Hearts of the Innocent
A slate of thought-provoking lyrics and hearty neo-grunge riffs powered Kutless' fourth studio album to stand out above a host of other melodic rock/metal offerings in the contemporary Christian world. It is a balanced and complete record, one that doesn't sound too familiar, worship too directly, or rock too hard. The quintet still spends plenty of time thumping on monolithic guitars, but there is also a well-developed balance point where mid-tempo numbers like "Changing World" take their turn in the limelight. As on previous efforts, the lyrics put social consequences, relationships, and world situations under a microscope and reveal new, intriguing insights. Jon Micah Sumrall has one of the most soothing rock voices out there, as evidenced in the reflective power ballads "Smile" and "Promise of a Lifetime." Unlike too many of its contemporaries, Hearts of the Innocent proved what you don't need for a killer modern rock record — no need for over-the-top political statements or pounding walls of sound that are unfitting for the subject matter. All you need is a knack for looking at the world in a challenging new way and a keen sense of musicianship.