This is a bizarre little release. I learned everything I know about this band from the bio in the album’s liner notes. They were from Texas and in 1991 recorded a four song demo before ever playing live. They never got signed. In the second half of 1991 they played some shows then broke up before the year was out. So far, no bizarre, except for the fact that I own their demo on CD. But then, at least according to the bio, the band became popular worldwide purely by word of mouth on this demo pressing of 1000. And here Stormspell Records has re-packaged that demo along with three bonus tracks, which were recorded live at a band rehearsal.
We’ll address the bonus tracks first, because, unfortunately, that’s the most prominent part of the collection, and not in a good way. They should not have been included, and you get the feeling that they were only so Stormspell could justify charging the price of a full CD for it. They sound absolutely awful, the songs aren’t complete (in particular, the vocal melodies reek of a work in progress), and the band can be overheard razzing each other and dissing their own performance throughout “Whatever Will Be Will Be” (whose title is two words too long), culminating in one member calling the other a gay slur (it’s the other f-word). The band admits in the liner notes the tracks aren’t fully-cooked, and maybe there are like a dozen hardcore Regime fans around the world who are, like, super psyched they have some more Regime in their lives, but couldn’t they have just released them for free on the Internet?
Anyhoo, the other four songs are all pretty good (though they still don’t sound fantastic, what with it being a demo and all). It’s like a faster Dokken or Queensrÿche with a guitarist in the style of Marty Friedman (Megadeth) or John Petrucci (Dream Theater) but not as good as either of those guys because, well, because they’re those guys. The emphasis is on technical skills, especially in the lead guitar, and soaring vocals, and the songwriting is complex but not at the level of what I would call “progressive”…it’s more of a NWOBHM feel, in fact I’m just now realizing the vocalist owes a lot to Rob Halford of Judas Priest.
I don’t know…did we need more NWOBHM? If you read my Reign Of Fury reviews, the answer is hells yeah. But there’s something that’s so fun and free about that band that makes it worthwhile. These guys, right down to the scowls on the back cover, seem to take themselves a bit too seriously, and that, along with the production values, keep it from being something I ever really want to go back to.
Really Like: “Sorrow’s Victim”
Like: “Illusions Of You,” “Amnesty Plan,” “Greeted By Confusion”
Meh: “Brave New World”
Dislike: “Angels Born Free”
Hate: “Whatever Will Be Will Be”
Filed Between: Lou Reed (Transformer) and Steve Reich (You Are (Variations))
Song Notes: After the jump
- Illusions Of You – great guitar solos; love them. Almost push the song as a whole up to Really Like
- Sorrow’s Victim – My fave, and the most reminiscent of Dokken with that “She thinks that you’re a prisoner” line, both because of the lyrics and the way they’re sung.
- Amnesty Plea –
- Greeted By Confusion – a contender for favorite. Has some great parts but doesn’t quite come together as a whole song.
- Angels Born Free – sound is awful and the effect is exacerbated here as it’s coming straight off one of the well-recorded songs. Song is also unfinished, there are parts where he’s just guessing at melodies on vox.
- Whatever Will Be Will Be – why is it that shuffle play always seems to come back to the worst songs, in this case the one with the homophobic slur
- Brave New World –