BARREN CROSS – State Of Control +2 [Digitally Remastered 2020] *EXCLUSIVE*
As any artists who has turned out a career-defining work can tell you, watershed projects, for all of the accolades and opportunities they provide, often create unreasonable expectations for whatever happens to follow in their wake.
Such was certainly the case for the LA-based white metal quartet, BARREN CROSS, whose tour de force ‘Atomic Arena’ album did serious business on the mainstream hard rock airplay charts, spawned a heavily-rotated MTV video single, and eventually went on to be named one of the top 20 Christian metal albums of all time by the folks at Heaven’s Metal magazine.
To say that the record set an imposing high-water mark for the group’s next undertaking would be an understatement.
So ‘if ain’t broken, don’t fix it’, and Barren Cross next album 1989’s ”State Of Control” sounds almost exactly like its predecessor, just more ‘melodic’ according the year, with the Elefante bros providing that polished production sound. This fresh remastered version include two bonus tracks.
While some cuts like “Stage of Intensity” and “Inner War” still feature a metallic edge, pretty much of ”State Of Control” is populated by the same radio-friendly brand of lite metal that was bread and butter for acts like Warrant, Ratt and Motley Crue back in the day.
But, where the previous release was the product of a fresh-faced, slightly rough around the edges, group hungry to justify its standing amongst its mainstream peers, ”State Of Control” is the sound of a seasoned, well-oiled band, now comfortable in its own skin, turning out a polished, professionally-crafted set of songs.
Additionally, Barren Cross changed their looks here goin’ for jeans, boots, etc.
The change is obvious on the topical front as well. Where ‘Atomic Arena’ was divided roughly down the middle between hard-hitting social issues and strictly spiritual concerns, here the ratio is tweaked significantly.
The band still tackles weighty matters such as racism (“Bigotry Man”), alcohol abuse (the title track) or “Inner War,” which discusses the universal struggle with sin.
However many songs contain what could best be described as crossover material aimed squarely at mainstream radio, with topics ranging from romantic getaways (“Escape in the Night”) and the joys of married life (“Love at Full Volume”) to good love gone bad (“Cryin’ Over You”) and the inherent elation of the live concert experience (“The Stage of Intensity’).
The 2020 limited edition (1000 units) reissue remasters the original 1989 release and includes the bonus cuts “Your Love Gives” (which wasn’t available on the mainstream version of the album) and the Enigma Records version including “Escape in the Night” (which did not appear on the version distributed to Christian bookstores).
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01 – State of Control
02 – Out of Time
03 – Cryin’ Over You
04 – A Face In the Dark
05 – The Stage of Intensity
06 – Hard Lies
07 – Inner War
08 – Love at Full Volume
09 – Bigotry Man (Who are You)
10 – Two Thousand Years
11 – Your Love Gives (Benson Records release exclusive)
12 – Escape In the Night (Enigma Records release exclusive)
Mike Lee – lead vocals, acoustic guitar
Ray Parris – guitar, background vocals
Steve Whitaker – drums, background vocals
Jim LaVerde – bass, taurus synth pedals, background vocals
Dino Elefante – background vocals
John Elefante – keyboards, additional vocals