It’s nice to hear this brilliant blues player still kicking out the jams. This album, Last Chance Boogie, lives up to its name on most of the tracks, slowing down every once in a while for a slower blues standard. Me thinks there’s only a handful of harp players in the world that can match Darrell’s talent on harmonica, and he’s joined by longtime bandmate Eric Turner on guitar. This studio recording features mostly originals written by Darrell with his friends. While I think Darrell does well in all kinds of formats, from the acoustic blues in the Trimmed & Burnin series to the more straight-up live blues sessions with Larry Howard and Glenn Kaiser, I most enjoy his rockin’ blues jams in a band setting. Fans of boogie rock like Foghat, blues rock like the Rolling Stones to George Thorogood to ZZ Top, and fans of blues guitar a la Stevie Ray all have something to really enjoy here. Available from Rad Rockers (see their full page ad in this issue for ordering info). (Doug Van Pelt)

Here’s another new album from Darrell and company. The different band name indeed indicates different players on guitar and bass. This album was recorded live in Europe and shows these guys laying back in the pocket, verses any sort of attacking rock and roll. You get lots of harmonica and fine singing, but most of the musicianship just takes care of business, with no intentions of getting in your face. The album’s highlights are the uptempo numbers, which would include the reworked cover of "Boom Boom (Out go the Lights)," and "Last Chance Boogie," and "Million Dollar Feeling." Available from Rad Rockers (see their full page ad in this issue for ordering info). (DV)

As you may notice, we recently received a slew of cool indie releases worth noting from Rad Rockers. Many of these hot releases include established bands that find a way to do a custom release of some sort and sell it via mail-order to their fans and through specialty places like this. Three Crosses had their recent performance at Holland’s Flevo Festival recorded, which has been released on Spark Records. I have long held these guys as a really good band that needed to be experienced live to be appreciated. Their albums showed off good songwriting, but the studio production failed to capture all the energy they’re capable of. With the exception of the mistake with the track listing (it’s all out of order), this package is top rate. The mix is good, marrying all the vocals with the instruments and the crowd. Extended jams, like that found in "I Should Have Known" are really what make blues rock special. This album’s got it . . . in a few spots. I think it’s the vocals that keep this band from knocking Aerosmith out, plus the organ is a lot more prominent than most hard rockers would allow. Available from Rad Rockers (see their full page ad in this issue for ordering info). (DV)

Whoo-ha! It’s always nice to get a visit from an old friend, which is what this EP feels like. Only five songs are served up here, but the quality is pristine, comparible to the Sticks and Stones collection. These would serve well as a musical resume / demo of the band’s talent. It’s that beautiful melodic pop music that has the right amount of edgy ambience and tone to set it apart from tired old adult rock, yet light enough to appear boring to the energy-freak fans of hardcore punk or something else that relies heavily on speed to thrill the senses. Not to say the band doesn’t rock out at times. "Blue Sky" goes fast and humorous: "Molene, saying what she didn’t mean / making like a Dairy Queen / milking me when I was never going to be the king..." If any respectable label hears this EP and doesn’t sign this band, something’s wrong with the universe. It’s a good thing we can enjoy these songs for now. Available from Rad Rockers (see their full page ad in this issue for ordering info). (DV)

This band’s debut release unfortunately didn’t get the kind of distribution and attention it deserved as the remnants of the Frontline Records empire was crumbling. Thus, this fine debut album was practically out of print before it hit its first store shelf. It’s especially a shame here, because Rainy Days’ blend of rockabilly fun punk would have made a lot of people grin during the last three years. You’d never guess that this is former Unashamed singer Jeff Jacquay’s new band, but he just plays bass here. Fitting in the usual formula, there is some minute emo influence in songs like "Gunslinger." While rockabilly is certainly an influence, musically, this band falls closer to Ghoti Hook than Ruby Joe. Lyrically, the band melds the funny antics of teenage life with the ministry-minded fervor of 80’s metal bands. The absolute standout cut is the worship song "Lord, I Want To Know You," which starts off with a wicked ugly Southern Gospel once through the song, before they kick in to the snappy punkabilly style that comes alive like crazy. This is a super great gem that must be heard. Available from Rad Rockers (see their full page ad in this issue for ordering info). (DV)

