Previously thought of as the 'youth' version of Hillsong and with a younger sound, Hillsong United was originally formed from within the youth ministry of Hillsong as the worship group used in the church's 'Powerhouse' meetings. In the late 1990s, 'Powerhouse' as a youth ministry grew too large and split into 2 age groups: 12-17s and 18-25s. Out of this came the now world renowned worship leader, Reuben Morgan, who took the reins of the 18-25s to lead worship there.
In 1998, Hillsong United released their debut EP One, and went on to record their first album in 1999, Everyday. Subsequently, they produced an album each year following the successes of Hillsong's yearly albums.
In 2002, Reuben Morgan stepped down from leading the band and Joel Houston took on the role. (Yes, he's the son of Brian Houston, lead pastor at Hillsong Church).
Now with ten live albums under their belt, Hillsong United are releasing their third studio album Zion, which I am personally looking forward to a lot! Many of the tracks have been penned by frontman, Joel Houston, along with other members of the band. This is sure to be an album that creates a stir.
Everything UNITED does - whether it be from recording or writing songs, to playing them in front of people and all that goes with that, it's an expression of a really extraordinary God doing what only He can do through really ordinary people who love Him, want to serve Him and to build His Church. To simply serve God and allow Him to do what only He can do has always been the team's desire." - Joel Houston
At the heart of Hillsong United is a strong desire to serve God and His people through passionate worship, expressing His abounding love.
So as you would expect, and have been waiting for over the last 2 years, this is the next set of songs you may well be singing in church or certainly at some of this year's summer festivals.But until you get the chance to sing your heart out in a muddy field, here's a run down on the tracks that you can expect to find on the album itself:
Electronic rocky sounds, not too dissimilar to the more recent sound of the Killers and FUN, with classic lyrics - passionate and driven, enthuse and ignite the Church in their worship.
The 13 Tracks, produced by Michael Guy Chislett, have also had the influence of mix master Sam Gibson; who has worked with the likes of Jesus Culture, Soul Survivor and Rend Collective Experiment. It's a polished piece of worship gold.
Zion is very precious to the heart of God - so essentially what Jesus came to establish, the sense that God desperately wants to birth His kingdom through us."
My favourite tracks have to be the beautiful Love is War with stunning vocals from Joel Houston and a reflective melody: 'Turn my eyes to see your face as all my fears surrender/ hold my heart within this grace as burden turns to wonder'. The first track of the album, Relentless, stands out from the crowd. With synths in the background and catchy lyrics to boot, it's one to stick on repeat. And Scandal of Grace, a Matt Crocker and Joel Houston anthem: 'Forever the hope in my heart', will be ringing out in your mind and your heart.
Hillsong United Worship Leaders
Joel Houston, Jad Gillies, Jonathan 'JD' Douglass, Matt Crocker
So if you're looking for an album that will both refresh the soul and fix your eyes on Jesus, give this a go. Plus, with the Deluxe Edition, you will get a bonus DVD that has a 'Behind the Scenes Documentary' with extra video and sound content. It's one for personal worship and a key resource for worship leaders looking for the next set of songs to stir your church. Joel Houston and Hillsong United have created an album that is sure to make waves and undoubtably will be a part of their successful future.
February 1st, 2013 - Posted & Written by Anna Hockley