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PETRA means rock...


Favorite Petra CD  

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I'm a little poll-shy...I usually royally louse 'em up, but I like to keep getting back on the horse that threw me, so here I am trying again. Up for consideration this time are Christian rock legends Petra, who began in the 70s as part of the "Jesus rock" movement (I haven't bothered including those albums on the poll) before emerging as a crisp AOR/rock group fronted by the unique vocals of Greg X. Volz. Upon Volz's departure in '85, the band hired ex-Head East vocalist John Schlitt and turned to grittier hard arena rock, resulting in a string of awesome albums that saw them ruling the Christian rock charts in the late 80s/early 90s.

 

So the question is:

1) which of the Volz-fronted albums do you prefer?

2) which of the Schlitt-fronted albums do you prefer?

 

For part one, I voted for "Not of This World" based on nostalgia alone. It also has one of my all-time favorite Petra tunes, "Grave Robber."

 

For part two, I easily cast my ballot for "Beyond Belief," which is easily the band's crowning achievement. The song "Creed" in particular is spectacular, and so nicely sums up my beliefs that my wife has vowed to play it at my funeral should I pass away before she does. I hope I can be watching from the edge of Heaven when that happens so I can see the looks of surprise on the mourners' faces when the song explodes into a cranking blast of hard rock. Not exactly your typical funeral dirge...

 

OK, I'm done talking now. Your turn.

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Right on the money on both counts! "Not of This World" still gives me shivers. Amazing song.

 

The "Elefante Era" Petra albums were the best of the Schlitt material, in my opinion, with Beyond Belief being at the top.

 

Pakaderm Records, and their lush production and signature vocal harmonies, were an amazing record label.

 

That reminds me... time to listen to The Brave - Battle Cries, and Halo - S/T again...

 

-Dan

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I've not heard any of those first 3, but have a lot of the Schlitt-era stuff (his solo album is worth picking up too). I went for "Beyond Belief" too, although "On Fire" runs it very close. And probably my fave Petra song was on the album after these two ("I Need to Hear From You", off "Unseen Power").

 

Then they lost me after "Wake Up Call" & nothing since has been that great IMO. I was also unfortunate enough to interview them for Frontiers Magazine & - it may have been an off day - they appeared to have egos the size of their back catalogue.

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That reminds me... time to listen to The Brave - Battle Cries,

 

-Dan

 

 

 

 

Now that is a GREAT album! Both releases are actually very good...

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I've not heard any of those first 3, but have a lot of the Schlitt-era stuff (his solo album is worth picking up too). I went for "Beyond Belief" too, although "On Fire" runs it very close. And probably my fave Petra song was on the album after these two ("I Need to Hear From You", off "Unseen Power").

 

Then they lost me after "Wake Up Call" & nothing since has been that great IMO. I was also unfortunate enough to interview them for Frontiers Magazine & - it may have been an off day - they appeared to have egos the size of their back catalogue.

I actually didn't care much for Schlitt's debut solo album ("Shake," I believe it was called), but he went a little darker and harder-edged on his second effort, "Unfit for Swine," and I like that one.

 

Surprised you didn't like Petra's final studio album, "Jekyll & Hyde." I thought it kicked all kinds of buttage. The guitar riff on "I Will Seek You" just slams! After a few lackluster releases, I thought they rallied and went out with a bang.

 

As for egos...bet it was an off day or an errant impression. I hung out with the band several times back in the 90s and 'egotistical' would be the last word I would you to describe them. Heck, John Schlitt might just be the most humble, down-to-earth, easy-to-talk-to musician (OK, vocalist, if you want to get all technical) I've ever met.

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I actually didn't care much for Schlitt's debut solo album ("Shake," I believe it was called), but he went a little darker and harder-edged on his second effort, "Unfit for Swine," and I like that one.

 

Surprised you didn't like Petra's final studio album, "Jekyll & Hyde." I thought it kicked all kinds of buttage. The guitar riff on "I Will Seek You" just slams! After a few lackluster releases, I thought they rallied and went out with a bang.

 

As for egos...bet it was an off day or an errant impression. I hung out with the band several times back in the 90s and 'egotistical' would be the last word I would you to describe them. Heck, John Schlitt might just be the most humble, down-to-earth, easy-to-talk-to musician (OK, vocalist, if you want to get all technical) I've ever met.

 

Yeah "Shake" is the one I have. I honestly don't have "Jekyll & Hyde", & I might have even stopped listening to soundbytes of them by then. I just found "Wake Up Call" so weak. I bought a couple of the other recent ones ("No Doubt" was pretty reasonable, "God Fixation" wasnt. Nor the one with the older tunes.... I forget their titles) but they had lost me by then....

 

Schlitt wasn't there when I met them, & they were jet-lagged, but they didnt leave me with a good impression at all. Because of that I didn't bother submitting the interview, & I rated "No Doubt" at a 6/10 which was probably a bit harsh!

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I actually didn't care much for Schlitt's debut solo album ("Shake," I believe it was called), but he went a little darker and harder-edged on his second effort, "Unfit for Swine," and I like that one.

 

Surprised you didn't like Petra's final studio album, "Jekyll & Hyde." I thought it kicked all kinds of buttage. The guitar riff on "I Will Seek You" just slams! After a few lackluster releases, I thought they rallied and went out with a bang.

 

As for egos...bet it was an off day or an errant impression. I hung out with the band several times back in the 90s and 'egotistical' would be the last word I would you to describe them. Heck, John Schlitt might just be the most humble, down-to-earth, easy-to-talk-to musician (OK, vocalist, if you want to get all technical) I've ever met.

