Contagious

Be Ready

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Over the years, Christian rockers have been fighting an uphill battle. On one hand, many dogmatic fundamentalist ministers have argued that rock is the Devil's music and cannot possibly be used to promote Christianity. On the other hand, much of the secular rock world has tended to be wary of Christian rockers: The feeling has often been that they put so much energy into promoting a religious agenda that their music suffers. But in fact, a lot of Christian rock has been worthwhile. Whether or not one embraces Christian beliefs, artists such as Leslie Phillips (who became Sam Phillips after she went secular), Steve Taylor & Some Band, Stryper, and the Resurrection Band have made valid contributions to rock. A noteworthy Christian metal band active in the late '80s was Contagious, who showed some promise on Be Ready. While some artists have promoted Christianity in a subliminal way, there's nothing subliminal about this trio's lyrics. The headbangers bring an overtly Christian message to forceful yet melodic tunes like "Jesus Is the Way," "Nowhere to Run" (not to be confused with the Motown classic), and "Water Then Fire." Because Contagious delivered its message so vehemently and didn't shy away from fire-and-brimstone lyrics, this vinyl EP stood little chance of crossing over to secular audiences. And because it fell into the heavy metal category, the record wasn't going to get a lot of endorsements from the Pat Robertson/Jerry Falwell crowd, either. But despite its lack of commercial acceptance, Be Ready is an intriguing and generally decent effort.