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.

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

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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Steve Grace – Children Of The Western World – 1988

Steve Grace is another excellent artist out of Australia. This is his first album which sold very well in Australia and when it eventually made it to North America it sold relatively well here also. It was also the first Christian album in Australia to be released on CD. The album was produced by Beeb Birtles (Littler River Band) who also assisted with some of the songwriting. It would probably be categorized as AOR here in North America but I found it to be a well produced album with above average lyrics. When it did arrive in North America in 1990 “Big Dreams” singled hitting #16 on the CCM charts and lingering around for 12 weeks. If you missed this one in the 80’s you should give it a listen. It’s another example of the great music scene in Australia which we knew very little about here in North America. As an aside, the cut “Australian Country Towns” is begging to be a number one hit on the Austrailia Country charts if someone would cover it.

1 – Land Of The Rock – 4:38
2 – Big Dreams – 3:45
3 – Song For Kerrie – 4:22
4 – Life And Times – 4:26
5 – Edward Kelly – 5:56
6 – Children Of The Western World – 6:14
7 – To The Dealer – 3:59
8 – Lessons Of The Heart – 4:48
9 – Australian Country Towns – 4:00
10 – Prodigal Son – 3:04
11 – Solid Rock – 1:30

Cover, Art Direction – Mykl Pratt
Engineer – Doug Brady, Phil Butson
Engineer [Assistant] – Kaj Dahlstrom, Trevor Reading
Mixed By – Beeb Birtles, Doug Brady, Phil Butson
Photography By – Kirsty Chalmers
Producer – Beeb Birtles
Vocals – Steve Grace

Companies, etc.
Manufactured By – Word
Distributed By – Word
Distributed By – Word Records Limited
Distributed By – Word (Uk) Ltd.
Recorded At – Sing Sing Studios
Mixed At – Metropolis Audio

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Valor – Fight for your Life – 1988

Valor is one of the early speed metal bands that appeared on the CCM scene. They were from San Leandro and actually were a new version of the band Golgatha. I’m not very familiar with Speed Metal so there’s not much I can say about this album. It’s fast and it’s loud, that’s my review. This album was re-released in 2004 with 9 demo tracks from Golgatha.

1 – Valor – 4:46
2 – The Flesh Is Weak – 4:02
3 – Fight For Your Life – 2:37
4 – Empty Tomb – 4:54
5 – Didn’t I – 4:10
6 – It’s Not Too Late – 5:32
7 – Accept Him – 1:05
8 – Masquerade – 4:06
9 – Burn – 5:37

Bass, Vocals – Adam Alvarez
Cover, Illustration, Art Direction – Thomas Reason
Drums – Jim Maxwell
Executive-Producer – Alan Maxwell
Guitar – Chris Price
Mastered By – George Horn
Photography By – Peter Laurence
Producer – Mike Hersh, Valor
Vocals – Michael Brueck

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – Dragon Studios
Recorded At – Mastertracks Hayward, CA
Mastered At – Fantasy Studios
Manufactured By – Rainbo Records
Copyright (c) – White Stone Records
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Mighty Man Music

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2nd Chapter of Acts – Hymns II – 1988

Hymns II was a follow up to Hymns. It featured the band doing an assortment of traditional Hymns. There is one original on the album, “Purify Me” was written by Annie. There’s nothing particularly interesting about this album other than this was their last studio album. Even though Hymns I & II Instrumental was released after this it was recorded as part of this studio session. The album was released in 1993 on CD with a Bonus Track, “O Worship The King”, which is included in this playlist. Not my style of music but even I have to respect what 2nd Chapter of Acts achieved in their time.

1 – Medley (Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus/Praise To The Lord, The Almighty/All Hail The Power Of Jesus’ Name/Doxology
2 – It Is Well With My Soul
3 – This Is My Father’s World
4 – O For A Thousand Tongues
5 – Morning Has Broken
6 – Be Still, My Soul
7 – A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
8 – Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus
9 – O Sacred Head, Now Wounded
10 – Purify Me
11 – O Worship The King (CD Bonus Track)

Arranged By [Instrumental Arrangements] – John Andrew Schreiner
Arranged By [Vocal Arrangements] – 2nd Chapter Of Acts
Art Direction, Design, Illustration – Bradley Grose
Bass – Lee Jones
Cover [Cover Concept] – Buddy Owens
Drums – Dennis Holt
Engineer – Dan Willard, Greg Hunt
Guitar – Michael Thompson
Keyboards, Piano – John Schreiner
Mixed By – Buck Herring, Dan Willard, Greg Hunt
Photography By – Michael Going
Producer – Buck Herring
Producer [Vocal Production] – Dan Willard
Typography [Calligraphy] – Vern Fisher

