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Album Image -- Open Your Eyes

Katalys Crew: Open Your Eyes

Open Your Eyes [CD] $ 13.97
Track List
play 01 A Time For Change [MP3] $ 0.99
play 02 Open Your Eyes [MP3] $ 0.99
play 03 The Blood Of Jesus [MP3] $ 0.99
play 04 Riding High [MP3] $ 0.99
play 05 Let Go Let God [MP3] $ 0.99
play 06 Jehovah Wi Calling [MP3] $ 0.99
play 07 The Charge [MP3] $ 0.99
play 08 A Who [MP3] $ 0.99
play 09 Pray Fi Dem [MP3] $ 0.99
play 10 Can't Take My Lord [MP3] $ 0.99
play 11 Only God's Mercy [MP3] $ 0.99
play 12 David Dance (sing Aye Ho, Aye, Ho) [MP3] $ 0.99
play 13 Two Masters [MP3] $ 0.99
play 14 That Touch [MP3] $ 0.99
play 15 Nah Give Up [MP3] $ 0.99
play Open Your Eyes (Complete Album) [MP3] $ 13.97

It is my privilege to review an album that is hands-down, the best contemporary reggae recording of 2004. Nothing else has even come close, not even Morgan Heritage's latest effort! And best of all, it's Gospel! It's time for you to "Open Your Eyes" to the Katalys Crew, an eight-member group (six guys and two girls), hailing from Kingston, Jamaica. Fusing traditional roots reggae with dancehall, soca and ska, this live band has successfully created an entity like none other in the gospel industry.

Driven not only by their rich musical talent but also by their heart for ministry, these born-again singers and players of instruments have set out to be a "catalyst," an agent of change. These Jamaicans desire to transform the traditional Christian approach to music on their island (and in the rest of the world) in an effort to spread their faith more effectively. Have no doubt, they are the real deal!

The album kicks off with a hard-hitting intro that makes me wish I were sitting front-and-center at one of the band's critically acclaimed live shows. What follows is the title track and quite possibly the best tune on the album. It is a commanding one-drop roots cut that will instantly grab any listeners' attention. Once your ears have perked up, the Crew takes it up a notch with a 2004 re-interpretation of the traditional "Nothing but the blood of Jesus" (over an old-school dancehall rhythm). On this song, Radic picks up the mic and flows in his signature deejay stylee. It's no wonder that the Katalys Crew's "Caribbean Rhythms" have become so "hot this year" in Jamaica.

By now it is clear that these guys are not 'playing it safe' to stroke the church. This isn't "diet-reggae," these guys have come to reach the lost. When I hear songs like "Riding High," it's clear that this group has surpassed the likes of Morgan Heritage and other recent VP productions. This is a massive tune, replete with a tight live band and real horns! Traditional ska also graces this album on tracks like "Let Go, Let God" and "That Touch," showing just how authentic this collection is.

The two lead vocalists of the group are Jai and Radic. Radic's name stands for Righteousness And Divinity In Christ (not to be confused with singer Jack Radics). He is a skilled singjay/deejay that spits out a tight patois flow. On this album he tears up the microphone with more energy than Sizzla over live band hits and breaks on songs like "A Who?," "Pray Fi Dem" and "Two masters." In contrast are the sweet high-tenor melodies of Jai on tracks like the serenading "Can't Take My Lord," and "God's Mercy." Not to be confused with the former Christafari singer, vocalist Jai, (whose name stands for "Jesus And I"), has a style and tone that is familiar yet commanding.

A few of the songs towards the end include programmed drums using various incarnations of contemporary soca and ragga-soca beats. Despite the departure from live drums, the authentic sounds, polished production and contrasting vocals make for a dynamic combination that is not to be missed!

The Katalys Crew has been labeled as "Jamaica's #1 Roots Inspirational Gospel Band"--at title that is well deserved. Their genuine sound is appealing to both Christians and unbelievers alike. This is real reggae and authentic dancehall. It hasn't been filtered through America or any another Caribbean island, nor has it been homogenized by the traditions of the often close-minded Jamaican church. It is 100% authentic reggae with sound doctrine.

As producer and bassist Paul Barclay said, "This CD is the result of twenty years of (my) experiences." It is a labor of love, featuring the producer's best work to-date. In addition to great music (13 solid tunes with 2 interludes), this is also an enhanced CD with bonus videos and clips that are sure to 'Open Your Eyes' even wider!

As a recording artist, I occasionally come across a song or two from another group that I wish that I had written. This album is full of them from beginning to end. I admire the songs, production, vocals and musicianship on this release to the highest degree!

"Open Your Eyes" is a reggae/dancehall release in the truest of tradition with no apologies made. To be honest with you, I sometimes struggle with writing these album reviews. It is not always easy to be both honest AND flattering to a recording. This timeless album is a tremendous exception. My review simply wrote itself as these sweet Jamaican sounds massaged my satisfied ears. Take my word for it; buy a copy of "Open Your Eyes" today. YOU WILL NOT BE DISSAPOINTED!

Review by Mark Mohr

Track List

  1. A Time For Change
  2. Open Your Eyes
  3. The Blood Of Jesus
  4. Riding High
  5. Let Go Let God
  6. Jehovah Wi Calling
  7. The Charge
  8. A Who
  9. Pray Fi Dem
  10. Can't Take My Lord
  11. Only Gods Mercy
  12. David Dance
  13. Two Masters
  14. That Touch
  15. Nah Give Up

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