Album Review: Kutless – Glory

by Sam Robinson

Glory is the eighth – yes, eighth – studio album for Kutless. The band from Portland, Oregon has created a marvellous album with the gospel right at the centre. Praise God that despite having been together as a band for fifteen years, Kutless haven’t chosen to water down the message they proclaim: that Jesus is Lord of all.

I’ve no doubt that the band’s two-million-plus album sales are due to the fact that they proclaim the gospel faithfully through their music. As usual, Kutless’ music cleverly and creatively blurs the line between worship/congregational and Christian rock.

Plenty of the songs contain rich opportunities for singing along, which means that you’ll probably be cranking this record in your car in the next few weeks and singing praise to Jesus at the top of your lungs in traffic. This is a good thing; just make sure your windows are down so you can proclaim the gospel to those around you. Kutless encourage us to be loud about God’s glory in Jesus.

The album opens with Revelation, a joyous song containing imagery from the book of Revelation, as every nation gathers around the throne, and Jesus wipes every tear away. The song rejoices in Jesus’ Lordship and is an upbeat, fitting open to the album. Lead single You Alone shouts the truth that Jesus is Lord of all and is the only way to God. In a world that questions Jesus’ claim to be the only way to the Father, it’s a wonderful affirmation by the band.

Never Too Late slows down the pace of the album a little. It’s a reminder that it’s never too late to accept God’s grace, and there’s no sin that can’t be paid for on the cross. To me this song mirrors the criminal on the cross next to Jesus in Luke 23:42 who chooses to give his life to Jesus in his dying moments.

We Lift You Up is a surprise heavier, rockier track. It declares: ‘Every knee will bow before your throne / Every tongue will confess that you are Lord’. We Will Worship might well become a church staple. It sings of choosing to worship Jesus with our whole lives, in the good and the bad.

A real highlight is Restore Me. It speaks of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and that as he rose from the grave, he brings us out of darkness and into life. It reminds me of the great part of Scripture we find in Colossians 1:13 – He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves.

Kutless save one of the best songs on Glory until last. In The City is a reminder that every city needs to be transformed by Jesus. I love that this song ends the record, and isn’t content to finish without a real challenge. We are God’s workers in our city, and we are called to proclaim the gospel to all in it. If this is the note Kutless leave us with until album number nine, it’s certainly a challenge to keep us going until then.

I recently spoke with Kutless’ lead singer Jon Micah Sumrall at length about the album. Here’s what he said about what the big idea of Glory is:

“…As a template one of the things we did… Our church teaches exegetical Bible teaching which means they start in Genesis and go all the way through to Revelation. Chapter by chapter, verse by verse, straight through the Bible. So while we were writing our record, our church Bible study was in the book of Revelation. We came across Revelation 4, where four and twenty elders come before the throne of God and they cast their crowns before the throne and they say ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty who was and is and is to come’. As we read that passage we kinda talked about it, and were looking at it and thought – man, I bet you that is going to be one epic worship service. [Laughs]. All these guys are standing around the throne of God, looking at him, and basically all they can say is just – wow! Holy! Holy! Holy!

And so we thought that would be the most epic rockin’ worship service ever. So we kind of used that as a mental image to go – I wonder what that would sound like? I wonder what it would be like to be there in the midst of that? So that first track, Revelation, came out of that a little bit, just us using our imagination going ‘I wonder what that might sound like?’ We tried to create a song that in our imagination fit into that environment and we used that theme throughout [the album]. Dwelling on what would it be like to be in the physical presence of God, in heaven, seeing him face to face. What are the things we’re going to focus on and be inspired by? And how do we respond to that? So I guess that kind of gives a little bit of a template and foundation for the record, and, references why the title is Glory.”

This is a brilliant album from Kutless. Despite being their eighth, they’re still making incredible music that centres on the Lordship of Jesus. I’m giving Glory by Kutless four out of five stars.

You can read my full interview with Jon Micah Sumrall from Kutless here.

Glory by Kutless will be released this Tuesday 11th February. You can pre-order it now on iTunes.

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