Amnos – Parables of Madness

Parables of Madness
1996 (no label)
Surrey, British Columbia, Canada

Steve Bifford – Vocals, rhythm guitars
Cory Griffmore – Bass guitars
Jim Galga – Lead guitars, rhythm guitars
Joe – Drums

Side 1:

  1. Parables of Madness
  2. Exist

Side 2:

  1. Soothsayer
  2. Frustrated

Second demo by this thrash metal band – a year after their Love Songs in D Minor demo. They are still going for that mid-era Mortification sound, maybe a bit more thrashier than Mort. I also hear some influences from Believer as well in songs like “Exist.” Seems that the band is an entirely new one behind Steve for this demo. But they still dial in that killer thrash riff for song after song.

Soterios – Demo

1996 (no label)
North Carolina, USA


Side 1:

  1. Apocalyptic Season
  2. Depart
  3. Cry of the Martyrs

Side 2:

  1. Sentenced Acquittal
  2. Walk
  3. Hate Hate

The intro to this demo reminds you of how many people were really convinced that the rapture was going to happen any day now… over 20 years ago. This demo is a mixture of death, thrash, hardcore, and maybe even a touch of nu-metal. At one time is was announced they would release an album for Morphine Records, but I don’t think that happened. Also not sure if this is the same band that released The Blinding Pain of Unspoken Words on Clenched Fist Records in 2001 – but it seems to be in the same stylistic field as the label, so I am assuming it is.

Missing Information: Who played on this?

Devout – Martyrdom

1996 (no label)
Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

Kim Carter – Guitars, backing vocals
Shane Kennerley – Bass guitar, lead vocals

Chris – Drums
Rob Harper – Bass and vocals on “Judgement Distorted” and “Scolded in Evil”
James Dixon – Vocals on the first verse of “Martyrdom”

Side 1:

  1. Martyrdom
  2. From the Crypt

Side 2:

  1. Judgement Distorted
  2. Scolded in Evil

Don’t let the spoken word intro to the first song fool you – this is brutal death/doom metal. Of course, that is pretty obvious from the front cover. Also, don’t let the upside down cross on the front cover fool you as well – it is a reference to the martyrdom of Peter, who was crucified upside down. Apparently there was some controversy about that back in the day. They were also looking for a drummer when this was recorded – they thank someone named Chris for playing drums here, but don’t give a last name. It seems they did not release anything else until 2006’s Dissention.

Tempestuous All – Ponderings

Tempestuous All
1996 137 Records
Wheaton, Illinois, USA

Brian C. Jones – Electronic wizard, vocals, general nuisance
Scott D. Lee – Apprentice, graphics, public relations

Scott Barrett – Guitars
Heavy Cat – Violin on “The Tree”

Side 1:

  1. Innocence
  2. The Tree
  3. Thou Shalt not Lie

Side 2:

  1. Who I Am
  2. What Does It Mean
  3. Mother

I was a bit worried about this tape. It appears that someone in the past got the tape twisted while rewinding it, meaning it was all upside down. I had to slowly fix one twist, unwind until I found the corresponding twist (which was near the end of the tape), and fix that. It could have really messed up the tape doing all of this, but luckily it did not (other than two pieces of slight garble where the actual twist was). Whew! I had never heard this tape, so I glad it worked. This is crunchy metal industrial with lots of keyboard effects and samples. Mid-90s industrial at its best, really. I like it when bands tried to find a nice mix of aggressive metal and industrial tripiness. Not that going farther on either side is a bad thing, it’s just good to get a mix. I’m not sure if this is the first tape by the band, but they did go on to release another album in 1999 called Technaelogical Dig.

Smell of Wonder – Three-Star Demo

Smell of Wonder
Three-Star Demo
1996 (no label)
Orange Park, Florida, USA


  2. Zoom
  3. In the Garden
  4. Soul Food
  5. Don’t Be Shy

This is really one that I grabbed because it looked like it would be a good tape of unknown 90s alt. Sure enough, it is. No last names on the members, and not much information out there about it. The sound is kind of a mix of Plankeye, Sometime Sunday, and occasional fuzzy guitars that are almost Morella’s Forest levels. But Plankeye probably being the main influence. I haven’t heard of any other demos by this band, or if the members went to join other bands after this.

Nonpoint – Generate

1996 (no label)
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA

Kermit Rodriguez – Vocals
Sam Salinas – Guitars
Alexis Benitez – Bass
Robb Rivera – Drums

Side 1:

  1. Hurt in Vain
  2. Vast Fault
  3. Orgullo

Side 2:

  1. Yesterday
  2. Wake Up!!
  3. Stray

So the transition to nu metal from the thrash metal leanings of releases like Dementia… Into Reality, Depression ’94, Promotional Cassette, and  A New Breed of Anger is complete. The band also drops the “Factor” from their name. From what I can find online, it seems that they still had the Nonpoint Factor line-up. So at some time the band changed members and stopped being a “Christian band” (as a label for the band, at least – not a comment on the band members beliefs). I also don’t have the full cover scans for this, so I can’t verify who was in the band at this time. I did confirm from online that Kermit and Robb were in the band at this time. The new Nonpoint that formed after this one is still going, with several releases on national labels. If you are in to nu-metal, they do a great job of it here, so you can see why they were signed. There is also a possibly unreleased CD before this tape called Anger Through an Art Form.