 

I honestly don't have "Jekyll & Hyde" & I might have even stopped listening to soundbytes of them by then. I just found "Wake Up Call" so weak. I bought a couple of the other recent ones ("No Doubt" was pretty reasonable, "God Fixation" wasnt. Nor the one with the older tunes....I forget their titles) but they had lost me by then.

 

Schlitt wasn't there when I met them, & they were jet-lagged, but they didnt leave me with a good impression at all. Because of that I didn't bother submitting the interview, & I rated "No Doubt" at a 6/10 which was probably a bit harsh!

Consider giving "Jekyll & Hyde" a listen. They just rocked out on that one...easily their heaviest album. You're right, "Wake Up Call" was the beginning of their slide into mediocrity (though I love the song "Underneath the Blood"), and the less said about "God Fixation" the better (what were they thinking?).

 

I actually like "No Doubt." It wasn't a return to their glory days by any means, but the songs were fairly catchy ("Heart of a Hero" & "Two are Better Than One" particularly come to mind) and overall it's aged well with me. Still, I probably would have only given it a 7/10, so you weren't that far off. :)

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Jekyll & Hyde is actually a phenomenal comeback album after their lacklustre efforts of the late '90s and 2000s. My only issue with it is that it's WAAAYYY too short (only about 30 minutes long).

 

-Dan

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I actually put 'Beat The System' for the first part, although 'Not Of This World' is very close behind - both damned fine

 

For part 2 'Beyond Belief' by a mile - absolutely love that disc -although again there are also some other strong ones in there.

 

Of John Schlitt's solo stuff, I really like 'Shake' but thought 'Unfit For Swine' was quite an apt title, as it was complete and utter shite..

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I've never heard Petra... worth getting into? What's it like?

 

What he said.

 

Might be a bit too fluffy for you rockers. Although the latter stuff is pretty rocky, their 80's output was pretty heavy on the keys. Perhaps inbetween hunting wild animals & getting another tattoo while drinking a shot of pure pigs blood, you'll need some quiet time? Petra will come in handy then, otherwise maybe just check out the later stuff from "Wake Up Call" onwards only...

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I've never heard Petra...worth getting into? What's it like?

I'm not an expert on your tastes, but from what I've gleaned over the years of lurking around here, you probably shouldn't bother with the early Volz-fronted stuff--too AORish. But "This Means War" & "On Fire!" are big, over-the-top stadium/arena-rock. Yes, the keys are there, but the guitars are what dominate. And if you like thick, layered backing vocals, well, you'll be in Heaven here, because nobody produced that sound/style better than John & Dino Elefante.

 

But "Beyond Belief" is when they really delivered a classic, and it's when they turned to full-on hard rock. I have yet to meet a rocker, Christian or not, who wasn't impressed with this CD. Monster production, catchy riffs galore, sing-along choruses, gang vocals...this one had it all.

 

Their next album, "Unseen Power," while not as good as its predecessor, picked up in pretty much the same vein, and is also worth checking out ("Destiny" & "Dance" are 2 killer tracks). After this release, the quality of their albums dropped off significantly until their final/comeback effort, "Jekyll & Hyde," which is right up there with their best and is definitely their heaviest, meaning it might be the one you like the most.

 

So once again, in my usual long-winded way :crazy: , I'm saying you should cautiously check out "This Means War" & "On Fire," but definitely check out "Beyond Belief," "Unseen Power," and "Jekyll & Hyde."

 

(For the record, hope you don't mind blatant Christian lyrics...these guys don't beat around the bush regarding their faith.)

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Thanks for the input, although I nearly nodded off reading Mark's 1000 word essay... ;) Seriously though, thanks, I think I'll start with Beyond Belief and go from there. :banger:

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When I was in high school I was at the Great Adventure theme park on a day that Petra was playing a gig in their indoor pavilion... didn't go to the show (it started later in the evening and I was with a group that left the park at 6 PM) but I remember seeing lots of folks in Petra shirts walking around all day...

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Thanks for the input, although I nearly nodded off reading Mark's 1000 word essay... ;)

Nice. Real nice. Can I help it that I'm verbiose? <_<

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  • 7 months later...
Jekyll & Hyde is actually a phenomenal comeback album after their lacklustre efforts of the late '90s and 2000s. My only issue with it is that it's WAAAYYY too short (only about 30 minutes long).

 

-Dan

 

Backed.

 

I chose Not of This World and On Fire!

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Cool! I will have to check these out!

 

Yeah, me too ! Good poll !! I only have "Beyond Belief", so some additional info on what else to buy would be really helpful !

 

:drink:

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  • 1 year later...

Okay, so can the experts please advise me if I'm headed in the right direction?

 

I have owned, sold and hated 'No doubt' and 'Double Take'. I do not want anything that sounds anything like those two CDs. I now own 'This means war!' which is okay, but really a bit too light and fluffy for me and I wouldn't want anything as soft, or softer than that. But I do like 'Beyond Belief'. I really like the sound of it and especially the first half of the CD.

 

So, based on your comments above I have decided I want these CDs. Please tell me if I need any others, or if I should avoid any of these:

 

'On Fire'

'Unseen Power'

'Wake up call'

'Jeckyll and Hyde'

 

Is that all I really need to complete my Petra collection? :) Thanks doods.

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Quickly answer my question please. Do I buy 'Wake up call'? Seems pretty cheap everywhere. Is that because it sucks dog balls or is it worth getting?

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