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Platinum Selling Album - Altar & The Door
Introducing Casting Crowns third studio album – ‘The Altar and the Door’ – full of challenging, life-changing songs for the Church.
Be enlightened, encouraged, and enriched by Mark Hall’s lyrical discipleship. Listening to this album is much like listening to a musical preacher. You’ll absorb inspiring teaching through each hard-hitting chorus and guitar-driven, anthemic sound. The energetic opener, ‘What the World Needs’, will ignite your passion whilst the piano ballad, ‘East to West’, will draws you close God.
The Georgia-based Christian rock band continues to underline their undeniable status as the most popular Christian band with this album release. Yet the band still hold firm to their calling to feed the church, serving as ministers and lay readers at Eagle's Landing First Baptist Church in McDonough, GA. In fact Mark Hall, lead singer and songwriter, still holds his role as youth pastor.
After three Platinum-selling albums (Casting Crowns, Lifesong & Altar and the Door), two Platinum DVDs (Live From Atlanta and Lifesong Live), two Gold Albums (Until the Whole World Hears, Peace on Earth), two Gold DVDs (Altar and The Door Live and Until The Whole World Hears Live), numerous Dove and Grammy awards, and one of the most successful headlining tours on the Christian horizon, it’s safe to say ‘Casting Crowns’ have taken ‘Delirious’s place as the number 1 Christian band.
The Altar And The Door by Casting Crowns was published by Beach Street Records in August 2007 and is our 12823rd best seller. The ISBN for The Altar And The Door is 602341011723.
TRACK - WHAT THIS WORLD NEEDS. “What this world needs, is a saviour who will rescue... a spirit who will lead, a father who will love that’s what this world needs”
MARK HALL: "I don’t think we’ve ever really been in a place as a band where we didn’t know where we’re headed. We know where we’re going because the calling God has on our lives hasn’t changed any, you know? Where God has us is singing to the Church and talking to a believer – to a culture now that would now call that preaching to the choir, I guess we would call that discipleship. So really it’s discipleship set to music and the songs are always going to come from the Church and they’re always going to come from our lives. You know, musically you might change once in a while but our calling is always the same."
TRACK - “THE ALTAR AND THE DOOR” “It doesn’t matter that I cry like so many times before, but my eyes are dry before I leave the floor, O Lord…”
MARK HALL: "The ‘Altar and the Door’ draws a picture of the frustrating journey we have of working things out of our Bible and into our lives. So to me the alter represents those times where everything in black and white, everything makes total sense you know the direction you're supposed to go; you know how to live and it’s all just perfect. You get up from the altar and you go out the door, and by the time you get out of the door it’s all kind of just leaked out of you."
TRACK: “SLOW FADE” - “It’s a slow fade, when you give yourself away, it’s a slow thing. When black and white is turned to grey, it’s a slow thing…”
MARK HALL: "The song “Slow Fade” deals with that fall because no one really falls - you’re not doing awesome one day, kind of a revival in your life, and the next day you crash. It never happens that way. It’s always a slow series of small compromises that end up at a point where you are in a place you never expected to be, doing something you thought you’d never do, and totally rationalising all of it. Because your mind and your thinking and your spirit have slowly changed and you didn’t even notice it. And it also ties in with the verse in 1 Corinthians 12: 10 where it says, “Be careful if you think you stand, lest you fall,” because people don’t crumble in a day, it’s always a slow fade."
TRACK: “EVERYMAN” - “I am everyman. I am the coach of every wining team and still a loser in my mind, I am the soldier in the airport facing giants one more time… “
MARK HALL: "The goal for me is we’ve got to get out of the Church and start facing the world. So the song “Everyman” is really every man singing to us. It’s the world calling out to the Church and it’s one of those moments where the goal for me is, when you’re hearing this song, you get out of your car and seen somebody again for the first time as Jesus sees them, and understand they need hope."
“TRACK: EAST TO WEST” - “Jesus, you know just how far the east is from the west, and I don’t have to see the man I’ve been, rising up in me again… one scarred hand to the other.”
MARK HALL: "For the song ‘East to West’, the realisation that God’s forgiveness is a forever forgiveness and it’s a restoring forgiveness. And the question in the chorus is can you show me just how far the Easy is from the West – because I’m still trying to get a hold of the fact that this isn’t going to back at me. And the answer is you know just how far the east is from the west: it’s from one scarred hand to the other. And that the sin that I am carrying on me, and the guilt that I’m carrying, has already been paid for."
"I think musically on this record I don’t ever set out to make music, I usually set out to say something and the music is just the excuse to get to what I want to talk about, you know? So I think when people listen to some of the songs, they're going to, maybe, sound a little different. But the moment we start singing they’ll know who we are."
