Sherri Smith – Wavering Deficit

Sherri Smith
Wavering Deficit
1997 (no label)
Clyde, New York, USA

Sherri Schmitz Smith – Most guitars, lead vocals, percussion
Shawn Harnish – Some guitar parts
Scott Andrezejewski – Bass guitar on some songs
Tim Reed – Bass on all other songs
Art Ralston – Drums
Jim Hinrich – Background vocals, congas
Tim Sampson – Harmonica

Side 1:

  1. Go Away
  2. Shattered
  3. The Room Inside
  4. Please Rescue Me
  5. Dusted Angel

Side 2:

  1. When Will I Learn?
  2. What Can I Say?
  3. Be Not Conformed
  4. It’s Always Something
  5. Salsa Picante

This was a blast from the past. Well, one song at least. Sherri Smith had a couple of songs on HM Magazine CD samplers, and one of those songs (“Salsa Picante”) is on this demo. This is kind of rock/hard rock – but most of the songs have vocals on them (which I wouldn’t have guessed from the instrumental songs she placed on samplers). Some music fans describe people like Ace Frehley and Lemmy Kilmister as having “can’t sing/don’t care” vocals. That seems to be the model on some of the songs here. Sherri shows that she can sing on some songs, but when she gets aggressive it kind of falls into the “can’t sing (this style)/don’t care” model. Really, I think this demo is mostly to show off Sherri’s guitar skills, which it succeeds at.


Ed Englerth’s Linear Action Band – Hit the Wall

Ed Englerth’s Linear Action Band
Hit the Wall
198? (no label)
Hastings, Michigan, USA

Ed Englerth – Lead vocals, BGVs on “Steal Your Heart”, bass, acoustic guitar, guitars
John Heald – Drums, BGVs, lead vocals on “Steal Your Heart”
The Frog – Lead guitar
Jim Erdman – Screams & shouts on “Stop Making Sense”
Roland Sunkins III – violin

Side 1:

  1. Hit the Wall
  2. Stop Making Sense
  3. At Night
  4. Bitter Mind
  5. I Can Go to You

Side 2:

  1. Injustice in a Fallen World
  2. Talk Show Metaphysics
  3. Mistaken Identity
  4. Where are We Now
  5. Steal Your Heart

At first I wasn’t sure what this was, so I put it aside into the “no idea” pile. But then I found out that Ed was a member of Armada and Preston, and that members of Xalt helped with this as well… so I decided to give it a spin. There is some 80’s-alternative U2 influence here and there, but mostly I would say this goes into the hard rock category. Unfortunately, the tape was a bit chewed up and stretched out towards the end of side 1, so a couple of songs were hard to listen to. No date on this one, but my guess would be mid-80s based on the sound, as they mix alt and metal in ways that would have only happened in that time period.

Missing Information: when was this released?

Azusa Street Band – Yield

Azusa Street Band
1985 Morada Records (MZS-332)
Pontiac, Michigan, USA

Steve Hall – Lead vocals, lead and rhythm guitars
Dave Yarnall – Roland JX3P, Yamaha DX7, acoustic piano, CP35; lead vocals on “Shoulder” and “First Hello”
Randy Meador – Rhythm and lead guitars, backing vocals
Bill Curton – Electric bass, backing vocals
Mark Orr – Drums, percussion

Side 1:

  1. Something So Simple
  2. It’s Up to You
  3. Satan’s Pushover
  4. Shoulder to Cry On
  5. Head Above the Water

Side 2:

  1. Selling Out
  2. First Hello Last Goodbye
  3. Who’s Fooling You
  4. Second Chance
  5. Why be Normal

This is a rare release on a label that was known for heavier releases by bands like Saint and Messiah Prophet, as well as several lighter releases. This release is compared to Messiah Prophet and 911 on one site. Maybe 911 – but this is not really heavy metal at all. It is rock that goes into hard rock category at times. Add a bit harder edge on several songs to make this have a few head-bangers would make this tape more my style, but still not bad at all. In the mid-80s, there was a huge audience for this kind of rock, so it’s not like the band was missing out on anything by going for a less heavy approach.

