The 10-song set released on Oct. 21 earned 9,000 equivalent album units with 7,000 in sales during the tracking week ending Oct. 27 according to Luminate.
On Top Christian Albums Always Only Jesus follows Inhale (Exhale) which entered at No. 3 in May 2021 with 11,000 units, granting the group with its 14th of 15 career top 10s.
Prior to Inhale, I Can Only Imagine: The Very Best of Mercy Me opened at No. 3 in March 2018 then hit No. 1 in its second week, dominating for 19 frames. That set included two versions of “I Can Only Imagine,” the 1999 original and 2018’s “I Can Only Imagine (The Movie Session).”
The LP was released in conjunction with the movie I Can Only Imagine which starred J. Michael Finley as MercyMe frontman Bart Millard with Dennis Quaid as his father. The film chronicled the story of the band from its inception in the mid 1990s.
MercyMe’s run of 12 leaders began in 2001 with its first entry Almost There which debuted at No. 12 prior to its nine-week reign beginning in August 2003.
With a dozen No. 1s on Top Christian Albums MercyMe has the most of all duos and groups with Passion second (nine); then Casting Crowns and Hillsong United are next with eight leaders each. Currently on tour, MercyMe’s next stop will be at Boston’s Wang Theatre on Nov. 4.
STRYPER’S ‘FINAL BATTLE’
Also on Top Christian Albums the iconic Christian hard rock outfit Stryper’s new LP The Final Battle rockets onto the tally at No. 3. It earned 7,000 units in its first week and 6,000 in sales.
Stryper first reached Top Christian Albums with The Yellow and Black Attack which debuted in November 1984 and reached No. 10 the following June, marking the foursome’s first of 12 top 10s.
Battle, which sports 11 songs, follows the group’s first No. 1, Even the Devil Believes, which started atop the ranking with 10,000 units in September 2020.
The California based Stryper is fronted by founding member Michael Sweet (lead vocals, guitar); his brother Robert Sweet (drums); Oz Fox (guitar, vocals); and Perry Richardson (bass, vocals).