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JFH Music Review

Nineteen Eighty Seven

Artist Info: Discography
Album length: 15 tracks: 52 Minutes, 40 Seconds
Street Date: 2005

In 1986, lead guitar player Rex Carroll united with vocalist Scott Wenzel to create what would be one of the most talked about Christian metal bands for years to come, Whitecross. The following year, Whitecross released their self-titled debut on Pure Metal Records. At the time of its release, Stryper and Petra were considered the two leading Christian rock bands of the 1980s. Sure there were other acts such as Saint, Bloodgood, and Resurrection Band, but none could even come close to the success of Stryper or Petra. Whitecross' self-titled debut offered a much heavier and much better sound that changed the way Christians viewed heavy metal. Often times, they were compared to the secular heavy metal band called RATT. Times have changed and the original lineup of Whitecross have never released an album of new material or even performed a concert since 1998. However, 2005 would mark the return of both Rex, Scott, and longtime drummer Michael Feighan to re-record their debut album under the new title, Nineteen Eighty Seven.

Any longtime Whitecross fan who owns the original 1987 recording, knows that the album was produced and recorded under a very small budget. Several mistakes were made on each of the songs and the record itself desperately needed to be re-recorded. The ending result of the re-recording is absolutely beautiful and outstanding. The first two songs, "Who Will You Follow" and "Enough Is Enough," have not changed much, but the songs are more fleshed out and you can tell Rex Carroll spent more time working on the guitar solos and Scott worked on making his vocals sound very clean. The song lyrics have not changed and there was no reason to do so. The words to "Who Will You Follow" are as amazing today as they were over 20 years ago, "Who will you follow, Satan or the Author of Life, Jesus paid the price, God made the sacrifice for you."

"He Is The Rock" is by far one of the best rock anthems I have heard that can also be interpreted as a worship song, "There is a way that seems right to a man that many have traveled before, you must choose between the darkness of Hell, or find light through the narrow door, He is the Rock, He is the Rock on which I stand." Another highlight would be the guitar solo track by Rex Carroll called "Nagasake." He tears it up and and shows us just how great of a guitar player he really is. The album ends with a re-recording of "Love On The Line." which was only released on an EP from the band in 1988, and a new guitar instrumental called "Re: Animate." Both songs could have ended the album on a high note, but Whitecross also included 4 bonus tracks of outtakes that were made while re-recording the album. The outtakes do not add much and I feel they could have been left out for this release. A great part of this release is that the CD booklet comes with several rare photos of Whitecross that were taken over the years and a letter from vocalist Scott Wenzel on the history of being with Whitecross. However, it would have been great to also include the lyrics to the songs which is not present in the CD booklet.

Despite the outtakes and a couple of things that should have been included with the CD booklet, Nineteen Eighty Seven is definitely a must-have for any Christian who loves 1980's heavy metal. Since the original debut is out of print and only hard copies can be found on ebay, it would be wise to make sure you get a copy of this re-recorded release before it is gone for good. Also, keep your eyes open for Whitecross as they are planning to record another album of completely new material.

- Review date: 7/2/08, written by Fred Keel of

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. Record Label: Girder Records
. Album length: 15 tracks: 52 Minutes, 40 Seconds
. Street Date: 2005
. Buy It:

  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. Outtake 1
  13. Outtake 2
  14. Outtake 3
  15. Outtake 4



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