After five years away, Audio Adrenaline is back - by popular demand and with a renewed mission. The faces may look a little different, but the heart and passion of this GRAMMY-winning band remains unchanged. Yes, that's Kevin Max of dcTalk and solo fame at the mic and founding member Will McGinniss on bass. The new lineup is rounded out by CCM vets Dave Ghazorian (Superchick), Jared Byers (Bleach), and singer-songwriter Jason Walker. Former front man and co-founder Mark Stuart remains very involved and contributed to many of the songs for the new album.
This talented group of like- minded musicians share a common goal: to be the voice for orphans in Haiti and around the world. Lead single, "Kings & Queens" is an orphan anthem that celebrates the transformation God can bring about. The album's remaining fresh rock tracks are just as powerful. The new Audio Adrenaline is creating music that will move you while making the world a better place for children in need. Thanks to the band, Know Hope and AA's label, Fair Trade Services, a portion of proceeds will diretly benefit the work of Hands & Feet Project.
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He Moves You Move
Kings & Queens
King Of The Comebacks
Change My Name
20:17 (Raise The Banner) (feat. Blanca from Group 1 Crew)
One of the Best Albums of 2013| Posted December 30, 2013
One of the worst kept secrets of late 2012/early 2013 was Kevin Max taking the helm of an Audio Adrenaline relaunch. With the same behind-the-scenes team that oversaw the successful transition of Kevin’s former band mate, Michael Tait, taking over for Newsboys, there was a collective “been-there, done-that” sigh from the Christian music fan base. Let’s face it, relaunching a band as iconic as Audio Adrenaline was a big enough mountain to climb. Putting one of Christian music’s most iconic voices on lead mic appeared crazy ambitious.
Then the debut single, “Kings & Queens,” came out, alongside a beautifully shot video that won VIDEO OF THE YEAR in last year’s We Love Christian Music Awards, and shut everyone up. All ears were perked, waiting to see if this was simply a brilliant fluke or overall brilliance in the making.
Thankfully, it was very much the latter.
Kings & Queens is the album that I’ve been waiting for Kevin Max to make since his debut solo effort in 2001 gave hints of his pop dominance in songs like “Existence” and “Angel With No Wings.” Kevin never stopped making music and kudos for him for paving his own way and direction, but he simply lost me in his deep and thick theology and creativity. I can’t fault an artist for making music they love, and not becoming a slave to the popular audience, but with a musical brand like Audio Adrenaline to now steer, the reflective poet and artistic flare would have to take a backseat (at least for the time being) and make way for radio friendly hooks and a more mainstream message that everyone can consume without too much brain power involved.
Many may say Kings & Queens breaks little ground musically and lyrically. I’m not going to disagree with that, and I don’t believe you need massive invention to write a hit song, but there’s unique power in Kevin’s voice that really rises this material to heights that not many others could reach (both literally and figuratively). There’s a reason that after twenty years, this guy can still turn heads. And he proves it by singing the notes off track after track. His vocals have never sounded more energized and current, and I believe it’s because this is Kevin’s sweet spot. His voice is so powerful, so unique, so controlled that it takes the right production and song to make it shine the way it should. And when that happens, game over!
From the opening track of “He Moves You Move,” to the U2 channeling of the Martin Smith penned “Fire Never Sleeps,” to the incredibly unique sound of “20:17 (Raise The Banner)” to the closing track (and one of my favorites), “The Answer,” Kings & Queens proves that at the end of the day, the music speaks and stands above and beyond a band's roster of musicians and vocalists.
T'was a bittersweet day back in 2006 when Christian music said goodbye to Audio Adrenaline after two decades. With lead vocalist Mark Stuart's ongoing vocal condition worsening and the remainder of band ready to pursue other ventures, they decided to go out in a blaze of glory and bid fans farewell with one final show in Hawaii. Little did they know at the time, God was already at work writing a second act for their story…
Skip ahead six years. Summer 2012 brought us the big news that Audio Adrenaline was reforming for a huge cause. Serving as voices for The Hands & Feet Project, an Haitian orphanage the group founded in 2004, the goal of their return was to raise awareness and provide care for the orphans of Haiti, currently totaling over 800,000. While fans rejoiced at that the band was back, what they didn't expect was the form in which they'd be returning.