Here’s another relic saved from the decimation of Frontline / Alarma Records. This one is a unique Magdalen-like project by Lanny Cordola, Philip Bardowell, and Chuck Wright. The only difference between the two bands are the guest drummers. I, for one, am really surprised that a struggling record company needing publicity (Alarma) didn’t shove this record in my face at the time of its 1996 release. This is really good stuff, showing a keen sense of melodic songwriting, super-tight musicianship, and fanciful lyric-writing. As the makeup of this band might suggest, this is kind of a musician’s musician type of band -- filled with lots of quirky additives that keep it exciting and surprising (as in sax solos and Jazzy time patterns). Just imagine Charlie Peacock producing Dream Theater and maybe you’ll understand this chaos. Worth a listen, for sure. Available from Rad Rockers (see their full page ad in this issue for ordering info). (DV)

Huntington Beach is another one of those out-of-print gems you can find at Rad Rockers. I wouldn’t recommend this one to LSU fans, except for those extremely fanatical ones, the ones who think Mike Knott can do no wrong. Me thinks he did wrong here. This is old surfpunk. Available from Rad Rockers (see their full page ad in this issue for ordering info). (DV)

Sunday Best is the band’s own private "best of" album. Why didn’t they let me pick ‘em? They picked a rare gem like "Pick Up Your Cross" from an old Pakaderm compilation, the B-side of "Awful Dreadful Snake," and added a live version of "C’mon Everyone," but overall this album doesn’t do this great band justice. Why a song like "Preacher and the Bear" is here and "Coffee Can" or "The Lion’s Den" aren’t is indeed a "Sweet Mystery." The best part is probably the liner notes on each song included. A collector’s item for fans, for sure; but a true best of it ain’t. Available from Rad Rockers (see their full page ad in this issue for ordering info). (DV)

Here’s a good-sounding live album with recent material from Buzz and Bottle Rocket making up the set list. The surprise wonder is the amazing cover of U2’s "Pride (In The Name of Love)." I’ve never heard anyone get so close to Bono’s voice. Worth the price of admission alone. Available from Rad Rockers (see their full page ad in this issue for ordering info). (DV)

This rare CD was originally released in Sweden way back in ‘86. It was an amazing release that immediately jumped to the top of the melodic metal pile, alongside bands such as Scorpions and TNT. Killer vocals by Sonny Larsson and super clean ‘n fluid leads by guitarist Tom Nilsson made for a world-class release that shouldn’t have stayed obscure. It was rather strange for this secular band to have a believer like Sonny in the band, writing lyrics to the majority of songs. You have one song ("Moving Emotion," written by an outsider named Hellström) reminiscing about "...makin’ love...," while another ("He’s Coming Back," written by Larsson) declares, "He’s coming back with power and glory / He will return with fire." Another surprising riddle is the Hellström-penned tune, "Father of Lies," where Babylon is called the vulgar word for a female dog, yet tells the Truth concerning the devil, and affirms Jesus -- "Jesus Christ of Nazareth, take my soul and take me home / Jesus Christ, I’m telling you, You’re the One for me." Not as bad as Prince, but watch out! Let it also be known that the music is fabulous. Some will, of course, recognize Sonny’s voice from his later work with Leviticus and Charizma. Available from Rad Rockers (see their full page ad in this issue for ordering info). (DV)

Lovers of melodic metal will thrill over this band’s indie release -- Ten More Tales. I’m reminded of the melodic vocals of Dream Theater’s James LaBrie and the tasteful progressiveness of Queensryche. What’s super about this band is that they can compete on this level. Lyrically, the band avoids any upfront references to Jesus, but uses much imagery that makes sense. The sound is slick and powerful. See for yourself on this issue’s Hard Music Sampler CD. Write: Nightmare Records, 7751 Greenwood Dr, St Paul MN 55112 (DV)

