Apostle – Hymns

1988 (no label)
Jacksonville, Florida, USA

Matt Harding – All guitars, vocals
Ray Schmidt – Bass
David Paul McKee – Drums

Side 1:

  1. Hymns
  2. Vanguard
  3. Dragon Slayer
  4. I Am Persuaded
  5. The Sword

Side 2:

  1. Unlimited Power
  2. Split the Sky
  3. Waiting
  4. Holy Soldier

Sometimes it is a bit hard to tell the different Apostle tapes apart. They are all really good power/classical metal. But they also tend to have the same format: start off with an instrumental keyboard song, blast into a metal song with vocals, shred away for a total of nine songs. Hymns seems to be different from its predecessor Chariots of Iron. It starts off with three instrumentals before launching into a song with vocals. The second and third instrumentals are full band. So a totally different format… 🙂 I’m kidding, of course, but it does make it seem like you have an instrumental album for quite a while. They really do this style of metal well – I can see why people always want to see these demos released on CD. To my ears, these songs sound a bit rougher than the ones were later re-issued on the Chariots of Iron / Hymns cassette in 1994, so these songs were probably remixed or maybe just remastered for that release. After this tape, there was a self-titled release in 1989, while Matt Harding also went solo with Matt Harding’s Steel Armada also in 1989.

Chosen Stranger – Chosen Stranger

Chosen Stranger
Chosen Stranger
1989 (no label)
Springfield, Illinois, USA

Russ Atteberry – Lead vocals
Rusty Ellison – All guitars, vocals
Dan Grover – Bass guitar, keyboard, vocals
Jeff Ellison – Drums

Tommy Cathy – Guest vocals and keyboards

  1. He Won’t Hurt You
  2. I Wanna Be Like You
  3. Living It Up
  4. Guilty (To the Crime of Love)

This is a really good long lost TNT demo! I’m kidding, of course, as they really don’t sound like a TNT clone. But their music really reminds of the days when bands like TNT and Lillian Axe were being pushed on Headbanger’s Ball trying to find the next big thing. Big vocals, big hooks, a good dose of pop sensibility, and a shredding guitar player that didn’t dominate but still made their presence known enough to keep them out of the “poser” department. They seem to have at least a couple of other singles and another tape called Deathwalker in 1992. Not sure what happened to them after that, but it is shame they didn’t go any further with this demo.

First Degree – Youth

First Degree
1987 Dark Records

Paul Sisemore – Guitar, lead vocals, backing vocals
Lance Rowland – Bass, lead vocals, backing vocals
Kent Bradely – Guitar, keyboards
Dan Kilbourne – Drums

Side 1:

  1. Youth
  2. Last Forever
  3. Every Time
  4. Turning Point
  5. Don’t You Know

Side 2:

  1. Don’t Be Afraid
  2. Jenni, Jenni
  3. True Love
  4. Don’t Do It

First Degree is one of the few bands from the short lived Dark Records label. It seems that Dark Records could really choose some great acts. First Degree is kind of light-hearted hard rock band, floating somewhere between Journey and Van Halen. Which sounds cheesy, but they can write songs so well that you will gladly take this cheese every chance you can. I actually have this on vinyl, but my copy is really scratchy. So hearing this tape version sounds amazing. The band kind of flew under the radar – they were kind of a little late for their sound. But I could see those that wanted a heavier version of White Heart that wasn’t quite metal really getting into this. Even heavier rockers like “Turning Point” that border on almost metal are still so well-written that people would have really dug it.