Damascus – Soon… The Doors Will Open

Soon… The Doors Will Open
1988 (no label)
Mount Prospect, Illinois, USA

Thomas McKeown – Vocals, keyboards, guitars
Marc Reich- Vocals, guitars
Cliff Zweibruck – Bass
David Cox – Drums, percussion

Side 1:

  1. Decisions
  2. Psalm Ad
  3. An Angel
  4. Reckless

Side 2:

  1. Lead Me On
  2. Blind Peace
  3. Something to Live For
  4. Still Waters
  5. Waves

This is the fourth and final demo by Damascus. Probably their tightest and most well-written demo of the four. The progressive rock and pomp rock are still here, with maybe a tad bit more shine. Fans of slightly more mainstream prog rock will probably enjoy this. The interesting thing about this demo is that it has more songs than any past demo, but all three songs from their first demo are re-recorded here. This includes what is probably one of their most metal-ish songs “Reckless.” It sounds even better here with improved production.

Alexander – The Key

The Key
1988 Kitty Mixed Records
Glen Burnie, Maryland, USA

Jeff Antkowiak – Vocals, keyboards
Alan Fleishell – Drums, percussion
Paul Stramella – Bass
Tony Stramella – Guitar

Side 1:

  1. My Love & My Friend
  2. Do You Know
  3. Angel Song

Side 2:

  1. His Name
  2. Loved by You
  3. The Key

This demo is actually a bit heavier than it would look at first glance. The song titles and band dress style would seem to indicate mid-80s keyboard rock or AOR. However, there is some mid-80s traditional metal muscle to some songs like “Do You Know.” Of course, this was 1988, and gritty sleaze blues metal by Guns N’ Roses and Motley Crue were ruling this space. Then again, Alexander sounds exactly like you think they would on keyboard ballads like “Angel Song.” But you have to wonder if it would have been better to drop the Miami Vice jackets for a hard rock look on the front cover? Who knows? There seems to be a follow-up demo called No Compromise in 1990 that also had 5 of these 6 songs (“Loved by You” was not repeated) with 3 new songs added. Another odd thing about this demo (that you can see above) is that someone marked it up with a red marker, even coloring in the words on the spine.

Alliance – Demo

1986 (no label)
Round Rock, Texas, USA

Scott Cannon – Lead vocals, drums, backing vocals
Rex Schnelle – Lead guitar, keyboard, backing vocals
Warren Cannon – Lead & rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Jeff Miller – Bass guitar, backing vocals, lead vocals on “Watch Those Chains”
Brian Green – Keyboard on “The Only Treasure”

Side 1:

  1. Calling You
  2. Watch Those Chains (Break Around You)

Side 2:

  1. The Only Treasure
  2. Give It to the Lord

Does the cover scream 80s to you? Well, so does the music. Big hooks, big keyboards, big guitars, big soaring vocals… and I would assume at least a few big hairstyles if they had a band pic. On some songs the keyboards are more prominent than your average Journey song, on other songs the guitars are louder and heavier than Journey – but Journey and similar bands would serve as good comparison. Some people call this stuff dated cheese that doesn’t stand the test of time, but I say cheese is good and that time is a relative concept when talking music.

Urgent Cry – Demo 011591

Urgent Cry
Demo 011591
1991 (no label)
Vandalia, Ohio, USA

Steve Mikel – Vocals
Mike Wilcox – Guitar
Jamie Richards – Bass
Don Real – Drums

  1. Come Along
  2. Like Adam, I Hide
  3. Dry Wind
  4. Emperor’s New Clothes

So this looks like the same Urgent Cry that recorded the earlier demo I converted. Same logo and all… but I put this tape in and it is a lot heavier than the other demo. More straight up hard rock/metal with no progressive pop leanings. It seems that this is a whole new band with the same lead singer. So it appears that the new band influenced a new style (or the singer wanted a different style and found new people that wanted the same?). There may have been other demos between this one and the last one in 1987 that chronicles the evolution a bit better. And it could be that the band members changed organically over a three year period and this sound was the end result. You never know. I enjoyed the older demo, and this one seems to be a step in the right direction (unless you are a huge prog-rock addict, that is).