Bassist Will McGinniss would be the only original member reprising his role, the other key roles being filled by guitarist Dave Ghazarian (Superchick), drummer Jared Byers (Bleach) and keyboardist Jason Walker (Know Hope Collective). Perhaps the biggest surprise however, was that the position of lead vocals was being filled by former 1/3 of dcTalk, Kevin Max. Following a period of disbelief, fans of both iconic bands began to warm up to the idea and envision the potential of the merger.
Whereas news of their reemergence came as a shock to fans, this had been quietly brewing for some time. A year in the making, both the band and the brains behind the new operation, including former frontman Mark Stuart, who is still involved with the group behind-the-scenes, had been hard at work in the studio crafting their return, 2013's much anticipated Kings & Queens.
To say expectations are high for this album would be obvious, and let's be honest, while there are a plethora of people rooting for these guys, there are a fair share of skeptics waiting to see it fail. Little do said naysayers realize however, that these ultimate "underdogs" have equipped themselves for what could be one of the great comebacks Christian music has ever seen.
"He Moves You Move" opens the project on a squeaky pop note. A surefire earworm, the song follows along the same bouncy lines as their classic, "Get Down," but manages to showcase the new line-up in a way that's completely their own. The moving first single, "Kings & Queens" follows next, and brings their personal mission of orphan care into the spotlight. A passionate rallying cry, it's impossible to hear the song without being reminded of our duty as Jesus' followers to extend His same selfless love to "the least of these" around the world.
"Believer" features the vocals of keyboardist Jason Walker on the chorus, and displays how well he and Kevin's voices work together. Powerfully worded, the message of believing no matter what life throws our way comes across strong, evident in the introspective lyric: "I want to live this live unsafe, unsure, but not afraid."
Arguably the standout cut is the quick-witted "King Of The Comebacks." The song plays on the band's return to the music scene, but offers the takeaway that our God is able to orchestrate loss into the ultimate victory. Paying homage to AA staples with lines such as "like an underdog story," and "a mighty good leader," fans will be thrilled to hear Mark Stuart making an appearance on the bridge, singing, "You can't stop the comeback." While his spot is minor for apparent vocal reasons, it brings the song full circle.
"Change My Name" is a grinding rock plea for God to change who we are and help us to live our lives for Him. Lead vocalist Kevin Max shares that it holds special meaning for him, as his personal journey is the foundation for the lyrics: "Everywhere I went people knew my name / written on my face were the scars of fame / I was known for the pride deep inside of me / but You knew the man I was born to be..."
The climactic "20:17 (Raise The Banner)," is based off the scripture 2 Chronicles 20:17, where God tells the Jerusalem inhabitants the battle against their enemies is His, not theirs, and to lay down their weapons down and allow their worship to claim the victory. Co-written by artist Dominic Balli, with Group 1 Crew making an appearance on background vocals, it stands as my personal favorite on the project.
Throwing a cover into the mix, "Fire Never Sleeps" is a rocked up version of a Martin Smith tune. Ironically, the song pulls musical cues from Delirious in the form of reckless praise in an unconventional surrounding. "Seeker" sounds like what you'd expect hear on an older AA record, yet still maintains its originality. A song about God being a Father to the fatherless, it once again tips the hat to their rekindled passion for Hands & Feet.
"I Climb The Mountain" possesses a lingering melody, and relates to everyone with its message of being a light for our faith: "Why am I so scared of conversations, am I so sure I'll turn you off? Maybe if you knew the whole story, you'd understand it all / Cause truth has a way of breaking through."
Ending a strong album on an equally strong note, the U2-sounding "The Answer" paints a picture of what the band's musical future could look like. With a darker alternative feel that still sounds radio-friendly, it might take some getting used to, but after a few listens, you'll soon find yourself moving along to the bass heavy groove.
I echo the thoughts of former vocalist Mark Stuart in my confident vote that Kings & Queens is possibly the best Audio Adrenaline record to date. On point in every aspect, there isn't a single weak song, each one holding immense potential to become a hit. While it varies in style and sound, the consistent theme of redemption throughout ties it together, making it album you'll want to listen to again and again. Older fans will be surprised to hear how much of the original sound has crossed over into this new formation, yet old and new listeners alike will enjoy the exciting melodic prospects being presented here.
