Free Chapel featuring Ricardo Sanchez
Power of the Cross, Live at Free Chapel

Free Chapel's Moving Forward turned ears when it was released a few years ago; Ricardo Sanchez's involvement introduced him to the masses, and colossal songs as "Great God" and the title track (co-written by Israel Houghton) gained much attention.

CD  Houghton joins Sanchez and Mark Townsend in producing the sophomore project, The Power of the Cross. Many of the songs center on the redemptive love of Christ, delivering vertical worship, and engendering appeal to worship teams (youth, college or adult).

Get ready to dance non-stop with "I'm Alive", a song that just screams "joy", "fun" and praise" with its fast-paced chorus and calypso-styled verses; this is one for churches to enjoy. (Akil Thompson's work on the bass is nothing less than "bananas").

"Broken the Chains" is a song that will frequent the play lists of praise bands and will be the signature theme of youth camps everywhere, with its driving guitar and great freedom-focused lyrics. And you can never go wrong with a "Oh oo whoa oh" chorus!

The writing duo of Sanchez and Houghton is powerful; they have an ability to create songs that leave a lasting impression. "I'm Not Ashamed" is a stand-out that keeps getting better as it unfolds. It could have gone for 20 minutes — and you can make it do that with a simple hit of the "repeat" button. No exaggeration, this song (performed in 3/4 time), on reckless abandonment in worship, is nothing less than spectacular.

Also take note of the moving "A Thousand Miles", written by and led by Adam Ranney.

The title track is deservingly the album's lead single, and gives way to the "At The Cross" medley featuring Rory Comotois and Houghton, who take us to church while Pastor Jentezen Franklin plays the saxophone and sings "The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power".

"Very Same Power" works well with its simple, yet potent lyrics. Throw in Thompson's crazy work on the bass and enthusiastic singing by the Free Chapel choir, and you have a another winner. How do they continue to write such great songs?

Power of the Cross is a project that belongs in the collections of worship leaders and lovers of praise and worship.

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Production: Israel Houghton, Ricardo Sanchez, Mark Townsend
album release date: April, 2009
Integrity Music

— review by Dwayne Lacy

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