The Warning – A Virgin in the Midst of Whores

The Warning
A Virgin in the Midst of Whores
1988 (no label)
Victorville, California, USA

Burrito – Vocals
Tracy G – All music and production

  1. Burn in Hell
  2. Simple Simon
  3. Instrumental
  4. Let’s Go to Church
  5. Instrumental
  6. A Virgin in the Midst of Whores
  7. What Will You Do
  8. Whatever Happened to Love
  9. Solid Rock
  10. The Rapture

For those not familiar with The Warning, they were a controversial metal band led by Burrito, and featuring Tracey G (Dio, etc) on guitars. The music on this follow-up demo to Repent or Die! is still chaotic, heavy, and random. It was kind of the pre-cursor for 8-Ball Cholos, but more thrash and metal oriented. They were kind of the main band for the Radicals for Christ group, which Burrito also led. The main controversy came from their lyrics and cover art (see above – Pride is Jerry Falwell, Ego is Jimmy Swaggart, Phony is Tammy Faye Bakker, 666 is Pope John Paul II, Lust$ is Jim Bakker, Virgin is Jesus Christ). They basically like to tell people all they are doing wrong and how evil they are for not living up to the band’s religious standards. Lots of finger pointing and then telling others they are wrong for being… well… finger pointers. The music is pretty cool, and the lyrics are tolerable if you take it as a warning of the dangers of fundamentalist evangelicalism (a group that generally rejects this kind of music as “Satanic,” ironically). So, the original cover was controversial (even though I think it is awesome), so they also released a censored version of the cover below. The weird thing is that the sonics are a bit cleaner on the censored cover version (even though still muffled). This demo was followed by Cut the Crap/Garbage! in 1989/1990.


Sentry – Breakin’ Free

Breakin’ Free
1988 (no label)
Poughkeepsie, New York, USA

Dave McCreary – Lead vocals, guitars
Tim Knepper – Keyboards
Steve Knepper – Bass
Jeff Stewart – Drums, vocals

  1. Shout the Word
  2. Real Love
  3. To Go My Own Way
  4. Shattered Lives

This is the debut demo (as far as I can tell) from Sentry, a year before Sick of Darkness. This one seems a bit heavier on the keyboards than the later demo – even going into a power ballad at the second track. I love how the picture of the band on the cover above features each one of them in different metal eras. The guy on the top left is a “mid-80s Bon Jovi/Europe” look. The guy on the top right is “early 80s metal pre-Quiet Riot” mode. Bottom left is late 70s Van Halen/Scorpions dude. Then the bottom right is “early 80s / thought he was in an AOR band” guy. The top left and bottom right guy are probably the ones that got the sound most right at least.

Lost & Found – Welcome to the Real World

Lost & Found
Welcome to the Real World
1988 Under the Influence Records
Monrovia, California, USA

Scott Walters – Lead vocals
Ted Hoehne – Guitars, vocals
Larry Trainor – Guitars, vocals
Brian Mercer – Vocals, keyboards
Greg Hudson – Bass, vocals
Alison Cate – drums

Side 1:

  1. Welcome to the Real World
  2. Going All the Way
  3. Hear Me
  4. Make It Real
  5. Wait of the World

Side 2:

  1. I’m So Glad
  2. How Long?
  3. Never Alone
  4. Smoke Screen
  5. All the World

I have heard this tape before, but I couldn’t remember if it was heavy metal or not. The cover certainly looks metal. But its not metal at all really. This is 80s rock, AOR, whatever you want to call it. Which they do well – don’t get me wrong. This is just a bit too light for some – they never really go beyond the 80s White Heart level of heaviness. But the 80s sound is strong with this one, so it also hits the nostalgia buttons for many as well. This was apparently issued on CD, vinyl, and tape back in the day, which was a kind of rare combination. It also seems it was re-issued on CD in 2009 with two bonus tracks (on a label that isn’t known for always having the legal rights to re-issue the albums they do, FYI).

Garth Hewitt – Nero’s Watching Video

Garth Hewitt
Nero’s Watching Video
1988 BrierPatch Music (BPM3001)
United Kingdom

Garth Hewitt – Vocals, acoustic guitar on “No One is an Island,” harmonica on “Freedom Fighter,” backing vocals on “Namarimbe”
Bryn Haworth – Acoustic guitar, mandolin, backing vocals, Slide guitar on “No One is an Island,” dobro on “Living Under the Mercy”
Tom Blades – Acoustic guitars, electric guitars, movement drum computer, steel drums on “Namarimbe”
Mick Parker – Piano, organ, synthesizer, vocoder, steel drums on “Zachariah the Zulu”
Luis Jardim – Bass, percussion
Paul Robinson – Drums

Jan Pulsford – Synthesizers and movement drum computer on “Nero’s Watching Video,” backing vocals on “Namarimbe”
Pete Wilshire – Pedal steel guitar on “Freedom Fighter”
Linda Jardim – Backing vocals on “Namarimbe”

Side 1:

  1. Nero’s Watching Video
  2. Freedom Fighter
  3. Water, Water
  4. Zachariah the Zulu
  5. Living Under the Mercy

Side 2:

  1. Namarimbe
  2. Rainbow Over Kampala
  3. So Much Better
  4. No One is an Island
  5. Road to Freedom

This tape started off as a bit of a surprise. I tend to think of Garth Hewitt as a folk rock / roots rock / singer-songwriter artist. But the first song here is pretty much new wave, reminiscent of Steve Taylor. But just as you begin to wonder if Hewitt had made an entire new wave album, it pretty much starts and stops with that one song. Too bad there weren’t at least a few more in the style – it is pretty good. However, once you make the jump in your mind, the rest of the album is a quality roots rock album. There are also several world music influences throughout the album, as Hewitt sings many protest songs about the way we treat our world and the people in it.

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.

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.