A lot of bands in Christian music today come and go, leaving a disappointed loyal fan base behind who were looking forward to a future for the band. Petra is not one of these groups. Petra has lived up to the meaning of its name ("rock") and has withstood frequent changes in members, a change in the original lead singer (from Greg X. Volz to the current John Schlitt), offering 20 albums in almost 30 years of existence. Now in 2001, with the band's roster returning to the most famous trio of John Schlitt, Louie Weaver, and Bob Hartman, Petra sounds revived with their new album Revival.
The album opens with the melodic electronic beat and string-driven rocker "Send Revival, Start With Me." Musically, God has sent the band a revival for sure. The song is an excellent praise song, praying to God to send revival to the world, but to start with ourselves first. Chris Tomlin's "The Noise We Make" follows, enhanced by crunchy electronic guitar riffs and a frantic electronic beat. As opposed to their previous two praise records, Revival features more of just the trio's musical offerings while the others had more background choirs and layered choruses to give it that live, large-audience feel. "Oasis" is an upbeat pop/rock praiser while "The Prodigal's Song" is a more of a pop ballad, a sure-fire hit.
Petra puts a new spin on the renowned "Amazing Grace," throwing out the expected original arrangement, transforming the classic into a modern rock praise and worship song. Although it may be difficult to listen to the famous lyics be sung in any way other than what we're used to, the chorus the band adds, "'Cuz your love came down and it saved me," fits nicely into the band's new interpretation. "Jesus, Friend of Sinners" almost sounds like a throwback to the band's late 80s, early 90s sound with its simplistic beat and classic rock feel. "Better is One Day" picks up where "The Prodigal's Song" left off, opening with synths and an electronic beat. A nice rock ballad, "Better..." is followed by classic sounds of "Meet With Me." As the album comes to a close with "We Want to See Jesus Lifted High"'s happy rock beats and the soft sounds of "How Long," it's noticeable that Revival almost fails to carry the power and impact of its opening throughout the rest of the record. Whilte "How Long" is a worthy closer, it may just leave the listener wanting more. Which may be fine if that was the band's intent.
Revival is a bold and brilliant step for the aging Christian rock icon that has paved the way for many of the achievements Christian music has garnered over the past three decades. Not perfect, but definitely having some fine moments, Revival is a good modern worship album for those looking for something out of the norm to worship our Creator to.- Review date: 11/10/01, written by John DiBiase
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