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – Alliance Music
Phonographic Copyright (p) – The Sparrow Corporation
Copyright (c) – The Sparrow Corporation
Recorded At – Easter Song Studios

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Soldier – Babylon – 1988

Soldier formed in 1986 in the Bay area of California. They very quickly went into the studio and recorded their first demo “Louder Than Hell”. This is their second demo recorded in 1988. Soldier was very well received in the California CCM Metal scene. They had a cult following that stuck with them for years though the band broke up in 1988. Copies of their demo’s were next to impossible to find but Millenium Eight Records stepped up in 2002 and released both demo’s together on one CD (These tracks are from this CD). The CD must have sold well as Roxx Records released an anthology from Soldier in 2018. It includes almost everything, if not everything the band ever recorded.

1 – Babylon
2 – Louder Than Hell
3 – Deadly Weapon
4 – One Of A Kind
5 – Priceless Heart
6 – Where Have All The Children Gone
7 – King Of The City
8 – Borderline
9 – Angel
10 – First Time
11 – Promises

Drums – Al Whalen
Bass – Marc Allen
Guitars – Rick Hunter Martinez
Vocals – Jimmy Arceneaux

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Mad at the World – Flowers In The Rain – 1988

Mike Pendleton joins the Rose brothers for the second album from Mad at the World. This album picks up where their first one left off. On this album their sound did evolve however and on some tracks we can here a tint of The Cult and/or The Cure. The Depeche Mode sound is still the mainstay of the album and you can’t help but hear it. The album reached number 38 on the Billboard Top Contemporary Christian Chart.

1 – Fearfully And Wonderfully – 3:50
2 – Flowers In The Rain – 4:15
3 – Why – 4:36
4 – Puppet Strings – 4:17
5 – No Mistakes – 3:18
6 – Wait – 3:29
7 – I Don’t Wanna Go There – 3:17
8 – Faith Is A Perfect Road – 3:36
9 – In My Dream – 3:51
10 – Lovelight In The Midnight – 5:08
11 – This Lie – 3:30
12 – Dancing On Your Grave – 5:58

Art Direction, Design – Ed McTaggart
Band [Mad At The World Is], Keyboards – Mike Pendleton
Band [Mad At The World Is], Vocals, Drum Programming – Randy Rose
Band [Mad At The World Is], Vocals, Keyboards, Guitar [Guitars], Drum Programming – Roger Rose
Design Concept [Cover Concept By] – Brian Kay, Ed McTaggart
Graphics [Logo Colorization By] – Brent Gordon
Illustration [Rose By] – Roger*
Photography By, Illustration [Cover Illustration By] – Bob Rowe
Producer [Produced By] – Roger Rose
Screen Printing [Litho-Prep By] – Orbis
Songwriter [All Songs Written By], Arranged By – Roger Rose

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Frontline Records
Copyright (c) – Frontline Records
Distributed By – The Benson Company
Recorded At – MATW Studios
Mixed At – MATW Studios
Glass Mastered At – Nimbus
Published By – Broken Songs

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Undercover – Undercover – 1982

This is the debut album from Undercover, one of the early and influential pop punk bands to come out of California in the early 80s. Incubating alongside Altar Boys and Lifesavors.

I consider Undercover to be the forerunner to MXPX, although not their sole influence. MXPX managed to merge Green Day, Ramones, Undercover and other ideas into a cohesive, long standing package.

The style of this album is now referred to as pop-punk, or even California-punk. In 1982 though, it seemed like the division of punk styles wasn’t so defined and it just was what it was.

This was a great alternative, or at least an addition to the musical diet for anyone addicted to The Ramones at the time.

Note the names. Joey Taylor on subsequent albums becomes Ojo Taylor, and Jim Nicholson becomes Gym Nicholson.

From the 1988 CD release “Volume 1” we receive this explanation in the liner notes:

Once upon a time, a long time ago in the 1970’s, there were two bands aimlessly wandering around a small town in Southern California called Yorba Linda. The name of one of those groups was J.C. Rose and the name of the other, Boaz. Jim Nicholson and myself, best friends since high school, were members of J. C. Rose along with Dave Hackbarth, who has been a priceless catalyst to a great many records and Artists since. The members of Boaz were Chris Winber, Danny Pavlis, Ray Hersom and Rick Alba among a few others. After a year or two of fruitless effots, the two groups disbanded, to form two new groups. Jim and I sayted together and added Danny Pavlis on Drums and Rick Alba on bass and started Undercover. Chris Winber and Ray Hersom went on to form Lifesavors. Undercover started rehearsing in a greenhouse owned by Danny’s parents and after a couple of months, had our first concert along with The Lifesavors (also their first concert) and another group, The Chosen Ones, consisting of Chris Pavlis (Danny’s brother) and Brian Doidge (who would later join The Lifesavors).

