Autumn Rose – Autumn Rose

Autumn Rose
Autumn Rose
1988 (no label)
Orange County, California, USA

Michael Misiuk – Vocals, guitars
John Magness – Drums
Laura Misiuk – BGV’s

  1. I Will Be There
  2. In Love Again
  3. I Surrender

So there really wasn’t much information on this demo, but at some point I came across the member list online somewhere. Michael and Laura Misiuk would go on to form Acoustic Shack after this demo. You can definitely tell it is them on this demo, although the sound here is closer to Michael’s later work in the Kreepdowns. There is also a noticeable influence of early Violet Burning, which would make sense as the Misiuk’s were connected to Michael Pritzl (Laura is his sister, and Michael has been a member of the band). None of these songs made it on to Acoustic Shack albums, and as far as I know their next recording was the 1990 Acoustic Shack demo. Michael also had at least one solo demo before this called The Bride sometime around 1986 that I have never heard.

Trio of One – Beginning is Half Done

Trio of One
Beginning is Half Done
1988 (no label)
Watauga, Texas, USA

Ezra Boggs – Vocals
Paul Averitt – Guitar
John Thomasson – Electric bass, acoustic bass
Sean Phillips – Drums, percussion

Side 1:

  1. The Rain
  2. Alternatives of Circumstance
  3. Die Daily

Side 2:

  1. Spread Your Wings

Trio of One was an alternative rock band that liked to experiment some with longer form songs. You also might remember them from the Light From the Underground Volume 1 compilation in 1994. This was a much earlier demo, and none of these songs made it onto the compilation six years later. So I am guessing that means there are several other demos possibly out there. Even though this was the late 80s, the band was already doing some of the types of alternative that became more popular in the 90s, also mixed with various other styles like funk. I hope some of the stuff they did between this and 1994 will turn up, as it is quite good.

Apostle – Hymns

1988 (no label)
Jacksonville, Florida, USA

Matt Harding – All guitars, vocals
Ray Schmidt – Bass
David Paul McKee – Drums

Side 1:

  1. Hymns
  2. Vanguard
  3. Dragon Slayer
  4. I Am Persuaded
  5. The Sword

Side 2:

  1. Unlimited Power
  2. Split the Sky
  3. Waiting
  4. Holy Soldier

Sometimes it is a bit hard to tell the different Apostle tapes apart. They are all really good power/classical metal. But they also tend to have the same format: start off with an instrumental keyboard song, blast into a metal song with vocals, shred away for a total of nine songs. Hymns seems to be different from its predecessor Chariots of Iron. It starts off with three instrumentals before launching into a song with vocals. The second and third instrumentals are full band. So a totally different format… 🙂 I’m kidding, of course, but it does make it seem like you have an instrumental album for quite a while. They really do this style of metal well – I can see why people always want to see these demos released on CD. To my ears, these songs sound a bit rougher than the ones were later re-issued on the Chariots of Iron / Hymns cassette in 1994, so these songs were probably remixed or maybe just remastered for that release. After this tape, there was a self-titled release in 1989, while Matt Harding also went solo with Matt Harding’s Steel Armada also in 1989.

Martyr – Imminent Warfare

Imminent Warfare
1988 (no label)
Redondo Beach, California, USA

Prado – Lead vocals, bass
Michael “Bones” Van Asch – Lead guitars, rhythm guitars, acoustic guitars, background vocals
Marcus N. Colon – Lead guitars, rhythm guitars, acoustic guitars, background vocals
John Waldron – Drums, background vocals

Josh Kramer – Additional background vocals
Chris Ackerman – Additional background vocals

  1. Abomination
  2. C if U Like This
  3. Plead the Blood
  4. Imminent Warfare

So this is the second demo and second line-up for Martyr. Both of the guitarists and the drummer from 1987’s Death is Dead are no longer in the band. It also seems that Van Asch and Waldron would leave before 1989’s Frantic. Some of the song titles on here might sound familiar, as it seems that guitarist Marcus Colon took “Plead the Blood” with him when he formed Betrayal. The sound here is pretty much 80s thrash, with lots of fire and a good amount of speed. They even touch on some speed metal in the last song. It seems that all four of the songs here made it on to their Wickenstraut compilation in 1993.

Steve Smith & Born Again – The Mind is a Battlefield

Steve Smith & Born Again
The Mind is a Battlefield
1988 Patmos Records
Marysville, California, USA

Steve Smith – Vocals
Debbie Smith – Vocals
Patty Baker – Vocals
Gray Jason – Guitars
Wyman Harrell – Guitars
Rodney Waters – Bass
Gary Brewster – Drums

Side 1:

  1. The Mind is a Battlefield
  2. Holy Lord
  3. Hand of the Lord
  4. Messiah

Side 2:

  1. Starting Over
  2. I Stand
  3. I Can’t Help It
  4. Reap the Fields

So this one starts off with an impressive Journey-esque near hard rocker that makes you think you are going to get a nice slab of AOR. It is on the same label as Philadelphia and Terms of Peace as well. But they take a hard mellow turn into a ballad for song two, which is not a bad thing, but it kind of shoots down the AOR thing. In fact, several songs like “Holy Lord” sounds like they could have been on an 80s praise and worship CD. They never really come back to the sound of the first track, mainly staying with fairly tame rock. Well-played and written rock, but it seems weird to have two guitarists and not rock out more. “I Can’t Help It” is probably where they come the closest to rocking out again.

Seraiah – Soldier of Jehovah

Soldier of Jehovah
1988 (no label)
Marion, Indiana, USA

David J. McClung – Lead vocals
Quinton Gibsom – All guitars, backing vocals
Michael McClung – Bass, backing vocals
Kyle Dietz – Drums

Side 1:

  1. Rock Without Sin
  2. Known in Hell

Side 2:

  1. Never Have to Say Goodbye Again
  2. The Light

Seraiah gained some sense of notoriety in the Christian metal realm by starting off as a Motley Crue-influenced glam rock band, but going more and more pop after that. This demo is probably the most metal they ever were. The sound ranges from glam metal to sleaze hard rock – kind of a mixture of sunset strip sounds from Junkyard to Motley Crue. Which is kind of weird considering how pop metal they went after this. For example, the opening song “Rock Without Sin” is commercial metal somewhere between Crue and Guardian, while “Known in Hell” is heavily AC/DC influenced like Dangerous Toys or Junkyard. None of the songs from this tape made it on to Carnival World or Seraiah.

Dan H – Shadow

Dan H
1988 (no label)
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

All Songs written by Dan Huisinga

Side 1:

  1. Shadow
  2. Just Like You
  3. Stars Fill the Night
  4. Penny
  5. Waste of It All

Side 2:

  1. Borders
  2. Find Myself
  3. Oracle
  4. Little Worlds

This is about the 8th or so tape by prolific artist Dan H (falling somewhere in time between The Line in 1988 and Golden Streets in 1989). I can’t tell if all of the songs were preformed by Dan, or if he had a band. The drums do sound like maybe they are programmed, but it was also the 80s so you never know. However, this tape is in line with many of his past tapes: quality 80s alternative rock with strong bass lines (that could also be keyboards – maybe?), keyboard layers, chiming minimalist guitars, etc. It sounds a bit like I am describing U2, but really that is not the biggest influence here. I would say its closer to The Smiths meets The Police while leaning a bit more to the pop side.