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Barren Cross

Heavy Metal
Los Angeles, California, USA

Barren Cross is a Christian metal band that was formed in Los Angeles, California in 1983 by high school friends Ray Parris (guitar) and Steve Whitaker (drums). The band released six albums from 1986 to 1994. They have reunited for a few shows in recent years, and plan to record a new album.

By 1984, bassist Jim LaVerde and vocalist Mike Lee (born Mike Naeyert, who now goes by the stage name, Michael Drive) were added. In 1989, the band appeared on The Morton Downey Show alongside members of KISS and Anthrax. In 1990, Mike Lee left and joined the band Bare Bones but would appear on the Barren Cross' later releases.

Musically, Barren Cross is often compared to Iron Maiden, mainly due to the similarity of the vocals between Mike Lee and Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson. Lyrically, the band is noted for its stance on a number of social issues. Their songs addressed, from a Christian worldview, personal and societal issues such as suicide, abortion, terrorism, and prejudice. In 1985, they contributed to the Last Days Ministries' anti-abortion song “Fight the Fight.”

Over the years, Barren Cross has seen their share of successes since their start out of high school in 1982. In 1985, their first EP, Believe, an independent release, garnered national attention and trademarked their raw metal sound. The following year, Star Song Records released their first full-length album, Rock for the King. The original working title for Barren Cross' second album was Battlic. It took 10 months to negotiate the deal with Enigma Records. In the process, a song called “On the Rainbow” was scraped for a ballad. 1988 saw a second full-length release, Atomic Arena, this time on Enigma Records (now Capitol Records) alongside label mates Poison, Ratt, Slayer, Stryper, and others.

In 1989, as a follow-up to their Enigma debut, they released State of Control, and Hotter than Hell Live!, a full production live album on Medusa Records, was released the following year (1990). A few months later, Rock for the King was reissued and has since become a collector's item. Subsequent to lead singer Michael Lee (now known as Michael Drive) pursuing another project (becoming writer and lead vocalist for the band Bare Bones), vocalist Vincent Van Voltenburg, aka, Vin Van Volt, of the Christian Metal quartet, Full Armor, was introduced as the new lead singer and took the reins for all live performances during the 1990 “State of Control World Tour” which included sold-out shows in Ireland, Germany, Austria and the U.S. Soon after the 1990 World Tour ended, the new lineup with Ray Parris on (Guitar), Jim LaVerde (Bass), Vin Van Volt (vocals) and David LaVai (drums), was to begin writing for the next record which might have included a Vin Van Volt song called “Pain Reliever.” The song, a new sound for Barren Cross, was well received by audiences on the State of Control tour. The record with this new lineup would never materialize, and Barren Cross went on hiatus until their last full-length release (to date), the stylistically evolved Rattle Your Cage, released on Rugged Records in 1994. Rattle Your Cage featured all of the original members of Barren Cross.

Barren Cross earned some airplay on VH1, MTV, radio stations, and several label and metal music compilations. For over twenty years, international music magazines have featured the band consistently. Besides six major label releases, five of them full-length, Barren Cross was known for relentless touring.

On May 8, 2008, the band officially announced they would be returning to the music scene, launching MySpace and Facebook pages for the band and remaining active in communication. The band initially announced a reunion which included original lead singer, Mike Lee, but would eventually announce experienced singer, Dean Kohn, would be fulfilling vocal duties. A successful short-term reunion with a few international reunion concerts ensued, with announcements of a return to the recording studio with new music. In 2010, Barren Cross announced a special re-release of their debut album, Believe EP, marking the 25-year anniversary of its original 1985 independent release. Mike Lee has since appeared on Barren Cross' most recent live performances. In 2013 Barren Cross released a live album Birth Pangs, which is a recording of their performance at Elements of Rock the previous year.

Discography

1983-84 Demos
1985 Believe EP
1986 Rock for the King Star Song Records
1988 Atomic Arena Enigma Records
1989 State of Control Enigma Records
1990 Hotter Than Hell Live! Live Medusa Records
1994 Rattle Your Cage Rugged Records
2013 Birth Pangs Live

Demos

1983-84 Independent

Michael “Mike Lee” Drive – Vocals
Ray Parris – Guitars
Jim LaVerde – Bass guitars
Steve Whittaker – Drums

  1. He is With You
  2. No One Like You
  3. Blue Horizon
  4. Home on the Rage
  5. It's All Come True
  6. Return of the Light

Believe EP

1985 Independent

Mike Lee - Lead vocals, acoustic guitar
Ray Parris - Lead guitar, acoustic guitar, backing vocals
Jim LaVerde - Bass, vocals
Steve Whitaker - Drums, vocals

Tim Hientz - Keyboards

  1. Believe
  2. He Loves You
  3. Going Nowhere
  4. Give Your Life
  5. Just a Touch
  6. Light the Flame

Rock for the King

1986 Star Song Records (SSD 8064)
2014 Barren Cross Music

Mike Lee - Vocals, acoustic guitar
Ray Parris - Guitar
Jim LaVerde - Bass
Steve Whitaker - Drums

  1. Dying Day (3:25)
  2. He Loves You (4:34)
  3. It's All Come True (4:02)
  4. Believe (2:12)
  5. Going Nowhere (4:36)
  6. Rock for the King (5:00)
  7. Give Your Life (2:47)
  8. Just a Touch (3:26)
  9. Light the Flame (5:31)

1990 Medusa Records (CDO2679)

  1. Dying Day
  2. He Loves You
  3. It's All Come True
  4. Believe
  5. Going Nowhere
  6. Killer of the Unborn (live)
  7. Rock for the King
  8. Give Your Life
  9. Just a Touch
  10. Light the Flame
  11. Dead Lock (live)
  12. Cultic Regimes (live)
  13. He Loves You (live)
  14. Living Dead (live)
  15. Heaven or Nothing (live)

