Birth Pangs

An Album By

Barren Cross

Review by

This old metal band has defied its age and captured a performance that is worthy of the ages. Recorded at Switzerland’s Elements of Rock Festival in 2012, Barren Cross does what any metal band should do (old/veteran or young/fresh) and kick your behind into next week. Yep, the original lineup of Barren Cross (Mike Lee on vocals, Ray Parris on guitar, Steve Whitaker on drums, Jim LaVerde on bass) were totally on and ready for the night.

Besides killing it live, the band shows that its catalog is seriously under-appreciated. The entire show is basically one killer heavy metal hit after another. Atomic Arena’s “Living Dead” starts the set off, and almost the entire track listing from the band’s sophomore album finds life here – “Close to the Edge,” “Deadlock,” “Cultic Regimes” and “Killers of the Unborn” are placed dynamically throughout the lengthy set. Three tunes from State of Control are energetically played as well, with an extra long rendition of “Stage of Intensity” played second, featuring plenty of jamming. “Ten Thousand Years” shows up as a personal request from one of the promoters, and “Bigotry Man” sounds as relevant as ever. A concentrated set featuring three songs from the Believe EP and their Rock for the King debut show up in the middle of this double-disc live album – “Believe,” “Light the Flame” and “He Loves You.”

The material that gets the biggest boost of “Did you remember how good this album was?” is the Rattle Your Cage material, which sounds great. “The Unsuspecting,” with its compelling story of an insensitive killer, the worshipful “Here I Am” and the title track, “Rattle Your Cage.” A couple new songs turn up, too. The instrumental “Walking with God” and “Whitewashed Love,” which is always a bonus when a veteran band gets back together to capture a moment. We’re all the better for this band’s efforts to record this amazing set. Metal doesn’t get much better.


Imperial Triumphant - 2021

Alphaville’s Metal Renaissance

With influences that span Miles Davis and Stravinsky to Geddy Lee and Les Claypool, jazz metal force Imperial Triumphant is the epitome of genre-bending. HM contributing writer Andrew Voigt spoke with the band about their unique style, the massive bass presence in their music, and the rise and fall of civilization.


Photo by Alex Krauss

Full Feature
Atreyu- 2021

Atreyu's Baptism

At their core, Atreyu is a hard rock band with metal riffs and pop choruses. Now, after more than 20 years, the band has stepped boldly into their next chapter with a change in lineup and an album that proves the lifeblood of Atreyu is stronger than ever.


Photo by Ashley Osborn

Full Feature
Heaven's Metal: An Oral History of the Genesis of Christian Metal

Heaven's Metal

When rock emerged from blues and 'heavy metal' began to surface, faith-based metal acts also rose to start their own journeys. Initially shunned by both believers and non-believers, they were fighting for their spot at the table, ultimately building a legacy that would go on to change the genre forever. HM presents an oral history of the beginning of Christian metal music, featuring Guardian, Tourniquet, Holy Soldier, Whitecross, and, of course, Stryper.


Full Feature
All Features