Changed – Who is Real?

Who is Real?
1989 Connector

Side 1:

  1. Useless After All
  2. Masks
  3. My Fault
  4. Hunger for Company
  5. Tell the Children

Side 2:

  1. Share It With God
  2. Where Is God In Your Life
  3. The Answer Of My Life
  4. What Life Is All About
  5. Lost And Lonely

This is the debut album by the Netherlands-based band Changed. I have not heard any of their music, but apparently they get better each album after this, starting with 1990’s Wake Up. It is not that they are bad here, just a little on the rough side. They have kind of a sound that is in the rock/hard rock arena, kind of how Barnabas bounced around styles on their first two albums (including some of the same flirtations with punk rock here and there). Changed has male and female lead vocals, so I guess you could say it sounds like the first two Barnabas albums if they were a little less polished and had shared male/female lead vocals. Also, it sounds like this was vinyl recorded to tape, as you can hear pops and scratches from vinyl clearly in many spots.

Stevie & The Saints – Metal Blue

Stevie & The Saints
Metal Blue
1987 Victoria LTD

Steve Olsen – Vocals, lead guitar
Ken Kane – Bass Guitar
John Tinker – Drums

Ralph Clayton – Keyboards
Kathy Jameson – Backing vocals
Maureen Kelly – Backing vocals

Side 1:

  1. We are the Saints
  2. Saint’s Boogie
  3. Code Name: Jesus
  4. One in One-Hundred

Side 2:

  1. Don’t Knock the Rock
  2. Talkin’ ’bout Love
  3. Jehovah Jirah
  4. Prisoner of Love

This is the early and more metal album by Stevie & the Saints. Their 1990 tape Eye on the Prize was more straight up blues rock, while this one is blues metal – or probably more accurately more like blues hard rock. This one also came out on vinyl back in the day, and has since been re-issued on CD and digital. If you like blues hard rock, kind of like a slightly heavier ZZ Top with influences from other Texas blues artists like Stevie Ray Vaughn, this is a really good example of it. The tape that I transferred didn’t come with a j-card, so I used the vinyl / CD re-issue version above.


The Revelation Band – The Revelation Band

The Revelation Band
The Revelation Band
1987 (no label)
Telford, Pennsylvania, USA

Penny Reed – Vocals
Chuck Gilbert – Vocals, guitars
Phil Zeo – Guitars
Rusty Closs – Keyboards
Andy Landis – Bass
Guy Reed – Drums

Jay Hettler – Additional keyboards

Side 1:

  1. Next to Me
  2. Victory
  3. Wide As the Road

Side 2:

  1. Masquerade
  2. All He’s Done
  3. Questions

I know the cover looks a bit suspicious – they kind of give off that “youth group parents trying too hard to be rockers” vibe for some reason, so you have to wonder if this is going to be an extra light rock cheese fest. The first song starts off, and it kind of has a female-fronted Petra/White Heart meets Kansas vibe to it, not near as cheesy as you expect. It’s actually really good for the style they are doing – if that is your thing. But the second track (“Victory”) is just this brooding, near doom-ish metal track that simply kills. They also switch to male lead vocals on this one, and still have a noticeable Kanas/AD influence in song structure and keyboards. I would recommend seeking out this whole tape just for that song. They kind of bounce back and forth between those first two tracks, mostly staying with near-metal hard rock that is well written and played. Which I realize is still not everyone’s cup of tea, but I hear so much sub-par attempts that it’s good to enjoy one here and there.

A.W.O.L. – At the Will Of the Lord

At the Will Of the Lord
1986 Jirah Records
Merritt Island, Florida, USA

Paul Peters, Jr. – Lead vocals, lead guitar
Amy Howald – Lead vocals, harmonizing vocals, synthesizer
Erich Mahnke – Lead guitar
C. J. Martin – Bass guitar
Syboy James – Percussion
Stephen Ty Keller – Percussion

Side 1:

  1. Tanya
  2. Got the Spirit
  3. We’re Gonna Win
  4. Road to Zion
  5. Risque

Side 2:

  1. Jesus
  2. Save Me
  3. Blowin’ the Amps
  4. El Shaddai

The front cover of this looks kind of metal, but the sound is pretty light rock overall. It’s basically an early 80s sound from a band that was in the mid-80s. The weird thing is that there is a release from this band in 1992 that is… funk metal. Well, there is an ep and a longer version, and I have only heard the ep version. But they do a cover of 24/7 Spyz version of Kool & The Gang’s “Jungle Boogie” – because that is the style they are going for in the 90s. It is almost like someone told them they were too dated at some point in the 80s, and they came back with an updated sound and a few new members. Also, the 1992 release seems to be mostly political commentary, while this tape is very Christian. It’s just a really weird transition to see, because this tape barely touches on any kind of hard rock here and there (songs like “Risque” and “Blowin’ the Amps” do rock out).

