Monday, February 20, 2012

Kutless: Believer Review

What does it truly mean to be a believer in Christ? That’s the question Kutless explores through their seventh full-length studio project Believer. It seems like a simple title, but the album is far from that. And for those who might be asking whether Kutless has chosen to follow the hard rock scene they began with or pursue the worship that made them popular with It is Well and Strong Tower, the answer is both! Kutless delivers a fantastic thirteen-track project with relevant messages for our generation, and they’ve certainly found their sound in the process.

“If It Ends Today” is a rocker and excellent opener for their latest album. Though it’s fun and full of crowd fill-ins – a perfect live song! – it’s serious lyrically, speaking of rising up and representing Christ in these end times, even “if it ends today.” Jon Micah’s vocals also sound better than ever! “Carry On” follows, more worshipful, but has excellent lyrics, reminding the listener that where they can’t, God can, and that His strength is made perfect in our weakness.

“All Yours” is the best of the best vocals I’ve ever heard from Jon Micah, as he sings both high and low vocals and was pushed by his producer to explore areas he had never done before. “All Yours” speaks of counting it all as loss, because everything we own is God’s anyways. “Even If” comes as a modern day Psalm, choosing to praise God even if our hearts stay broken forever, because we know He is God and that His ways are not our ways: “Even if the healing doesn’t come and life falls apart and dreams are still undone/ You are God, You are good/ forever faithful One/ even if the healing, even if the healing doesn’t come.”

The slower, but strong “Hero” encourages listeners to step up to the plate and be the hero people are always looking for: “You could be a Hero/ you could be the change in this world/ rise above the normal/ don’t have to be afraid any more/ we are the light we are the hope/ we are the love inside worth fighting for/ you could be, you could be, you could be a hero…” With piano, “Identity” takes on a sound comparable to their Christmas music. Written by Kutless’ guitarist Nick Departee, the lyrics are phenomenal, realizing that Christ is our identity. Pounding drums definitely help to build the track well. In a day and age where it’s hard to know our identity, this track will no doubt become the theme song of many listeners’ life, as I know it will become mine.

“Need” follows as the most upbeat and energetic track off Believer. Heavy guitars, lead guitar, and booming drums all combine perfectly with Jon Micah’s emphatic vocals powerfully. Based on Mark 9:24, “Need” is based on the father of the demon-possessed child’s cry: “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” “Need” will likely become the fan-favorite from Believe, especially fans who most enjoy Kutless’ rock anthems.

The emotional “Come Back Home” is a touching prodigal son song, written from God’s perspective, how He waits anxiously for us to return to Him. Especially a highlight is the bridge: “I’ve paid the price so have no fear/ there’s nothing but mercy here yeah/ mercy is waiting/ when you come back home.” “This is Love” is a portrayal of the agony that Jesus must’ve felt in the Garden of Gethsemane, yet how He chose to endure it because of His love for us. Somehow, hearing Kutless sing about it really makes it easy to picture the immense love of God for us during His last few hours.

“Gravity” boasts on behalf of Kutless’ excellent song writing, as the bold contemporary track depicts us running away from God, but His gravity pulling us back to Him. Lead guitar also helped make the track full. “I’m With You” is also strong, a very encouraging reminder that God is always with us, but especially when we feel broken, alone, and discouraged. Especially enjoyable are the repetitive lyrics of the chorus.

The title track follows as the second to last track, and is appropriately on the worshipful side of things, as it speaks of the hope we have in Jesus Christ. From the bridge, these lyrics are breath-taking: “No matter what you’ve done or how far you’ve run/ there is hope for you/ for every broken heart/ He’ll meet you where you are/ He will rescue you/ Let Him rescue you.” Lastly, the soft radio single “Carry Me to the Cross” closes the album, with the reminder that when life gets rough, we can find peace and comfort at the cross of Jesus.

It’s not hard to tell that Kutless poured themselves into their seventh full-length album Believer. Having been a fan of Kutless since the very beginning, I can honestly say that this album finds the rock group at their best. They’ve delivered mostly worship songs like the radio singles that have helped bring them fame, but they’ve also given us a nice handful of hard rock tracks with awesome messages, and a few in between. All in all, the phenomenal vocals, powerful lyrics, and always-perfect musical combinations make Kutless one of the best bands in the Christian music scene, in my opinion. Believer was one of my most anticipated albums of 2012, and it was definitely worth the wait!

Click on the picture to enlarge it! 

Rating: 5/5
Release date: February 28, 2012

Track listing:
1. If It Ends Today
2. Carry On
3. All Yours
4. Even If
5. Hero
6. Identity
7. Need
8. Come Back Home
9. This is Love
10. Gravity
11. I’m With You
12. Believer
13. Carry Me to the Cross

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