Review: The Altar And The Door By Casting Crowns

January 11th, 2010

By Melissa Brown “God has us singing to the church and talking to a believer. To a culture now that would call it preaching to the choir-I guess we would call it discipleship. So, it’s really discipleship set to music.” (Mark Hall, on The Altar and The DoorBonus DVD). Challenging the church comes naturally to GRAMMY award-winning band Casting Crowns and is evident in the release of their recent third studio album, The Altar and The Door. 
The band fronted by Mark Hall, a full-time youth pastor, is based in Atlanta, Georgia has brought the world songs like “Praise You in the Storm”, “Voice of Truth”, “If We are the Body”, and “Lifesong”. After their first two albums earned certified Billboard’s RIAA Platinum status and many GMA Music Awards, it’s not surprising that The Altar and the Door is already taking the world by storm. Debuting at No. 2 on Billboard’s Top 200 charts, the adult contemporary sound is grabbing fans and continuing to challenge.

Originally coming together as a student worship band, Casting Crowns began by writing songs to challenge their youth group but God had bigger plans in mind for their talents. The overall theme of the title track,’ “The Altar and the Door”, comes from {quotes{looking at the place we exist as believers between the altar of the church and the doors that we leave through to re-enter the world.{/quotes} At the altar we are focused on Christ and we don’t think we can ever falter, but after we exit the door it becomes harder and “the fire’s just an ember way down in the corner of my cold, cold heart”. It’s these truths of living the Christian life that Casting Crowns are so good at challenging. 

“Slow Fade” is reminiscent of a children’s song warning us to be careful what we see, where we go, and what we hear, because it becomes a slow fade from things being black, white and clear to gray where we are more likely to make choices that don’t honor God. “East to West”, the first single of the album, brings us to the cross reminding us of God’s forgiveness and has topped Billboard’s Hot Christian Adult Contemporary for 13 weeks.

The band made up of Mark Hall (lead  vocals), Juan Devevo (guitar), Melodee Devevo (violin, vocals), Andy Williams (drums), Chris Huffman (bass) Heftor Cervantes (guitar) and Megan Garrett (piano, keyboard vocals) recently embarked on a tour to feature the new album and is joined by Leeland and John Waller. Musically, the album is on point with the strong male vocals, melodic songs featuring the violin that fans will recognize as the Casting Crowns sound. A special treat on the CD is a hidden track featuring Mark Hall and Megan Garrett signing “White Dove” in Korean which they learned for a trip to North Korea during the past summer.

Challenging the hearts of believers with musically songs is a gift and a calling that Casting Crowns takes seriously and to which they hold fast on The Altar and the Door.


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