Cindy Tells Me – Demo

Cindy Tells Me
1991 (no label)
Bloomington, Illinois, USA

Jack Sayre – Bass, vocals
D.E. Johnson – Guitar, vocals
Shawn Doolittle – Drums

  1. Modern Williamsburg
  2. Ezekiel
  3. Shadow Man

This band sounds like they wanted to mix Dig Hay Zoose, Hot Pink Turtle, and Scaterd Few together, but then decided that was too normal sounding and decided to go weirder. There is definitely a Scaterd Few influence on vocals of songs like “Ezekiel,” while the bass work throughout reminds me of Dig Hay Zoose. The song writing and structures reminds me of both of those bands mixed together with Hot Pink Turtle. Trippy and weird, which is a good thing as I am a fan of all three of those bands.


Stone Vengeance – Stone Vengeance

Stone Vengeance
Stone Vengeance
1990 Lilac Records (Lilac 2032)
San Francisco, California, USA

Michael Coffey – Lead vocals, all guitars
Anthony Starks – Bass, vocals
Darren Thompkins – Drums, vocals

Side 1:

  1. To Kill Evil
  2. Time is at Hand
  3. Pain
  4. The Great Controversy

Side 2:

  1. The Persecution
  2. Bullfight
  3. Malice
  4. Higher Now
  5. Wrath Cometh
  6. Long Live Stone Vengeance

Stone Vengeance was one of the first Christian metal bands – formed in 1978. I’m not sure if they released anything until 1985 (the date of their first demo as listed on many sites). As far as I can tell, this is their first full length release, with many songs being previously released on earlier demos. The sound here is mostly a pretty fast and ferocious mix of speed metal, thrash metal, and punk. The exceptions being the acoustic ballads “Pain” and “Higher Now,” along with the flamenco-ish intro “Bullfight.” Kind of weird the band never seemed to break out of the underground – they opened for some big name bands back in the day. Also of note, the song list on the cover appears to be wrong. Either that or they mislabeled the two sides of the tape.

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.

Igniter – Fall of the Nation

Fall of the Nation
1996 (no label)
San Antonio, Texas, USA

Mike Better – Vocals
James Martinez – Guitars
Michael Travieso – Guitars
Steve Valdez – Bass
Ron Travieso – Drums, percussion

Side 1:

  1. Psalms 91
  2. Heaven’s Gate
  3. Where Do We Go From Here
  4. Fall of the Nation
  5. Rose of Sharon

Side 2:

  1. Call to Love
  2. Holy Flame
  3. Black Widow
  4. Dominion

Back in the mid-90s, after the Great Grunge Onslaught, few bands were out there doing full on heavy metal. There were several metal bands around, but so many were going nu-metal, grunge, ____core, etc. Most were calling it quits. So it was interesting to hear Igniter raising the heavy metal banner without shame in 1996. No real hints of grunge/nu/core here. Lots of traditional metal, power metal, commercial metal, and neo-classical metal. San Antonio was a mecca of heavy metal back in the day, and it looks like “the day” lasted well after the 80s for some bands. Lesser demo tapes than this one have become legends in the underground metal circles online.

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.

Destiny – Destiny

1993 (no label)

Juli Gort – Guitar
Jeff Morgan – Bass
Erik DeBower – Drums

  1. Road Kill
  2. Sleepwalkin’
  3. Voodoo Shillelagh

You know its true shred metal when you get a list of all of the equipment that each band member endorses/uses. But they left off details about how to contact them if you liked the demo. Doh! Oh well, a lot of bands did that. Instrumental shred metal tends to lean towards either jazz or neo-classical metal in extreme ways that end up only being enjoyable by other guitar players. Destiny was a band that went the Jeff Scheetz route of mixing some neo-classical metal with some jazz while still keeping the songs firmly in the commercial metal zone that most non-guitar players could enjoy. The jaw dropping guitar wizardry is still there, along with impressive backing instrumentation on bass and drums, they just made sure not to sacrifice songwriting for shred.

The Choice – On Solid Rock We Stand

The Choice
On Solid Rock We Stand
1990 (no label)


  1. Gotta Get Out
  2. If You Love Me
  3. Quality of Love

I grabbed this one because I thought “The Choice” sounded alternative. Then I saw “The Choice Band” on the cover and thought “uh, oh… sounds like cheesy CCM rock?” Turns out, this is pretty heavy epic traditional/power metal. This type of metal was kind of out of style in 1990, but there were some bands still doing it. And like I have said, 30-ish years later, that really doesn’t matter. These guys could rock out. Not much information except what is on the j-card pictured above.

Missing Information: Who was in the band?