Guardian & Whitecross
‘The Great Whitecross & Guardian Revival’
Jamie Rowe – Vocals. Rex Carroll – Guitar, backing vocals. David Bach – Bass, cowbell. Michael Feighan – Drums, backing vocals.
Artist location: USA.
4 out of 5 stars rating.
Reviewed by David.
- Enough Is Enough (Whitecross).
- The Rain (Guardian).
- Never Say Goodbye (Guardian).
- Top Of The World (Whitecross).
- In The Kingdom (Whitecross).
- Spanish Castle Magic (Jimi Hendrix cover).
- Nunca Te Dire Adios (Guardian).
Anyone who listened to Christian rock in the 1980’s and 1990’s are more than familiar with these two bands, two of the premier hard rock acts from those days and two bands that deserve to be spoken in the same breath as fellow Christian hard rockers Stryper or Petra.
Guardian made a lot of waves with their utterly classic ‘Fire And Love’ album from 1990. The album, the band’s second, featured original member and bassist David Bach and was the first album by the band to feature a young guy on vocals that was fairly unknown. Jamie Rowe, came in with a voice that was amazing and blew me away on that album. One of the best singers in Christian rock and hardly an unknown in melodic rock as he is also the frontman for AdrianGale with Vic Rivera. Rowe, a very nice and just super cool dude, fronts this Christian super group with his bandmate Bach by his side and he sounds just as amazing today as he did on that album in 1990.
While I was familiar with guitarist Rex Carroll due to his work with Fierce Heart and their fantastic self-titled record from 1985, my first introduction to Whitecross didn’t come until their 1988 record, ‘Hammer & Nail’, and my first thought after hearing it was how much these guys sounded like Ratt, and they could write some great songs to boot!
Carroll can flat out play and is joined by his Whitecross and King James bandmate, drummer Michael Feighan here and the four of these guys have given us a one-off EP that came to fruition through a pledge campaign. This has a pressing of a mere 1000 copies and will soon be a collector’s item, so if you have any interest in this one then you need to get your copy right away.
There are seven tracks present, three from each band’s catalogue and a cover.
‘Enough Is Enough’, from Whitecross’s 1987 self-titled debut, is one of their classic songs and to be honest I was not sure how their songs were going to translate with Rowe behind the mic. I love his voice but he and Whitecross vocalist Scott Wenzel sounds nothing alike. But happily I had nothing to worry about because the songs translate great and this terrific upbeat rocker starts things off right.
Jamie kindly granted me an excellent interview some time back (read it here) and he told me that this next track, ‘The Rain’, from that classic ‘Fire And Love’ album, was his favorite Guardian song and these four guys give this one a great treatment and Rex tears it up on the guitar.
Also taken from ‘Fire And Love’ is one of Guardian’s best ballads, ‘Never Say Goodbye’, and again I am struck by just how superb Jamie still sounds vocally! Jamie told me that this song holds a special place in his heart as this was the song he sent in to audition for the band, and what a great song it is.
Next up is another Whitecross tune from their 1988 ‘Hammer & Nail’ record. ‘Top Of The World’ is not one of my favorite songs from the band but it is still a good one, though I have always felt it was a bit too repetitive in the chorus. An upbeat tune with a bit of swagger.
‘In The Kingdom’ comes from Whitecross’s 1991 album by the same title. This is a lovely, acoustic backed ballad and Jamie sounds fantastic on it.
Next up is where the album loses me a bit. Now as a music and rock n’ roll lover I have a great appreciation for everything that Jimi Hendrix did for rock music, and the man was amazingly talented, no question about it, but I missed him by a few years and I have just never been able to get into his music save a song here and there. While these guys do a great job, and sound great on it, ‘Spanish Castle Magic’ is a song that I have just never cared for personally.
Finishing out the EP is a Spanish version of ‘Never Say Goodbye’. ‘Nunca Te Dire Adios’ is taken from Guardian’s 1995 Spanish album by the same name. I do not speak Spanish but I think it is cool that they included this on the EP for their considerable Spanish speaking fanbase.
While you may pick up on some very slight differences from the originals, they are minute at best, aside from Rowe singing for Whitecross songs of course, and these four men have given fans a terrific gift with this endeavor.
If you are a fan of either band or any of these artists then check this one out. If you like the sound of 80’s rock (and who here doesn’t, duh!) then check this out.
It is always an absolute pleasure to hear Jamie’s voice and Rex, David and Michael are all grade A artists who all sound incredible here and have all done an excellent job with this. While they have been quick to let us know that both bands are still together, it would be great to hear more from these guys at some point.
Aside from the one cover song that I don’t care for, my only complaint is that this is just too darn short.
Fans of classic Christian hard rock should be thrilled with this release, just make sure you get it before they are sold out and turn into a collector’s item.
‘Enough Is Enough’.
‘Never Say Goodbye’.
‘In The Kingdom’.