“The Altar and the Door’ picked up where ‘Lifesong’ left off, this time with a slightly greater dose of rock. This time around, songs centred on the disconnect between the faith believers feel during worship and the doubt that plagues them during the rigors of daily life. In other words, how to overcome the spirit being willing but the flesh being weak.” – Jared Johnson, ‘allmusic.com’.
“With this new set, [Mark] Hall and his companions again deliver songs that are musically engaging and lyrically insightful ... Few acts more eloquently capture the complexities of being a Christian in today’s tumultuous world, but these fine folks continue to help light the path for the rest of us.” – Deborah Evans-Price, CCM Magazine.
"There’s a reason why Casting Crowns is one of the best Christian bands out today, and that reason is evident when you listen to ‘The Altar and The Door’. After three albums, lead singer/songwriter Mark Hall still knows how to speak for those who cannot ... ‘The Altar and The Door’ leaves plenty of room for the sinners and the saints to come closer to Jesus.” - Mark Lawrence, Cross Rhythms.
TRACK 1: WHAT THIS WORLD NEEDS – based on Galatians and 2 Corinthians 6:3-13 (written by Mark Hall and Hector Cervantes)
The guitar-driven, energetic opener was inspired by Galatians. False teachers were adding to the gospel, teaching that you had to be a good person to receive salvation from God. Paul realigned the Church in his letter preaching faith in Jesus is our salvation. We can do the same thing today, attaching our worship style or our denomination or our specific teaching to the gospel. It’s not us who saves, it’s Jesus – “What this world needs is a Savior who will rescue / A Spirit who will lead / A Father who will love them in their time of need”.
TRACK2: EVERY MAN – based on 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 and 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (written by Mark Hall, Bernie Herms, and Nichole Nordeman)
The thoughtful power ballad, ‘Every Man’, is the anthem of the lost. The world is made up of everyday people. They all search for hope and happiness, each finding a different means of fulfillment. The wool is over many eyes as the search in darkness looking for an answer. ‘Every Man’ is a challenge to believers, what are you doing to help people find the answer? – “Is there love that never dies / Is there peace in troubled times / Someone help me understand / Is there hope for every man”.
TRACK 3: SLOW FADE Psalm 1, 1 Corinthians 10:12-13, James 4:7-10 and Proverbs 4:23-27 (written by Mark Hall)
With surprising orchestral highs and soft acoustic moments, ‘Slow Fade’ is a warning song to the cancer of moral failure. Believers must guard their hearts against slowing sinking away from faith – “Be careful little ears what you hear / When flattery leads to compromise, the end is always near / Be careful little lips what you say / For empty words and promises lead broken hearts astray”.
TRACK 4: EAST TO EAST – based on Psalm 51, Ephesians 2:1-10, Romans 8 and Colossians 2:9-15 (written by Mark Hall and Bernie Herms)
This track is the highlight of the album – a powerful, moving rock ballad full of richly scriptural imagery. This song embodies our human condition, sinful doubting and logic-driven. Yet our God’s gift of forgiveness is completely unimaginable and totally amazing – “Jesus, can You show me just how far the east is from the west … / From one scarred hand to the other”.
TRACK 5: THE WORD IS ALIVE – based on John 1, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Isaiah 55:10-11, Isaiah 40:8 and Hebrews 4:12-13 (written by Mark Hall and Steven Curtis Chapman)
An emotion-filled song, ‘The Word Is Alive’ talks about how the Bible was forged. It was inspired by Mark Hall’s personal Bible study and his conviction that everyone should be feed daily by its life-giving power – “Simple strokes on a page / Eternity’s secrets revealed, carried on from age to age / It speaks Truth to us even still”.
TRACK 6: THE ALTAR AND THE DOOR – based on Ephesians 6:7-10, Romans 7:15-20, Isaiah 53:6 and 2 Timothy 2:13 (written by Mark Hall)
Title track, ‘The Altar and the Door’, is through-and-through pure rock. The songs message is simple, the all-too-familiar change between Sunday and Monday morning. We all struggle in our walk, even Mark Hall, and this song will encourage us to try hard but also rest in his presence – “I’m trying so hard to stop trying so hard / Just let You be who You are / Lord, who You are in me”.
TRACK 7: SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE – (written by Mark Hall)
A beautiful piano-led song, ‘Somewhere in the Middle’ sounds like a duet between vocals and a violin. This song reads as a poem to God, a child finding their way in our confusing world – “Somewhere between my heart and my hands / Somewhere between my faith and my plans / Somewhere between the safety of the boat and the crashing waves / Somewhere between a whisper and a roar”.