N.S.C. – Wasp in a Jam Jar

Wasp in a Jam Jar
1996 Meltdown (MDM 101)
Devon, England, United Kingdom

Miriam – Lead vocals
Ashley – Guitars
Triggs – Guitars
Sharon – Acoustic guitar, backing vocals
Rachel – Bass guitar, backing vocals
Rog – Drums

Side 1:

  1. Anointed
  2. By Faith
  3. You Stepped In
  4. Follow
  5. Show Your Love

Side 2:

  1. Wrong Again
  2. Pray
  3. Dreams
  4. Keep On
  5. He’s Always There

The weird title of this demo actually comes from a review of a past demo from the band, where the reviewer actually praised the band’s musical ability, but thought the recording was so crude that the guitars made the band sound like a wasp in a jam jar. They have obviously fixed that problem here, so I think referencing that review in the album title was meant as a light-hearted joke. I think this album was released on CD as well. The sound is kind of a heavier guitar alternative rock, somewhere between Welcome Race Fans by Dakota Motor Co and Happily Ever After by Hoi Polloi. There were at least two albums before this one (No Second Chances – the wasp album – in 1993 and Anointed in 1994) as well as at least on after this one (Bramph! In 1999). Based on their 1993 release, I assume NSC stands for No Second Chances.

Autovoice – 00000011

1996 Flaming Fish Music
Ontario, Canada

Steve Shoe – Vocals, programming
Johnny Space Echo – Programming, sound effects

Side 1:

  1. Standardization
  2. Project DV-8
  3. Decay
  4. Infinitum

Side 2:

  1. If You Want Someone Build a Conscious Machine
  2. End of Transmission
  3. Ens Cogitans
  4. The Initial

Autovoice is an electronic/industrial band that is still going to this day. You can actually find this album on BandCamp – I usually only digitize these re-released tapes to see how the original compares to what was released. A few bands seem to like to George Lucas their older releases – which is not always a bad thing. I just like to see. I can’t really tell any difference from this tape and the one on BandCamp, except for of course the two extra bonus tracks on BandCamp. Well, and the songs on BandCamp sound remastered. The sound itself is a bit darker and ambient than your typical industrial, while still retaining a definite industrial sound. There are also influences of noise and darkwave in many places as well.

Trilemma – Trilemma

1996 (no label)
Allenstown, Pennsylvania, USA

Rob Stanich – Guitars
Rich Stevens – Bass, drum programming

Bob Kemp – Guest vocalist

  1. Flight of the Bumblebee
  2. When
  3. I Never Thought
  4. No Fear
  5. The Unseen

This is a very low budget DIY effort that is mostly two people recording most of the music. You can tell they recorded one instrument and then went back and played another instrument over that one with it playing live – there are multiple pops and recording levels starting each song that shows where different tracks were played. Generally, they seem to be going for a heavy metal sound, but it is so lo-fi that the exact genre is hard to tell. Of course, the drum programming gives it an industrial feel as well, a fact that they wait until the last track to finally take advantage of. It might have been cool if they could have taken this industrial approach to all of the songs. The track list above is what actually appeared on the tape – the J-card was actually wrong a bit.

Casa Alianza – Sanctuary: Songs for the Voiceless

Casa Alianza
Sanctuary: Songs for the Voiceless
1996 (no label)
Northamptonshire, England, United Kingdom

Eve & The Garden:

Alison Eve – Vocals, classical guitar
Paul A. Davies – Electric guitar, classical guitar, synth lead guitar, background vocals
Phillip Rainey – Bass
Alyson Rainey – Violin
Paul Cudby – Drums, percussion

The Rumors are True:

Helen Turner – Lead vocals, acoustic guitar
Rachel Coates – Acoustic guitar, low whistle, vocals
Jason Bell – Chapman stick
Richard Coates – Drums, percussion

Side 1:

  1. Eve & The Garden – Sanctuary

Side 2:

  1. The Rumors are True – Close to Me

This demo is basically a split tape recorded to benefit Casa Alianza, an organization that works to protect street children in Guatemala. The contact information is in England, so I am guessing these are two UK based bands raising money for relief work in Central America. Eve & The Garden is an ethereal folk band – the synths and violin probably adding to that feeling. Their song does surprisingly pick up the pace during the chorus – wasn’t expecting that. The Rumors are True is a Celtic folk band that reminds me of Iona in some ways, but more on the folk side. Having a chapman stick and low whistle on their song probably helps that comparison, but those two instruments are always a plus in my book.