A breath of fresh air is what you will receive from this punk band from Michigan. Instead of doing the typical English accent of the punk standards, you will be treated to a much clearer voice that is appealing and in a longer song! Even though this project is unmastered, it holds to some pretty good sounds. Meaningful searching lyrics backed up by good harmonies, melodies and rhythms make this a cd to listen to over and over again. For ordering info, write: PO Box 92, Kendall MI 49062 (Gordon)

This compilation, entitled The Quest of the Wanton Treader, is an odd mix of songs that accompanies, in some strange way, the story of this cute little star-eyed guy with a pointy hat. The first group, Supermodel Stalker, has a lead singer that reminds me of Fred Schneider from the B-52’s rapping words that happen to rhyme, especially in "Lunatic." It is a lot more interesting to listen to than one might think. The second song is an eclectic mix of melodies, that you can hear for yourself . . . it’s on this issue’s Hard Music Sampler! Swampbelly is a band that reminds me of Havalina Rail Co being headed up by a young Bob Dylan. Sycamore Seed has the pop thing fronted by a Veruca Salt sounding team. All of the songs on this CD seem to focus on the surreal side of God. Not a bad listen. For ordering info, write: My Little Empire Incorporated 7304 5th Avenue, Ste 329, Brooklyn NY 11209 (G)

This is a band reminiscent of Johnny Respect in almost every way, except for the vocals. Punk Rock for the Hopeless Romantic has neat-o melodies and beats. Cool lyrics . . . enough to make me wonder what these three boys from South Carolina have been through. Vocals are a bit weak, though. A band you should check out on this issue’s Hard Music Sampler. For ordering info, write: PO Box 58, Daufuskie Island SC 29915 (G)

This is a well put together cd with some phenomenally excellent guitar work! Vocals are clear and soothing. I really enjoyed this project. Classical guitar thrown in with it’s cousin metal is pleasing to these ears. The words are clearly thought out and focused on praise. This trio has a good thing going. Check them out on this issue’s Hard Music Sampler. For ordering info, write: Melange Records, PO Box 2051, Bowie MD 20718-2051 (David Bixler)

With Beanbag coming at us from the land down under, and now these young men representing the Scandinavian Peninsula, it is safe to say that the style known as rapcore is truly becoming an international phenomenon. Jacks of All Trades mix together some tough, super heavy riffs with well delivered rap vocals and passionate screams, combining the best of hardcore and hip hop. Basically, imagine Every Day Life with a heavy Finnish accent and you have Jacks of All Trades. Fans of P.O.D., Every Day Life, Rage Against the Machine, and Limp Bizkit, will welcome this addition to the rapcore scene with open arms. Hear it for yourself on this issue’s Hard Music Sampler. For more info, write: Cross Rhythms Music, 3030 N. Josey Ln. #101-212, Carrollton TX 75007 (David M. Pogge)

Longtime Christian music fans will be excited to learn that Millennium 8 has reissued Us Kids by the legendary Lifesavers on CD for a limited time. All 14 original tracks are here, plus nine bonus cuts. Go ahead and do the math; that’s 23 tracks of non-stop Lifesaver-style fun. While most people would associate anything by the Lifesavers with Mike Knott’s signature vocal style, original vocalist Mark Krischak handles vocal responsibilities on this one. Although I prefer Mike’s emotive style to Mark’s happy punk style, this CD is still loads of fun and a must-have for any fan or collector of Lifesavers / L.S.U. / Mike Knott releases. Fans of early punk acts like the Ramones may enjoy this one too. For ordering info, write: Millennium 8 Records, 6109 Scotmar Dr, Lansing MI 48911 (DMP)

