All words by Bob Hartman except "Heart of a Hero", words by Brian Wooten.
Music by Bob Hartman unless indicated inside brackets  as follows:
JC Jim Cooper
BW Brian Wooten
JE John Elefante
AD Andy Denton
RC Ronny Cates
DE Dino Elefante
This list appears over the picture of the band:
John Schlitt - Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals
David J. Lichens - Lead Guitar, Vocals
Ronny Cates - Bass Guitar, Vocals
Jim Cooper - Keyboards, Vocals
Louie Weaver - Drums
This list appears elsewhere in the liner notes:
All Guitars: Bob Hartman
Background Vocals: John Schlitt, Jim Cooper, Ronny Cates, Chris Rodriguez, Micah Wilshire
Additional Keyboards: John Elefante
Strings: The Nashville String Machine Conducted by Tom Howard
String Arrangements: Tom Howard, John Elefante
P.J. Marx: Guitar Technician
(assumedly the list on the picture is the touring group and the other list is the recording musicians...?)
produced by John and Dino Elefante
art direction: Chuck Nelson/Lyndie Wenner, Team Design
design: Christ Ferrara, Team Design
photography: Ben Pearson
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This album is green. There's not to much else to say about it... it's a green picture of the band. From left to right: Louie looking like he's thinking about something else, Jim Cooper looking oh-so-cool-and-detached, Ronny looking like his dog just got hit by a car, David Lichens looking like he's having a bad hair day and isn't too happy about it, and John looking like he's the only one who cares about photo shoots at all. Actually John looks like he's trying to not look annoyed. But don't worry... there's another picture on the inside where everyone looks like they're having fun. See, being in a band isn't so bad, after all! Oh, and if you haven't figured out that pattern of green spots inside the cover yet, I suggest you stare at it for a while. I know, I know, it says "Petra" and "No Doubt" in blue letters... keep staring.
You have no idea how disappointed I was when I saw that the brothers Elefante produced this album. I was so enthused at the job Brown Bannister did on Wake-Up Call that I was hoping for even bigger and better things this time, not more of the growling plodding dinosaur-rock from the Elefante albums. (The Elefante Petra albums, the Elefante Mastedon albums, the Elefante Kansas albums...) But I am happy to say that this album isn't yet another rehash of the same sound from the five or six albums before Wake-Up Call. That is partially due, I suspect, to the fact that Bob Hartman is no longer playing with the band (he's writing fast and furious, though)... the particular types of sounds a guitar player favors do a lot to the overall sound of a rock and roll band. (NOTE: the rather suspicious double credits listed above seem to indicate that Bob kept all of the guitar playing on the album to himself anyway, so maybe my point is moot.) Encouraging to me was the fact that they do have some mighty hot songs on this album; discouraging to me were the fact that the ballads sound just like the ballads on Unseen Power and Beyond Belief and on and on... they just don't sound fresh. Oddly enough, I realized listening to this disc why I liked the drums on Wake-Up Call so much... it's because you could HEAR them. Louie Weaver is such an excellent drummer, it's too bad that the Elefantes mix him so low that you often can't hear the subtle touches he adds to the music. When all you hear is a little "kick snare hi-hat hi-hat kick snare hi-hat hi-hat" waaaay in the background, you're not really getting the whole performance.
In spite of my misgivings about the mixdown and the arrangement of some of the songs, I have to say that there are some smokin' tunes and some terrific hooks on this album. Excepting the fact that Bob Hartman seems to have developed an obsession of writing toward the rhyme lately (it's hard to explain, but it boils down to writing sentences that you would never speak out loud, simply to get a rhyme in. A line like "He said, `Your God is dead and your nation soon destroyed'", for example, to rhyme with "...a brave young shepherd boy"), I still like a lot of the lyrics on this album. "Think Twice", for example, is a catchy song about how the Holy Spirit lets you know when you're getting a little too close to sin: "Hey, did you ever think twice/Something inside says stay away/Hey, did you ever think twice/When there's still time you can go the other way." "Enter In" and "Heart of a Hero" are the two songs that refer most directly to the scriptures, which is a good thing for people who are people who understand the background of the songs ("Enter In" I is about the redemption Jesus provided on the Cross, and "Heart of a Hero" mentions both David when he was facing Goliath, and the three Hebrews who would not bow to the Babylonian idol and were thrown into the furnace) but might not mean anything to someone who didn't know the Bible basis for the songs. Which is OK, because most people who own a Petra album are probably going to be Christians themselves, or have someone close to them who gave them the album and who can explain those things.
There seem to be two themes that run through this album: hanging on to your faith in Jesus in spite of obstacles and uncertainties, and dedicating your heart to Him. The first half are mainly of the former variety, and the second half lean toward the latter. The songs that really caught my attention for lyrical content were "Think wice", "Right Place" (about trusting Jesus when there's no visible reason to do so), "Two Are Better Than One" (about how friends who are brothers or sisters in Christ can help each other along... a theme I can't remember ever hearing in a song before, so maybe it's about time!), "Think On These Things" ("Whatever things are pure and true/(I want to)/Think on these things") and "For All You're Worth" (about the worth that God places on each human life... worth the sacrifice of His Son). In fact, it's doubly interesting that I liked "For All You're Worth", considering how unimpressed I was with the sound of the ballads on this album. It struck me as the kind of song that could conceivably prevent someone from attempting suicide... it expresses the value of human life in a world that now seems to feel that human life is valuable only as long as it is not inconvenient (an unexpected child, an unwanted older person, someone who needs expensive medical care to survive).
When I heard this album for the first time, it struck me as a good transitional album. Two new band members really impact a group's sound, and this is the first effort for newly reconstructed Petra. The material is good and the musicianship is good, but there's just a little something missing... that little dash of spice that would push it over the top and make it a really terrific album. My thinking is that the weak link is more in mixdown than anything else, but to be on the nice side and not point fingers, we'll chalk it up to breaking in the new guys. That way we can look at this as a pretty good album, and have a lot of hope for REALLY great things in the future!
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