Without missing a beat, Kevin, Will, Jared, Dave and Jason have breathed new life into a name that has and will continue to deliver a life changing message to people all over the world--from the kings and queens in Haiti, to the beat-up and broken-down in our own backyard. There is no doubt about it: Audio Adrenaline is back and here to stay. In the words of a classic, "That's the way, uh-huh, we like it."
More Like Plebians & Peasants| Posted August 21, 2015
After nearly a half-decade long hiatus, Audio Adrenaline came back in 2013 with Kings and Queens, albeit with a much-altered lineup. Featuring the vocal talents of Kevin Max (the other guy in dc Talk), Dave Ghazarian on guitar, Jared Byers on drums, and Jason Walker on the keys. The only original member remaining is Will McGuinness on the bass guitar. Kings & Queens (2013): 10 tracks, 37 minutes
So, I hope it’s not just my family that’s upset with the new direction Audio Adrenaline is headed in. The only songs that even sound at all like classic Audio A are “He Moves You Move,” “King of the Comebacks,” or “Change My Name.” They’re good songs, I’ll give them that, but if you’re going to call your band Audio Adrenaline, shouldn’t it sound like the original?
Maybe I’m being too hard on them. To be fair, at least half of the original band is still involved in the writing process. Mark Stuart still co-wrote some of the songs and Will McGuinness is still playing bass. However, I think the main reason Audio A made a comeback is because of the ministry they’re affiliated with currently. Named after their hit song, “Hands and Feet” from Underdog, The Hands and Feet Project helps Haitian orphans by offering child sponsorships and short-term mission trips to Haiti. In his own words, Stuart said, “When I lost my voice, I would have never imagined God increasing the platform of Audio Adrenaline. I would have never expected to be a voice for the Orphans of Haiti.” So, even though they don’t sound the same, they’re still doing some great work.
My favorite track on the record, “He Moves You Move” has some great lyrics about being in line with God’s will and “Believer” is along similar lines. “Kings & Queens” is essentially the soundtrack for their ministry (along with “Hands and Feet”). I like the references to a handful of their old songs in “King of the Comebacks,” in which they even feature vocals from Mark Stuart.
The only lyrical issue is that “Seeker” and “The Answer” both have a reference to God being “the Answer,” making it somewhat difficult to distinguish them.
Musically, the guitar work on “He Moves You Move” is fantastic, but it doesn’t really shine through anywhere else. “Kings & Queens” and “20:17 (Raise the Banner)” are good anthem songs, while “King of the Comebacks” and “Change My Name” get you pumped up. The last three tracks are barely distinguishable from each other.
So, while it’s not Audio Adrenaline in the strictest sense, at least this offshoot made a half-decent album. And at least they still have Mark Stuart and Will McGuinness around to hold down the fort. And you can’t argue with the good they’re doing in their ministry. Still, all that doesn’t make it a great album; maybe a good album, but not quite great. 6.5/10
Album Review: Kings & Queens by Audio Adrenaline| Posted July 30, 2014 Kings & Queens is the first album from the new Audio A with lead singer Kevin Max (From DC Talk)! its a good album for a come back band! I think that Kevin did a good job and it sounds good, too bad he already stepped down before they could make another album.
Audio Adrenaline "Kings & Queens" Review| Posted May 03, 2013
In 2007, one of the most famous bands in Christian music, Audio Adrenaline, split up due to lead vocalist Mark Stuart's worsening vocal problems. Most everybody believed that this was the end. But God had another plan. Last fall, Audio Adrenaline announced they were getting back together, but with a completely different line-up. Kevin Max was to take Mark Stuart's place as vocalist, as well as adding guitarist Dave Gharzarian (Superchic[k]), drummer Jared Byers (Bleach), keyboardist/vocalist Jason Walker (Know Hope Collective), as well as original Audio Adrenaline bassist Will McGuiness. They also announced that their comeback album, Kings & Queens, was to be released in March 2013. This album sees Audio Adrenaline taking a poppier sound, but still maintaining their traditional rock and roll sound.
