Review:: To Know That You’re Alive – Kutless

KutlessBy Amy Sondova It’s not every band that can mix worship anthems and alternative rock songs with a screamo edge; but every band isn’t Kutless. Within 24 hours of releasing To Know That You’re Alive, the album was already #15 in iTunes top-selling albums. Featuring a blend of songs on both acoustic and electric guitars, Kutless has found combination that works.

The album’s title track “To Know That You’re Alive” has an urgent and dramatic feeling as lead singer Jon Micah Sumrall sings, “Right now you’re bruised and bleeding/ I see the hurt within your eyes/ I know your pain is for a reason/ You need to feel just to know that you’re alive.” The timely song speaks volumes into the lives of a culture saturated with self-injury and self-hatred.

“Dying to Become” follows a similar vein using an eerie piano/rhymn-heavy intro. The song builds musically to heighten emotion, and is laden with lyrics that scream of repentance for “disrespecting” God, “We draw the lines and we cross them, too/We don’t know what we’ve done/But it’s what we do/Dying to become more like You.” Other songs follow also have gut-wrenching messages of the pain humans experience on planet earth as we are isolated from God and one another, especially “I Do Not Belong.”

Sumrall’s songwriting reaches new heights with “Promise You” a song that addresses walking away from an abusive situation. Strong images (“tears wash the blood off my face”), strength in the impossible (“God will help me find a way”), and words of forgiveness (“Forgiveness can’t take the scars away/ But I forgive you anyway) tell a full story without over-simplifying the injustice of domestic violence.

However, To Know That You’re Alive not only seeks to address the broken and bleeding. It also guides listeners into worship with songs like “Complete”, “You,” and “Guiding Me Home”. Encompassing so many different styles into one album keeps listeners interested in the music. To Know You’re Alive also shows that Kutless is a band that can’t be boxed into one genre, but showcases its talent by keeping the music diverse.

To learn more about Kutless, visit the band online at or

Print copy of review.

0 thoughts on “Review:: To Know That You’re Alive – Kutless

  1. hands down, the best TKTYA review i’ve seen thus far. great job, amy. 🙂

    just wish there were more rock tracks and they would done a little more with a few of the songs. i still give this album a 4/5 though. hope they bring the rock/metal back with the next album.

    god bless.

  2. Thanks, DG! I was wondering that the rock/metal fans thought of the album actually. I thought some of the “softer” sounds might have been a little unnerving for y’all.

    I appreciate their heart for worship, but it’s really not my thing. My fave song on the album is the title track, but I like the edgier stuff better, too (which is why I talk more about it).

    However, I like that overall the band is trying different things in different “genres”. It’s a risky move for sure, but one I really respect.

    And I sent Kutless “Take 5” questions re: TKTYA, so check back for that!

  3. my fav song on the cd is tktya too, amy.

    as for the softer songs, i love guiding me home, the radio version of complete, and i do not belong the most. it’s a shame that i can only truly feel the spirit through the soft songs….it seems like they took a ‘worldly’ approach to this album and god took a backseat in most of the songs. i dunno, maybe it’s just me.

    sea of faces still remains my fav album from them to date, but i gotta feeling that if they continue in this vain and bring back the rock/metal like i know they can for their next cd, that one will unseat it.

    try as i might i just can’t get into the studio version of complete, overcoming me, loud, or you. i wish they would have done more with most of the songs, but those are the songs that i really have a hard time with for some reason.

    still my second fav album though so that’s not bad. 🙂


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