WHITECROSS: Fear No Evil

One of the great flag bearers of christian metal has returned with their first album of all new material in post millenium. Fear No Evil has been painstakingly recorded, refined, redefined, teased, and the final result is a slab of metal exceeding all expectations. Whitecross is back, baby, so break out your air guitars!

Opening the album is a fast paced banger titled “This Is the Way We Rock,” subtitled (Immortal Fest Song) that gets your fists pumping and the adrenaline flowing. If you’ve been to Immortal Fest in Versailles, Ohio, and experienced the revival of christian metal in person, you’ll understand why. “Lion of Judah” is pure worship, but built on a monster guitar riff and solos like you’ve never seen before.

“The Lion of Judah. Comes in His Power. He’s Bringing Salvation. Let This Be the Hour.”

We’ve been seeing this song performed for the last couple years, but the end result with layers of guitars and keyboards is stunning. All Rex Carroll-era Whitecross albums were known for their guitar instrumentals. This one’s installment, titled “Jackhammer,” boasts there’s no rust on Rex’s axe. Time takes its toll on all, but I’ve yet to see it here. A Dave Roberts scream kicks off “Man in the Mirror,” another song built on a muscular guitar riff that just doesn’t quit. The song is a tale of man who takes a philosophical look at his life and finds it wanting. “Blind Man” returns to the MTV Unplugged era with acoustic guitar and mandolin for another song about the downtrodden. The album’s Psalm 23 themed title track “Fear No Evil” begins with an acoustic prologue with orchestration for the first verse, before the band plugs in for the bulk of the song, Rex letting loose with a hailstorm of a solo just before returning to the familiar recurring riff on acoustic for the final line. Psalm 23 is an oft repeated verse from Scripture, and has been covered countless times by musicians, but Dave’s lyrics give “Fear No Evil” a unique feel:

“I Am Bone, I Am Skin. I Am So Much More Within. I Am Fire, I Am Stone. I Am Forgiven From the Horrors of My Sin. And Now I Never Walk Alone.”

“29,000” is a fast paced rocker lamenting the fragility of man- our days are numbered- so make them count. The mention of Elysian Fields seems a little out of context. “Saints of Hollywood” is a fast and fun ride, accompanied by cowbell, slowing for the chorus, where Dave switches back and forth between English and Spanish. “Vendetta” comes in with a riff very reminiscent of Whitecross’ first two albums, and vocals in a lower register. The song hits hard enough that the band’s demands for surrender are likely to be be met. “Wishing Well” starts off with some orchestration before blossoming into a slow rocker ballad. Three members of Petra guest on this one, as well as Whitecross manager Su Smith lending bgvs to counterpoint Dave’s raspy delivery. The album closes with a poignant ode by Rex Carroll to his fans- just one man and his guitar, telling us all how much we’ve meant to him.

Whitecross have crafted a masterpiece here. I often wonder why every lick and every lyric of certain metal albums from the 80’s is burned into my brain, yet not much of what has come in the decades since has had that staying power. While that remains a mystery to me, I think Fear No Evil is going to be permanently inscribed in your brain. That said, I’m going to break my own journalistic rule about giving a perfect score only to a certified classic that has passed the test of time. Thank you for keeping “the metal coursing through my veins!” (Dark Star Records) (WhitecrossBand.com)
– 5 Out of 5 Stars

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