Barren Cross

Rock for the King

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To some Catholics and Protestants, the term "Christian heavy metal" is as much of an oxymoron as "kosher pork" would be to a Jew. Such skeptics would ask, "How could a Christian artist be associated with a genre in which so many artists have been fascinated by the Occult and celebrated life in the fast lane?" But then, there's no law stating that the lyrics of metal and hard rock artists have to follow a certain pattern. Musically, Barren Cross is heavily influenced by gothic metal outfits like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. But the lyrics on Rock for the King are definitely coming from a Christian perspective. Containing nine studio tracks and six live performances, this forceful yet melodic CD is excellent at best and decent at its worst. Whether or not one embraces Christianity, it's clear that tunes like "Dying Day" and "Light the Flame" are the work of a decent metal band. The anti-abortion commentary "Killer of the Unborn" has a questionable message -- although this song expresses sympathy for the fetus, it says nothing about the many young women who died in back-alley abortions before Roe v. Wade was passed in the early '70s. But you don't have to agree with one's social or political views to appreciate his or her artistry, and Cross brings a lot of artistry to Rock for the King

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