Kutless is a Christian rock band from Portland, Oregon formed in 1999, Currently, they have sold over 3 million cd’s. Glory is the eighth studio album from Kutless, and the album was released on February 11, 2014 by BEC Recordings. The band has already achieved two RIAA Gold-selling albums with ‘Strong Tower’ and ‘Live From Portland’.
I remember when Kutless started out; they were a real rock band. Now a couple years have gone by and they have certainly mellowed out a lot to a point of having no or little rock content in their music. For some it can be like an unexpected twist in ones favourite series that kills off the aspect of the film that got you hooked in the first place. In the case many would leave the series and look elsewhere for their fix. While in my opinion perhaps their sound now appeals to a greater audience with its more contemporary flavouring.
They have moved away from being a ‘rock’ band and now I would refer them as a worship band. A category drenched in over-rated and boring bands that often are found rehashing classic worship songs to death, and many musically following that cliché U2 sound. Its in this sentiment that many bands bring a watered down element to worship songs. As much as I prefer a rock pulsating worship song, one need not fear because they have left their rock persona behind that the songs might be any less powerful. I think there is a realness and honesty to their sound that reflects a maturity and growth musically and spiritually.
On a quick glance with the cliché type worship album cover, and giving it a once through listen it might come across like another CCM worship album for some like myself for one. But putting my tired feet up, and headphones on with intent to dig deep into the experience I found myself strangely drawn into the music. My focus was not to look at them through a rock perception, but rather as worship band. Could their music draw me into the sweet place of worship, or would it be another Hillsong generic?
On this level I find that their music works, delivering some raise your hands moments that certainly can appeal for those private worship moments as well as in a church context. In that respect I think “Glory” showcases Kutless as stilling having the chops as a ‘rock’ band, even though technically I would not label them as such.
The goal of a worship album is to draw one into a place of worship, to lift up, to give praise, to honour, to give glory, to evoke challenge, to be a catalyst for the Holy Spirit to do its work within. I think the album as a whole will succeed to do exactly that for many, as the lyrics set to inspire, encourage and invigorate with love and a sincere heart. This album is not about if it fits in your musical atmosphere, but rather is it able to draw a heart of worship to a place of worship, and in that respect I have to say yes it can.
Songs like “In Jesus Name” and “Restore Me” are powerful expressions. Though the songs are perhaps mellow, they settle the atmosphere nicely for effectiveness with a message of hope and encouragement.
This is a ‘rock’ album of a different nature, because though the songs might not get any head banging going or pulsate with on the edge of your seat power chords, it’s a powerhouse of a worship album. “Restore Me” for instance is one of those songs we can all relate too, as we ALL are in Christ on a road of transformation and restoration, and we have All experienced at some part in our lives brokenness. It’s in that place where restoration begins, it’s in that place of realization without God in our lives to facilitate the process of restoration in Christ, the act of restoration is otherwise flawed.
We experience some reminiscence of the rock era Kutless on songs like “You Alone” (the first single to go to radio) and “Always”. They exude for myself some of the heart and sincerity of the album as a whole. Lyrically and musically they are home runs on the release.
“Never Too Late” another stand out track should have been the last track in my books, and serves as a great reminder that it is never too late to turn to Jesus. That salvation in Christ is for all, reminding us that nothing can separate us from the love of our Saviour.
This album has been received generally with positive reception from critics. For the Billboard charting week of March 1, 2014, Glory was the No.105 most sold album in the entirety of the United States via the Billboard 200 and it was the No. 5 most sold album in the Christian category by the Christian Albums charting. Also, the album was the No. 24 most sold album on the Top Rock Albums chart, and on the Top Alternative Albums chart it was the No. 17 most sold. The album was the No. 18 most sold on the Independent Albums chart.
I would conclude that is music for the worshipper, easy every day listening that brings a satisfactory listening experience. Its not one of those albums that need to be memorable, but rather experienced from a worship perspective rather than just a pure good listening experience.
You see like most worship albums for me its flawed, as the songs are at times hard to distinguish from one another, so as a listening experience its not the best rock album out there, but from a worshiping experience it certainly carries far more weight, especially lyrically.
The thing is that they have matured, and hopefully their lyrical content is a reflection of their passion for Christ, and not just another well orchestrated worship album to sell well. Kutless then are a band that can still bring it, both musically, and first as a calling of their faith. The focus is God, the Father and Jesus, and as a worship album that is where it succeeds the most.
As a musical experience it does not show case the band at their full potential, and comes across safe. This does not make the album ordinary even though it in the full scope of the years they have been around they really don’t bring anything new to the worship arena, but what they do bring is passion, passion for life, and passion for Christ as their Lord and Saviour. So though at times it might be a flat coke, it certainly has its bubbly moments musically and more so its strength comes from a worship lyrics perspective! That can truly lend itself to a truly commendable worship experience.
2. In Jesus Name
3. You Alone
4. Never Too Late
5. All To You
6. We Lift You Up
7. We Will Worship
9. Restore Me
10. God Rest My Soul
12. In the City
Jon Micah Sumrall – lead vocals, occasional rhythm guitar, piano (2000–present)
James Mead – lead guitar, backing vocals (2001–present)
Nick DePartee – guitar, backing vocals (2007–present)
Kyle Peek – drums (2012–present)
“Sea of Faces” (2004)
“Strong Tower” (2005)
“Hearts of the Innocent” (2006)
“To Know That You’re Alive” (2008)
“It Is Well” (2009)
“The Worship Collection” (2013)
Video below ‘Restore Me’
Video below ‘At the Cross’