TRACK 8: I KNOW YOU’RE THERE – based on Psalm 139, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 and Deuteronomy 31:6 (written by Jeff Chandler)
Written by a worship leader at Casting Crowns church, Jeff Chandler, this song captures the moment when we discover God is more than a book, he’s a loving father and he knows us individually – “Cause I, I know You’re there, I know You see me / You’re the air I breathe / You are the ground beneath me”.
TRACK 9: PRAYER FOR A FRIEND – based on a friend who wouldn’t listen to Mark’s advice (written by Mark Hall)
Written over 15 years ago, ‘Prayer for a Friend’ was composed in a time when Mark’s friend stopped talking to him. The song is deeply personal yet somehow it captures everyone’s heart for the lost. Although the song is short, it’s very emotional – “My best friend in the world, I know he means much more to You / I want so much to help him, but this is something he has to do / And Lord, I lift my friend up to You”.
TRACK 10: ALL BECAUSE OF JESUS – based on Romans 5, Colossians 1:15-23, Ephesians 2:4-10 and Galatians 2:20 (written by Steve Fee)
A worship song sung at their church regularly, ‘All Because of Jesus’ is a powerful yet simple song. Great worship song, easy to learn and simple to sing – “It’s all because of Jesus I’m alive / It’s all because the blood of Jesus Christ / That covers me and raised this dead man’s life / It’s all because of Jesus”.
HIDDEN TRACK: WHITE DOVE, FLY HIGH
The Altar and The Door has a hidden track sneakily found after the 10th track. Inspired by their historic trip to North Korea for the Art Friendship Festival in Pyongyang 2007, Casting Crowns recorded this Korean peace anthem, “White Dove, Fly High”, as a tribute.
In a world of downloads and ‘snacking’ on musical works, Casting Crowns are one of the few truly artistic outfits dedicated to serving their fan base a genuine feast. Collecting their works together into a banquet that carries a definite theme and message is as much a Casting Crowns hallmark as their broad-based soft rock appeal. And this is how it ought to be. Setting their sights on feeding Christians ‘where they are’ rather than trying to ‘go large’ in the commercial music industry, it’s only right that Mark Hall, as the band’s master chef, should give his clientele something substantial to fill, sustain and energise.
‘The Altar and the Door’ is just that sort of nutritious mix of music and lyrics. The music as Mark freely – and humbly, admits is only the sauce over what he wants to say and what he wants Christians to think about. That’s probably why the music doesn’t give you any taste-shocks or surprises, and won’t leave you with musical indigestion. It goes down quite easily, like a favourite meal you’ve enjoyed many times before. It’s the lyrics that contain the, interest, the excitement and all the nutrition that typifies a Casting Crowns album.
Don’t get this wrong, the album isn’t simply preaching – Christians are generally averse to such an unappetising diet; how many sermons could you enjoy over and over again? But at the same time the 10 songs are not soft option worship choruses for Christians looking for dessert when what they really need is something to chew on and thoughtfully digest. These are songs for when you’re at your most hungry and least keen on eating. They’re for the time that comes just after a really intense, intimate experience in the presence of God and the moments when that experience is about to wiped out in your encounters with reality. It’s in that walk, from the alter to the exit and out into the world, that what we once had starts to fade. If we’re not careful, the moment we leave the sanctuary, we face starvation.
For that departure, from the altar to the door, this album is like a survival pack – iron rations, ‘sufficient to the day’. Since its release in 2008, listeners have found reassurance and confidence in the album’s narrative flow as it feeds them, song by song, a wholesome diet of teaching and guidance we all need – everyday. It is a concept album – all the songs work together, like a balanced meal. But it’s an endorsement of the album’s quality that 3 of the 10 tracks were released as singles. In the Christian Music Charts – the album’s invited diners. One (‘East to West’) made number 1, another (‘Everyman’) made number 2, and the third (‘Slow to Fade’ – perhaps the most thought provoking on the CD) make number 5.
From the band that would go one to record songs that would make the soundtrack of Christian movies ‘Fireproof’ and ‘Courageous’, ‘The Altar and the Door’ is a collector’s item that sets out the menu for a band that are the Christian music equivalent of expert banquet-serving chefs. To really get the best, you have to enjoy the fare as the creative minds intended. Dip into it if you must – the success of the singles show you won’t be disappointed. But for a satisfying feast, enjoy the whole.