Attention all hardcore fans: as quickly as you can, run up to your attic, dig up Grandma Agnes’ turntable, dust it off and get your little brothers ready for a family mosh pit. These are two good bands from Ohio serving up quite a dish of dissonant delights. Vessel creates an interesting hybrid of straight forward hardcore with hints of Rage/EDL. Imagine if Focused got a little more technical and vocalist Tim Mann delivered his throaty heartfelt vocals in a more punchy, almost rapcore style. Outcry grabs the listener by both ears and relentlessly pounds the Gospel into his skull with their fast / slow old school hardcore sound. Fans of early Zao and the later Strongarm material are strongly advised to give this a listen. To order this 7", send $3 to: Mike Fealko, 137 Washington Ave, Niles, OH 44446 (DMP)

Te gusta musica de muerta? This is Panamanian death metal. Yes, I said Panama. For those of you who are geographically deficient, Panama is that narrow strip of land that connects the two continents of the Western Hemisphere and is also where Jack discovered sun screen. Aside from a few production flaws, this is a good six-song demo packed with haunting Death / Grind / whatever you like to call it — metal that would probably be huge in Norway. These guys don’t even bother trying to do the metal-core thing. They fly the flag of leather and tights without shame. Steve Rowe is smiling. Your parents are cringing. Be afraid. Be very afraid. For ordering info, write: 9077, zona 6, Panama (DMP)

Here is an industrial project that explores every possible avenue of the genre. The first song sounds somewhat like a video game with Bush’s Gavin singing lead vocals. The second song is what would happen if Klay Scott listened to Blink 182. My personal favorite would be song four; definite radio material. A lot of creativity is displayed here, with the only lack being in consistency. Fans of Stabbing Westward, Klank, Filter, and maybe even early Korn are encouraged to check this out. For ordering info, write: Casey Patrick Moore, 601 N. Hammonds Ferry Rd, STE J, Linthicum Heights MD 21090-1321 (DMP)

This is what Abel probably sounded like while Cain was killing him. Screams of Abel pull off Death metal with breathy growling vocals reminiscent of Darth Vader with a cold. Fortunately, there is no raving about the dark side, or being Luke’s father and there is no cackling emperor in the background. For ordering info, write: Ryan Briles, RR3, Box 643, Spencer IN 47460 (DMP)

These guys get five cool points right off the bat for having such a fun name. Anything that breaks the monotony for me is definitely a plus. Musically, Joe Mama take the straight-forward alternative / progressive / rock approach and don’t stray away from that right up to the end. Overall, it’s a decent effort from a band that seems to have a lot of potential and a great sense of humor. To order send $3 to: A.C. Alspach III, 1633 Wilson Ave, Lancaster, PA 17603 (DMP)

Jonathan knows how to write a good classic rock song. There is a hint of the modern alternative sound here, a la Pete Stewart, but overall it sounds like something off of one of those 80’s rock compilations you see advertised on daytime television. The songs are well written, the instrumentation is tasteful and the production is impressive. Any classic rock fan should get endless hours of head boppin’ glee out of this three-song demo. For ordering info, write: P.O. Box 134, Kewanna, IN 46939 (DMP)

This is what would happen if Jason Martin decided to write a few songs on the way home from a Pink Floyd concert. Soft, whispery vocals and echoing guitars with keyboards and various noises thrown over top just for atmosphere give this recording a truly ethereal feel. This recording is recommended for anyone who enjoys good shoegazer pop or suffers from insomnia; it has been proven to be beneficial in both cases. For ordering info, write: 2117 4th Ave, Scottsbluff NE 69361 (DMP)

Here is a very impressive three-song demo that had my foot tapping from the very start. While the vocals are similar to Precious Death or maybe Soulfood 76, the songwriting is reminiscent of Small Town Poets or the Beatles. Throw all these bands in a crockpot, cook them up until they melt together into one delicious blob of sonic goodness and you have Casting Pearls. This is definitely grade-A rock n’ roll. For ordering info, write: Stage Truth Entertainment, 37263 272nd St. Platte SD 57369 (DMP)

