On their latest album Empires, Christian worship band Hillsong United, who originate from Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia, have released a well written and very Christian record that makes sure that its audience has a meaningful and moving worship experience, while adding modern musical touches that pull from rock, pop, and electronic dance music. While Hillsong United formed seventeen years ago, the musicians that make up the group rotate every few years, making each record a unique listen that stands on its own. While the Hillsong congregation is made up of 30,000 members, the record focuses on not only giving each listener a spiritual awakening, but one that provides them with arena ready songs that fit with the Pentecostal message. No song on the record is under four minutes, and some even extend to eleven minutes, making Empires feel like a marathon, though for its audience, Hillsong United provides the perfect amount of love and faith that Hillsong congregates and its supporters seek.
The record opens with “Madness (Here Now”), a huge and sweeping song that is intended to envelope the audience in prayer, with calm and serene music to accompany it, providing a great atmosphere to become closer with God. “Street Called Mercy” is another track that gets the Christian message across, though the album’s only flaw is how each tune is set up. Each cut feels larger than life, and while that might be the intent, its flow tends to feel monotonous and redundant, making the record sound weak due to each song having a similar sound.
“Prince of Peace” a track which focuses on glorifying Jesus, is a peaceful tune that features light singing from the bands vocalists, whose voices all fit well with the mellow and trancelike music the group is performing. To close out Empires, we hear “Closer Than You Know” a nearly ten minute song that brings the album full circle. While focusing on Christian themes throughout the entire album, “Closer” feels like we fully recognize the intent of Hillsong United and their music, which is to bring the focus back to God and to encourage believers to worship wholeheartedly, leading Christians to find peace and a feeling of contentment through Christian music.