Contagious – Free Indeed – 1988

I actually read a few reviews of this album before I listened to it and they weren’t that great. In fact they were all bad. Most of you are aware that metal is not my chosen style of music but I buckled down, got a soda and started listening. My first surprise was that all the songs were mislabeled. Turns out the album and the CD had different track orders but the CD used the back of the vinyl jacket for it’s track listings meaning they were all in the wrong order. As a result the software I use immediately mislabeled all of the tracks. On the upside I actually had to listen to the album to pick out the tracks properly. I really don’t know why this album was disliked as much as it was. Yea the vocals aren’t stunning but I don’t expect every metal singer to have a 5 octave range. I found the vocals to be adequate and the guitar was very very good. Bass was…. well it was bass and the drums sounded pretty good to me. Now I do agree that the album could have had better production quality. It was produced by Randy Thomas (Sweet Comfort Band) and maybe production isn’t his strong suit or maybe he just wasn’t familiar enough with this style of music. Personally I found the album to be OK but again this is not my favored style of music so my opinion might be completely wrong.

Tracklist
1 – Free Indeed – 4:03
2 – Fighting The Good Fight – 4:09
3 – Backslider – 4:15
4 – Building On The Rock – 4:46
5 – The Provider – 2:56
6 – Hebrews 13:8 – 3:33
7 – Turn – 3:11
8 – To The King – 3:03
9 – Children Of The Father – 5:18

Credits
Backing Vocals – Thomas Mitchell III
Bass [Fretless] – Mark Lewis (tracks: 8)
Drums, Backing Vocals – Ryan Crampton
Executive-Producer – Contagious
Keyboards – Mark Lewis (tracks: 3), Ryan Crampton (tracks: 8)
Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Acoustic Guitar – Scott Sifton
Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals, Bass – Mark Lewis
Producer – Randy Thomas

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – Allies Recording Studio
Mixed At – Allies Recording Studio

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Margaret Becker – The Reckoning – 1988

This was Margaret’s third album and probably her most Rock oriented one. Sparrow gave her some latitude on this album and she took full advantage of it. We knew she had a good voice but here we learn she can do Rock also. To say the album was a success is an understatement. It had 4 singles, “Find Me”, “Who Am I”, “Streets Of Innocence”, and “Come Quickly Lord”. “Find Me” made it to #3, “Streets Of Innocence” to #4, “Who Am I” to # 5, and “Come Quickly Lord” to # 23. Three top 10 hits on one album is no easy feat. Oh and guess who appears as a guest on the album? Dann Huff, I think he was on 90% of the best albums of the era.

Tracklist
1 – Light In The Darkness – 3:28
2 – You Can’t Take It With You – 3:49
3 – Find Me – 3:42
4 – Take Me Away – 3:23
5 – Pico Boulevard – 4:22
6 – Who Am I – 4:52
7 – Start The Fire – 4:20
8 – ‘Til My Feet Don’t Move – 4:05
9 – I Don’t Want To Be Without You – 4:19
10 – Come Quickly Lord – 4:43
11 – Streets Of Innocence – 3:40

Credits
Acoustic Guitar – Dann Huff, Margaret Becker, Tim Pierce
Art Direction – Barbara Catanzaro-Hearn
Backing Vocals – Andrea Robinson, Bob Carlisle (track 10), Kurt Howell, Margaret Becker, Tommy Funderburk
Bass – John Pierce
Cello – Kevin Toufec
Design – 5 Penguins Design, Inc.
Drums – Mike Baird
Electric Guitar – Dann Huff, Tim Pierce
Executive Producer – Peter York
Keyboards – Alan Pasqua, Smitty Price
Mastered By – Bob Ludwig
Percussion [Additional] – David Huff
Photography By – Mark Tucker
Producer – Dan Posthuma
Recorded By [Rhythm Tracks], Mixed By – Csaba Petocz
Recorded By [Vocals And Overdubs] – Dan Garcia

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Level Heads – Momento Mori – 1988

This was the second and last album from Level Heads. I had missed these guys in the 80’s so a few months ago when I heard their first album/EP I was really impressed. I wasn’t disappointed by this album either. In listening to this album I heard some Elvis Costello and maybe some Joe Jackson on different tracks. Then I gave my head a shake and accepted them as having their own sound. I also struggled with describing this album as either alternative or new wave. Again it’s in it’s own category especially in the Christian music industry. If you loved the EP you should love this album also. If you haven’t heard these guys before give it a listen. I suspect you will like it.