(the story is continued in the liner notes…)

The 1988 CD release “Volume 1” includes the two first albums from Undercover, plus an additional bonus track written by Taylor, and attributed to the debut album, “Dying In Love.”

Track Listing:
A1 Excuse Us Written-By – Walden, Alba 2:45
A2 Heal Me Written-By – Taylor 2:15
A3 I’ll Be A Fool Written-By – Taylor 1:15
A4 Francine Written-By – Alba 2:45
A5 It’s Official Written-By – Taylor 2:20
A6 Turn Your Head Written-By – Nicholson 2:45
A7 Look It Up Written-By – Taylor 2:40
B1 Read It In A Letter Written-By – Nicholson 2:05
B2 Daddy-O Written-By – Walden, Taylor 1:15
B3 Tonight Written-By – Nicholson 1:47
B4 Stop Written-By – Nicholson, Taylor 2:50
B5 He’s In Love With You Written-By – Alba 2:45
B6 I.C.U. Written-By – Taylor 2:40
B7 He Gives We Have Written-By – Taylor 2:25
Arranged By – Undercover
Artwork [Cover And Sleeve] – Milton R. Sue
Bass Guitar, Vocals – Rick Alba
Drums, Performer [Kindling], Vocals – Danny Pavlis
Engineer – Dan Willard, Thom Roy (tracks: A7), Tim Pinch (tracks: A1 to A6, B1 to B7)
Guitar [All Guitars], Vocals – Jim “Nuclear” Nicholson
Lead Vocals, Alto Saxophone – Bill Walden
Musician [Additional] – Giggles – Benjamin Taylor, Chris Pavlis, Dave Hackbarth Organ, Piano, Synthesizer, Vocals – Joey Taylor
Photography By [Cover] – George Zaferes
Producer – Dan Willard, Joey Taylor
Rhythm Guitar [After Tracks] – Ray Hersom

1 – Excuse Us – 2:45
2 – Heal Me – 2:15
3 – I’ll Be A Fool – 1:15
4 – Francine – 2:45
5 – It’s Official – 2:20
6 – Turn Your Head – 2:45
7 – Look It Up – 2:40
8 – Read It In A Letter – 2:05
9 – Daddy-O – 1:15
10 – Tonight – 1:47
11 – Stop – 2:50
12 – He’s In Love With You – 2:45
13 – I.C.U. – 2:40
14 – He Gives We Have – 2:25
Bonus Track
15 – Dying In Love – 4:29

Arranged By – Undercover
Artwork [Cover And Sleeve] – Milton R. Sue
Bass Guitar, Vocals – Rick Alba
Drums, Performer [Kindling], Vocals – Danny Pavlis
Engineer – Dan Willard, Thom Roy (tracks: A7), Tim Pinch (tracks: A1 to A6, B1 to B7)
Guitar [All Guitars], Vocals – Jim “Nuclear” Nicholson
Lead Vocals, Alto Saxophone – Bill Walden
Mastered By – KPG
Musician [Additional] – Giggles – Benjamin Taylor, Chris Pavlis, Dave Hackbarth
Organ, Piano, Synthesizer, Vocals – Joey Taylor
Photography By [Cover] – George Zaferes
Producer – Dan Willard, Joey Taylor
Rhythm Guitar [After Tracks] – Ray Hersom

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Ministry Resource Center
Copyright (c) – Ministry Resource Center
Copyright (c) – B-1 Music
Mastered At – The Cutting System, Inc.
Recorded at Rapture Repertory Theatre’s Warehouse and C.C.C.M. on Tim Pinch’s Mobile Recording Studio except for A7, recorded at Whitefield Studio

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Various – California Metal Volume II – 1988

This 1988 Regency Records sampler featured some of the best California Metal bands of the time and some very exclusive tunes. I have listed below where you can find the albums with the songs. Note that the CD and the cassette have one more track than the vinyl version.

