Album Reviews

Classic Petra – Back To The Rock

Released by: Independent

Release Date: Out Now!!!

Genre: Christian Hard Rock


Line Up:

Greg X. Volz – vocals

Bob Hartman – guitar

Mark Kelly – bass guitar

John Lawry – keyboards

Louie Weaver – drums


01 Bema Seat

02 Clean

03 Angel Of Light

04 Rose Colored Stained Glass Windows

05 Godpleaser

06 Second Wind

07 More Power To Ya

08 Let Everything That Hath Breath

09 Grave Robber

10 Adonai

11 Back To The Rock

12 Too Big To Fail

Without any doubts, PETRA is the ultimate Christian Rockband, because they were one of the first real active Christian Rockbands during the 1970s. They had a major influence on the whole Christian Rockscene that followed during the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. Especially during the 1980s PETRA established themselves as a Christian Rock institute. Even non-Christians became PETRA followers or should I say believers! In fact, undersigned discovered PETRA back in 1989, but it took many full moons before I got to learn about the real PETRA, because they had a switch of lead singers somewhere in the mid 1980s.

GREG X VOLZ was PETRA’s lead vocalist during the early 1980s and it was his voice that I personally later discovered to be PETRA’s finest. Unfortunately he left the band in 1986 and also musically the band changed their pure 80s keyboardladen AOR sound for a more standard Melodic Hardrocksound after that and during the 90s even went for a basic rock approach.

However, 25 years after his departure Greg returns and together with other long-time and original PETRA members of this classic early 80s PETRA line-up, there is now CLASSIC PETRA and their release of the CD ‘Back to the rock’, which is a collection of new re-recorded early 80s PETRA classics (original versions can be found on their albums ‘Never Say Die’ (1981), ‘More Power to Ya’ (1982), ‘Not of This World’ (1983) and ‘Beat the System’ (1985)) and even 2 new songs. Words can’t describe how good this material sounds and compared to the original recordings, the sound of this CD is much bigger and rockier and should win the hearts of any rockfan out there, although it still captures that classic early 80s AOR sound of PETRA.

Especially Greg’s voice is just so amazing and perhaps he is one of the greatest Christian Rocksingers ever, along with BOB CARLISLE, MATTHEW WARD and several others. It is really great to hear Greg sing again such timeless AOR Classics like “Adonai”, “Bema Seat”, “Angel of Light”, “More Power to Ya” and the lovely KANSAS orientated “Grave Robber”. This last mentioned song is a true classic with some very strong lyrics and perhaps it is even the finest PETRA song ever recorded, thanks to some incredible melodies that are sung by Greg. Together with the SURVIVOR/JOURNEYish “Adonai”, this is PETRA (or in this case CLASSIC PETRA) at it’s very best and also showing their most pure AOR direction.

Hopefully in the near future we will see more new material in this style and also the band doing a full Tour. A DVD will be reviewed here shortly, but in the meantime check out this hidden AOR gem secret that is now revealed in a newly recorded CD. Many Classic Rockbands re-record their old classics nowadays, mostly for the copyrights (JOURNEY, FOREIGNER, FIREHOUSE…), but in the case of PETRA we now have the perfect best of their early 80s period sounding like it’s 2011 and guess what, it is 2011, so welcome back PETRA!

Written by Gabor

Ratings Gabor   8/10

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