ID – Identify Yourself

ID
Identify Yourself
1987 (no label)
Pleasanton, California, USA

Lisa McCann – Vocals
Paul Montoya – Guitars
Derek Shaffer – Keyboards
Scott Engel – Drums, vocals

Side 1:

  1. Identify Yourself
  2. Running
  3. Ages’ End
  4. Please Make Me Understand
  5. Images
  6. I Don’t Know Why
  7. Little Girl
  8. Judge
  9. Noah’s Ark
  10. Colors

Side 2:

  1. Rise Above
  2. So Your Good
  3. Mirror
  4. Can of Beans
  5. Unconditional Love
  6. Prince of Peace
  7. “23”

This is a very eclectic album. Also very long at 17 songs. It starts off with an alternative/space rock song, then jumps into a keyboard-ish heavy metal track, and continues to jump around from song to song to rock to alternative to metal to even some punk. At times it kind of reminds me of a bit more eclectic American version of Surprise Surprise. Most people would probably prefer to have some more focus, but I kind of enjoyed this.

No Laughing Matter – Volume One – Discernment

No Laughing Matter
Volume One – Discernment
1987 Worthless Records (WR-060)
Mesa, Arizona, USA

Scott Roman – Vocals, keyboards
Ted Worthless – Guitar
Rod Glaze – Bass
Nate Stiffer – Drums

Side 1:

  1. Wildest Dreams
  2. Thermodynamics
  3. Alone With You
  4. America (The Great Harlot)
  5. We Can’t
  6. Psychotic Wallpaper (Read Between the Lines)

Side 2:

  1. Two Preachers
  2. Discernment
  3. Itching Ears
  4. CF5 (Miracles)
  5. Don’t Patronise Me
  6. Chosen

No Laughing Matter gained some level of notoriety in the Christian music underground before finally signing with R.E.X. Music to re-release their Monstor demo tape. Apparently, that was too dark for the label that already had some pretty dark releases, so they parted ways. The sound on this tape is really dark, heavy gothic alternative. A lot of this kind of music was kicking around in the underground music scenes of the day, but very few Christian bands were into this. This and many of their early releases can be found on the Worthless Records blog for download – Except for their debut It Bites K-Mart Shoppers. That one was up for a bit, but I blinked and missed it. Anyone out there have a copy of it they would be willing to share?

Thee Underdogz – Demo

Thee Underdogz
Demo
1987 Independent
Los Angeles, California, USA

Terry Dawson – Vocals
Surfer Dan – Guitar, vocals
Louie Rodrigez – Bass, vocals
Ron Lee – Drums

Side 1:

  1. Last Generation
  2. Cult Club
  3. Santa Claus in Dead
  4. Death Cross
  5. Savior of the World
  6. You Drink Poison
  7. Sister Crack

Side 2:

  1. Christian Truth
  2. Awake O Sleeper
  3. Slaughterhouse Overthrow
  4. Running out of Time
  5. Out of the World

Thee Underdogz was an early Christian punk band from L.A. I had heard this demo before, but just wasn’t aware that they put it out in 1987. They mix some new wave and alternative influences here and there (like many other punk bands did back in the day), so the punk police snobs might wag some fingers at that. But these dogz would have fit on any punk comp back in the day, and I daresay they are better than some of the punk bands that made it onto Thrasher Skate Rock comps. Two of the members of this band went on to form S.S. (Soldiers of Salvation). Also, “You Drink Poison” is credited to two people that are not in the band – so it is either from an earlier version of the band, or it is a cover of another underground band I am not aware of.

Echo Theatre – Demo

Echo Theatre
Demo
1987 (no label)
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Tim McAlister

  1. Water Spill Down
  2. 10 Tears

I was surprised to see an Echo Theatre demo with a different cover than the one I have already heard. No new songs here, but they do seem to be slightly different versions of the same songs on their 4-song demo. That demo added “This Talk” and “Pain, Desire & Faith” to these two songs. Or maybe it took them away? I am not sure which demo came first – both are 1987. The sound here is the same moody alternative rock that you find bands like The Lonely Now doing. The cover shows four people in the band pics, but only McAlister is named.

Missing information: Who is in the band?

Paradox – Ruler

Paradox
Ruler
1987 (no label)
San Antonio, Texas, USA

Manuel Castillo – Lead vocals
Phil Galicia III – Vocals, bass, keyboards
Fernando Hernandez – Lead guitar
John Vidaurri – Rhythm guitar
Efrain Galicia – Drums

Side 1:

  1. Long Live the King
  2. Singing All Night
  3. We are the Temple
  4. Ruler

Side 2:

  1. Last Race
  2. Stand Up for Jesus
  3. Can’t You See
  4. You Must Be Saved

This is what appears to be the debut demo from San Antonio’s Paradox. This demo got some exposure back in the day due to the song “We are the Temple” being included on the Heaven’s Metal Cool Tunes compilation. This demo is more straight ahead power metal than the follow-up demo Power and Glory (that had some progressive metal leanings). They also had two guitarists on this demo, while it seems John left sometime after this was recorded. Still some killer metal here – they should have gone further back in the day.

Watchmen – Fear No Evil

Watchmen
Fear No Evil
1987 (no label)
Tacoma, Washington, USA

Greg Sweet – Vocals
Kevin Antholt – Keyboards
Doug Larson – Bass
Kevin Whisler – Drums
Dave Van Liew – Guitars

Side 1:

  1. Fear No Evil
  2. Tug of War
  3. Set Free
  4. The Healer

Side 2:

  1. Kingdom Come
  2. Power from the Lamb
  3. Christian Soldier
  4. His Song

Watchmen was one of many bands that signed to a small Christian label and released one album before disappearing (in this case, it was Generation on Regency Records). This demo was pre-label, and seems to sport a heavier sound than I remember the label release having. The sound here is commercial metal with a fair bit of neo-classical metal keyboards mixed with a Dio influence. It’s a really strong demo, so I see why they got signed. I seem to remember they went for a more straight commercial sound on their label release (one review claimed it was “cheesed out by their producer (heavy on synth and sax)” – which is too bad). I did a quick check of Generation on YouTube, and several songs have a Bloodgood influence, and there is some good metal on there – but the production does push the guitars too far down, and there are too many rock/mellow/sax songs. This demo is 7 songs of straight-up metal and then one metal power ballad.

Stephanie Loro – 1000 Songs to Sing

Stephanie Loro
1000 Songs to Sing
1987 (no label)
Glendale, Arizona, USA

Stephanie Loro – Lead and backup vocals, keyboards, drums

Side 1:

  1. Living in an Alien World
  2. Are We Falling
  3. Keri Come Home
  4. Rocks Me to My Feet
  5. Free From the Dark
  6. Lonely World

Side 2:

  1. Heartbeat of the City
  2. Out in the Night
  3. Born Again

Loro’s 3-song demo was a surprise to me, proving to be an interesting new wave collection. I wasn’t expecting to see any other demos from her, but here is apparently an earlier demo. This one has some more information, so I now know that Loro is a one-person project. Which, of course, makes all of this more impressive. This is 80s new wave with a few instances of leaning towards pop. Loro tried a few more types of songs here, and I am not sure if “Rocks Me to My Feet” works. But still pretty impressive for a DIY demo. Note that the last two songs on side 2 are not listed on the cover, but are earlier versions of the two best songs off of her next demo (which just added one more song to those two apparently). I am not sure if there is are any more demos after these two, but you never know.