I purchased “Altar of Love” from the multi-award winning band Downhere almost two weeks ago when I happen to run into the band while doing some volunteer work for “People for Christ” at their concert. Up until this point I never heard of them.
Either Downhere must be one of music most hidden secret or my Christian radio station is just not playing them. It’s time for K-Love to change play lists or I might have to switch radio stations because who knows what else I am missing out on.
I you never heard of Downhere it’s time to get busy and check them out. “Altar of Love” is one of the coolest and most interesting albums I have ever owned.
Jesusfreakhideout.com could not define the genre on this album. Neither can I. Altar of Love is like experiencing a musical. Every scene is built on a previous scene. This is the same with this album. It flows beautifully from the first song: “Only The Beginning” to the last song” Reveal the Kingdom.”
Musically it’s a bit folksy and theatrical with elements of rock and alternative rock. Lead vocalist Marc Martel voice soars and stirs unknown emotions in my spirit. It’s no wonder that they won GMA song of the year award with: “Let Me Rediscover You”. Marc Martel will also be fronting the Queen Extravaganza (Official Queen Tribute Band). He channels Freddie Mercury stunningly with his falsetto, strong tenor and theatrics especially in the lighthearted song: “Living the Dream”
However it’s fair to say that Jason Germaine, the other lead vocalist in the group Downhere can hold his own with Marc Martel. As Jesusfreakhideout.com puts it Jason has plenty opportunities to shine. He uses all of them. Don’t tell Marc! But in a way it was Jason’s soothing voice during the sound check which caused me to buy this album.. On “Altar of Love” I especially like Jason’s deep voice in “Holy” and Glory by the Way of Shame”.
Conversely I think Marc Martel and Jason Germaine would be good advised to stick together in spite of all the new opportunities for Marc with this Official Queen Tribute Band. Marc and Jason harmonize perfectly together. While Marc carries the tune in “Let me Rediscover You”, Jason’s harmony in the background is just gorgeous, which makes the song so special. In the bridge Jason is the lead vocalist and Marc’s voice just soars with his harmony. The listener is forced to pay attention. Those special effects can be found all over the album: “Altar of Love”.
Lyrically the album could be a worship experience. Over each song on the cover is a verse which inspired the particular song. Studying those verses and listening to the music could maybe enhance quiet time with the Lord. Some of the lyrics from “Altar of Love”are taken straight from the bible. In “Rest” the writer asked: “Are you weary in well-doing?” which is taken from Galatians 6:9. In “Let Me Rediscover You” the writer describes Genesis 1:2 in words like this: “Your spirit hovers over my waters, Your love burns longer then the sun” However it’s personalized because God’s spirit is not over the water as in creation but over my soul.
Other times the lyrics are pretty creative. In “For Life” the songwriter writes: “While Aspen leaves play tambourine/ For a soul, a song and a voice to sing/” “Thank you God for the open skies, Mysterious depths of her ocean eyes”. This is a painting with words.
And the story in “Glory By The Way of Shame” leaves you worried until you know that the cheating wife is forgiven. Here are some of the lyrics: “She cheated on him twice but for fear she never told/ she finally confessed before her heart ran cold/with pain in his eyes, he walked out of the house and drove to town? Bought her a white wedding dress/ Came home to her and danced to he Song of forgiveness/
For more on the beautiful lyrics on stories you will have to get the album.
All songs on “Altar of Love” are written by Jason Germain and Marc Martel. The album is from Centricity Music and was produced by Mark Heimermann. He also produced the Newsboys and DC Talk. The band Downhere is Marc Martel (vocals, guitars, additional Keys) Jason Germaine (vocals, keys, guitars), Jeremy Thiessen (drums, backing vocals and Glenn Lavender (bass, backing vocals, horns).The whole band is not just Marc and Jason. It’s a team effort. The instruments, horns, drums are making all the difference.
For additional listening pleasure please check out the band Downhere’s “Silent Night”. It’s from their Christmas album and one of the best versions I have ever heard. It gives me peace. It makes me want to celebrate Christmas today.