1 – Vision – Runaway – Unreleased
2 – Emerald – Traitor – Unreleased until 2001 then bonus track on Armed For Battle re-release CD
3 – Recon – Light The Fire – Only released on a 1989 Demo
4 – Soldier – Borderline – On 1988 album Babylon
5 – Judea – Heart Of Stone – Unreleased Band
6 – Mastedon – Get Up – On 1989 album It’s A Jungle Out There
7 – Ransom – Sin Killer – Unreleased
8 – Emerald – Born To Die – Unreleased until 2001 then bonus track on Armed For Battle re-release CD
9 – Judea – Knock – Unreleased Band
10 – Soldier – Tears – Unreleased until 2002 then bonus track on The Definitive Collection 1985-1989 CD
11 – Recon – Dreams – On 1990 album Behind Enemy Lines

1 – Vision – Runaway – 4:56
2 – Emerald – Traitor – 2:39
3 – Recon – Light The Fire – 3:25
4 – Soldier – Borderline – 3:33
5 – Judea – Heart Of Stone – 4:32
6 – Mastedon – Get Up – 3:58
7 – Ransom – Sin Killer – 4:34
8 – Emerald – Born To Die – 4:17
9 – Judea – Knock – 4:24
10 – Soldier – Tears – 3:57
11 – Recon – Dreams – 4:59

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Ruscha – Come Alive – 1988

The Pankratz brothers changed the name of the band to Ruscha for this album. They had two previous albums as “The Russians”. If you don’t know the brothers are/were Siberian emigrants who defected from Russia in the early 80’s. It was really this album that broke the brothers into the main stream. They were featured on many newscasts and did a speaking tour in connection with the album tour. The Pop album had a mainstream feel and in fact they were negotiating with several major labels but alas as happened so often none of them took up the band and they stayed on Pan-Trax Records. This was it from the brothers but the rest of the band went on to become Legend Seven and released an album in 1993.

1 – Come Alive – 4:49
2 – Someone Listening – 3:38
3 – Broken Heart – 4:06
4 – Holy And True – 3:38
5 – Come Home – 4:21
6 – The Word Stands Forever – 4:42
7 – Burning Bridges – 4:20
8 – Exalt The Name – 3:41
9 – Do You Care? – 3:49
10 – Lord Of The Impossible – 3:15

Nikolai Pankratz – rhythm guitar, keyboard programming, bgvs
Peter Pankratz – bass guitar, bgvs, lead vocals
Andy Denton – lead vocals, bgvs
Billy Williams – drums, percussion programming
Lance Batchelder – keyboard
Michael Jackson – keyboards, bgvs, vocoder vocal, keyboard programming, string programming
Michael Jacobs – lead guitar, background vocals

Studio Credits
Produced by: Nikolai R. Pankratz & Bubba Smith
Executive Producer: Nikolai R. Pankratz
Mike Radovsky – drums
Duncan Mullins – bass, drum programming
Tom Hemby – guitar
Phil Naish – keyboards, bass programming
Tim Akers – keyboards
George Cocchini – guitar
Mark Douthit – sax
Jeff Teague – drums
Bubba Smith – cymbals
Recorded at: Gold Mine, Omni, Bullet, & Stage III studios
Mixed at: Woodland Studio

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Saint – Too Late For Living – 1988

This is the third studio album from Saint. The style is a continuation of their previous two albums although a little more matured. There is nothing of particular note on the album which is not to say it’s not a good album, it’s just that it is more of what Saint fans loved. There are a couple notable personnel situations on the album however. Dee Harrington took over guitar work on this album taking over from John Mahan. Strangely John was credited on the album but apparently did not actually do any work on the album. Personally after listening to albums from bot John and Dee I believe Dee is a better guitarist. Just my opinion. John Perrine took over drumming duties from Brian Willis and I believe this was just a trade off as neither drummer stood out to me. I’m not saying that either isn’t a good drummer just that I didn’t find anything on either album that allowed them to show their skills.

1 – Too Late For Living – 3:57
2 – Star Pilot – 3:29
3 – Accuser – 2:00
4 – The Rock – 2:50
5 – On The Street – 3:38
6 – Returning – 4:48
7 – The Path – 3:48
8 – Through The Sky – 3:49
9 – The War Is Over – 3:16

Bass – Richard Lynch
Drums – John Perrine
Executive-Producer – Gavin Morkel
Guitar – Dee Harrington, John Mahan
Producer – David Lohr, Richard Lynch
Vocals – Josh Kramer

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – Lexicon/Spectra, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Pure Metal Records
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Pure Metal Records
Published By – Refuge Music Group

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