Christ-Win’s Band – Smokin’ Crack

Christ-Win’s Band
Smokin’ Crack
1985 C-Wins Records (112)

Win Thompkins – Songwriter, producer, and ???
Troy Thompkins – Guitars
John Simcic – Tracks(?)

Side 1:

  1. Highest Praise
  2. From Rock to Rock
  3. Trading Rings
  4. He’s a Heroe

Side 2:

  1. Smoking Crack
  2. God is Every Good Thing
  3. Candidate for Jesus

With a band name and demo name like this, I was expecting something out there. Maybe a bad attempt at heavy metal, or even a humorous blues bar band or something. This is really mostly rock music with some electro-funk leanings here and there, as well as a slight reggae sound occasionally. Also a slight blues influence on the guitar solos. So I guess I had that part right. Also, there is some confusion over who did what on this tape. Are Troy and Win the same person, or different? If different, I assume Win also did the vocals? What does “Tracks” mean? Did John do all other instruments on a keyboard? Because it sounds like that might be the case. So was it Win on vocals (since the band is named after him), Troy on guitars, and John doing everything else?

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Chariot – Tell the World

Chariot
Tell the World
1985 (no label)
Sharpes, Florida, USA

Paul Aviles – Vocals
Louis Filardo – Guitar, vocals
Jim Pappadeas – Bass
Bruce Fleming – Drums

Side 1:

  1. Constant Confusion
  2. Don’t Forget the Love
  3. I Can See
  4. One More for Heaven
  5. On and On
  6. Look
  7. Survive

Side 2:

  1. Go Tell the World
  2. For You

If you are a fan of underground Christian metal, you have probably heard of a band called Chariot that put out a demo called Step Into Light. When I saw this demo, I checked the Chariot bios online, but they didn’t list this one. Since the card inside says “Christian Rock” and not metal, I assumed it was not the same band and set it aside for later. But coming back to it, I checked the details and found that this, in fact, the same Chariot. So this seems to be an early unknown demo by the band. And when listening to this, it is heavy metal – kind of the classic rock influenced traditional metal of the mid-80s. Think somewhere between early Saint and early Daniel band. And they do a good job of playing and song writing as well.

Rama – The Plan

Rama
The Plan
1985 (no label)
Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, USA

Tome “Swing” Milnes – Lead guitars, vocals
Jerry Wiley – Guitars, vocals
Jeff Wiley – Bass, vocals
Jay Wiley – Keyboards, vocals
Harold “Dynamic” Laderer – Drums

Side 1:

  1. Jesus Loves Rama
  2. The Plan
  3. Follow Jesus
  4. Always
  5. Jesus in Me

Side 2:

  1. Roll Away the Stone
  2. Someone to Talk to
  3. Star
  4. Follow the Son
  5. It’s Not Too Late

I was expecting some kind of 80s music based on the cover, and they definitely have a lot of that on this album. The first song is about… well, how Rama (the band) will set-up their instruments, preach at you through music, and convince you that… Jesus loves Rama (the band) and that Rama loves Jesus. Then there is a call for believers to sing Hallelujah if they believe. All over the place lyrically – they could have used a lot of help with focusing on one main message per song. The sound is 80s keyboard rock music with slight new wave and pop leanings. Sometimes the vocal choices don’t work out, and several places the instruments fumble. But still enjoyable for fans of this era. Seems like this was a band of three brothers/cousins/etc?

The Smyrna Band – Raise Up the Standard

The Smyrna Band
Raise Up the Standard
1985 Lamb Records (LA-1211-C)
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA

Side 1:

  1. Raise Up the Standard
  2. Red Line
  3. Straight for the Heart

Side 2:

  1. Hard Days
  2. Ask Me Now
  3. You Can’t Run

The Smyrna Band returns with their second EP. This one starts off sounding like they have gone lighter/more pop than their last album with the fist track, but then they change course on the next two songs. Both of those sound a bit heavier than their last EP. Then it is two more light pop rock songs, and finally a return to hard rock on the album closer. I didn’t like this one quite as much as the first EP, but it was still a solid EP. I just need to find copy of their full length album to see where that one falls in the pop rock/hard rock spectrum. Also, it seems that the mystery of the label from the last EP was solved here – it really is the same Cherry Grove Records that put out Roy Suthard. The address for the band is now in Myrtle Beach, SC. It seems that decided to start putting out other music after the move?

