Since its inception as the youth worship arm of Australia’s Hillsong Church in Sydney, Hillsong United has delivered worshipful lyrics with relevant melodies, eventually finding its niche alongside Passion and Planetshakers projects while evolving to meet the changing tastes of its listeners. Zion, the group’s newest project, is further evidence of this trend, adding more electronic and synthesized elements for a modern worship masterpiece.
While past releases have leaned toward high-energy, rock-fused anthems, Zion is frequently melodic and introspective, as evidenced on the euro-pop track “Nothing Like Your Love,” the ballad “King of Heaven” and the fragile “Mercy Mercy,” which tenderly cries, “Arrest my soul from this reckless path/Release the chains in me.” Still, tracks like the dance-inspired opening song, “Relentless,” and the energy-pulsing “Scandal of Grace” show the group still has what it takes to energize a crowd.
A deluxe version of the album, with five extra tracks, including “Mountain” and remix versions of “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” and “Stay and Wait,” will be released alongside the standard version.
As a collection of memorable songs and a journey of worship, Zion succeeds in giving listeners more of what they love about Hillsong United. Like Aftermath, the group’s 2011 release, it should easily find its place as one of the top albums of the year.