The album opens with "He Moves You Move," a track musically similar to their breakthrough hit, "Big House." This is an extremely catchy song about moving with God when he tells us to move. Hit single "Kings & Queens" follows, and is a nice pop song. "Believer" is one of my favorite tracks off the album, with its powerful chorus, sung amazingly by Jason Walker, that states "I can push back the mountains/ Can stand on the waves/ I can see through the darkness/ I'll hold up a flame/ Take me to the ocean/ I wanna go deeper/ I'm not afraid, no/ I'm a believer." "King of the Comebacks" is my favorite song, with its extremely slick bassline, and very catchy melody. "Change My Name" is another great and catchy song that is a plea for God to change us.
"20:17 (Raise the Banner)" is a song that is just meant for radio. It's a very epic sounding song that has a great drum line. A cover of Martin Smith's "Fire Never Sleeps," which appears on his new solo album, follows. This song reminds alot of U2's musical style. "Seeker" is my least favorite song, not because it sounds bad, but because there's nothing extremely special in it. "I Climb The Mountain" has a nice palm muted guitar intro, and a very poppy chorus, which kind of weakens the song, but it's still very good. The album goes out with a bang with "The Answer," which sees Kevin Max doing some rapping, which sounds pretty good.
Overall, this album is FANTASTIC. I would highly reccomend old and new fans of Audio Adrenaline go buy this album! You won't regret it!
AudioAdrenaline: The value of a trademark | Posted April 03, 2013
By Daniel Ramírez
Ladies and gentlemen, to witness one of the greatest comebacks in Christian music. AudioAdrenaline is back on stage and under his arm bring one of the best products that have existed in the industry: Kings & Queens. I have heard hundreds of times and never tire hard to impress me and thank God for letting me live the generation marked by talent at this level.
Kings & Queens marks the return of AudioAdrenaline with implicit messages and double readings. For example: King Of The Comebacks, the most emblematic song disc, focusing on how it is God who has the final say in battle, He is the King of the comebacks: when it seems that all is lost He comes back stronger than ever. Well, but otherwise the song reads like "it (the AudioAdrenaline) is the king of the comebacks'. The song (and the whole album) makes references to the work of the old AudioAdrenaline quoting phrases like '... like an underdog story' and '... a mighty good leader', or in The Answer, which is heard '... I don´t need a Big House ', 'Big House!', the classic of classics, the referent of one of the best bands of the 90's. Also, for fans we do not feel offended, Mark Stuart's voice, original member and founder of that AudioAdrenaline is heard singing: '... you can’t stop the comeback'.
Another proof? What about Change My Name? On one hand the song speaks of the need for God to change our name, is a clear allusion to the great biblical characters whom God changed their name, but on the other hand is an implicit statement in which Kevin Max speaks to God: 'Everywhere I went people knew my name / written on my face Were the scars of fame / I was Known for the pride deep inside of me / but you knew the man I was born to be ... " He's talking about his past with dcTalk, the song takes on a different meaning. Double reading again.
The axis on which moves the album is the concept of victory. Again and again listening to Kevin Max singing about a battle, about the human condition, but always declaring that victory is from God. '20: 17 (Raise The Banner)' is a proof: 2 Chronicles 20:17 become song. 'Fire Never Sleeps' is another proof: 'So pull me from the ashes / ignite my soul'.
The sound of the second half of the album is spectacular, big sound that U2 did in the late 80's on albums like The Joshua Tree and October. Kings & Queens is a comprehensive album: soul, body and spirit are touched by this masterpiece. It’s not an iconic album, but it is an example of impeccable technical production.
AudioAdrenaline’s live sound is splendid. True, they have to work in some settings (mainly Kevin Max), but the assembly is almost perfect. (I heard them through the stream for the Easter Festival from Queensland, Australia. My comments about their live show are at my Twitter TimeLine).
But how is that a band can achieve that quality sound in such a short time? The answer lies in the central point I wish to address: AudioAdrenaline is a trademark. Mark Stuart's vision to revive AudioAdrenaline is to have a source of income to support Hands & Feet Project, Stuart took the name, the brand, and gave them life with old-school talents, something honest and fearless: investment in is financially strong, product quality is high, very high, the risks must be calculated.