Missing Information: who played what on this ep?

Azusa Street Band – Yield

Azusa Street Band
Yield
1985 Morada Records (MZS-332)
Pontiac, Michigan, USA

Steve Hall – Lead vocals, lead and rhythm guitars
Dave Yarnall – Roland JX3P, Yamaha DX7, acoustic piano, CP35; lead vocals on “Shoulder” and “First Hello”
Randy Meador – Rhythm and lead guitars, backing vocals
Bill Curton – Electric bass, backing vocals
Mark Orr – Drums, percussion

Side 1:

  1. Something So Simple
  2. It’s Up to You
  3. Satan’s Pushover
  4. Shoulder to Cry On
  5. Head Above the Water

Side 2:

  1. Selling Out
  2. First Hello Last Goodbye
  3. Who’s Fooling You
  4. Second Chance
  5. Why be Normal

This is a rare release on a label that was known for heavier releases by bands like Saint and Messiah Prophet, as well as several lighter releases. This release is compared to Messiah Prophet and 911 on one site. Maybe 911 – but this is not really heavy metal at all. It is rock that goes into hard rock category at times. Add a bit harder edge on several songs to make this have a few head-bangers would make this tape more my style, but still not bad at all. In the mid-80s, there was a huge audience for this kind of rock, so it’s not like the band was missing out on anything by going for a less heavy approach.

Matrix – Silent Madness

Matrix
Silent Madness
1985 (no label)
West Point, Kentucky, USA

Dale Thompson
Troy Thompson
(others?)

Side 1:

  1. What Must I Do?
  2. Fright
  3. Rebel on the Run
  4. Song Master
  5. Look at Me Now

Side 2:

  1. Mirror, Mirror
  2. Child of Dreams
  3. Fly Away
  4. Melissa
  5. The First Will Be Last

This was the third of the four Matrix demos that they released before signing to Pure Metal records and changing names to Bride. There has been a lot of confusion over these demos, as several CDs have been released claiming to be the “complete” collection of Matrix demos… when they were not. I finally got my hands on the actual tape and made a rip myself, since all of the collections out there tend to be wrong in some ways. The style is early 80s heavy metal, not too far from what they recorded on the debut Bride album. The cover for this is actually a standard picture from a normal camera that was cropped down to size – and no liner notes. It seems they might have used different images for different copies. “Fly Away” and “The First Will Be Last” were re-recorded for Show No Mercy. “Fright” and “Look at Me Now” were both released as bonus tracks on the Silence is Madness re-issue from 2000, while “What Must I Do?” and “Fright” made it on to the M8 release The Matrix Years. “Melissa” was also on the 2014 collection The Matrix Years by Retroactive Records – but it was a different version that sounded more like late-80s Bride than Matrix.

Missing Information: Who all played on this demo?

Royal Rendezvous – 7Trax

Royal Rendezvous
7Trax
1985 Ears & Eyes Productions (EEMC 035)
Surrey, England, United Kingdom

Mike King – Guitar, lead vocals
Mary King – Keyboards
Paul McArdle – Bass, backing vocal
Dave Meseg – Drums and percussion

Side 1:

  1. Racing
  2. More and More of You
  3. Lifeline Dover
  4. Future in His Hands

Side 2:

  1. Kingdom Come
  2. Ransom Paid
  3. I’ll Be There

7Trax actually is the name of the series that this tape is in – as the inside of the tape cover promotes two other releases in the series. However, the only two references to this tape online I can find call it “7trax,” so I will do so also for consistency. The sound here is very 80s – soaring keyboards, electronic sounding drums, and minimal strumming guitars. To be honest, this is mostly rock, but it leans just enough new wave to get me to call it new wave just because that is cooler and more definite. Most of the songs that are on here sound like the other tracks that were on 80s music soundtracks after the Kenny Loggins ones – you know, the ones that were good enough to set a “hip movie” vibe, but not rocking enough to compete with Kenny. I actually really like this demo – they play well and get a current (in an 80s sense that is) pop sound down pretty well.