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Audio Adrenaline
The Walter Eugenes
Galactic Cowboys
Sarah Jahn
Jars of Clay
Kevin Max and Passafist
Sixpence None the Richer
The Stand
Caprill and My Sister's Garden

Never Say Dinosaur - Click to view! NEVER SAY DINOSAUR (1996)
Twelve artists representing a cross section of Christian rock and alternative artists pay tribute to the longest-running band in Christian music, the innovative inspiration to much of the Christian market, Petra. I said "Christian" a lot there, didn't I? Well, their focus has often been on expanding the limited musical confines of the church, and for this, I'm thankful. Anyway, the real issue is how these other artists did covering Petra's stuff, much of which is a very loud, banging eighties rock, given the same treatment by Audio Adrenaline ("Taste and See"), Grammatrain ("Wake Up") and Galactic Cowboys ("Not of This World"). Several tracks are listenable repeatedly, for their remarkable musical ingenuity and deep, insightful lyrics. The Water Eugenes give us a glimpse at the agony of God over prodigal sons who won't come home, comparing their response to "Judas' Kiss." Now overwhelmingly popular band MxPx give a punk spin to "I Can Be Friends With You," whose message of relationship with Christ is told in a clever and original vein of both sound and lyric. Jars of Clay, in their period of change before Much Afraid, deliver a heartfelt Petra song about the religious rhetoric Christians use to close out the world in "Rose Colored Stained Glass Windows." Notable performances include Sixpence None the Richer, who state that "The Road to Zion," or way to God, is in your heart; The Stand, who lament Christian artists who are a "Pied Piper" only singing what is programmed; and PlankEye's "All the King's Horses" which tells of the Lord's second coming "putting this world back together again." There is not much not to like about Never Say Dinosaur, but suffice to say that the Larry Norman tribute One Way is just an all-around better buy. Besides offering a wealth of material for Christian rock radio, the tribute to Petra does little to make these excellent, age-old songs relevant for today's listener. The songs, however, will live forever, because of Petra's always-clever twists on life and faith, and the band's dynamic influence on generations of musicians.
- Josh M. Shepherd
May 1999
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