First Degree – Youth

First Degree
1987 Dark Records

Paul Sisemore – Guitar, lead vocals, backing vocals
Lance Rowland – Bass, lead vocals, backing vocals
Kent Bradely – Guitar, keyboards
Dan Kilbourne – Drums

Side 1:

  1. Youth
  2. Last Forever
  3. Every Time
  4. Turning Point
  5. Don’t You Know

Side 2:

  1. Don’t Be Afraid
  2. Jenni, Jenni
  3. True Love
  4. Don’t Do It

First Degree is one of the few bands from the short lived Dark Records label. It seems that Dark Records could really choose some great acts. First Degree is kind of light-hearted hard rock band, floating somewhere between Journey and Van Halen. Which sounds cheesy, but they can write songs so well that you will gladly take this cheese every chance you can. I actually have this on vinyl, but my copy is really scratchy. So hearing this tape version sounds amazing. The band kind of flew under the radar – they were kind of a little late for their sound. But I could see those that wanted a heavier version of White Heart that wasn’t quite metal really getting into this. Even heavier rockers like “Turning Point” that border on almost metal are still so well-written that people would have really dug it.

Testimony – He’s Alive

He’s Alive
1989 (no label)
Deltona, Florida, USA

Lois Gistinger – Lead vocals, keyboards
Gary Gistinger – Guitar, vocals
Joey Antrim – Bass, vocals
Michael Osinski – Drums, vocals

Side 1:

  1. He’s Alive
  2. Come Boldly to the throne
  3. Second Chance
  4. I Will Follow
  5. In a Twinkling of an Eye
  6. Power of Love
  7. He’s Coming Again

Side 2:

  1. I Hear His Voice
  2. We Know Christ Lives
  3. You are Lord
  4. Valley of Death
  5. Gethsemane
  6. Every Good and Perfect Gift

So this is the follow-up to the three song demo by Testimony. This demo is definitely full-on prog rock, bordering on prog metal at times. But occasionally it seems like the keyboardist thinks they are a new wave band. It’s a bit odd to hear random out of place keyboard parts break in here and there, but maybe that is a thing in some corners of the prog rock world I am not aware of. They also incorporate other musical styles as well, such as the punk rock influences of “Second Chance.” The three songs that are here are mostly the same versions of the songs on the 1988 demo, but obviously new recordings with a few slight changes here and there. Gotta say that the band pic above is one of the most 80s underground metal pics ever. The guitar player looks like a metal mountain top guru about to lay down some serious molten knowledge.

Mercy Rain – You Will

Mercy Rain
You Will
1997 Springwater Records
Wenatchee, Washington, USA

Jonathan Johnson – Lead Vox, harmonica, keyboards
Tom Moser – Guitar, bass, backing vox
Darik Peet – Guitars, bass, backing vox
Owen Barnhart – Drums

Side 1:

  1. You Will
  2. Babylon Blues
  3. Sorry to Say
  4. Child Once Again
  5. The Light is On

Side 2:

  1. Lions of Judah
  2. Days Light
  3. Rocking Moon
  4. Crossroads
  5. Another Day

Yes, the cover and band name makes this look pop or even Celtic pop. But the guitars come raging in from the beginning, and you have a full on commercial metal band here. Well, still with a hint of late 90s in the first song. The next song is bit more on the heavy alternative side. The rest of the songs seem to bounce around the hard rock / alternative rock / grunge rock arena. Well, if grunge rock didn’t sound depressed – this is still more upbeat that most grunge ended up being. There are also some slower ballad and acoustic moments and songs here and there – a pretty nice mix. I think this was also released on CD as well.