Tracklist
1 – Universe Is Out Of Control – 2:54
2 – Seeing You – 4:06
3 – Hand To Hold – 3:40
4 – Betrayed With A Kiss – 3:14
5 – Everybody Wants To Be Loved – 4:32
6 – Live No Lie – 4:36
7 – Emancipation – 4:07
8 – More Than This – 4:28
9 – Lookin’ For The Line – 2:52
10 – The Train – 2:49
11 – Work It Out – 4:30
12 – Truth Or Fantasy – 3:06
13 – Hey You – 2:21
14 – Fire And Grace – 3:18

Credits
Arranged By [All Songs] – Craig Gillings, Jim Chevalier, Todd Gillings
Art Direction, Design – Brian Ray
Edited By – Chris Taylor
Engineer [Second Engineer], Producer [Assistant Producer] – Todd Gillings
Executive-Producer, Engineer – Joey Taylor
Photography By [Band Photos] – Barry Hill
Photography By [Cover Photo] – Brian Ray
Producer [Produced By] – Jim Chevalier
Written-By [All Songs] – Jim Chevalier

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Brainstorm Artists International
Copyright (c) – Brainstorm Artists International
Manufactured By – Word, Inc.
Distributed By – Word, Inc.
Recorded At – 3-D Studios, Costa Mesa CA.
Recorded At – Neverland
Recorded At – Whitefield Studios
Made By – Discovery Systems – 28X0400A
Published By – Brainstorm Music

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Amy Grant – Lead Me On – 1988

This was the 7th studio album from Amy and at this point I’m pretty sure this was just mechanical for her. Someone writes music, Amy came up with a lyric idea and a songwriter would put it all together. Fade out to next song. I’m not saying it’s a bad album but there was just no standout here for me. The lead track 1974 does have a bit of personality but the rest of the album is filler aimed straight at the CCM charts. In respect to the Amy Grant fans out there this album was very well received by her Christian fans but it did poorly on the secular music charts which I am guessing was a bit of a surprise to A&M Records. Strangely the CD version of the album had 2 extra tracks but this was the age where record companies were doing some very odd things in relation to CD releases. The album had 6 charting singles on the CCM charts including three #1’s. So even given my criticism the reality is that this album continued her recipe of success and that can not be argued even by me.

Tracklist
1 – 1974 – 4:22
2 – Lead Me On – 5:35
3 – Shadows – 5:24
4 – Saved By Love – 4:38
5 – Faithless Heart – 5:10
6 – What About The Love – 5:23
7 – If These Walls Could Speak – 5:42
8 – All Right – 4:23
9 – Wait For The Healing – 5:36
10 – Sure Enough – 4:00
11 – If You Have To Go Away – 4:01
12 – Say Once More – 4:54

Credits
Backing Vocals – Bill Champlin, Carmen Twillie, Chris Eaton, Chris Harris (2), Chris Rodriguez, Dave Perkins, Donna McElroy, Gary Chapman, Randy Stonehill, Russ Taff, Wayne Kirkpatrick
Bass – Mike Brignardello
Drums – Paul Leim
Engineer – Jeff Balding
Executive-Producer – David Enderle, Gary Chapman, Michael Blanton
Guitar – Dann Huff, Jerry McPherson
Keyboards – Shane Keister
Mixed By – Marc DeSisto, Shelly Yakus
Photography By – Eika Aoshima
Producer – Brown Bannister
Synthesizer [B-3] – Benmont Tench
Written-By – Amy Grant (tracks: 1 to 5, 8, 9, 11, 12)

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Mass – Take You Home – 1988

This was the third album from Mass and their first on Enigma. Actually it’s an EP not an album but who cares. Again Mass was not a Christian band per se but a band of Christians and the track “Holy One” should leave no doubt. I rate this album as one step above the commercial metal of the day. Enigma loved their metal bands so Mass was a natural fit but personally I believe Mass’s music wasn’t aimed at the commercial crowd but instead it was aimed at real fans of the genre.

Tracklist
1 – Pedal To The Metal – 3:45
2 – Can’t Get Enough – 3:01
3 – Want It Back – 2:56
4 – Over You – 4:00
5 – Take You Home – 2:53
6 – Holy One – 6:02

Credits
Art Direction – Lisa Sutton
Bass – Kevin Varrio
Cover [Art] – David Lomeli
Cover [Back Photo] – Dan Muro
Design [Logo] – Nic Luciano
Drums – Joey “Vee” Vadala
Engineer [Assistant], Engineer [Additional] – Nelson Ayers
Guitar – Gene D’Itria
Management – Hernando Courtright, Stuart Weintraub
Mastered By – Jack Skinner
Other [Production Assistant], Other [Preproduction] – Hirsh Gardner
Producer, Engineer, Mixed By – John Rollo
Producer, Written By, Arranged By, Lyrics By – Mass
Vocals – Louie St. August