This is not the original AudioAdrenaline. There is only one original member in the band! bassist Will McGuinness, the rest are veterans in CCM industry: Kevin Max, former dc Talk, guitarist Dave Ghazarian, from Superchick, Jared Byers on drums, founder of Relient K, and Jason Walker, who was a member of Know Hope Collective, on keyboards. Many years of experience out there when they stand on stage. Just a matter of time to perfect the assembly.
Of course, now with the return of Kevin Max believe what brand increased its value? Of course, dcTalk. The emotional value is very high now, the minds and hearts (and wallets) of us consumers are tied to the branding. Moreover, unlike AudioAdrenaline, none of us would agree that one of the three dcTalk be replaced by someone else.
Yes, it is a strange feeling to hear the classics of AudioAdrenaline with this band, perhaps eventually achieve move some memories of the collective memory, but until that happens, the AudioAdrenaline brand has been delivered to characters worthy of carrying it in their hands.
Also there is something imminent: if the King Of The Comebacks is with them, who are we to stop them?
About the author: Daniel Ramírez writes a weekly column about music, faith and pop culture in niveenverano.com. His mission is to bring great music to your attention.
Kings and Queens Audio Adrenaline Review| Posted March 11, 2013
I got my Album of " Kings & Queens" by Audio Adrenaline three to five days before when it supposed to release tmmrw. at the date of me writing this review. The only way you could get the album early is either by attending one of their most recent live concert where you could buy it at their show before release day or on their official site through one of the various pre-sale packages. Luckily I will be getting the exclusive " King of Combacks" video documentary soon via since I bought the top pre-sale package that included all the great bonuses with it.
“Kings & Queens” Audio Adrenaline Review:
1 1 He Moves You Move – A very upbeat song that says to leave behind all the mistakes we have made in the past and to move on. We are all afraid to take the next step in our faith when God shows us a different way to live. However, God was the one who is and always will be the author of our story in our life. It is wise to let the Holy Spirit himself influence us to move even if we think about the degree of ambiguity when going into the uncertain. We cannot therefore be two things at once, we cannot be moved if we drift back to our past and never forgive ourselves of our own sins and maybe even our own past which we might be ashamed of.
2 2 Kings & Queens – Audio Adrenaline’s lead single off this album. This is a song devoted to the children and orphans in Haiti. Sometimes we are so caught up in life where our only concern is how I will use my money wisely someday when I get a job and will I be happy with my job someday. This song promotes unity among believers to reach out to everyone even those forgotten and left behind by the world. Some of our world just discards those less fortunate “The least of these” because sometimes individuality consumes us and we so forget to love others like God wants us to. Sometimes loving those who are not necessarily well-liked, famous, wealthy or wide-known is one of the hardest things to do. I encourage us as a nation to love those who are lesser than ourselves and to give ourselves freely not only in our actions but also likewise with our ideas.
3 3 Believer – This is melodic and has a great beat. Kevin Max’s vocals soar to above the skies of Heaven. This song discusses the themes in the Bible where we have to kill our flesh to see through the darkness and to move from our ordinary duty in the world from our education and individuality into the divine service of God where we want to get out and explore a new light, a new horizon and receive a new life that honors God and gives thanks back to him daily and continuously. Finally, this song is the transition from darkness to light of the Christian believer in their faith.
4 r King of Comebacks - We all deserve a second chance through Jesus Christ and in him alone.
5Change My Name – This song is original and very creative. It lies within the concept of our changed identity when who we were in our past has passed away and when we have received new life and a new purpose. Thus many of us want to be renamed and only remembered by the things we do in our " New life" - the life commonly not pursued by our flesh but by the holy spirit and our new personality and desires God has given us.
620:17 (Raise the Banner) – This song is sweet and innocent. This song comes from 2 Chronicles 20:17 which says "You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid ; do not be discouraged. Go out to face tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you." ( NIV.) It also the most melodious and unique song by Kevin Max. His vocals guide the perfect sound for this. We have to raise our banner of love to everyone, stand up for what we want. We must fight the battle between the two forces of Light and Darkness as we have always known. We have to shine our light on others and be heard in this world.
7 7, Fire Never Sleeps – It begins with a hard guitar riff at the beginning and just sounds good.
