The cover of this album is as in-your-face as the first few songs; a hand holding a sword crashing through a pane of what is apparently glass with dark clouds on it (NOTE: The artist who created this picture, Ken Wetphal, tells me that the sword is actually breaking through the sky itself!). The hand is coming out of a flame. The word "PETRA" is at the top of the picture and "ON FIRE!" is at the bottom written in (what else) flame. The picture on the CD continues to the back cover. On the cassette cover the sword points a different direction, but the essential elements are still there.
I still remember when I heard the first two songs off this album that were released: "First Love" (the radio ballad) and "Mine Field". When I heard "First Love" (side one of the promo tape) I thought, "well, there's the radio ballad!" and when I heard "Mine Field" (side two) I thought, "WOOOOOOOOWWWWWW! THE ROCK BAND IS BACK!" This album is definitely more guitar-oriented than the two just before. An old CCM review of this album says that the first two songs are "possibly the most exciting eight minutes Petra has ever put to tape", and I would agree, and even include "Mine Field" (the next 4½ minutes) in that estimate. You can read Petra's own comments on the songs from the promo cassette liner above, but I'd like to quote you a little of "Mine Field": "Smell the burning powder, there's danger in the air; a voice from deep inside is telling you, `you must beware'; the enemy is watching every step you take, to find his opportunity in every choice you make. And it's no game when someone lives without His grace, and who's to blame when it blows up in their face? It's a mine fieldyou'd better follow Him through; God knows the way, you'd better stick like glue. It's a mine fieldyou'd better stay on His heels, 'cause the enemy kills and the enemy steals. So keep your head down and keep your eyes peeled, 'cause life is a mine field." This is a rockin' album without a doubt.
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What started it all!! This was my first Petra album... and the rest is history. I had gone to a video shoot here in Tulsa at the old Brady Theatre. I was about 11 years old at the time an had never been to a ROCK concert or anything (unless you count Sandi Patti):). So I did not know at all what to expect. My parents always had a liking to Old classic stuff... but were not really big on the BIG HAIR rock. Now you have to remember this was a video shoot... so it was the first time I heard most of the album and it was repeated over and over and over! I suppose that could have been why it has stuck with me ever since!!
The album as a whole is very neatly done and the song order was arranged well. The album is EXCITING! My favorite memory of listening to this album was the time that I fell asleep after a LOOONG day. I put on my trusty headphones and to sleep I went. I had the tape on continual play for some reason. I must have rolled over, turning the volume up, because I heard "FIRED UP" and about had a massive heart attack!! It kinda reminds of a scene in Back to the Future. It was too funny. Most of the songs on this album are aggressive rock. Lyrically this album is a 10 as far as I am concerned. The strongest songs lyrically and musically are "All Fired Up", "Mine Field", "Hit You Where You Live", "Counsel of the Holy" :), "Stand in the Gap"and "Homeless Few". The artwork on the album is very dramatic and really gives you a feel for what you can expect. Vocally, John's range and control on this album are top notch. Lots of great guitar licks that are catchy. Louie's big drum sound can be found on the fade in of "Hit You Where You Live". On the slower side the songs like "First Love" and "Open Book" are beautiful and add a perfect mix. If you like a BIG rock sound that gets you pumped this is your album. I rate this one 4 big ones!
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