Stone Vengeance – To Kill Evil

Stone Vengeance
To Kill Evil
1988 Lilac Records (LR1010)

Michael Coffey – Guitars, lead vocals (tracks 1, 3-5), lyrics (tracks 1, 3-5), arrangements
Anthony Starks – Bass, backing vocals, lead vocals (track 2), lyrics (track 2)
Darren Thompkins – Drums, backing vocals

Side 1:

  1. To Kill Evil
  2. Time is at Hand

Side 2:

  1. The Persecution
  2. Bullfight
  3. Malice

This is one of the earlier demos by Stone Vengeance. All of these songs here appeared later on their self-titled 1990 demo (which itself was re-issued on CD in 1988 with extra songs under the titled To Kill Evil). Most of these songs had also been released on various demos and rehearsal recordings before this one like Wrath Cometh. These songs are fast and furious mixes of speed and thrash metal. The songs on here are similar to the ones on the 1990 demo, but very different recordings of each song. There were siren and explosion sound effects in some of the songs in 1990 that were not here. “The Persecution” and “Bullfight” are noticeably shorter than later versions, while “Malice” is noticeably longer. “Bullfight” is also really different than the later version, but you can tell it is still the same song. Some great metal that probably should have gotten wider recognition.

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The Wake – Rock and Roll

The Wake
Rock and Roll
1988 (no label)
Porterville, California, USA

Gina Taylor – Vocals
Mike Taylor – Guitars
Eric Claussen – Additional guitars
Kevin D. Davis – Bass
Marty Dodson – Drums

Side 1:

  1. N.S.U.
  2. You Shake Me

Side 2:

  1. You’ve Got to Fight It
  2. Kick It

Honestly, I thought this would be some form of alternative or progressive rock based on the band name and cover. But it turns out it is female fronted heavy metal. They tend to blend in some progressive metal parts with some commercial metal parts in many songs. For example, the first track has guitar riffs and playing that leans progressive metal, while the verses definitely have a commercial metal style (guitar drops out while a plodding bass/drum mixture comes to the front). If you were to tell me that the guitarist was a huge Queensryche fan, while the main songwriter was a commercial metal fan, I would believe it. It’s a mixture that works well.

Paragon – Dead and Alive

 


Dead and Alive
1988 (no label)
Kingston, Washington, USA

Jeff Schronce – Guitar, vocals
Rod Banach – Bass
Paul Roraback – Drums

  1. Forsake All
  2. Roche De Ballade
  3. Give Him Glory
  4. Dead and Alive
  5. Heaven Metal

So this is the second demo (that I know of) from Paragon, a good 4 years or so after their Just Believe demo in 1988. Its hard to believe they went four years without another demo, but it could be so. The sound is also basically four plus years of musical evolution from 1984 – there are still some prog influences, but it seems they have shifted a bit from the traditional metal influences that were the rage in 1984 to a bit more of a commercial metal sound that was more popular in 1988. Paul Roraback went on to form Grammatrain after this, while Jeff Schronce formed a band called Thresh.

Stephen Wiley – Rap It Up

Stephen Wiley
Rap It Up
1988 Brentwood Contemporary (C-5058N)
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, USA

Stephen Wiley – Vocals
Mike Barnes – All music, except:
Brett Teegarden – Music on “Where Will I Go” and “Why I Rap”
Kim Lucas – Background vocals on “Where Will I Go?”
Glenda Barclay – Background vocals on “Where Will I Go?”

Side 1:

  1. Intro Rap
  2. Heroes
  3. Big Man
  4. Best Friend
  5. The Rock

Side 2:

  1. Where Will I Go?
  2. Stand (Ephesians 6:10-20)
  3. Why I Rap
  4. Fourth Man (Daniel 3)

This was the full-length debut from Stephen Wiley. It was also one of the first full-length Christian Rap albums. The Rap’Sures was technically the first – but that was more of a kids album for kids that were into rap. Then there was Roy Suthard’s album – but that was about it. I don’t think Roy Suthard’s was on a mainstream Christian label with national distribution – so this is probably the first full length rap album for all ages that Christians saw in Christian bookstores across the nation. Unfortunately, the tape that I have of this has seen better days – the last two songs on side one are a bit warbly. But still, for those that like early cheesy rap – this is quite the Holy Grail. There were the singles Bible Break and Rappin’ for Jesus before this tape, and he followed this tape up with Get Real in 1989.