Martyr – Imminent Warfare

Imminent Warfare
1988 (no label)
Redondo Beach, California, USA

Prado – Lead vocals, bass
Michael “Bones” Van Asch – Lead guitars, rhythm guitars, acoustic guitars, background vocals
Marcus N. Colon – Lead guitars, rhythm guitars, acoustic guitars, background vocals
John Waldron – Drums, background vocals

Josh Kramer – Additional background vocals
Chris Ackerman – Additional background vocals

  1. Abomination
  2. C if U Like This
  3. Plead the Blood
  4. Imminent Warfare

So this is the second demo and second line-up for Martyr. Both of the guitarists and the drummer from 1987’s Death is Dead are no longer in the band. It also seems that Van Asch and Waldron would leave before 1989’s Frantic. Some of the song titles on here might sound familiar, as it seems that guitarist Marcus Colon took “Plead the Blood” with him when he formed Betrayal. The sound here is pretty much 80s thrash, with lots of fire and a good amount of speed. They even touch on some speed metal in the last song. It seems that all four of the songs here made it on to their Wickenstraut compilation in 1993.

Apostle – Chariots of Iron

Chariots of Iron
1987 (no label)
Jacksonville, Florida, USA

Matt Harding – All guitars, vocals
Mark Borerro – Bass
David McKee – Drums

Side 1:

  1. Chariots of Iron
  2. Rock
  3. Lover
  4. Power in the Blood

Side 2:

  1. Lake of Fire
  2. Sword & Shield
  3. Vivaldi (excerpt from Concert in D Minor)
  4. Lamb of God
  5. Leaders

This was about the 5th or 6th demo by Apostle (there seems to be some confusion online about different versions of earlier demos) – in between 1986’s King of Saints and 1988 Hymns. So by this time, they were a heavy metal machine. They knew how to hit that sweet spot between power metal and traditional metal without sounding dated. This was a bold move, because in 1987 everything was going hair/commercial metal or thrash/speed metal. All of these songs were re-released on the Chariots of Iron / Hymns cassette in 1994, but it seems they remastered the sound a bit on the reissue from what they sound like on here.

Stevie & The Saints – Eye on the Prize

Stevie & The Saints
Eye on the Prize
1990 Victoria, LTD

Steve Olsen – Vocals, guitar, slide guitar, harmonica
Ken Roberts- Guitar, percussion
Tim Pope – Drums
Bob “Oil Can” Beeman – Piano

Suzie Cappetta – Lead vocals, backing vocals
Ralph Clayton – Bass guitar, organ, horn arrangements
Kathy Jameson – Backing vocals

Side 1:

  1. Power in the Blood
  2. Psalm 3
  3. Pass Me Not
  4. Rock and a Hard Place
  5. No Blooz Blooz

Side 2:

  1. Eye on the Prize
  2. Moment of Pleasure
  3. Ball & Chain
  4. Soldier of Fortune
  5. Wayfaring Stranger

This is the rarer follow-up to their 1987 Metalblue album. It used to be impossible to find anything on this release, but there appears to be more information out there now. This is pretty much blues rock, often falling into the Texas style of blues rock. The album is dedicated to Stevie Ray Vaughn after all. The first three tracks, as well as the last one, are covers of traditional church songs. The rest are all originals, but every song is a fun romp through some electrified blues. Interesting mistake on the manufacturing: side two of the tape actually has the printing from another Victoria LTD band Face of Five.

Christian Hardcore – Volume 1

Christian Hardcore Volume 1
198? (no label)

Side 1:

  1. Undercover – God Rules
  2. Bad Brains – Destroy Babylon
  3. Bad Brains – Coptic Times
  4. Bad Brains – Joshua’s Song
  5. Scaterd Few – Death (live)
  6. Scaterd Few – Untitled (live)
  7. Scaterd Few – D.I.T.C. (live)
  8. Scaterd Few – God is Right (live)
  9. Scaterd Few – P.T.T.C.P. (live)
  10. Scaterd Few – Gave Us Life (live)
  11. Scaterd Few – Anti-Ape (live)
  12. Scaterd Few – Scapegoat (live)
  13. AOTC – AOTC (live)
  14. AOTC – In the Silence (live)
  15. AOTC – Legalized Christian (live)
  16. AOTC – The World (live)
  17. AOTC – Free (live)
  18. AOTC – Down to Earth (live)
  19. AOTC – No Religion (live)
  20. Circle One – Social Climbing Leeches
  21. Circle One – Beware
  22. Circle One – Gospel

Side 2:

