Angst-filled vocals and riff-heavy rhythms provide a sure-fire formula for success in today’s modern rock environment.   The latest Christian outfit to employ this hard-hitting recipe is Portland-based Kutless.

 

While much of this fivesome’s debut replicates the sound of Nickelback and Puddle of Mudd, Kutless manages to distinguish itself with a soulful intensity seldom offered by similar artists.   Standout cuts “Again” and “Dry” reveal front man Jon-Micah Sumrall’s sturdy vocal aplomb as well as the dissonance-soaked output of guitarists James Mead and Ryan Shrout.   Bullish tunes “Vow” and “Down” spotlight the furious pounding of drummer Kyle Mitchell and the fluid bass vibes of the band member simply known as Stu.   Also exemplary is album closer “Grace and Love,” a compelling power ballad that clearly conveys Christ’s heart for His children.

 

With forthright lyrics and relevant themes addressing everything from spiritual rededication to conquering pride, Kutless unleashes a razor-sharp debut well worth getting excited about.