Shekinah Bros – Demo #1 / Demo # 2

Shekinah Bros
Demo #1 / Demo # 2
1988 / 1989 (no label)

Jerry Andrews

Side 1 (Demo #1 – March 1988):

  1. Joy Pt 1
  2. Lamb of God
  3. So Wonderful
  4. The Bell
  5. Joy Pt 2

Side 2 (Demo #2 – January 1989):

  1. Slippery Floor
  2. One Day
  3. The Bystanders
  4. Dreaming of You

I recently had an email chat with Jeani Bond (of Key Records / Regeneration Radio fame) about The Children. She pointed out that Jerry Andrews of The Children also put out a solo demo and several demos as Shekinah Bros. Then when looking through some tapes to digitize – what did I notice one of them was? Yep – this one. Jeani had described these as a bit more acoustic than The Children – which is a good way to describe the songs. They are less electric guitar oriented, but still within the general alternative rock arena. All there is about this tape is what is pictured on the tape above. Side one is apparently demo #1 from 1988, and side two is demo #2 from 1989. There are several more out there after this one. Since this is called “Bros” I am guessing there is at least one other “bro” in addition to Andrews? Either way, this is a very solid set of demos with really good song writing and musicianship.

Missing Information: Who played on these demos in addition to Andrews (or was it all him)?

Johnny J. Blair – Train Tracks in the Snow

Johnny J. Blair
Train Tracks in the Snow
1988 (no label)
San Francisco, California, USA

Johnny J. Blair – Lead vocals, harmony vocals, guitar, bass, banjo, drums, drum programs, keyboards, percussives, and violins. Except where noted.

Side 1:

  1. Open the Presents
  2. Green-on-Red / Frontiers of Love
  3. Silent Night
  4. When the Snow Came Down
  5. Jingle Bells 1 & 2
  6. What’s Been Done
  7. Lose It – Find It
  8. Winterlude
  9. I Love You So Much

Side 2:

  1. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
  2. Do Ya Want To Know It?
  3. We Pay Our Dues
  4. A Frosty Picnic on Aran
  5. Sequel to the Sequel
  6. Circles and Cycles
  7. Helicopters Over the Glacier
  8. A Small Atlas is a Perfect Gift
  9. Seems Like It’s Time
  10. I’ve Been Workin’ on the Railroad
  11. Train Tracks on White Fields

This is a collection of Christmas songs and Christmas-related songs. A few of these songs are covers of well-known tunes, or re-recorded versions of songs from Door in the Water and Yellow House. The styles are all over the place – from acoustic to rock to alternative to Celtic to a capella to all kinds of other styles. It is kind of a collection of tunes as much as a singular album. However, Blair is a very talented musician and songwriter, so any collection of his will showcase all he has to offer. I believe I have said this before, but he is still making music, so be sure to check out his BandCamp page for new music as he releases it.

A.W.S.M. Presents

A.W.S.M. Presents
1988 (no label)
Orangevale, California, USA

  1. First Strike – Runnin’
  2. The Blitz Band – No Party in Hell
  3. Final Chapter – White Horse
  4. Inside Track – 18 Inches

This is basically a compilation demo by the Associated Writers, Singers, and Musicians group. I really hadn’t heard most of these except for “No Party in Hell.” I thought it was a 77s track, but here it says The Blitz Band? Turns out, it was a 77s tune written by Mark Proctor that was going to be on All Fall Down until Mark Proctor left the band. He encouraged them to still record it, but they didn’t. So he formed The Blitz Band and recorded it. Apparently they have about 10 other songs on demos out there somewhere. The sound is heavily AC/DC influenced. I had never heard the First Strike song, either – turns out it was on a final demo of theirs I have never heard called 1990. Need to track that down. This song seems more melodic and less metal than their 1987 demo Crank It Up! First Chapter is probably the closest to traditional heavy metal on the compilation. Inside Track is a female-fronted keyboard drive alternative-ish rock band. Not sure what became of A.W.S.M. (doesn’t exactly roll of the tongue), but this was a decent sampler of bands.