Whitecross - Nineteen Eighty Seven

Wow, now this brings back memories!  I remember back in the day when I first bought Whitecross' first self-titled album.  My best friend and I used to go down to the local basketball court with our boom box and we would crank the sound all the way to 10 and play for hours.  Of course, we got some strange looks, but we didn't care. 

Anyways...fast forward to 2006.  Whitecross broke up years ago after a nice, long career that actually saw them finish in somewhat of a tailspin in comparison to how they started.  They once were one of the main bands in the "Christian" metal scene.  Their catchy brand of Skid Row-influenced commercial metal won numerous, long term and loyal fans.  However, the years passed, members changed, and they gave in to more commercial hard rock sounds in an attempt to be more "modern", only to see that blow up in their face so to speak.  At least that's my take on things.  The members probably would vehemently disagree, but as a fan, I think they tried to fix something that wasn't broken.

Oh well, all opinions aside.  Scott Wenzel and Rex Carroll got back together recently and started messing around.  What has resulted is this totally re-recorded version of their debut album...now titled Nineteen Eighty Seven.  The guys weren't satisfied with how this turned out the first time and so they've given it another shot.  They even added two bonus tracks..."Love on the Line" (which was on a rare EP that they released), and a never before released Carroll instrumental called "Re-Animate."  Plus they left off the sappy ballad "You're Mine", which didn't disappoint me a bit.

So...was it worth all the time and effort to put this disc out, almost 20 years after it's initial release?  I'd say a resounding "Yes".  After listening to this numerous time, I'd definitely have to say that I enjoy this version even better than the original.  The production is better, the songs sound like they have new life to them...and amazingly, they've managed to lose some of the dated feel without making it sound too modern, all the while keeping the original feel of the songs intact.  I guess the biggest downer would be that Wenzel's vocals sound "older" and rougher.  The thing is, while this detracts a few times during the album, I actually like this change better cause it removes some of the whininess that his vocals had in the past.

While lyrics were not included in the CD booklet, they include a long write-up by Rex Carroll that is real and down to earth as it explains some of the band's past.  They also include tons of old photos, including one with Pastor Bob with a bigger mop than I ever remember him having.  I literally had myself a laughing fit when I saw it.  (Sorry if you read this Bob...but it is funny.  You oughta see my hair from the '80's too...hahahaha!!).

Anyways...kudos to the guys from Whitecross for making the effort to pull off this re-recording which has resulted in something that Whitecross fans can get excited about after all these years.

Rating: 87/100

Review By: Matt Morrow

Label: Girder Records

Total Songs: 15

Total Time: 52:32

Tracklisting: 1. Who Will You Follow, 2. Enough is Enough, 3. He is the Rock, 4. Lookin' for a Reason, 5. No Way I'm Goin' Down, 6. Seein' is Believin', 7. All I Need, 8. Nagasake, 9. Signs of the End, 10. Love on the Line, 11. Re-Animate, 12. Enough is Enough (Outtake), 13. No Way I'm Goin' Down (Outtake), 14. Love on the Line (Outtake), 15. Scotty Outtake.

Best Songs: Tracks 3, 4, 5, and 10.

Band Lineup: Scott Wenzel - Vocals, Michael Feighan - Drums, Rex Carroll - Guitar/Bass, Antonio Acevedo - Bass

Band Website: http://www.whitecrossmusic.com