Petra’s albums: #2 – More Power To Ya

Introductory Note: In appreciation of Petra’s fortieth year in music and ministry, I am ranking their albums from least best to greatest. You can read my opening post here. [Now, it should be noted that Petra’s fortieth year was in 2012, when I started this series. Better late than never in winding down to the end.]

More Power To Ya (1982, StarSong)

Lineup: Greg X Volz (lead vocals), Bob Hartman (guitars), Mark Kelly (bass), John Slick (keyboards), Louie Weaver (drums)

If there are two Petras — the first with Greg X Volz on vocals, the second with John Schlitt — then More Power To Ya is widely considered the pinnacle of the Volz era, the opener in a trio of great studio albums which vaulted Petra to the top of Christian pop/rock acts in the 1980s. You get plenty of guitar and drums on the album, of course, but the use of keyboards and modern synthesizers is elevated, creating a warmer overall sound. Continue reading “Petra’s albums: #2 – More Power To Ya”

Petra’s albums: #3 – Beyond Belief

Introductory Note: In appreciation of Petra’s fortieth year in music and ministry, I am ranking their albums from least best to greatest. You can read my opening post here. [Now, it should be noted that Petra’s fortieth year was in 2012, when I started this series. Better late than never in winding down to the end.]

Beyond Belief (1990, Dayspring)

Lineup: John Schlitt (lead vocals), Bob Hartman (guitars), Ronny Cates (bass), John Lawry (keyboards), Louie Weaver (drums)

This album is considered by many to be the best in Petra history, or at least the best of the John Schlitt era. It certainly marked the peak in popularity for Petra during the Schlitt years. It was Petra’s best-selling album, and for good reason. Beyond Belief hits on pretty much all cylinders, providing from start to finish a slickly produced, pleasing to the ears, and lyrically challenging ten songs which made it hard not to rank higher. Continue reading “Petra’s albums: #3 – Beyond Belief”

Petra’s albums: #4 – On Fire!

Introductory Note: In appreciation of Petra’s fortieth year in music and ministry, I am ranking their albums from least best to greatest. You can read my opening post here. [And I meant to conclude this series in 2012, but since Petra just released a 40th anniversary CD this year, I guess this qualifies, too.]

On Fire! (1988, StarSong)

Lineup: John Schlitt (lead vocals), Bob Hartman (guitars), Ronny Cates (bass), John Lawry (keyboards), Louie Weaver (drums)

Having begun to hit their stride with John Schlitt with the previous year’s This Means War!, this album, On Fire!, is considered by many Petra fans the apex of the band’s history, and I can see why. The album begins with three consecutive hard rockers the leave the ears ringing and the mouth curved upward. This was also the first album for new bassist Ronny Cates, completing what I believe to be Petra’s best all-around lineup. Continue reading “Petra’s albums: #4 – On Fire!”

Petra’s albums: #5 – This Means War!

Introductory Note: In appreciation of Petra’s fortieth year in music and ministry, I am ranking their albums from least best to greatest. You can read my opening post here.

This Means War! (1987, StarSong)

Lineup: John Schlitt (lead vocals), Bob Hartman (guitars), Mark Kelly (bass), John Lawry (keyboards), Louie Weaver (drums)

This album, Petra’s second with John Schlitt as the front man, is the one which launched the second golden era for the band, during which I became a fan for life. While a great many consider 1986’s Back To The Street a transitional album (fair to some degree), Petra really meant “rock” on This Means War!, and as a result it has endured as one of the bands most loved efforts. Continue reading “Petra’s albums: #5 – This Means War!”

Petra albums: #6 – Back To The Rock

Introductory Note: In appreciation of Petra’s fortieth year in music and ministry, I am ranking their albums from least best to greatest. You can read my opening post here.

Back To The Rock (1983, StarSong)

Lineup: Greg X. Volz (lead vocals), Bob Hartman (guitars), Mark Kelly (bass), John Lawry (keyboards), Louie Weaver (drums)

OK. I realize that by including this album I am kind of cheating on this list. After all, this is technically “Classic Petra,” and over 80% of it is “greatest hits” material that has been re-recorded. But there are two new tracks, and it’s my list and so that is my justification for including this album on the list. After almost twenty-five years Greg X. Volz reunited with Bob Hartman, John Lawry, Mark Kelly, and even Louie Weaver(!). Continue reading “Petra albums: #6 – Back To The Rock”

Petra’s albums: #7 – Not Of This World

Introductory Note: In appreciation of Petra’s fortieth year in music and ministry, I am ranking their albums from least best to greatest. You can read my opening post here.

Not of This World (1983, StarSong)

Lineup: Greg X. Volz (lead vocals), Bob Hartman (guitars), Mark Kelly (bass), John Slick (keyboards), Louie Weaver (drums)

Following up on the success of 1982’s More Power To Ya, Petra came back a year later with Not Of This World, the middle album of a trilogy marking the apex of the Greg X. Volz era, and an album contains three of Petra’s greatest and most enduring songs.

The introduction of synthesizers into the Petra sound start right from the beginning, with “Visions” instrumental pieces which bookend the album, transitioning nicely into the first song and out of the last.

And that first song, oh boy, is a ballad, yes, but a passionate call for believers to realize their identity in Christ in relation to their place in this world. It’s a song in the indicative, and it’s the title track. The lyrics by Bob Hartman are powerful: “We are pilgrims in a strange land / We are so far from our homeland / With each passing day it seems so clear / This world will never want us here / We’re not welcome in this world of wrong / We are foreigners who don’t belong // We are strangers, we are aliens / We are not of this world.” But that I, and all Christians, especially in America, would realize this important truth on a daily basis and live as though it is so. Continue reading “Petra’s albums: #7 – Not Of This World”