Review: Various Artists – i am n

i-am-nFor the past several years, The Voice of the Martyrs have been the public voice of the persecuted Church, bringing hope and aid to those fighting religious oppression in the respective countries. Now, with growing unrest and increased persecution coming at the hands of the self-proclaimed Islamic State known as ISIS, VOM is partnering with Integrity Music for the release of i am n to help bring awareness to the world abroad.

As the press release accompanying the record shares, “The “i am n” movement takes its name from the symbol used by ISIS militants to target believers. It began when ISIS militants moved into northern Iraq and began identifying Christian-owned property by painting the Arabic letter ن or “n” on homes and churches. This single letter conveyed the accusation that the occupants were “Nazarenes”—followers of Jesus of Nazareth rather than Islam—giving them the ultimatum to convert to Islam and stay in the community, leave, or die.”

The collection of tracks builds itself around an original song, “We Stand As One,” co-written and sung by Integrity newcomer Greg Sykes. A slickly produced, radio ready worship anthem that declares God’s might against this world, this track sets the tone for the collection to follow.

That collection features a set of strong offerings from a myriad of artists. Among the clear highlights here are the artfully conceived “Brother” from The Brilliance, Israel & New Breed’s soaring anthem “Jesus At the Center,” and Rend Collective’s “Boldly I Approach (The Art of Celebration).” Always welcome is music from All Sons & Daughters and their familiar hit “All The Poor and Powerless” is a perfect fit here alongside Travis Ryan’s cover of the Newsboys worship hit “We Believe.”

Worship leader Jon Egan does triple duty here, offering up his voice on “Strong God” alongside New Life Worship while “Make A Way” is a passionate offering drawn from his time with Desperation Band. But the track that really delivers here is WorshipMob’s “Satisfy.” Rich, lush, and emotive, the track is everything that corporate worship strives to be as these artists lose themselves in the worship, truly inviting others into a place of rest in the Savior, a theme that resonates perfectly with the intended mission of this collection.

In the days of digital streaming and more, albums like i am n may be fighting an uphill battle. Yet, when paired with the heartbeat of seeking to bring awareness and support to the persecuted Church, this release gains renewed footing. And, for those willing to take the journey, there’s some great music to be found, music that will inspire and challenge time and again.

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