JOHN SCHLITT – The Greater Cause (2012)
Nine years ago, Petra, the most famous Christian Melodic Hard Rock band, released what would be their final studio album with JOHN SCHLITT as the band’s lead vocalist.
While Petra has since reunited once again, Schlitt isn’t part of that grouping and has continued on his own solo. In 2008, John had released his first solo album in twelve years, titled The Grafting.
We didn’t have to wait nearly as long for John Schlitt to get back in the saddle as he has just released an new CD; “The Greater Cause”.
While his previous solo recording was a mellow affair, “The Greater Cause” is a return to the hard rock sounds of Schlitt’s ’90s own works and Petra. In fact, much of “The Greater Cause” feels like a new Petra CD.
Schlitt’s signature vocals soar on this new recording, while driving guitars and thundering drums create an explosive sonic atmosphere packed with punch and intensity.
For the songwriting, John has teamed with Dan Needham, who has worked on more than 40 Dove and Grammy Award-winning projects with the likes of Michael McDonald, Amy Grant and Chris Tomlin.
The lyrics aren’t specifically Christian oriented, delivering a message but not preaching at all. This is a rockin’ CD, and it’s focused on the music.
“Live It Loud” kicks things off raucously, with just a hint of modernism in the chorus counter-vocals, which come at you like staccato bullets.
“Take Me Home” plays out like a rock radio single with a huge riff and lead breaks, while “Love Won’t Leave Me Alone” is a groovy throwback arena rocker that is tough not to move to.
Follower “Love Won’t Leave Me Alone” has all the hard rock sound we’ve grown to love from Schlitt but he also throws in some bluesy guitar sounds here, and the song has a beat and rhythm that makes you wanna just move to the music.
“One of These Days” is delicious ear candy, a mid-tempo tune that evolves into a full-throttle rocker loaded with urgent energy and sharp hooks. “Faith & Freedom” feels like a nineties Petra, while in contrast, the midtempo and acoutic filled “End of Fear” delivers more contemporary sounds.
And then there is “Hope That Saves the World”, which is exactly the kind of song you hope to hear when picking up a John Schlitt album, an arena melodic hard rocker featuring a catchy start-stop rhythm, melodic guitar leads, and a soaring chorus. A winner.
The album begins to wind down with “Run,” a classic rock track with good harmonic vocals, followed by the acoustic ballad “The Gift” — a love song to John’s wife Dorla, and closes with “The Cross Remains,” a melodic rock ballad with some ’80s rock accents, especially noticeable on the vocal and guitar arrangements.
On “The Greater Cause” John Schlitt returns to the classic arena rock style that made him famous.
Schlitt’s vocals are still strong and powerful, performed & recorded to perfection. John can rock with fire but when needed he sings with delicate nuance to make any vocal coach proud.
Songwriting is really solid, without Biblically grounded lyrics, and musically varied in instrumentation with a soulful grit and rockin’ attitude.
The production caters to this strength, the engineering warm and organic and rightfully focused on Schlitt’s vocals. Same goes for the musicians hired to bring this album to life; all are competent and skilled.
“The Greater Cause” is a really good comeback for John Schlitt to the classic sounds of his solo & Petra nineties albums.
The man still rocks, and Rocks Good.
01 – Live It Loud
02 – Take Me Home
03 – Love Won’t Leave Me Alone
04 – One of These Days
05 – Faith & Freedom
06 – End of Fear
07 – Where I Want to Be
08 – Hope That Saves the World
09 – Run
10 – The Gift (Dorla’s Song)
11 – The Cross Remains
John Schlitt – Vocals
Jerry McPherson – Guitars
Andrew Ramsey – Guitars
Chris Rodriguez – Guitars
Gary Burnette – Guitars
Tony Lucido – Bass
Matt Campbell – Bass
Matt Pierson – Bass
Joeie Canaday – Bass
Tim Acres – Hammond B3 organ
Peter King – Keyboards, Synths
Dan Needham – Drums & Percussion, Keyboards
Matt Butler, John Catchings – Strings
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