Reviewed by Mike Rimmer
Their last album wasn't much cop and yet it won a Grammy. Their record label, Word, dropped them and they've been finding a new label home. They're like the Christian equivalent of Deep Purple, rocking for decades and changing their line up every three albums! In the 21st century, does anybody really care if Petra ever made another album or played another gig? Before you answer that question, I suggest you actually listen to 'Revival' because this is the best thing they've done in the last decade. Petra invented rock praise so it's fitting that their entry into a new century should be a praise album. Though it has to be admitted that their last 'Petra Praise' album could just as easily have been called 'Petra Pants', it's with relief that I report that 'Revival' sees the band return to top form and the welcome influence of their producers is probably to blame. Dwayne Larring and Jason Halbert, former members of Sonicflood, have introduced Petra to the modern sound of worship and songs by Matt Redman, Paul Oakley, Chris Tomlin, et al. They have also worked with the band and thoroughly updated their sound so that Bob Hartman, Louis Weaver and John Schlitt have never sounded fresher. Way back in the '80s they'd invited Rick Cua to join on bass but at the time he declined. Well, he finally made it into the band for this album and somehow it just makes it perfect as his playing and Weaver's highly energised drumming drives the album. Weaver just sounds like he's having a blast! Mind you, so does John Schlitt, who obviously thinks he's playing a stadium gig somewhere in the '70s, judging by the passion pumping out of the speakers. Even on quieter numbers like "Better Is One Day", there's still an intensity. Mostly the band rock out and my favourites include "Jesus, Friend Of Sinners" and a fine version of the 10 Shekel Shirt song "Meet With You". However for sheer power and fabness, their version of "The Noise We Make" complete with huge guitars, samples of Asian singing and powerhouse performance from everyone is simply stunning. The album closes with the best version of "We Want To See Jesus Lifted High" that I've yet heard. Perfect melodic rock with plenty of gritty guitars and no temptation to do that cheesy clap clap clap thing! Ultimately the only clapping you'll want to do here is to give the band a hearty round of applause and put the CD back on the stereo again. Welcome back Petra!
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