Delirious, Sonicflood, Among Thorns, MercyMe; if any of these modern worship bands ring a bell, they fail in comparison to what was birthed back in 1989. The debut rock worship album of Petra entitled Petra Praise: The Rock Cries Out broke new ground in the genre of worship music. The Rock Cries Out was actually an effort that fans had waited quite a few years for. This project showed the band's willingness to go beyond what they already had accomplished and venture into something fresh and new. A quick side note is that the legendary duo of brothers John and Dino Elefante were the producers behind this project as well as other albums released by the legendary band.
Several classic worship songs are given a traditional Petra feel, such as "King of Kings," "Jesus, Glorious One," "The Battle Belongs to the Lord," and "Salvation Belongs to Our God." The band delves into a more melodic and softer tone for their renditions of the songs "Take Me In" and "Hallowed Be Thy Name," while "No Weapon Formed Against Me" and "I Will Sing Praise" take an alternate route and are provided with loud, melodic guitars, an authentic keyboard vibe, and of course John Schlitt's amazing and passionate vocals.
However, Petra's most shining moments are in the Bob Hartman-penned originals of "I Love the Lord" and "The King of Glory Shall Come In" which are songs directly based on Scripture as are most of their songs. By ending the album with two live versions of "I Will Call Upon the Lord" and "I Exalt Thee," you'd think that this would be its only downfall. Surprisingly, although not as polished as the rest of the songs, the sound makes you feel like you're part of the crowd participating in these magnificent worship songs.
Since its release, Petra has released two more worship albums, which both proved to surpass the worship projects they released before them. In a time when modern worship is stronger and more popular than ever, it's been very refreshing to know that no other worship band has attempted to copy what Petra has already set in stone for its time period, but rather be original in their own way. Before assuming that bands like Delirious and Sonicflood set the stage for other worship acts that followed them, don't forget modern worship's humble beginnings with Petra Praise: The Rock Cries Out.- Review date: 2/6/03, written by Paul Portell
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