Blackhouse – Pro-Life

1984 Ladd-Frith

Sterling Cross
Ivo Cutler
Roger Farrell

Side 1:

  1. Born Again
  2. Love
  3. Jesus Loves You
  4. Always By Your Side
  5. Long Live Life ….into…. The One Truth
  6. Pro-Life

Side 2:

  1. Power of the Lion
  2. Go (Positive Path)
  3. Prayer
  4. Apparition ….into…. Abolition of Strife
  5. Be Good

Pro-Life was the first Blackhouse album released way back in 1984. It has been re-issued on cassette, CD, vinyl, and digital many times since then, sometimes with extensive bonus tracks. Sometimes it is listed just with one long track for each side (side one is labeled as “No Rhythm” and side 2 is labeled as “Pro-Rhythm”). They followed this one up with their second album Hope Like a Candle also in 1984. So the labels for the sides are pretty accurate. The first side is noise industrial often without much discernible rhythm. The second side has rhythm to it. It’s all made with various distorted vocals, sounds, random percussion noises, and guitar (or guitar-like) screeches and noises (plus some programmed rhythms on side 2). The next to last track on both sides are longer tracks that end up being two songs that run together (sometimes listed separately on some versions).

Paragon – Just Believe

Just Believe
1984 (no label)
Kingston, Washington, USA

Jeff Schronce – Lead vocals, guitar
Dave Schmidt – Bass, keyboards
Paul Roraback – Drums, percussion, backing vocals

  1. Just Believe
  2. Why are There So Many Sinners?
  3. Choose One Master

Paragon was a traditional heavy metal band with prog influences. As a band, they are probably most well known as having their song “Why are There So Many Sinners?” on the Underground Metal compilation in 1988. Of course, most people that read this blog are probably familiar with drummer Paul Roraback’s other band: Grammatrain. Jeff Schronce also formed a band called Thresh after Paragon as well. Interesting that both of them started here and then parted ways and both ended up in grunge bands. Of course, this demo was recorded the mid-1980s, and grunge was not really a thing at this time. I am guessing Queenscryche had more influence as far as local bands go – but Roraback’s major Rush influence is really more on display here. In 1988 they released another demo called Dead and Alive, but none of the songs on this demo made it on to that one.

The Smyrna Band – New Day

The Smyrna Band
New Day
1984 Cherry Grove Records (SCR009)
Black Mountain, North Carolina, USA

  1. New Day
  2. I Have Been Thru the Fire
  3. The Way You Do
  4. Love Like There’s No Tomorrow
  5. You Keep Me Runnin’

This was kind of a surprise. I didn’t know there were any other Smyrna Band albums other that the 3 that I have already covered. Makes you wonder if there are any more? The sound here is still rock, but to my hears it leans a bit more towards country rock of The Eagles and maybe some classic 50s rock than their other hard rock or new wave leanings. “I Have Been Thru the Fire“ was re-recorded as “Thru the Fire” on the Morada Records version of In the Deep of the Night, but I don’t think the rest of the songs here appear anywhere else. As with many of their other releases, there is no list of who played on this.

Missing Information: who played on this?

The Smyrna Band – In the Deep of the Night (lp)

The Smyrna Band
In the Deep of the Night
1984 Morada Records (MZS 168)
Black Mountain, North Dakota, USA

Ron Thompson – Vocals, guitar
Tim Bode – Keyboards
Steve Senn – Drums, vocals

Side 1:

  1. In the Deep of the Night
  2. Disneyland USA
  3. Two Sides
  4. Borrowed Time
  5. Never Gets Cold

Side 2:

  1. Rejoice
  2. I Once Was a Man
  3. Vision
  4. Thru the Fire
  5. I See Jesus

So, technically I got this as a record instead of a tape. But I saw it on sale in a clearance list at a cheap price and decided to grab it to see how it compares to the EP version. It seems that having a full label behind the band helped them put out a higher quality project. The sound here is basically 80s rock, maybe with a slight new wave/alternative rock leaning. A little light and normal compared to what I usually listen to, but to be honest – I really like it. “In the Deep of the Night,” “Disneyland USA,” “Two Sides,” and “Never Gets Cold” are all repeated from the ep. They are pretty much the same versions of the songs, just different recordings.