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Medusa Records
Copyright (c) – Medusa Records
Recorded At – The House Of Music, New Jersey
Mixed At – The House Of Music, New Jersey
Mastered At – Sterling Sound
Glass Mastered At – Nimbus, Virginia

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Seraiah – Soldiers Of Jehovah – 1988

Formed in 1985 this was the first demo from Seraiah. They had 2 successful albums after this but quite frankly this little 4 song demo was some of their best work in my opinion. The songs have a little more raw a feel than their future albums but that is quite typical of a demo. In this case that raw sound really works. I absolutely love the track “Known In Hell” and it is disappointing that it never made it’s way onto one of their albums. In fact it’s a pity none of these track made it onto an album because they are all great tunes. As I’ve said in other Metal reviews this is not my preferred style of music but I really liked this demo and full suggest you give it a lesson.

Tracklist
1 – Rock Without Sin – 3:28
2 – Known In Hell – 4:11
3 – Never Have To Say Goodbye Again – 3:38
4 – The Light – 3:36

Credits
Bass, Backing Vocals – Michael McClung
Drums – Kyle Dietz
Guitar, Backing Vocals – Quinton Gibson
Lead Vocals – David J. McClung

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Adam Again – Ten Songs by Adam Again – 1988

The second album from Adam Again is a huge step up from their first. I am not saying the first album wasn’t good because it was. It is just that this album had a huge improvement in production quality and Gene was really developing his style whatever you want to label that style as. This album at times has a funk feel, sometimes a fusion feel and at times I hear R.E.M. While that description might lead you to believe the album is all over the place it isn’t. The album has a consistent feel and is very well assembled. The surprise on the album is a cover of the Bill Withers 1971 song “Ain’t No Sunshine” which is done perfectly. All in all I love this album though I will be honest I didn’t care for The Tenth Song. This was also their first album on Broken Records which I have read was actually owned by Gene and Ojo Taylor.

Tracklist
1 – Tree House – 6:53
2 – Beat Peculiar – 8:23
3 – Who Can Hold Us – 4:29
4 – Babylon – 1:45
5 – I’ve Seen Dominoes – 6:16
6 – Trouble With Lies – 5:16
7 – Ain’t No Sunshine – 2:38
8 – Eyes Wide Open – 5:52
9 – Every Word I Say – 5:46
10 – The Tenth Song – 5:47

Credits
Art Direction, Design – Norman Fog
Engineer [Occasional Engineering (Dave’s Not Here)] – Gene, Glenn Holland, Greg, Riki*
Guest [With], Percussion [All Percussions] – Nathan Alford, Jr.
Guest [With], Saxophone [All Saxophones] – Dan Michaels
Guest [With], Vocals – Archie Robinson (tracks: 1, 3, 8, 9), Arveal Johnson (tracks: 1, 3, 8, 9), Lanette Elkles (tracks: 1, 3, 8, 9), Larry Simpson (tracks: 1, 3, 8, 9), Laura Smith (9) (tracks: 1, 3, 8, 9)
Mixed By – Dave, Gene
Performer [Played And Sung By] – Gene Eugene, Greg Lawless, Paul Valadez, Riki Michele
Photography By [Photos] – Brian Ray
Producer [Produced By], Arranged By – Gene Eugene
Recorded By – Dave Hackbarth

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Brainstorm Artists International
Copyright (c) – Brainstorm Artists International
Manufactured By – Word, Inc.
Distributed By – Word, Inc.
Recorded At – Neverland
Published By – Chenka, Chenka Music
Published By – Interior Music
Made By – Discovery Systems

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Neon Cross – Neon Cross – 1988

Neon Cross formed in 1984 in Hollywood CA. They produced a five song demo called Frontline Life and then in 1987 they recorded 2 tracks for the California Metal compilation album. The reception must have been good because Regency Records signed them to a record deal that same year and this album came out of that contract. This was their only album in the 80’s but they did get together again in 1995 to release a second album. While they were a Glam Metal band the album has a little more talent than the average Band in this category. I actually find the production to be excellent considering they produced it themselves. Of course the mix being done by Dino Elephante probably helped a lot. Point of trivia is that John Elephante provided some background vocals for the album.

