Sound — 10
I really, really love hair metal. I know a lot of people think it is just taboo, and that the big hair and the crazy dress was all just for show and that their was no substance to the music, because of the shallow texts and the fact that a lot of hair metal was just the same basic sound, so if you don't like hair metal, then don't even bother reading, because Whitecross, the best hair metal band you have never heard of, will make you so mad you will hate yourself. You have been warned. Anyway, Whitecross has just re-released their self-titled first album, now dubbed Nineteen Eighty Seven (1987, for the rest of the review), and it sounds so much better than ever. They added a sond called Love On The Line from the (you gessed it) Love On The Line EP, plus a new solo/song dubbed re:Animate, and three studio tracked jam sessions. that's a lot of money for your bite, but for thoes of you not familiar with Whitecross, let me give you a background. Formed in 86 by the guitar virtuoso Rex Carroll and singer Scotty Wenzel, Whitecross came into the then-stagnant Christian metal scene and caused a revolution. Band like Petra, Stryper, Bloodgood and others were still trying with some moderate sucess to bring Christian metal to the masses, but Whitecross came in and proved on their first record that Christian metal could not only equal the secular metal scene, but give it a run for it's money as far as technical playing goes. Like most hair metal bands, we must compair them to Van Halen, and in that respect, they stand very tall. The first track, Who Will You Follow, starts shredding just seconds into the song, and if you love solos, every song follows suit. Rex Carrol fills every single second he can with crazy solos and fills. In this remasterd package, it sounds even better than ever, plus he had time to add in more solos to the songs. The riffing on all the songs is spectacular, fun, and catcy. You will be singing and humming along immediately. It is all up beat and just laid back, a great CD to listen to when you are just hanging out. Enough Is Enough is a song that will be stuck in your head for days, and is a cool tight song. Everything is really above average hair metal untill track 8. Nagasake, witch everyone compares (rightly so) to Van Halens Eruption, is a minute and a half of pure guitar shredding. Rex was trying to make a point with this, though, he wanted to show his skill, and prove that just because a band was Christian, didn't mean that they had less talent. In my eyes, I think that comparing Nagasake to Eruption, Nagasake is the better of the two. So shoot me. Plus, on every Whitecross album after, Rex had an instrumental. So his was a trend. Anyway, after that we have Signs Of The End, then Love On The Line, witch is a great track to include with this CD. It fits and sounds really good, and has a good 4 minutes of soloing thruout the song. Then the song RE:Animate, witch is a cool solo/song that is a worth entry on this release. Rex proves his skills over and over, Scott sings very well even after all the years, and they actually have a drummer on this album, not a drum machine like on the original. So if you like shred metal that is all about the solos, then pick up this album. You will not be dissapointed.
Lyrics — 9
Scott Wenzle has really held up since 1987, he sounds almost dead on on this re-recording. In the vocal department, they sound a lot like Ratt, and everyone picks up on that quickly. Wenzles voice isn't whiney at all, it is raspy and sound cool. As for the lyrics, well, this is Christian metal from the time when Christian bands really said whatever they want and werent shy about sharing their faith. This leads to two groups of people, one who thinks the lyrics are cheezy and trite, and one group that respects their beliefs and thinks they fit. I am definitly in the latter group, and I find it encouraging that Whitecross didn't change anything, especially in a day when it isnt cool to share faith on stage. I think the cool, defiant lyrics fit the music, and if they do have a weak line or two, the shredding comes in right after it to reinforce the fact that this is a real metal band, not just a knock off. But if you have never listend to any Christian metal before, you have been warned. I like it, and this is a band to check out. Try to leave any pre-conceived notions at the door. This is a 9 in this department.
Overall Impression — 9
Again, if you have any taste for hair metal, then pick this up. Thoes who are into Stryper or Van Halen, and every band in between, Christian or No, you must check this out. Some people will call them a "rip-off band" because it shares a sound with Van Halen, Ratt, Whitesnake, and, oh yeah, every hair metal band had a close sound, so you really can't call this a rip off. The instrumentation is huge, big, and fast. Seriously, this is pure shredding. Sure, some of it is just speed for speed's sake, but if your like me, you like just hearing fast guitar. It all fits the songs though, so don't worry. Some of the best songs are "Who Will You Follow", "Enough Is Enough", "He Is The Rock", "No Way I'm Going Down", "Signs Of The End", and "Love On The Line", not to mention Nagasake. If you have the original, this re-recording is worth the money for real to pick up. It is that good. And if your a fan of shredding, hair metal, or anything like that, get this. It is a must own, and a good history lesson for anyone ever involved in Christian music. This band did so much I don't have time to print, so do some research, this is a fasinating band. Check out "Signs Of The End" and "Enough Is Enough" at purevolume.com/whitecross. If this CD were lost, I would buy it again in a heartbeat. If it were stolen, I would pray it would be found by a hair metal fan, and then buy another one. Check this out.