The Smyrna Band – In the Deep of the Night

The Smyrna Band
In the Deep of the Night
1984 Cherry Groove Records (SCR006)
Black Mountain, North Carolina, USA

  1. In the Deep
  2. Disneyland, USA
  3. Two Sides
  4. Final Notice
  5. The Game
  6. Never Gets Old

So this is an interesting album. It has the same record label name that Roy Suthard (rap) and One Accord (new jack swing) are on – but it is rock music that borders on hard rock. Also, this record label is in North Carolina, whereas the later releases has the label being in South Carolina. Did the label move? Or is it just a coincidence? Also, this is a 6-song ep, but there is also a full-length album by this band with the same album name on Morada Records in 1984 as well – with four of the six songs from this demo on there (and 6 new songs added). Weird. Usually I don’t hate or love these borderline hard rock releases, but this one has some good song writing and quality musicians, so it works well. It’s like they are doing the sound they like the most, rather than trying too hard to be rock like some other bands in this style end up sounding like. There was also another ep in 1985 on Lamb Records.

Missing Information: Who played on this?

Matrix – Monkey See Monkey Do

Monkey See Monkey Do
1984 (no label)
West Point, Kentucky, USA

Dale Thompson
Troy Thompson

Side 1:

  1. Hero’s
  2. Now He is Gone
  3. Remember Me
  4. Now You See Me (Now You Don’t)
  5. All Hallow’s Eve

Side 2:

  1. Slipin’ Into the Light
  2. We are Going to Make It
  3. Forever in Darkness
  4. He’s a Flyer
  5. Follow Your Heart

This is a well-known demo of band that was signed and changed their name to Bride. Since they have released all these songs on various demo collections, why include it here? Because a lot of the information out there is wrong. Some of those collections claimed to have all of the songs on two of the Matrix demos when they really didn’t. Some websites made song lists from those collections assuming they were correct when they really weren’t. The song list above is the correct song order. Some earlier compilations replaced “Now He is Gone” with “Fright,” “Forever in Darkness” with “Look at Me Now,” and “Follow Your Heart” with “What Must I Do.” The three songs used to replace the original ones were from the Matrix demo Silent Madness. Several of the songs here made it on to later Bride albums. “Now He is Gone,” “Forever in Darkness,” and “Follow Your Heart” were re-recorded for Show No Mercy in 1986. “Heroes” was re-recorded for Live to Die in 1988. “All Hallow’s Eve” was re-recorded for Silence is Madness in 1989. After saying all of that, I would still say this is a great early 80s metal demo – you can see why they were signed back in the day.

Missing Information: Who all played on this demo?

Paul Johnson – Escape to Reality

Paul Johnson
Escape to Reality
1984 Hepcat (HC 10)
Vista, California, USA

Paul Johnson – Guitars, bass, and linndrums

Side 1:

  1. Scouse
  2. The Magnificant
  3. Front Edge of Time
  4. Before the Feasttime
  5. Kingdom Come
  6. Gird Thy Sword On

Side 2:

  1. Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus
  2. The Truth
  3. Joyful Blues
  4. La Tierra Santa
  5. Escape to Reality

This is an early release by Paul Johnson, who went on to release a couple of albums for Frontline Records. In fact, a few of the songs here were re-recorded for those albums. This is instrumental surf rock, from a time in the early 80s when the sound was enjoying a sort of revival in pop music. I kind of remember that time, but it was a short blip. I do not know much about this genre in general, but you can tell that Johnson is a skilled guitarist. This is not the shred guitar instrumental music that many are used to with metal instrumental albums. It is surf rock, and a good example of such. Seems that Johnson had a lot of releases like this as well. You can get a CD with this tape and bonus tracks online.

Paul Johnson is currently battling cancer and could use your help.