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Posted June 15, 2016
By PhillFeltham_NRT, Staff Reviewer

Many rock bands have traded their heavy guitars for catchy dance beats. However, the Union of Sinners and Saints-- a hybrid of classic rock bands Petra and Whiteheart-- defies this trend. The Union of Sinners and Saints's lineup includes Schlitt, Smiley, Anthony Sallee (Whiteheart) on bass, John Ellis (lead singer from Tree63) on guitar and vocals and new artist Jason Fowler also on guitar and vocals. Combined, the supergroup delivers a quality rock album that is easy on the ears.

On their eponymously-titled album, the newly formed band gives a clever rendition of John Wesley's classic hymn "Christ the Lord is Risen Today." The song also serves as the band's first single. It takes talent to deliver a rendition of a cover song that surpasses the original. Many artists and bands butcher the pieces they cover, but the Union does Wesley's hymn justice.

Most of the songs are originals, however, this new album also contains updated versions of Whiteheart's "Independence Day," the band's second single, and Petra's "Beyond Belief." These new versions are comparable, if not better, than the originals. For power ballad fans, "The Offering" and "The Call" do not disappoint. Lyrically, "The Offering" takes the award for most inspirational song. Petra's John Schlitt sings, "So take me, use me, mold me and make me into the one I should be / Teach me, show me, lovingly change me into the one I can be / This is my offering." Power ballads like this one will never go out of style.

The empowering message of praising God and seeking him in difficult times is consistent on the album-- except for "Old Guys Rule." The lyrics are over-the-top, but the gritty guitar arrangements in the song are impressive. In fact, the guitar work on almost every track is extraordinary, even on filler songs like "Lone Soldier." There isn't a lot of blandness on this album. 

The Bottom Line: Together, the Union of Sinners and Saints deliver a refreshing masterpiece that pays homage to good old-fashioned rock n'roll. Schlitt says, "The album [incorporates] the kind of artistry and ministry that will remind [listeners] of the early years of Christian Rock, but also usher in a new energy and excitement." That it does, John. That it does.
Songs to Download Now: 
"The Offering" (Get it on iTunes here.)

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