diverse tribute will rock your world

Never Say Dinosaur: A Tribute to Petra (StarSong)
various artists

By Robert Gruber

For more than twenty years now, Petra has been Christian rock's top band. Various members have come and gone in that time, but Petra still rocks on, spreading the good news of Jesus Christ. They've withstood some criticism over the years for not always being the hippest show in town (one of the Fugees, whose missionary father made him listen to Petra while growing up, recently referred to the band in Rolling Stone as 'trash'), but despite the sometimes garish arrangements, the songs were always solid.

Never Say Dinosauris a cohesive collection of eleven Petra classics, redone by some of today's coolest new Christian acts, who dress up each song in their own way. The diversity of styles present, from straight-up metal (Galactic Cowboys) to punk (MXPX, Plank Eye) to pop/rock (Audio Adrenaline) is telling of just how wide-ranging Petra's reach has been over the years.

Jars of Clay pulls out a lavish take on "Rose Colored Stain Glass Windows" that has become a highlight of that band's live set lately. Sixpence None the Richer lend a similar moody treatment to "Road to Zion"; "Judas' Kiss" by the Walter Eugenes smacks of spaghetti westernism. Newcomer Sarah Jahn adds a techno-folkie twist to "Yahweh Love"; the Stand nicks licks from the "Friends" theme to punch up "Pied Piper." Grammatrain's grunge takes a prog-rock turn on "Wake Up," while Caprill Champion turns "The Coloring Song" into a Beatlefest. The most bizarre track is the industrial-tinged "Louie's Solo," by Passafist (with vocals by Kevin Smith of DC Talk). "Louie's Solo" is not an actual Petra song, but a new original, built from a live Petra sample.

Longtime fans of Petra will either love or hate these new takes on old favorites. For the uninitiated, Never Say Dinosaurwill rock your world with the Rock of Ages.

meditative, thoughtful, pensive