When a band’s first priority is to declare God’s glory through song, it doesn’t worry too much about fitting into one particular genre of music. Perhaps that’s why some fans have alternating definitions of Kutless, the best-selling rock…, no, worship…no, rock/worship hit makers from Portland, OR. On the inspiring new studio album Glory, its eighth with BEC Recordings, a perfect balance is struck as lead singer Jon Micah Sumrall, guitarists James Mead and Nick de Partee, and drummer Kyle Peek celebrate with electrifying abandon not their collective identity but the mighty name of Jesus.
“Our goal with Glory was simply to worship louder and clearer than ever before,” de Partee says of the amped up and sometimes stripped down set. “We felt led to create original songs that could be sung on an acoustic guitar in a Bible study or in an arena with the masses shouting God’s praises.”
Much of that motivation for Kutless came from recently reading the book of Revelation together at church. The epic scenes of heavenly worship in scripture, where all creatures unanimously exalt God and bring glory to His name, don’t quite match today’s often plaintive, introverted worship.
“There’s such a joy in Revelation where it describes the voices of many angels and everyone in heaven and on earth worshiping the Lord,” says Mead. “We discussed the way that enthusiastic response to God’s presence is kind of how people react to rock music. As a band known for rock and worship music, this put a desire in us to write some really powerful, uplifting, victorious songs!”
With two gold albums and 12 No. 1 radio hits already charted—including “Strong Tower,” “What Faith Can Do,” and “Carry Me to the Cross”—that fresh challenge for Kutless to reach a new level of creativity writing music with heaven in mind would prove to be an exciting experience.
Indeed, the heart of worship beats strong from the start on Glory as the telltale anthem “Revelation” kicks in with gang vocals, crackling guitars, and lyrical passages that nod to the Bible’s vivid throne room imagery. “We Lift You Up,” “Rest,” and “Always” are other standout band compositions, pounding and racing with action movie soundtrack speed and ferocity that never distracts from the heartfelt main message. Enjoy keeping up: this is praise with an undeniable passion and pulse.
“We love worship. We love rock. Instead of separating the two styles, now we just do worship songs that rock,” Sumrall says with a laugh. “I’ve felt that need myself for more upbeat songs as a music leader at church. There aren’t a lot of selections that come out swinging. I hope this album provides energetic new song choices for other worship leaders and listeners alike. Everyone can sing along.”
Track for track, Glory confirms Kutless spent more time writing together than ever before, making a decided effort at the outset to construct simple, memorable melodies that would find power in the words they carry and the music surrounding them—a natural combination of worship and rock.