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In the name of God! - 75%

Thorgrim666, June 28th, 2012

I've never been fond of bands with an overt Christian message. In fact, for a long time it was a reason for me to dismiss someone's music, but years, aside from many grey hairs, have brought me a considerable dose of tolerance that has allowed me to appreciate the music of some great acts under the Christian flag (anyone know Trouble?).

Barren Cross was the typical '80s American metal band with the exception that, instead of raising a beer glass with one hand and grabbing some chick's tit with the other, they were bearing God's sword and the Holy Bible (morons!). However, leaving the spiritual debate apart, these guys were one of the few "white metal" bands that managed to sign with a non- necessarily Christian label as Enigma and is a good example of competent US heavy metal in the vein of Lizzy Borden, Armored Saint, and Malice with a special resemblance to the "godly" Iron Maiden, especially with the good impersonation of Bruce Dickinson done by frontman Mike Lee. In fact, this guy sounds so similar to Dickinson that sometimes you would even imagine that Bruce himself is also behind the mike here, although Lee lacks the distinctive elegance and varied range that Dickinson displayed in Iron Maiden's output during the '80s.

The competent production with a powerful and clean sound is nothing really spectacular though, courtesy of the laughably surnamed Elefante brothers (John was singer of Kansas and Mastedon was the producer of some Christian metal bands such as Guardian), and there's almost nothing else to remark about it. If you like solid '80s metal and you have no prejudices against stupid lyrics talking about God, abortion, heaven and the like, you'll find quite an enjoyable experience with Barren Cross' "Atomic Arena", but don't expect a total earthquake in your musical foundations.

Originally written for Ample Destruction 'zine.