8 8. Seeker – God seeks us out, he chooses each of us in his Kingdom for a special purpose. Even though people will deny it, God is the only thing that suffices in our life to provide us comfort. God is the one who finds all of us lost and scattered among the nations.
99. I Climb the Mountain – Why do we hold God and keep him to ourselves? Why would we hide and constantly promise him that we will take actions and care for the other of billions of people in this world? We must come to the Lord because we sometimes don’t want to tell others about Christ because we think they might call us Jesus freaks or think lesser of us or even some of our friends might think of us as outcasts in public if we share God and talk about Jesus. That is only if we are unevenly yoked which we are in society. We will come across those who believe in the one true God and others who don’t and then those who claim they are believers but are false teachers. God says be careful of those that look like prophets and look the same but whose hearts are very different from our own.
1The Answer – A quite and solemn tune to end the album out , then some harder guitar riffs begin. This discusses the themes of abandoning our concerns with our jobs , riches , how are friends think of us and a change of our self-perceptions regarding the world and actions that the rest of the world might call morally good. All we are missing to fill the void of our hearts is our Lord and savior Jesus. In the other part of the track , the backup vocals sound more like the Newsboys.
Overall: I will admit I had my biases about this group since their past lead singer lost his voice. If you love the upbeat Newsboys with Michael Tait’s rhythm and the album “Born Again” Miracles Edition then you will love this. You will also love this album if you love Christian Alternative Rock, Christian Rock , Christian Pop and Kevin Max, Tait , and DC Talk. Each song is poignant with Kevin Max’s lyrics breaking the boundaries in Christian music and soaring above Heaven to create a truly inspirational album and CD with his divine voice and rhythm that reinforces the themes of Unity , a tribute to the orphans in Haiti and a thanksgiving in all circumstances to the Lord. The new Audio Adrenaline is a voice for our nation and a voice to bring communication and love to others no matter if someone is from Haiti , Europe , Russia , Ireland , The United Kingdom or the United States and anyone else in the world. We are all in this fight to defeat the darkness and then after that to serve our Lord in ordained and divine service by spending all our time around people and in God’s word while still making time to do our jobs in this world , strengthen relationships; communication in the church and to reach out to help unselfishly with those lesser than us so we can live as human beings in this world despite all the darkness that consumes it and drifts people away from their particular service God has assigned to them.
Favorite Songs & Explanations:
1.20:17 (Raise the Banner) – This song is my favorite on the album because it shows our love we need for people and for us to shine our light on this world despite what perceptions and stereotypes people hold against us. I imagine us pulling through the banner of a finish line once we are consumed within God’s love because our victory is already promised by God. Our faith along with our obedience to uphold God’s divinity for all willing to listen and to those who accept him experience it. Will you be the one to win the race or will you be one of those that get left behind and cannot see the light because the gates of your own transgressions withhold you?
2.Fire Never Sleeps – A beautiful song with incredible guitar riffs. I love it because of Kevin Max’s vocals. The fire is our past and darkness that leaves us broken as individuals. God will deliver us from our ruin and give us new desires to be able to serve him. On the other hand, God’s love is representative as fire to because it consumes us. Thus, it represents an ignition in the heart that ignites us to want God’s qualities that he gives freely. It relates the most to me so I enjoy it the most.
3.Kings and Queens – I love because they open up to share the stories of those orphans in Haiti.
4.The Answer – The sounds remind me of those children who are struggling out of the United States. Also, the second most inspirational song and related song to me because I don’t need riches, comfort in friends nor comfort in material goods to be happy. All I need is to honor God and carry out my purpose extending to love for my friends and family.
5.He Moves You Move
Divine & Pure – 10/10
Band’s Rebirth – 10/10
Nostalgia – 10/10
Sound- 11/10 – I give Kevin Max bonus points for his great vocals that God has blessed him with.
Message – 10/10
Replayability Ratio : 100/100
**** End Note**** Go buy this album as soon as you can to support a great cause where all profits go towards the " Hands and Feet" foundation to help build better homes and facilities for the orphans that lie within the areas in Haiti. Also ignite yourself with the great return of this awesome 1990's Band that could possibly have made just now the single largest comeback in the Christian music industry.