If, in the past few years, you have ever:
1. Wished Petra would remember that their name literally means "rock."
2. Wished Bob Hartman would move from the "additional musicians" section of the liner notes and back into the "Petra is" section.
Well then, my friends, it is time to go out to your respective storage areas and dust off your air guitars because your wishes have been granted!
"Jekyll & Hyde," is the latest and loudest from one of the original Christian rock bands!
Now, before anyone complains, let me assure you that I have absolutely nothing against any of the past few albums. I own and regularly listen to the albums made during the alternative, acoustic and praise eras, but always wanted them to get back to the sound last heard on "Wake Up Call" and "Unseen Power." "Jekyll & Hyde" has that and more. This album flat out rocks. They dropped the keyboards and plugged in the guitars.
Bob Hartman has shed the background role of producer/songwriter/additional guitarist and stepped back on stage as a full-fledged touring member of the band. John Schlitt's vocals have never been stronger. Helping them out on this album are Wade Jaynes (Steve Taylor, Chagall Guevara, Phil Keaggy) and Phil Joel (Newsboys) on bass, and Peter Furler (Newsboys) on drums. Peter Furler also produced the album, and, as part owner of the INPOP record label, was partially responsible for getting Bob to "unretire" and the musical redirection. Ok, all together now: "Thank you, Peter!"
But more importantly than just the music, the lyrics are some of the best yet. I have always respected Bob Hartman's writing, and this album shows some of his best. Petra has always claimed that they are a ministry first, and a band second. I will never understand how someone who does this as his "second priority" can do it so well. I cannot claim one song as my favorite.
Petra has always been the kings of imagery when it comes to the battle between good and evil ('Killing My Old Man', 'Computer Brains,' 'This Means War' etc) and they continue that with songs like 'Jekyll & Hyde;' 'Stand' and 'Life As We Know It'. Other stand outs are 'All About Who You Know;' 'Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda;' 'Perfect World;' 'Test of Time;' 'I Will Seek You' and 'Till Everything I do.'
The final song on the album is 'Sacred Trust.' This song recalls the fact that Christ never watered down his message to be more popular. He never beat around the bush or bowed to "political correctness." He spoke the truth and only the truth. He has passed the torch to us, God is entrusting us with His message to share with the world. We are His messengers today and we are encouraged to be just as bold and open when sharing our faith.
Ok, I realize I just mentioned every song on the CD. But I told you I couldn't pick any favorites. The next greatest hits compilation Petra issues should have at least eight of these ten songs.
If you miss the "old" Petra, if you like guitar driven rock,
if you like strong and unapologetic Christian lyrics with your music,
get this album. Throw it in your player and turn it up to eleven!