These guys are scary. This is about the most depressing music I’ve ever heard, and I regularly listen to Bloomsday. I like it. Intense, heartfelt vocals are sung out over the darkest guitar arrangements you’ll ever hear anywhere. You can just feel the pain oozing from the cassette deck as you sit there listening, not knowing whether to bawl your eyes out or just sit there and sulk. This band makes the Cure seem giddy. This album is recommended for anyone who enjoys a good cry. This album, however, is not recommended for anyone on Prozac. For ordering info, write: Charlie Mosbrook, Arabica Coffee House, 2957 Coleridge, Cleveland Hts OH 44118 (DMP)

This is Metal, pure and simple. Everything from the palm muted power chords with big solos and monster riffs to the operatic vocals is included in this metal-lover’s fun pack. Accomplished musicianship and better than average production make this a recording worth listening to. For ordering info, write: PO Box 2287, Wilkes-Barre PA 18703 (DMP)

Sounds like someone threw a boombox in the middle of the garage. To their credit, I’m sure it was a nice boom box. Aside from the muffled recording, what is here are four songs from a young band with a lot of potential. This is what you’d call raw punk rock. It’s not punk because it sounds like MxPx (sounds nothing like it), but because they obviously don’t care about fitting in anywhere. They’re just playing what they want to play. For ordering info, write: Justin Price, 1935 16th St, West Linn OR 97068 (DMP)

This is quality modern rock in the vein of Seven Day Jesus, Satellite Soul and The Posies. Bonus Mahoney deliver that semi-contemporary sound with a slight alternative edge. Excellent vocals, good instrumentation, quality songwriting and a crisp recording make for a very strong release. Keep your eye on this band; if they keep this up they’ll go far. For ordering info, write: Wes Simpkins, 2582 4th Ave, Huntington WV 25701 (DMP)

These three young men are obviously accomplished musicians who know how to rock. This six-song CD is packed with lots of big heavy riffs similar to Collective Soul and strong gritty vocals supported beautifully with just the right harmonies and occasional growls. Good solo work, too. This is straight-ahead rock n’ roll played heavy with a modern twist; a must have for any true rock fan that likes to bob his head and play air guitar to bands like Galactic Cowboys, Collective Soul, and maybe even a little Metallica. Hear for yourself on this issue’s Hard Music Sampler. To order, send $7 to: Keith Miller, 286 Cleveland Ave SW, Suite 7C, New Brighton MN 55112 (DMP)

This is a decent three-song CD of jangly pop in the vein of Caedmon’s Call. Catchy songs, accomplished guitar playing, and diverse instrumentation help to make up for the occasional intonation problems in the vocals department. Overall, this is a worthy effort that displays a great deal of potential. You can hear for yourself on this issue’s Hard Music Sampler. For ordering info, write: 6826 Hawesville-Easton Rd, Reynolds Station KY 42368 (DMP)

Why in the world is this CD being reviewed in your Hard Music authority? Well, it’s anything but hard, but it is music, so I guess it halfway fits. Velvet Blue Music has done it again with this five-song EP that will bring a tear to your eye, half from the sweet sadness of the lyrics and half from the sheer beauty of the music. There are very few artists that can put out a release with just their voice and a couple of guitars, but Denison pulls it off with unrivaled grace. Stylistically, this CD would fall somewhere between Duncan Sheik and Damien Jurado on the spectrum of music to slow dance with. Brilliant songwriting, moody guitar picking and passionate vocals that drip with sincerity make this release a must have for anyone that enjoys quality music. So, go up to your room, dim the lights, light a few candles, pop this disc in your spinner and enjoy the luscious melodies that pour out of your speakers. It will break your heart, but if you know what’s good for you, you’ll enjoy every minute of it. For ordering info, write: Velvet Blue Music, 9121 Atlanta Ave #237, Huntington Beach CA 92646 (DMP)

Kudos to Adam Rhodes, who at the age of 17, recorded a CD in which he played every instrument and did a darn good job to boot. What do you do when the other members of your band aren’t committed? Find new members? Heck no, just learn to play all the instruments yourself; excellent strategy. This ten-song CD of non-stop headbanger’s glee is an excellent display of both talent and versatility. The only thing missing are some good metal vocals, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially if he can’t sing (remember, there is only one member). The great part about it being instrumental is that you can sing your own words to it. I give two thumbs up to this worthy effort that deserves every ounce of credit it gets. So, Adam, I was wondering, Any relation to Randy? For ordering info, write: 500 Delisle, Portageville MO 63873 (DMP)

