Prime Cuts: It Is Finished/Surrounded (Featuring Melodie Malone), Way Maker (Featuring Kristian Stanfill, Kari Jobe, Cody Carnes), There's Nothing that Our God Can't Do (Featuring Kristian Stanfill)
Overall Grade: 3.75/5
Passion not only greets the dawn of each new year with their mega conference, but they also accompany their momentous meetings with their live album releases. Each year as the conference gets bigger and bigger in attendance, so does the execution of their album. This year's release is no different. "Roar (Live)" as the titular indicates is a ferocious, impacting and a powerhouse of a record. The sound, likewise, is as big and thick as a lion's mane. In fact, the album is rifle with huge worship anthems such as "Way Maker," "Good Grace," and "Raise a Hallelujah." And the songs are all performed with a high rush of adrenaline often sung octaves of a heavenly height with pounding percussions to boot. In short, the worship leaders of Passion have laid down a template of what passionate (pun intended) worship sounds like.
But there's a major weakness (or strength, depending on how you look at it) about the track listing. Four out of the ten songs here are covers. For a band that is known for their original worship songs and for a team that releases only one album a year, to have 40% worth of covers is a letdown for the ardent fan. However, the advantage of the abundance of covers is that it gives the album a ring of familiarity and immediate sing ability. Though Passion and their cohorts may not add anything new to Bethel Music's "Raise a Hallelujah" and Sinach's "Way Maker," but to hear them belt out these worship anthems create fortitude and faith in our hearts. It's good to see Kari Jobe appearing on a Passion album. Though her singing on "Way Maker" is impeccable, but she just isn't given enough room to shine as a vocalist.
Quite disappointing is Hillsong UNITED, who shows up with a run-of-the-mill rendition of their own "Good Grace." The Hillsong connection continues as Melodie Malone and Sean Curran offer a competent cover of Hillsong Worship's "No One But You." Nevertheless, in an album already saturated with covers, one would have wished they have had done an original piece instead. The album's soaring moments come with their originals: take a listen to Crowder and Chidima's cool hybrid folk and neo-electronic ballad "I'm Leaning on You." Meanwhile, Melodie Malone re-tells the story of Jesus' death and resurrection with towering dramatic flare in the power ballad "It is Finished." And to cap it off with a powerful rendition of UPPERROOM'S "Surrounded" makes this a "wow" experience.
Sean Curran revives "All Praise," from his solo EP last year, to great effect with its singable melody and Curran's animated delivery. Kristian Stanfill gets the spotlight with "King of Glory" and "There's Nothing that Our God Can't Do." Both of them are catchy pop-centric anthems. "There's Nothing that Our God Can't Do," which traces God's sovereignty over the storm, darkness, sin and mountains, does wonders to fix our weary hearts on the Almighty God. With such God-exalting tunes, "Roar (Live)" greets 2020 with a fresh awakening. The songs are bold, direct, powerful and brings us straight to the Lion of Judah.