Atomic Arena

1988 Enigma Records (D2-73311)
2003 Restless Records (REST73777)
2020 Retroactive Records (RRCD1536)

Mike Lee - Lead vocals, acoustic guitar
Ray Parris - Lead guitar, rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar, backing vocals
Jim LaVerde - Bass guitar, synthesizer, backing vocals
Steve Whitaker - Drums, backing vocals

John Elefante - Keyboards, additional vocals
Dino Elefante - Additional vocals

  1. Imaginary Music (4:26)
  2. Killers of the Unborn (3:28)
  3. In the Eye of the Fire (4:27)
  4. Terrorist Child (3:30)
  5. Close to the Edge (4:55)
  6. Dead Lock (4:18)
  7. Cultic Regimes (2:48)
  8. Heaven or Nothing (4:10)
  9. King of Kings (3:30)
  10. Living Dead (6:50)

State of Control

1989 Enigma Records (773347-2)

Mike Lee - Lead vocals, acoustic guitar
Ray Parris - Lead guitar, rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar, backing vocals
Jim LaVerde - Bass guitar, synthesizer, backing vocals
Steve Whitaker - Drums, backing vocals

John Elefante - Keyboards, additional vocals

  1. State of Control (3:53)
  2. Out of Time (4:09)
  3. Cryin' Over You (4:53)
  4. A Face in the Dark (3:56)
  5. The Stage of Intensity (6:36)
  6. Hard Lies (4:18)
  7. Inner War (4:09)
  8. Love at Full Volume (2:28)
  9. Bigotry Man (Who Are You) (4:42)
  10. Two Thousand Years (7:10)
  11. Escape in the Night (3:54)

1989 Enigma Records / Benson Records (CD02540)
2003 Restless Records (REST73778)

  1. State of Control (3:53)
  2. Out of Time (4:09)
  3. Cryin' Over You (4:53)
  4. A Face in the Dark (3:56)
  5. The Stage of Intensity (6:36)
  6. Hard Lies (4:18)
  7. Inner War (4:09)
  8. Love at Full Volume (2:28)
  9. Bigotry Man (Who Are You) (4:42)
  10. Two Thousand Years (7:10)
  11. Your Love Gives (3:50)

2020 Retroactive Records (RRCD1537)

  1. State of Control (3:53)
  2. Out of Time (4:09)
  3. Cryin' Over You (4:53)
  4. A Face in the Dark (3:56)
  5. The Stage of Intensity (6:36)
  6. Hard Lies (4:18)
  7. Inner War (4:09)
  8. Love at Full Volume (2:28)
  9. Bigotry Man (Who Are You) (4:42)
  10. Two Thousand Years (7:10)
  11. Your Love Gives (3:50)
  12. Escape in the Night (3:54)

Hotter Than Hell Live! Live

1990 Medusa Records (MD 9383 2)
2020 Retroactive Records (RRCD1538)

Mike Lee - Vocals, guitar
Ray Parris - Guitar
Jim LaVerde - Bass
Steve Whitaker - Drums

Vince Mendoza - Guest guitar
Christine Whitaker - Guest keyboards
Alaysius Collado - Guest vocals

  1. Imaginary Music (5:30)
  2. Dying Day (4:01)
  3. Killers of the Unborn (3:23)
  4. Close to the Edge (4:55)
  5. Going Nowhere (4:53)
  6. Dead Lock (4:11)
  7. Opus to the Third Heaven (4:21)
  8. King of Kings (6:45)
  9. In the Eye of the Fire (6:52)
  10. Rock for the King (5:25)
  11. Light the Flame (7:39)
  12. Terrorist Child (6:13)
  13. King Jesus & Blues Jam (4:23)
  14. Give Your Life (5:05)

Rattle Your Cage

1994 Rugged Records (RGD 44012)
2013 Barren Cross Music

Mike Lee - Vocals, acoustic guitar
Ray Parris - Electric guitar, acoustic guitar
Jim LaVerde - Bass guitar, acoustic guitar
Steve Whitaker - Drums

  1. Rattle Your Cage (4:20)
  2. Here I Am (3:30)
  3. Unsuspecting (3:58)
  4. No Time to Run (3:36)
  5. Sick (3:28)
  6. Somewhere Far Away (2:53)
  7. Feed the Fire (3:38)
  8. Let It Go Let It Die (4:50)
  9. Time for Love (3:11)
  10. J.R.M (3:52)
  11. Your Will (3:47)
  12. Midnight Son (5:20)

Birth Pangs

2014 Barren Cross Music ‎(BCM001)

Mike Lee - Vocals, acoustic guitar
Ray Parris - Electric guitar, acoustic guitar
Jim LaVerde - Bass guitar, acoustic guitar
Steve Whitaker - Drums

  1. Intro (0:24)
  2. Living Dead (7:15)
  3. The Stage of Intensity (9:16)
  4. Close to the Edge (5:14)
  5. The Unsuspecting (5:36)
  6. Two Thousand Years (8:16)
  7. Return of the Light (previously unreleased) (5:16)
  8. Believe (2:34)
  9. Light The Flame (5:54)
  10. He Loves You (5:33)
  11. Dying Day (3:23)
  12. Bigotry Man (4:37)
  13. Here I Am (6:12)
  14. A Walk With God (previously unreleased) (4:19)
  15. Whitewashed “Love” (previously unreleased) (2:58)
  16. Rattle Your Cage (4:14)
  17. Deadlock (4:30)
  18. Cultic Regimes (3:59)
  19. Killers of the Unborn (3:44)