The most important gospel minister of 2017 put out Revival Flames, his fourth collection of powerful praise and worship tunes with the objective of quenching the thirst of the faithful, while attracting new converts at the same time.
For those who somehow slept through 2017, Nathaniel Bassey is the man who started a movement when he came up with the bright (read: inspired) idea of uniting fellows in worship via a genius growth hack so simple, intimate, yet possessing the capacity to reach out to multitudes.
Beginning on the first of June, Bassey took to social media to unveil the #OneHourMidnightHallelujahChallenge, an online fellowship that swept the entire country, even unspooling across distant foreign territories. Bassey was able to connect with the zeitgeist in ways organized religion hadn’t been able to manage in a long time.
Inspired by the Biblical story of Paul and Silas, Nathaniel Bassey built on the muted success of his previous online campaign, #OneHourTongueChallenge to inspire Christians into speaking in tongues more regularly. The one hour online praise and worship challenge session started at midnight every day and reached millions of people during its entire month run.
Revival Flames does not reinvent the gospel genre but who says albums have to do that to be effective. One of the best records of the last year, each track tells a satisfying story of its own, yet fits in and settles comfortably into the bigger whole.
Nathaniel Bassey knows how to take charge of recording sessions, either with his richly textured voice, or his mastery of the trumpet. Even when his supporting choir and backup band are in top form- and they are on this record, there is no doubt as to who has gathered everyone round.
Bassey is quite accommodative on Revival Flames though. Victoria Orenze does her best to keep up with Mr Bassey on Alagbada Ina, no mean feat, especially when he is also playing his trumpet like a man possessed. Cynthia Macaulay pulls double duties, first on the slow burning We Need You Now– alongside Pa Emiko Amotsuka who submits a spoken prayer- and later on the weak praise duet, The Living God.
The guest artistes on Revival Flames aren’t exactly household names but they make solid impressions. Olumide Iyun is a live wire presence on Elshaddai while the duo of Chris Morgan and Simpa Adaba make sweet music on Incredible Love. None of these collaborations feel forced or strategic. Instead they flow seamlessly into one another without drawing attention to themselves.
The center piece of the record is the 7 minutes thirty two seconds long Jesus, Jesus, a tour de force of praise that starts out slowly and builds to a sweeping, enveloping climax capable of bringing down heaven on earth. At the tail end of the record is the stadium arena stomper, Halleluyah Eh. What Revival Flames lacks in inventive, out of the box songwriting, it makes up for in confident, almost splashy production.
Come to Revival Flames for Nathaniel Bassey’s rock solid reputation and skill for making sweet music, and leave convinced of the goodness and greatness of the Almighty God.
Album Name: Revival Flames
Artist: Nathaniel Bassey
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