Ooohhh, I get chills just looking at the cover. Kind of spooky. Edge of Mortality play fast and furious hardcore that will make your hair stand on end. Upon your first listen, you will do one of three things: a) break into a one-man mosh pit and eventually ram through the door of your bedroom, b) jump up and down with excitement now that there is someone who can fill the void that Strongarm left behind with their demise, or c) turn it off after about thirty seconds, because you don’t want your parents to take away your stereo again. All three of these choices are quite possible, but the underlying fact in all of this is that you, the world’s biggest hardcore fan, need to hear this CD. For ordering info, write: Jon, Warfare Records, 2036 Alexander Dr, Escondido CA 92025 (DMP)

Theses guys play a ferocious style of emo / spazz core that falls somewhere between Frodus and Roadside Monument. This is what would happen if the guys from Fugazi bought a case of Jolt Cola, drank it all up in a 15-minute stretch and then decided to record an album. The result: music that makes gutter punk seem tame. Velvet Blue has definitely strayed from their normal shoegazer pop format for this one. For ordering info, write: VBM, pmb 237, 9121 Atlanta Ave, Huntington Beach CA 92646-6309 (DMP)

Here’s a delicious piece of work that you would never find at Long John Silver’s. Battered Fish play a unique strain of modern rock that will have your foot tapping with excitement from the very start. Good catchy songs, and passionate vocals combine for the perfect recipe for a quality album. If you or someone you know enjoys what has become known as "modern rock," buy this CD at the first chance you get. For ordering info, write: VBM, 9121 Atlantic Ave, Ste #237, Huntington Beach CA 92646-6309 (DMP)

This is Gothic metal coming at you all the way from Brazil. Don’t think Marilyn Manson, though. These Brazilian Goth rockers know a lot more about the true gothic sound than the commercial pop star that masquerades as "goth" ever could. The instrumentation will impress you, to say the least, and the vocals will chill you to the core . This eight-song release from the other American continent will have any Saviour Machine fan jumping up and down with glee. For ordering info, write: R. Rio Rojas, 348-Bloco J - Apto. 14 - Res. Monte Castelo - CEP 799010-410 - Campo Grande - MS - Brazil (DMP)

Ah, Switzerland; home of white cheese with holes, hot cocoa, neutrality, and now Noise Industry. This is a far cry from the Alpine yodeling that their grandparents made famous. Imagine if KMFDM catered a little more to the dance side of the industrial spectrum and had a heavy Swiss accent. Fans of this genre should gobble this tasty little morsel of electronic delight right up. For ordering info, write: Noise industry Management c/o Pierre-Etienne Pasche, 1463 Rovray, Switzerland (DMP)

Here’s a talented solo artist with a lot of potential. Barely into his 20’s, Randy displays guitar ability scarce in this modern world of three-chord alternative rock and does a good job on bass, vocals and the drum machine as well. Lookout Trent Reznor, Mr. Dobson can do a project by himself and he doesn’t even need to hide behind a computer. If you like good, straight-ahead heavy metal with lightning guitar solos, you may have just found what you’re looking for. Don’t think Spandex and big hair, though; think torn jeans and boots riding on a Harley. For ordering info, write: PO Box 9162, Toledo OH 46397-9162 (DMP)

Here’s a split CD from two of the finest unsigned hardcore bands I’ve heard. To be completely honest, these two bands would rival any of the signed hardcore bands out right now. Luti-Kriss delivers an intense display of passion that would be a definite hit with fans of Blindside and early Korn. Travail sticks to that classic hardcore style with those growly vocals that border on rap. This CD is a must have for any hardcore fan. For ordering info, write: Pluto Records, PO box 1201, McKinney TX 75070 (DMP)