Tracklist
1 – Heartbreaker – 3:45
2 – Frontline Life – 3:31
3 – We Are The Children (Of Our Lord) – 4:40
4 – On The Rock – 2:41
5 – I’m Not Alone – 5:57
6 – Right Time – 4:09
7 – Run Into The Light – 4:30
8 – Far Cry (From Eden) – 4:33
9 – Outta The Way – 3:50
10 – Victory – 4:04

Credits
Backing Vocals – Bob Carlisle, Cherrie Mancaruso, Donna Rood, John Elephante
Bass – Ed Ott
Drums – Michael Betts
Engineer, Mixed By – Dino Elephante
Engineer, Mixed By, Programmed By [Computer Programming] – Mike Mierau
Executive-Producer – David Malme, John Moore
Guitar – Don Webster
Illustration – Greg Zook
Musician [Additional] – Chris Unruh, P.K. Mitchell
Photography – Eric Schmitty
Producer – Neon Cross
Producer, Engineer – Ron Capone
Vocals – David Raymond Reeves

Companies, etc.
Mixed At – Pakaderm Studios
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Regency Records
Copyright (c) – Regency Records

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Sacred Warrior – Rebellion – 1988

Sacred Warrior rose from a band called Nomad that formed in 1985. Guitarist Bruce Swift found Christ and led the other members, Parra and Velasquez, to Christ. They recruited Watkins to play bass at Bible Study and with a quick name change Sacred Warrior was born. The band signed with Intense Records and this was their debut album. The LP had a very limited run and is a collectors item today. Their support tour for the album was as a warm up band for Rez. Pretty good gig for a new band. The album is an excellent representation of Metal. It doesn’t have much of a commercial sound but is very well engineered and produced. All in all a great Metal album with good edge.

Tracklist
1 – Black Metal – 4:40
2 – Mad, Mad World – 4:16
3 – Stay Away From Evil – 2:47
4 – He Died – 3:55
5 – Children of the Light – 2:39
6 – Rebellion – 4:30
7 – Day of the Lord – 3:37
8 – The Heaven’s are Calling – 4:33
9 – Famine – 5:12
10 – Master of Lies – 3:14
11 – Sword of Victory – 3:31

Credits
Art Direction – Atticus Farlow, Farlow Lark
Bass – Steve Watkins
Drums – Tony Velazquez
Engineer – Al Pangelinan, Jason Brown, Randy Burns
Executive-Producer – Jesus Christ
Guitar [Guitars] – Bruce Swift
Keyboards [Keys] – Rick Macias
Mixed By – Ron Goudie
Photography By – Ruby Michael
Producer – Caesar Kalinowski
Vocals – Rey Parra

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Big Rage! Productions
Copyright (c) – Big Rage! Productions
Distributed By – Sparrow/Star Song Distribution
Recorded At – Opus Recording Studio
Recorded At – Sutton Place Recording Studio

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Vengeance Rising – Human Sacrifice – 1988

Originally known as Vengeance they had to change their name to Vengeance Rising due to a name conflict with a band from the Netherlands. This album used the name Vengeance for the first 1000 pressing but subsequent pressing used Vengeance Rising. The band constantly had different members and the only regular member was Roger Martinez. Martinez has since claimed to be a Satanist and then an atheist and actually plans to release atheist/satanist albums using the same band name. It has been surmised that he was actually never a Christian and was just in it for the shock value. As such this is the only album that Real 80s CCM will release by this band/person. I’m not a fan of thrash metal as a whole but really this album isn’t even good as Thrash metal. The whole popularity of the album was the shocking style which was new to CCM music. Quite frankly if you want to listen to Thrash Metal try listening to The Lead, they are much better at it.

Tracklist
1 – Human Sacrifice – 2:42
2 – Burn – 3:52
3 – Mulligan Stew – 3:00
4 – Receive Him – 0:06
5 – I Love Hating Evil – 3:58
6 – Fatal Delay – 3:18
7 – White Throne – 3:09
8 – Salvation – 0:16
9 – From The Dead – 4:37
10 – Ascension – 5:24
11 – He Is God – 0:53
12 – Fill This Place With Blood – 2:53
13 – Beheaded – 3:13

Credits
Art Direction – Atticus Farlow, Farlow Lark
Artwork [Cover Art Make Up & Special Effects] – Christopher Keene
Bass – Roger Martin
Drums – Glen Mancaruso
Engineer [Neverland Studios] – Dave Hackbarth
Engineer [Sutton Place] – Jason Brown, Robert Feist
Guitar – Doug Theime, Larry Farkas
Mixed By – Ron Goudie
Photography By [Back Photos] – Nar, Ruby Michael
Photography By [Cover] – Nar
Producer – Caesar Kalinowski
Vocals – Roger Martinez

Companies, etc.
Published By – Broken Songs
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Intense Records
Copyright (c) – Intense Records
Glass Mastered At – Nimbus, Virginia

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