Musicians: Mark Hall (vocals); Juan DeVevo (acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Hector Cervantes (electric guitar); Melodee DeVevo (violin, background vocals); Connie Ellisor, Stefan Petrescu, Mary Kathryn Van Osdale, Pamela Sixfin, Alan Umstead, David Angell, Catherine Umstead (violin); Christopher Farrell, Jim Grosjean, Monisa Angell, Gary VanOsdale (viola); John Catchings, Anthony LaMarchina, Carole Rabinowitz-Neuen (cello); Megan Garrett (piano, keyboards, background vocals).
Production: Producer: Mark A. Miller, Executive Producer: Terry Hemmings, A&R: Jason McArthur, Engineers:Michael Hewitt and Dale Oliver
Recording information: My Refuge Studio, McDonough, GA; The Sound Kitchen, Franklin, TN; Zoo Studio, Franklin, TN. 2007. Released 28 Aug 2007. Cover photography by Jeremy Cowart. Album timed at 51 Minutes.
"This is honest and often gorgeous music that deals with doubt and pain, and how difficult it can be to live up to one's principles. "Slow Fade," an irresistibly slow-burning number, counsels listeners not to stray"
“Mark and his amazing ensemble of musicians have done it again. They have put together an album that speaks volumes to my heart… Casting Crowns does a great job of helping its listener connect (or re-connect) with God.”
“Casting Crowns should write a book titled, "This is how you write music that blesses people." I have never heard a song by these guys I didn't like … Their music catches your attention, and motivates your heart … Excellent CD, you can't go wrong here.”
“I love the new Casting Crowns CD, "The Altar and the Door." It is encouraging and helps me through even the worst days.”
- GMA Dove Award Nominated best pop/contemporary gospel, September 2007.
- GMA Dove Award Winner for pop/contemporary Album of the Year, April 2008
- GMA Dove Award Nominated best gospel song and performance, February 2009.
- ‘Altar and the Door’ sales totalled 129,000 copies in its first week
- On release in August 2007, The Altar and the Door debuted at:
- No.1 in the Hot Christian Albums chart.
- No. 2 on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart.
- Certified gold by the RIAA (Record Industry Association of America) on 27September 2007.
- Topped the Catalogue Albums chart in 2010.
- 18th best-selling Christian album of the first decade of the 21st century.
- Sold over 1 million copies in the US
- Certified platinum by the RIAA.
- The band’s 2007 ‘Altar and the Door’ tour, with Leland and John Waller, grossed $4.4 million in ticket sales.
- Album single "East to West" held No.1 in the US Christian Chartsfor 19 weeks.
- “East to West” also reached 125 in the US Billboard Singles Charts.
- “Everyman” as a single reached No.2 in the US Christian Charts.
- "Slow Fade" was also released as a single and peaked as a top 5 hit.
- “Slow Fade” features in the soundtrack of the Kirk Cameron film ‘Fireproof’.
Award winning Christian Rock band, Casting Crowns started out in 1999 as a student/youth group under the leadership of the band’s founding singer/songwriter Mark Hall, youth pastor at First Baptist Church in Downtown Daytona Beach, Florida. The later moved on to its new home in Eagle’s landing First Baptist Church, Stockbridge Georgia where more musicians joined the growing band as it established its identity and style.
The band’s early line-up included guitarists Juan DeVevo and Hector Cervantes and violinist Melodee DeVevo, with bassist Chris Huffman and keyboard player Megan Garrett joining at Eagle’s Landing along with drummer Andy Williams. The new band released two independent albums (‘Casting Crowns’ 2001, and ‘What If The Whole World Prayed’ 2002) on CD, both well received in the Atlanta area as outreach projects for youth in the locality.
In 2003, the larger group won the GMA regional songwriters award at Palm Beach Atlantic University, Florida for Best Song and Best Artist. Keen to promote the band’s wide appeal in the driving soft rock genre, Mark Miller signed Casting Crowns to his own Beach Street Records, a sub-division of Reunion Records (Provident Group) as his first fully contracted artist.
Mark Miller took the group to their first big label release, “Casting Crowns”. Subsequent albums from 2003 ‘Casting Crowns’ – 2011 ‘Come to the Well’ make up the bands mainstream back catalogue.
• 2003: Casting Crowns
• 2005: Lifesong
• 2007: The Altar and the Door
• 2008: Peace on Earth
• 2009: Until the Whole World Hears
• 2011: Come to the Well
• 2004: Live from Atlanta
• 2006: Lifesong Live
• 2008: The Altar and the Door Live
• 2010: Until the Whole World Hears... Live
• 2011: Come to the Well
• American Dream
• Does Anybody Hear Her
• Slow Fade
• Until the Whole World Hears
• Just Another Birthday
• Jesus, Friend of Sinners
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|Author / Artist||Casting Crowns|
|Publisher||Beach Street Records (August 2007)|
|Page last updated||12th July 2018|