"To Know That You're Alive" (BEC Recordings; 2008)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

This album shows Kutless at their best when they turn their amps up and blast the Christian rock. This disc also catapulted them onto the Creation Festival Tour where they were the closing act. I got to see them in Tulsa, Oklahoma and we had them do a double encore. After the show they signed autographs and posed for pictures ... thanks, guys!

For those who follow Kutless, this is their fifth release and they just keep getting better. Their message stays the same but their music has become richer with more acoustics on the lighter tracks. The rockers are straight forward and when you need the heavier side of Kutless you'll have plenty to choose from. There are little guitar solos all over this disc, it's worth the listen to find them all.

Kutless has been creating great music for Christian radio since 2002 and there are no signs of stopping. Jon Micha Sumrall has a great voice and when he wants to sing his heart out he can, he also has the ability to power it up so you can sing along with him while your fist is raised in the air. The guitar is funky in parts on the songs that seem to be more creative. Some songs have piano and that brings the mood down to a more personal level. Kutless seems to change with each album, for this go around they put the rockers at the front end and ended out the disc with some slower tracks.

The tracks that will make you feel alive are: "The Feeling," "To Know That You're Alive," "The Disease & the Cure," "Overcoming Me," "I Do Not Belong," and "Loud."

For more information, check out http://www.kutless.com


"Hearts of the Innocent" (BEC Recordings; 2006)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

Since I have discovered a few Christian rock artists that I would recommend (and not just because of their message, but because of their musicianship), Kutless have risen to the top of my list. Having dived into all their releases, “Hearts Of The Innocent” is a stellar rock record. Kutless have a melodic approach to their music and their singer, Jon Micah Sumrall, has a smooth vocal delivery. The guitarist, James and Ryan blast riffs off like buzz saw experts.

This is record that you can put on and pull so much from. It's one of those releases that can put you in a reflective mood without causing any harm. Kutless yearn for an understanding of the world in which they live and what their place is among us all. There are a couple of piano driven tunes and since music can calm and direct our moods Kutless use these times to slow the pace.

Some songs will start and may sound like a sleeper but just then a gritty riff comes out of nowhere and changes your entire perspective. Each song has heart and soul and are all very well written. They rock enough for readers of Rough Edge and most should know that I require a guitar riff for each second of my day.

The best Kuts are, “Hearts Of The Innocent,” “Shut Me Out,” “Beyond The Surface,” “Somewhere In The Sky,” and “Million Dollar Man.”

Kutless: Jon Micah Sumrall, James Mead, Ryan Shrout, Jeff Gilbert, and Dave Luetrenhoelter.

For more information, check out http://www.kutless.com

"Sea of Faces" (BEC Recordings; 2004)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

Kutless write some of the best music to come out of the CCM genre. This release is a sing-a-long from start to finish. Each cut is polished so that you get everything possible out of it and that’s important when you take hold of Kutless. "Sea of Faces" is chockfull of the kind of hits that make musical careers shine. When you add a strong dose of humility to that mix, Kutless elevate themselves above what the secular crowd is use to. The guitar is my favorite part; it’s not predictable but does flow in the same vein as a hard rock record should.

The singer, Jon Micah Sumrall, has such a flawless vocal delivery that it’s comforting to listen to him sing. He soothes you into each song, except for a few, like “Let You In,” where a death metal voice emerges, but it's used to power the song. “Treason” has a harder edged vocal delivery. After a few listens you will be singing along because it’s inviting music.

The guitar commands its own time and really powers a few of the songs to step over the line of hard rock into heavy metal territory. While keeping their Christian message at the forefront, Kutless still use all their skills to power rock you. There are some acoustics added on a few songs but they are so richly done you really don’t even notice.

As mentioned before, some songs step into the heavy metal realm and they still sound comfortable when blasting those tunes alongside the more reflective ones. 

The best tracks are “Not What You See,” “Better For You,” “Let You In,” “Passion,” and “Its Like Me.”

Kutless: Jon Micah Sumrall, James Mead, Ryan Shrout, Jeff Gilbert, and Dave Luetrenhoelter.

For more information, check out http://www.kutless.com

"Kutless" (BEC Recordings; 2002)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

This is the first disc (of many) for Kutless. It's self-titled and introspective of their life to follow Jesus. They are Christian rock and on later pressings they would redefine that sound but this disc is a combination of Christian rock and grunge. It's got some great tunes and the singles that were released from this debut all hit number one on the Christian rock charts.

Kutless also has a nice mix of inspirational songs but they aren't hymns at all. They present their message with a solid sound and a hopeful message. Those who like rock will find something to identify with Kutless and those who need a rounded approach can find a song to keep on repeat.

Most of the music heard on this disc can be heard on their later releases but with a lot more guitar and vocal power. This disc is a great start to one of my favorite bands in Christian rock. Fans of Creed will find some similarities with Kutless.

Check out these tracks: "Your Touch," and "Run."

Kutless: Jon Micah Sumrall - lead vocals, rhythm guitar, piano; James Mead - guitar, backing vocals; Kyle Zeigler — bass guitar; Kyle Mitchell — drums; Ryan Shrout — guitar, backing vocals.

For more information, check out http://www.kutless.com.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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