  1. Circle One – Our Sword
  2. The FI – Being a Christian (live)
  3. The FI – Surf Instrumental (live)
  4. The FI – I’ve Got Better Things to Do (live)
  5. The FI – I’m Bored (live)
  6. The FI – Owl Oppression (live)
  7. The FI – Only One Way (live)
  8. The FI – King Jesus (live)
  9. The FI – National Defense (live)
  10. GVA – The Christ (live)
  11. GVA – God is My Rock (live)
  12. GVA – No More (live)
  13. GVA – Thank You (live)
  14. GVA – Amazing Grace (live)
  15. Undercover – Wait a Minute (live)
  16. Undercover – I’ll Be a Fool
  17. Undercover – Who Am I? (live)
  18. Undercover – Where Can I Go (live)
  19. Undercover – Pilate (live)

This is basically a dubbed home mix tape that collects some rare early Christian punk/hardcore (the 80s version, not the 90s version) demos and live songs. Many of these live songs seem to have been recorded at actual shows by the person that created this tape (which is speculated to be David Joo of Zine of the Times). No idea of the date – the latest studio recording on here was 1983. Some of the live stuff from Scaterd Few was recorded in 1983-1984, but there are also some live versions of stuff from Sin Disease in there. They sound like earlier versions, though.  GVA existed between 1984 and 1985. The live stuff from Undercover was from albums that were released up until 1986. Several of the other bands were just know as “mid to late 1980s.” So my guess would be at least 1984 or 1985.

The tape starts off with one Undercover track (from their album of the same name), and then skips to the very end to include some more tracks. These are all live tracks except for “I’ll be a Fool,” which is taken from their S/T album. The live tracks are not from their 3/27/87 album, so I don’t think they have been released anywhere else.

The Bad Brains songs were apparently chosen because they were the most “spiritual” of their songs – It seems these three songs were taken from the I and I Survive ep, even though they also all appear on the Rock for Light full-length as well.

The Scaterd Few songs are an interesting collection. The first two songs (“Death” and “Untitled”) are live versions of songs (or recorded live at a practice session) of songs on Out of the Attic, but I don’t think these recordings have been released. The next two songs (“D.I.T.C.” and “God is Right”) as well as the last song (“Scapegoat”)are live versions of songs that were released on Sin Disease (“God is Right” was re-named to “Self” on Sin Disease). I am guessing they are earlier versions as they sound different than the later recordings. The other three songs (“P.T.T.C.P.,” “Gave Us Life,” and “Anti-Ape”) are from the Out of the Attic tape (although there seems to be slightly more in-between song chatter captured on this tape – maybe dubbed from the same source tapes that the Out of the Attic songs were edited from?). So some kind of rare stuff there?

AOTC stands for Association of the Cross – an early Christian punk band that released a couple of live demos. The songs here seem to be selected and edited from their Live at Val’s demo. There is a song on this tape called “No Religion” that was not on the dubbed copy of Live at Val’s that I have heard. It might have been left off the copy I heard, or never released, but either way, it is a new song for me to hear at least.

The Circle One tracks are taken pretty much straight from their Patterns of Force album.

The FI stands for The Faith Injectors – another early Christian punk band that seems to have only released live demos. I have really only heard about 4 songs by them up until now. Three of those were on here (“Being a Christian,” “I’ve Got Better Things to Do,” and “King Jesus”). The rest of the song titles I had to guess at. The funny thing is that you can hear someone say “hey, I have an AOTC tape in the car…” while they are playing the first song. It kind of shows how interconnected many of these early bands were. They seem to mix traditional punk with some skate punk and even a surf punk instrumental. I don’t know what the name of that instrumental is, so I just called it “Surf Instrumental.”

GVA stands for God’s Victorious Army. They were an early band that featured Burrito of The Warning, 8-Ball Cholos, etc. So they mix a lot of the chaos that Burrito is known for in with punk rock. I also can’t really hear the vocals so I have no idea to even guess what the song titles are. I basically named each track based on whatever words I could make out. It’s pretty cool, different music. I just have no idea what the song titles are (except for the last one that he announces).