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Atomic Arena - Barren Cross

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Genre: Easy Listening / Artist: Barren Cross / Audio CD released 2004-01-19 at Restless

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      18.02.2008 02:21
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      Barren Cross' second album (1988).

      Barren Cross were one of the more prominent Christian metal bands of the eighties, in a futile attempt to provide a strong competing force to the ever more nefarious black metal bands emerging from Scandinavia at the time, as well as something for right-wing Christian parents to jump at the opportunity to buy in the hope that their impressionable children's souls will be spared. Especially if they were considering something dastardly like abortion, dealt with here in track two before the album returns to the band's usual praise of the Almighty.

      It would be unfair to jump on the Christian theme if the band wasn't so clearly all about flouting it, and to be honest it's pretty much the only reason anyone will remember them today. This album is enjoyable for fans of eighties metal, based in the Judas Priest style with impressive singing from Mike Lee that's been compared to Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson but really sounds more like Queensrÿche's Geoff Tate, and despite the irritating and partially unavoidable glam influence that affected most American metal bands of the time, it features some great heavy metal amidst the mediocrity and the downright rubbish of the compulsory power ballad 'Heaven or Nothing.'

      The old-style production values rob this album of some of its power which is a shame, but all the same it keeps it authentically and nostalgically eighties, and songs such as the hotly political 'Killers of the Unborn' and 'Dead Lock' rival Judas Priest's heavy material of that period, while 'Cultic Regimes' goes some way towards being considered thrash in its full-pelt riffs and screaming vocal performance. Guitarist Ray Parris hasn't left any kind of legacy, but he's good enough at his job here and serves up some reasonable solos that are sadly hidden by the production, while Steve Whitaker's drums are merely competent, especially considering the steady pace of songs like 'Terrorist Child' and 'King of Kings.'

      Only a couple go in for something creative and different, Jim LaVerde smartening up 'In the Eye of the Fire' with some bass work and the finale 'Living Dead' sounding more consciously epic with a melodic central section, but overall this is just another eighties metal album that will please some people and annoy purists. And that album cover's really bad.

      1. Imaginary Music
      2. Killers of the Unborn
      3. In the Eye of the Fire
      4. Terrorist Child
      5. Close to the Edge
      6. Dead Lock
      7. Cultic Regimes
      8. Heaven or Nothing
      9. King of Kings
      10. Living Dead

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    • Product Details

      Disc #1 Tracklisting
      1 Imaginary Music
      2 Killer of the Unborn
      3 In the Eye of the Fire
      4 Terrorist Child
      5 Close to the Edge
      6 Dead Lock
      7 Cultic Regimes
      8 Heaven or Nothing
      9 King of Kings
      10 Living Dead