40 pop. Regardless of what musical style you like, I really believe there is a song you can relate to here.
The combination of the lyrics and the different musical styles makes this album an absolute favourite of mine. This album was hugely encouraging to listen to, I have found it a great vessel for me to worship God; I felt hugely challenged to seek God in everything I did. Every time I listened to it I was reminded of this passage; ’But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.’ (Matthew 6 Verse 33) We are called to seek his kingdom and then everything else will be added to us. Like the disciples we are called to leave everything behind and follow Jesus; to seek the kingdom first means we must run towards the Father at the detriment of all other things, we need to put God first in everything we do and then he will give us everything we need. I would highly recommend this album and you can purchase it from Amazon.
– by Jonny Gagel