BARREN CROSS – Rattle Your Cage [Digitally Remastered 2021] *0dayrox Exclusive*
We featured in exclusive here the BARREN CROSS early albums remastered reissue series, now it has been released their criminally underrated 1994’s ”Rattle Your Cage”, limited to 1000 units and with new cover art.
Released in 1994, this album got sandwiched between the grunge rock and alternative hipsters that thought “metal” was a dirty word. Metal bands were having the life sucked out of them. “Hair band” was a derogatory term, and stars of the LA Strip scene were treated like an embarrassing drunk uncle.
Despite the anti-metal sentiments, Barren Cross defied all odds and put out this epic classic metal / hard rock album on Rugged Records. That label folded and the album went out of print almost as soon as it was released.
While BARREN CROSS ’80s albums were quite commercial hard meets LA glam, ”Rattle Your Cage” has a production and a style much more punchy with the band ripping full-throttle bluesy hard rock reminiscent of BADLANDS, plus a couple of tracks closer to the anthemic AOR of their origins.
Album starts strongly to its imperative title track. “Rattle Your Cage” reveals as straightforward attitude, unveiling the driving rhythms and huge guitars to go in hand, but also embodies a melodic side, divulging catchy hooks of a conspicuous form.
“Here I Am” mirrors the Barren Cross commercial side but in a positive sense. No doubt, the song does not back from the metal sentiments – rhythm guitar bites with authority – but also smoothes for a decidedly melodic refrain to see keyboards play a glistening role. Halfway in and impetus slows as acoustic guitar temporarily holds sway.
“Unsuspecting” is a quintessential Barren Cross style metal stomper. Song abrades from the get go, animated as Jim LaVerde’s bass tramples the low end and Lee’s snarling vocal delivery plays every bit the biting role. In the end, not the catchiest song but exuding the type of power and energy to bring to mind their ‘Atomic Arena’ cut “In The Eye Of The Fire” (very good company indeed).
Jumping ahead in the track listing, “Sick” is in similar vein but heavier and slower. It proves three and a half minutes of churlish guitars combining to deliver a melting track.
“Feed The Fire” stands alongside “Rattle Your Cage” with its heaviness and melody inclining. I appreciate the contrasting up-tempo mentality, with rhythms on the agile side and emotion approaching the intense for the combative verse sections but evening upon procuring the bombastic refrain to incline towards the heated. Ray Parris stands out with his harmony driven soloing.
“Let It Go Let It Die” is a midtempo semi-ballad with some AOR sensibility. Th song gracefully drifts from the start in big melody form, with emotional acoustic tinctures melding with Lee’s poignant vocals and Parris’ every bit moving lead guitar. Re-mastering helps keyboards at the two-minute mark stand out that much cleaner.
“Time For Love” simply is one of Barren Cross’ finest songs ever. It effortlessly flows front to back to some of the catchiest guitar rhythms you will hear, darkly tinctured in comparison to much of the Rattle Your Cage material but also home to a melodic lower register groove to keep you attention with repeat listen.
“No Time To Run” delivers high energy with its acoustic melodic hard rock facets to feature understated hooks and delicate rhythm guitars, and “Somewhere Far Away”, also traversing melodic hard rock territory in drifting between an acoustic bent and rhythm guitar to taste.
At the more upbeat tempo is “Midnight Son”. With LaVerde’s melodic bass leading the way, the song auspiciously eases through its elaborate verse sections on the way to a flashy refrain layered with some of the most engaging vocal melodies you will hear. “Midnight Son” in the process captures some of the light progressiveness exhibited on ‘Atomic Arena’ and ‘State Of Control’.
Barren Cross proved with ”Rattle Your Cage” that they remained in prime form despite a five year hiatus between albums and the musical climate change. The group has not lost its songwriting touch when factoring albums better material, while same applies from a vocal and musicianship standpoint.
If you missed ”Rattle Your Cage” back in the day or are interested in a highly upgraded version then make this Retroactive re-issue a priority purchase.
Fully remastered by Bombworks Sound for CD and Vinyl, these ”Rattle Your Cage” deluxe reissue are vastly improved with all new artwork by Scott Waters of NoLifeTilMetal.
Only at 0dayrox
01 – Rattle Your Cage
02 – Here I Am
03 – Unsuspecting
04 – No Time To Run
05 – Sick
06 – Somewhere Far Away
07 – Feed The Fire
08 – Let It Go Let It Die
09 – Time For Love
10 – J.R.M.
11 – Your Will
12 – Midnight Son
Jim LaVerde – Bass
Steve Whitaker- Drums
Ray Parris – Guitars
Mike Lee – Vocals, Guitars