150. Whitecross – Whitecross
The single best glam rock, big hair white metal album in CCM history. Scott Wenxel’s unmistakable Ratt-like vocals may grow tiresome to some and sound dated to pretty much all, but Rex Carroll’s non-top, fill every empty space with blazing guitar work is timeless.
Actually the dated sound of the album should not detract from this album any more than how Larry Norman, Randy Stonehill, Steve Taylor or Daniel Amos can sound dated at times. How did they sound during that date in question? They sounded like the very best the industry offered.
Other than the admittedly cheesy ballad “You’re Mine” (even the band didn’t include this when they redid the entire album from scratch a few years ago) the rest of the album reached rocking heights unmatched by even the spiked Aqua Net locks. Actually the band was less “big hair” image-wise and more “gutter” rock in appearance. The look was more Guns N Roses than Stryper.
The songs are simply, catchy and pure 80’s kitsch but with the best guitar work on any similar release. The guitar solo “Nagasake” is the stuff guitar gods are made of and the intricate and blazing fast fret work of Carroll takes a good song and catapults it to great. Who Will You Follow, Enough is Enough and Signs of the End are just sheer golden delights of 80’s metal excess…and in a really good way!
The band would change drastically after the departure of Carroll, but for one bright shining moment, Whitecross defined a genre and in doing so, created a lasting testament to all that is good about bandannas, spandex, zipper pants and Aqua Net.
I was backstage with Steve Taylor at the Universal Ampitheatre when they were touring together (seriously, they toured together) and he said it was like touring with Spinal Tap and that he loved every minute of it.