This is new school punk rock, fast and furious as it should be. These guys obviously consume caffeine in large quantities. This CD has 14 tracks of non-stop fun that will have all your friends thinking that you’re the most punk kid on the block if you buy it first. Fans of Dogwood, Slick Shoes, and of course, MxPx will embrace this release with tender affection. The really punk kids will probably like them at first and then hate them as soon as they get popular. For ordering info, write: Let’s Jet Records, PO Box 3315, Fayetteville AR 72702 (DMP)

Here’s a great new sampler from those nice folks at Let’s Jet Records. There’s something for everyone on here. There’s some punk rock for those kids that are so tough they wear chains and spikes and can even handle having glue in their hair. Then there’s some good old fashion emo core for the feminine side in all of us. Finally, so as not to leave anyone out, there’s a little bit of spazz core on here for all of the schizo listeners out there. This should be on every one of you punk rock kids’ Christmas wish list. For ordering info, write: Let’s Jet Records, PO Box 3315, Fayetteville AR 72702 (DMP)

I must say, at first sight of this CD, I was a little scared. Three nice men in there mid-30’s grace the cover of this CD, clad in the latest of middle-aged white fisherman apparel (such as screen caps and barbecue-stained tank tops) showing off their shark catch. I braced myself for some yuppie grit rock. Fortunately, I was relieved to find out that this was only the latest compilation from Wounded Records. This release covers about every genre of modern hard music except metal. If you like punk, ska, emo, hardcore, or just modern rock, there’s a little tidbit of wholesome sonic goodness on here just for you. My personal favorite would have to be Touch the Robe’s "So Happy." To order this CD, send check for $10 ppd to: Jeremiah Duncan c/o Wounded Records, 1145 Stierley Rd, North Wadesville IN 47638 (DMP)

This is metal-core, through and through. Machine gun drums and lightning fast guitar riffs come at you out of nowhere like a tornado only to drop you right into a vicious slow groove that will have you wind-milling with the best of them. John Pope’s frantic, hoarse screams are not too far off from that of Zao’s. Fans of Zao and Spitfire beware: This CD could become addicting. For ordering info, write: Clenchedfist Records, PO Box 10571, Wilmington NC 28404 (DMP)

I like this band already, because their press pack came with candy. So kids, if you want to get a good review for your band "Ear Pain," send me lots of candy. Seed offers a 12-song CD packed with non-stop pop punk fun. In a world flooded with dime-a-dozen MxPx wanna-bes, the fellas in Seed manage to make their mark with an original sound and creative hooks. Or, maybe it was the candy. For ordering info, write: 31124 Greenwood Dr, Mission, BC, Canada V4S 1A9 (DMP)

Here’s an instrumental CD from a bass guitarist who has obviously been around the block a few times. The production is a little overdone and plastic sounding, but if you’re a young bassist looking for some inspiration, this will definitely wet your whistle a little bit. It is rare that a bass guitar can stand alone as anything but an accompanying instrument, but Mr. Tribus pulls this off with the ease and grace of a gazelle. For ordering info, write: 338 N. New Hampshire #8, Los Angeles CA 90004 (DMP)

Wow . . . this is a teriffic CD! Will Landrum has some serious guitar chops, and he showcases them all over this CD. He combines a mix of hard rock with some killer neoclassical riffs to create one of the best guitar instrumental albums I have ever heard. He may not have the speed of Yngwie or Chris Impellitteri, but his technicality and skill, as well as his fine arrangements, make this a CD I will return to again and again. To order, send $15.95 to: Inter Focus Records, 12414 Willow Falls Dr, Herndon VA 20170-2086 (DB)

Yehaaa! Attention all closet metalheads: get out all your old leather and spandex and get ready for some guitar shredding, glass shattering home-grown heavy metal that will make any old metal fan want to give his head a few whirls and sling that thinning hair a bit. The critically acclaimed Philadelphia has been rereleased by Magdalen Records in conjunction with Millennium 8. If Ken Tamplin is your idea of modern rock and the thought of a Stryper reunion makes your heart flutter with glee, you need to get a hold of this limited edition CD quicker than you can say Yngwie Malmsteen. To order, send $13 to MGP, PO Box 250, Keokuk IA 52632 (DMP)

