384. Atomic Arena – Barren Cross

ATOMIC ARENA (1988)

Barren Cross

Though they never received the national and secular exposure that their friends and short time labelmates Stryper received, Barren Cross nonetheless remains of the true iconic heavy metal bands in Christian Music. The band was championed (and produced) by Dino Elefante (brother of Kansas’ John Elefante).

Stylistically much hard than Stryper, the Judas Priest influenced Barren Cross carved a niche that few other bands were willing to approach. After releasing the EP Believe (in cool blue and white vinyl) and the full length “Rock the King,” which was simply the EP remixed with a few new song added, the band unleashed Atomic Arena which was light years ahead of where they just a year previous.

Lyrics broach subjects more controversial and mature than Styper’s spiritual warfare and evangelistic themes whiel avoiding the darker themes of other contemporaries. Rather the band dealt with issues like suicide, abortion, false religions and even doctrinal issues. Only Tourniquet would rival Barren Cross in dealing with more mature subject matters.

The band rocked and rocked hard and, as a result, broke down many of the barriers for the bands that would follow. Those bands are indebted to the road Barren Cross paved for them

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  1. Rob Karhukangas
    July 29, 2012 at 12:41 am

    I have always thought that Barren Cross more similar to Iron Maiden, rather than Judas Priest. Pretty good album, though I am surprised that it made it this high on the list

  2. Brent Johnson
    May 9, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    I still play this a lot, powerful music and tackled some tough topics. Only Maidenish in the vocals, the music is a heavy NWOBHM sound overall.

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