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Whitecross - Hammer And Nail 1988 / Japan Version


01. Living On The Edge
02. When The Walls Tumble Down
03. The Hammer And The Nail
04. Take It To The Limit
05. Walk With Me
06. Because Of Jesus
07. When The Clock Strikes
08. Resist Him
09. Living In A Lost World
10. Top Of The World

Scott Wenzel - Lead Vocals
Rex Carroll - Guitars
Mark Hedl - Drums
Jon Sproule - Bass

Whitecross' self titled debut (1987's "Whitecross), musically speaking, can be considered extraordinary. Almost every song is a Christian metal classic. In my opinion, the only keeping it from being an all time great is its poor production. 1988's "Hammer And Nail" cd marked a slight improvement in the production however musically speaking, it isn't nearly as consistent as the debut. That isn't to suggest that this cd is terrible. On the contrary, few of the songs are throwaway and in fact, there are one or two fresh ideas and a couple of excellent songs on this release.

"Living On The Edge" qualifies as both a fresh idea and an excellent song. While many metal guitarists have played slide in their leads/solos, to my knowledge, prior to this song no one had used a slide based riff on a heavy metal song. "When The Walls Tumble Down" isn't bad but it's a downgrade from "Living On The Edge". "The Hammer And The Nail" is merely a "good" Rex Carroll guitar solo (obviously styled after Eddie Van Halen's "Cathedral" from the Van Halen's "Diver Down" cd).

"Take It To The Limit" is a decent song but other than Rex's incredible lead guitar sound, there's nothing distinctive on which to grab hold. "Walk With Me" is the ballad on the CD and it's fine. Scott Wenzel cleans up his vocals nicely to support the music and message. "Because Of Jesus" is by far the cd's best song and in fact is one of the best in Whitecross' entire catalog. Lyrically and musically, everything on this track works. Both "When The Clock Strikes" and "Resist Him", while not bad when listening to the cd, are forgettable almost immediately after they end.

"Living In A Lost World" is pretty good but nothing about it stands out from the rest of the "ok" to "decent" songs. The cd ends nicely with the up tempo song "Top Of The World". While the subject matter of Whitecross songs is serious in nature, the self titled debut is bursting with energy and an atmosphere of the band having a good time. That seems to be missing on this cd. The saving grace of this cd (outside of "Living On The Edge", "Because Of Jesus" and "Top Of The World) is that all of the songs have an excellent to great Rex Carroll guitar solo. So if the songs don't do much for you, all is not lost. Just fast forward to the solos.

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