Neon Cross
Classic American heavy metal band from California.

California Metal (Regency) 1987

3. "I Need Your Love" (3:06)
10. "Son Of God" (4:16)

Neon Cross recorded two excellent songs ("Son of God" and "I Need Your Love") for the California Metal that was released prior to their self titled album. This was my introduction to this band. These two tracks, however, were added to the M8 re-release. "Son of God" is actually my favorite Neon Cross song. This song can truly bring you to your knees in worship. For a complete review, see the compilation section.

Neon Cross Neon Cross (Regency) 1988

1. "Heartbreaker" (3:45)
2. "Frontline Life" (3:31)
3. "We Are The Children (of Our Lord)" (4:40)
4. "On the Rock" (2:41)
5. "I'm Not Alone" (5:57)
6. "Right Time" (4:09)
7. "Run Into the Light" (4:30)
8. "Far Cry (From Eden)" (4:33)
9. "Outta The Way" (3:50)
10. "Victory" (4:04)

Neon Cross' debut is a Christian metal classic (1988), that was almost impossible to find on CD, until the recent, limited-edition M8 Records re-release. However, for the longest time (like 10 years) I held onto my original vinyl copy until I finally scored an original Regency Records CD copy in a trade. (This was several years before the M8 re-release) In any case, Neon Cross play simplistic, anthemic heavy metal. Guitarist Don Webster may not be an Yngwie Malmsteen, but he can write a good metal riff. Just check out the furious riff of "Heartbreaker" or the chugging rhythms of "Run Into the Light." "Right Time" is another smokin' song that has a slightly more commercial appeal than much of the rest of the material. What really makes this disc spectacular, however, is the classic voice of David Raymond Reeves, who has a style that mixes elements of Ian Gillan and David Coverdale. On "Far Cry" David even used a high pitched falsetto voice that sounds a bit like Rob Halford. The only real criticism I have for this disc, however, is the overly repetitive drum beat that is used in just about every song. Overall, however, a good disc and certainly one of my favorite true metal discs to come out of the 80's Christian metal movement.

The band broke up not long after this album was released but not after writing enough material for a second album. I think some of this material was even recorded in demo format but never officially released. Some of the songs made their way around. "The Battle" and "You're The One" were two that the band was playing as part of their live show.

Here are some interesting facts about the first disc that was posted by guitarist Don Webster:

You know, we never really played "Right Time" that much. That song was written during the recording of our first CD. Dino Elefante (producer) thought we needed a hit, so him, Dave and I wrote this song. The song that got pinched was "Nobody". I guess Dino thought that if his brother (John) sang on the song it would be a hit. Although the song is a good song, I never felt it was a Neon Cross Song.

"Run Into the Light" was written by Mitch (PK Mitchell) when he was playing bass in the band. We played that song a lot. It was a fun song to play live. I didn't like the 'run into the light part,' (I) thought it was to weird. But I am a team player and did it anyway. "You're the One," was recorded and meant to be on our first CD as well. Dave and I are re-recording it for NEON CROSS II. I personal like that song. I am going to add to our song list for the August (Extreme MartiGras 2002) gig.

Neon Cross (M8) 1988/2001

1. "Heartbreaker" (3:49)
2. "Frontline Life" (3:30)
3. "We Are The Children (of Our Lord)" (4:45)
4. "On the Rock" (2:40)
5. "I'm Not Alone" (6:00)
6. "Right Time" (4:12)
7. "Run Into the Light" (4:31)
8. "Far Cry (From Eden)" (4:36)
9. "Outta The Way" (3:53)
10. "Victory" (4:05)
11. "I Need Your Love" (3:06)
12. "Son Of God" (4:21)
13. "Frontline Life" (4:23)
14. "We Are The Children (Of Our Lord)" (4:55)
15. "Far Cry (From Eden)" (4:24)
16. "Victory" (4:18)

2001 reissue of a classic Christian metal album. Although I already own this disc on CD, the addition of six bonus cuts made it a necessity. Fortunately I was able to get this copy using a credit I had with The Crossing Music. The bonus tracks are mostly demo tracks taken from the bands 'Frontline Life' demo. "I Need You Love" and "Son of God" both appeared on the infamous "California Metal" compilation. Being that these were only demo tracks, none have stellar production, but they are not completely terrible either. Actually "Son Of God" was one of the first Neon Cross tracks I ever heard, and is to this day one of my favorite songs by them. Also, this was 1987 when production in heavy metal wasn't anywhere near as important as the attitude and energy that was presented within the music. (Anyone remember the production of "Kill 'Em All" or "Killing is My Business"?) One slight annoyance about this re-release is that the track listing on the back of the CD is completely wrong. For a more complete review, see the review of the original Regency CD above.

My copy was autographed by Don Webster & David Raymond Reeves at the 2005 Up From the Ashes show that the band performed with Once Dead, Ultimatum, Holy Soldier, Tykkus and several others.

Premium Cuts Premium Cuts (Rugged Records) 1994

7. "Buy My Record" (3:30)
8. "Mystery of Love" (4:58)
9. "In Your Mind" (4:03)

1994 Neon Cross vocalist David Raymond Reeves and guitarist Dan Webster put the band back together and recorded three excellent songs ("Buy My Record," "Mystery of Love," and "In Your Mind") for Patriot Records' (soon renamed Rugged Records) "Premium Cuts" with a reformed Barren Cross as well. The new cuts echoed the bands earlier heavy metal style. I really thought that "Buy My Record" was a choice song with a killer message to boot. (for a full review of Premium cuts see the compilation section.) Unfortunately most reviewers trashed the band as being outdated, so instead of recording a classic metal album in 1995 they recorded:

Torn Neon Cross - Torn (Rugged) 1995

1. "Intro" (:53)
2. "Bitterness" (4:05)
3. "Spinning" (3:45)
4. "No Ones Home" (3:05)
5. "Seasons of Change" (4:18)
6. "'81" (4:35)
7. "Videosmut" (4:02)
8. "Now" (5:23)
9. "Prussian Blue" (3:16)
10. "Backlash" (4:11)
11. "I'm Free" (2:46)

Don Webster 2005

Uh oh, what happened here? Neon Cross decide they need to "get with the times," so to speak. "Torn" features a bluesy, grunge-based sound that is in stark contrast to Neon Cross' classic metal sound. David Raymond Reeves is a great singer, but at times he almost sounds like he may be singing drunk. "Spinning" is a perfect example of this. What's up with the vocals on the beginning and middle of this song? Despite the vocal performance on this track, "Bitterness" is one of the heavier songs on the disc. If it hadn't been for the unusual vocal performance, it would have been a one of the best songs on the disc. I also really dig the harp playing in this cut. There are a few other cool songs like "Seasons of Change" which has an acoustic, bluesy Zeppelin-vibe. On this track David sings in a higher, clean Robert Plant style, which I much prefer. Unfortunately the very next song returns to the distorted vocals and modern rock sound. The album is not terrible, just nowhere near what I was hoping for after hearing the blistering tracks on "Premium Cuts" only a year earlier. "Torn" does contain a nice insert with the complete lyrics and lots of pics of the band.

Neon Cross also released a live song on the Extreme Marti Gras 2002 Compilation CD.

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