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JFH Music Review

Petra, Back To The Rock

Back To The Rock

Artist Info: Discography
Album length: 12 tracks: 51 minutes, 16 seconds
Street Date: 2010


When classic Christian rock group Petra disbanded in 2005, there was always the hope that they would eventually do reunion tours and an even fainter hope they would put out one more album. Fast forward to 2010 when Greg X. Volz, lead singer for the group in the late '70s and early '80s, rounded up the band's roster from their hit 1985 album Beat the System to form Classic Petra. Immediately a tour and new album were planned, with the end result being Back to the Rock. However, this wasn't an album of all new material. Rather they re-recorded some of their most iconic hits and added two new songs on the end for good measure.

Everything about this album screams nostalgia, drawing long-time listeners back to the early glory days of the band. From the cover featuring an alien landscape and classic logo to the song selection, the point for older fans is to remind them of what once was. While Petra rarely got too complex or thematic on their albums, a subtle theme of returning to Christ and living for Him can be seen in most of the songs. Younger listeners may not get the nostalgia, but the message is still a potent one considering how many young people struggle with their faith and walk away from the church.

The arrangements for the re-done songs never stray too far from their original counterparts-perhaps a lesson learned from the fan backlash of their "acoustic" album, Double Take. Some of the songs benefit from the new polish. "Bema Seat", "Second Wind", and "Let Everything That Hath Breath" sound rockier with crisp drums and crunchy, heavy guitar. "Adonai" and "Clean" also are much improved over the original synth-heavy tracks. Although the keyboard takes more of a backseat, it sounds dated when it is prominent. Having a "dirtier" synthesizer or sticking with a piano would have elevated the sound to modern tastes.

Some of the songs prove hard to be refurbished, such as "More Power to Ya" and "Graverobber". They are so classic in their original cuts that there isn't much to add to them without more dynamic changes. The two new songs would have worked well on an album of other fresh material but here they pale in comparison to the masterpieces preceding them. In spite of these bumps in the road, Back to the Rock serves as a great ride for long-time fans and a good starting point for new listeners to see what made this band "classic".

- Review date: 2/16/17, written by John Underdown of

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. Record Label: None
. Album length: 12 tracks: 51 minutes, 16 seconds
. Street Date: 2010
. Buy It: iTunes
. Buy It: Amazon Music (MP3)
. Buy It:

  1. Bema Seat (3:57)
  2. Clean (3:05)
  3. Angel Of Light (4:28)
  4. Rose Colored Stained Glass Windows (4:11)
  5. Godpleaser (4:44)
  6. Second Wind (4:34)
  7. More Power To Ya (3:35)
  8. Let Everything That Hath Breath (4:14)
  9. Grave Robber (4:51)
  10. Adonai (4:30)
  11. Back To The Rock (4:42)
  12. Too Big To Fail (4:25)


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