Barren Cross is a Christian metal band that was formed in Los Angeles, California in 1983 by highschool friends Ray Parris (guitar) and Steve Whitaker (drums). The band released six albums from 1986 to 1994. They reunited for a few shows in recent years, and officially announced a reunion on May 28, 2008, as well as plans to record a new album.
By 1984, bassist Jim LaVerde and vocalist Mike Lee (born Mike Naeyert) were added. In 1989, the band appeared on The Morton Downey Show alongside members of KISS and Anthrax. In 1990, Mike Lee left and joined the band Bare Bones but would appear on the Barren Cross' later releases.
Musically, Barren Cross is often compared to Iron Maiden, mainly due to the similarity of the vocals between Mike Lee and Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson. Lyrically, the band is noted for its uncompromising stance on a number of social issues. Their songs addressed, from a Christian worldview, personal and societal issues, such as suicide, abortion, terrorism, and prejudice.
Over the years, Barren Cross has seen their share of successes since their start out of highschool in 1982. In 1985, their first EP, Believe, an independent release, garnered national attention and trademarked their raw metal sound. The following year, Star Song Records released their first full-length album, Rock for the King. 1988 saw a second full-length release, Atomic Arena, this time on Enigma Records (now Capitol Records) alongside label mates Poison, Ratt, Slayer, Stryper, and others.
In 1989, as a follow-up to their Enigma debut, they released State of Control, and Hotter than Hell Live!, a full production live album on Medusa Records, was released the following year (1990). A few months later, Rock for the King was reissued and has since become a collector's item. Subsequent to lead singer Michael Lee (now known as Michael Drive) pursuing another project (becoming writer and lead vocalist for the band Bare Bones), vocalist Vince Van Voltenburg (Full Armor) took the reins for live performances during 1990. Barren Cross then went on hiatus until their last full-length release (to date), the stylistically evolved Rattle Your Cage, released on Rugged Records in 1994.
Besides six major label releases (five of them full-length), Barren Cross earned their stripes through relentless touring in their day. Their sound earned them respect and some airplay on VH1, MTV, countless radio stations, and several label and metal music compilations. For over twenty years, international music magazines have featured the band consistently.
In 2007, Barren Cross teamed with artist manager Jeff McLain and his company the North Coast Agency to help book, manage, and market their return. On May 8, 2008, the band officially announced they would be returning to the music scene, launching MySpace and Facebook pages for the band and remaining active in the pages upkeep. The band initially announced a reunion which included original lead singer, Mike Lee, but would eventually announce experienced singer, Dean Kohn, (ATTAKK, Loudness, Malice) would be fulfilling vocal duties. A successful short-term reunion with a few international reunion concerts ensued, with announcements of a return to the recording studio with new music. In 2010, Barren Cross announced a special re-release of their debut album, Believe EP, marking the 25 Year Anniversary of its original 1985 independent release.
Dean Kohn - Reunion Vocalist,
Jim LaVerde - Bass guitars,
Ray Parris - Guitars,
Steve Whittaker - Drums,
Michael Lee - Original Vocalist