Thursday, August 11, 2011

Crossforce-Rockin til the Final Day

Roxx Records

Rockin til the Final Day is a long overdue release. Honestly I never thought I'd see the day when Crossforce's 1986 demo would get an official release. This 6 song cassette only release was limited to just 500 copies and became widely traded among collectors. With original copies going for well over $100 on sites like eBay if you wanted to hear the demo you either had to shell out hard earned cash or settle for a secondary copy. What made Christian heavy metal act Crossforce so special you ask? Well, let me tell you a little about this one of a kind gem and then you can decide for yourself if all the fuss is warranted (trust me it is!). This underrated San Francisco band was formed out of the ashes of Christian metal act Golgatha. While part of Golgatha went on to form the cult heavy metal/speed metal act Valor (who released the excellent full-length Fight For Your Life in 1988) the pair of vocalist Tony Crider and drummer Mark Cassettari would go on to form a band called Crossfire. As we now know Crossfire would of course go on to be known as Crossforce and with a young guitar virtuoso named Phil Castillo (known for instrumental Christian Metal bands like Mercy and Krush) on board the band would craft some of the best melodic metal you've never heard. Rounded out by Jeff Scott on bass and Mark Wrapley on keyboards the band had everything going for them and should have been as big as Stryper. With the white metal explosion in full swing Crossforce was featured in Christian heavy metal fanzines like Heavens Metal, White Throne and Risen Roxx and saw their song "Rockin til the Final Day" receive serious radio airplay on Christian hard rock and metal shows of the day. It looked as if Crossforce were on their way to the top as the band played at two Christian Metal festivals in Southern California. Not only did Crossforce play at the first annual "His Festival" event but also they were invited to play the first Christian Metal Festival ever assembled entitled "Metal Mardi Gras". Sponsored by the church Sanctuary (a church where Christian hard rock and heavy metal fans gathered in the early days when white metal was still not totally accepted among all Christians) "Metal Mardi Gras 87" saw the band seemingly destined for stardom. Such stardom would allude the band though. After their top notch 1986 demo failed to secure the band a contract (again who knows why as it is such fine heavy metal) Crossforce entered the studio again the following year. The result was a demo (entitled the "Frontline demo") that was never meant for the general public and sounds as if it was recorded live in the studio. Intended for former Frontline Records Exec Jimmy Kempner the "Frontline demo" was a last ditch effort to get the band a record contract. For reasons known only to God, Kemper and the band it never happened though and until now that demo has sat in a vault somewhere collecting dust. It has taken 25 years but finally both demos will now see the light. Sadly Tony passed away in early 2002 and didn't get to see his music get a proper release. This energetic and genuine young man (who also played rhythm guitar and piano for the band) was an amazing vocalist who should have been more well known. Tony was a talented musician and this collection allows us a chance to hear music that was just as good (if not better!) than the bulk of Christian heavy metal in the mid eighties. In addition to the two demos this CD includes a long lost practice session version of "Rockin til the Final Day". The song was the band's anthem and is filled with power and emotion. Like the rest of the tracks "Rockin til the Final Day" is well crafted hard rock that showcases Crossforce's ability to write music that will appeal to both the Christian community and secular heavy metal fans as well. This is a band that captured the sounds of eighties hard rock/heavy metal and made it not only have a positive message but also made it fun. All in all you get over 60 minutes of top notch heavy metal from one of Christian metal's most underrated bands. Fans of Dokken, Bloodgood, Guardian, Stryper, Whitecross, Queensryche and Iron Maiden would be well served to check this one out. The CD is set to include a 16 page booklet, liner notes, bios and tons of never before released photos in what will surely end up being a collector's item. Now just like Crossforce's original 1986 demo the CD is limited to just 500 copies so if you want one it is best to act fast as it is sure to sell out!


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