Paste Music Sampler I
This CD is a collection of indie artists who have something more to contribute than just a couple of power chords and spikey haircuts. Two names on this CD you might recognize are Pedro the Lion and Paul Mumaw (Soulfood 76, Rose Blossom Punch, Jeremy Enigk). Along with these two CCM veterans are 17 other artists sharing songs about life, love, and everything in between. Anyone into folk or indie rock should definitely check this out. For ordering info, write: 1849 Pine St NW, Atlanta Ga 30309 (DMP)

Alive and Awake
We have good news and bad news. The bad news is this is not a new Mortal release. The good news is that the fine folks at have put together a CD with oodles of fun for the whole family. For mom and dad there are the contemporary / middle of the road tunes of Miranda Stone, Nomadic Farmers, and Rolinson-Boyce-Stanley. For junior, there’s all sorts of rocking tunes for him to share with all of his friends. The punk rock sounds of Delivery Boy and Nickel Plated Punk combined with Denison Marrs’ cut of pure, unbridled emo core make this release a sure hit with any of the kids of today. For all of you hard rockin’ older brothers, there are a few tracks on this just for you too. For ordering info, write: Jesus Freak, 400 Ford Rd #103, Minneapolis MN 55426-1010 (DMP)

The Rage, Vol. 2.0
Here’s the latest version of Worthless Record’s music compilation program. This CD has all the happening music that the kids dig these days: rock, pop, punk, ska, alternative, emo, dance and even some rap. Some of the songs will make you want to dance. Some will make you want to cry. Some will make you want to take the disc out of the player and use it to teach your dog to play frisbee. Overall, though, this is a great release with a lot of good bands that deserve every bit of recognition that they get. For ordering info, write: PO Box 54951, Phoenix AZ 85708 (DMP) Seed Records, Volume I In this compilation, Seed Records attempts to bring us some of Canada’s best Christian bands. I guess this is what Canadians do when they’re not playing hockey. There are ten bands here, each of them coming at us with two songs apiece. Some of the songs sound a little overproduced and some may lean a little close to the likes of Newsboys and DC Talk, but overall, Seed Records’ first compilation is a decent release that all you hosers need to listen to at least once or twice. For ordering info, write: Box 72, Otterville, Ontario, Canada NOJ 1RO (DMP)

Kevin hangs somewhere on the edge between the adult contemporary sounds of Stephen Curtis Chapman and Mark Farner, and the pop / alternative sounds of the Jason Ingram band. Good singing, songwriting, and guitar work characterize this CD from beginning to end. If you carry a briefcase to work, worry about thinning hair, and vaguely remember when Michael Jackson had his real face, this could be right up your alley. For ordering info, write: KBCB Music, 236 Third Ave Ext, Rensselaer NY 12144 (DMP)

Following the trend of a lot of bands recently, Saint has come back with a new CD, called The Perfect Life. Unfortunately, this is not the Saint I remember. The CD has 6 songs, most of which fall into the "commercialized hard rock" sound. And though I cannot tell for sure, the drums sound programmed, which doesn’t help the overall sound any. The musicianship on the disc itself is quite good, and the production is quite good as well, but I guess I was expecting something a bit chunkier than this. For ordering info, see ad on page 55. (DB)

This guy is a pretty well-known guitarist, perhaps best known for his work in the band Fourth Estate. Well, Clear The Tracks is a compilation of a lot of stuff he has done, both old and new. The inside of the CD describes it as "over 10 years of guitar innovations," and let me say that this is quite good. It is primarily instrumental in nature, and it explores classical, Spanish, rock, and other guitar styles. Overall, this is a superb disc. For ordering info, write: Hapi Skratch Records, 2100 West Drake Rd #280, Fort Collins CO 80526 (DB)

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