"Demo Reviews"

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P.O. Box 100, Somerset Center, MI 49282
From the first defining notes of the title track, you realize these guys mean business! Dahliagrey is a rock trio from the Jackson area that features two former members of Rare Earth. Apparently, they learned their lessons well because they infuse a soulful edge, probably drawn from their tenure in that famed Motown group, into every song they play. Lead vocalist and drummer Robert Weaver delivers a style rarely heard in today's rock. His Joe Cocker-meets-Paul Rodgers approach matches his poignant and heartfelt lyrics to a tee, while bassist Andy Merrild and guitarist Rich Backes supply an impressive array of supportive and improvisational chops. Poetic, reflective, insightful, quite personal, but always entertaining -- that's Dahliagrey.

- Eric Harabadian

Domestic Problems-SCATTERED PIECES

P.O. Box 6087, Grand Rapids, MI 49516
Whatever "Problems" these guys have, it's definitely not with making music. This band is an acoustic treat. Their talent ranges from drum and bass to mandolin and flute with everything imaginable in between. They have a folksy blues rock sound that comes out very smooth in their vocals. They know how to fill the dance floor while remaining seriously laid back. They're as good live as they are on their latest CD, titled SCATTERED PIECES . The CD is worth listening to as much as their show is worth seeing.
- Elizabeth Sawyer

Stone Mary

343 Oakwood Lane, Perry, MI 48872
A favorite on the Lansing scene since their inception, Stone Mary showcases its wares on this strong demo release. Combining heavy, progressive rhythms with an "alternative" metal mentality, the songs contained here have a mass appeal for fans of several genres. The power of their live performances is captured here with the excellent production. As a matter of fact, the bass and drums sound even stronger. The songs show a lot of maturity for such a young band, and that should help to propel them to a bright future, indeed. "House of Lies," "Yard Stick," and the live recording of "Temple" are the standout cuts on this remarkable demo.

- Shane Copher

NOTE: Due to space constraints, the following reviews were not included in the print edition of the RENEGADE. They are only available here in the online edition.


5595 Ridge Rd., Parma, OH 44129
Reminiscent of the '80s power ballads, the cuts off this demo, "Cool Water" and "Dreamin," have that Bon Jovi quality. "Cool Water" is rife with innocuous lyrics and, yes, THAT EGO MASSAGING GUITAR SOLO that is evident in many beginners' songs who have something they're trying to prove. Catchy tempo at the intro to "Dreamin," smooth vocals and glossy production does provide the demo with some redeeming qualities.

- Amy McClees

Diesel Down

430 Chestnut St., Kearny, NJ 07032
Diesel Down is a New Jersey trio that specializes in blending old school punk with ballads and even a spacey jam for good measure. Lead singer/guitarist Ian Mitchell claims his affinity for classic rock from the sixties and seventies. The inclusion of Van Morrison's "Gloria" further supports that fact. Kind of raw and a little rough around the edges, but its a clear, punchy recording, and I appreciate their ambitious approach to the material.

- Eric Harabadian

Chris Alastair-GHOST IN LOVE

P.O. Box 17824, Arlington, VA 22216
Light and easy listening soft rock/pop with curious and compelling word plays. Fine production and interesting lyrics make this 12 song cassette easy on the ear and introduce you to the world of Chris Alastair. A singer/songwriter with promise and unique perspectives on relationships, the human condition, and feelings that may be hard to put into words. Worth a listen and worth keeping an eye on as he develops and puts his focus on his songwriting skills.

- Mike Somers

The Back Alley Boys-WRINKLE RED

P.O. Box 1074, Auburn, NY 13021
Strong songwriting, good playing, and great harmonies highlight this excellent release. This is as good as any new band I've heard of late. 13 cuts that range from tender ballads to "Eagle-like" country rock. The Back Alley Boys have in Wrinkle Red an album that's worthy of contending with major label acts. Among my favorite tracks are "You're the One," "April's Reign," and a waltz-like rendition of Hank's "Why Don't You Love Me." Don't miss this one... a country blockbuster.

- Shane Copher


P.O. Box 824182, Dallas, TX 75382-4182
This poundingly aggressive demo is in the alternative vein, but the vocals of Melodie Bailey, along with the fiery axework of Jay Puga, help to separate it from the pack. 7 crisp tracks with well-written lyrics and plenty of power. "Loser" is among the standouts, with the closing cut "Scapegoat" running a close second. Good production, nice packaging, and enough originality, this should garner Trench some label attention.

- Shane Copher


P.O. Box 975, Dickson, TN 37055
Ultra-heavy thrash, this five-track EP is smoldering. The rhythms are extremely heavy, with a good grinding feel to them. The drum sound is colossal! Add to the mix loads of slick guitar leads and a weighty vocal performance. "Nailed Shut" opens the package with heavy hands that continue through each cut. Short but sweet, this album is awesome!

- Shane Copher


Bryan Bridgman, 8418 Penobscot Road, Richmond, VA 23227
Great vocals and strong melodies set Blower's aggressive metal apart from both the thrash pack and the "alternative" nation. Borrowing elements from each, along with an industrial-edged production, this EP has a strangely unique sound. Good writing and great performances give Blower a mass appeal. Add in a strong mix, and you're sure to see why this demo is worth tracking down.

- Shane Copher

For Life-'96 DEMO

832 Eaton Rd., Drexel Hill, PA 19026; 268 Bayard Rd., Upper Darby, PA 19082
Intense performances manage to rise above a rather muddy production on this release, but the bad mix became distracting at times. For Life displays powerful, pounding rhythms, brute force vocals, and some very interesting tempos. This demo managed to impress me despite its studio shortcomings, and is worth a listen or two. If the band finds a way to clean up the mix and maybe cut back a bit on the sampling, they could become contenders.

- Shane Copher


P.O. Box 5141, Novato, CA 94948
Two advance cuts from an upcoming release, with driving rhythms, excellent lead vocals, tasty guitar licks, and strong harmonies. "No More" is the rockin'er of the two, with "Chains of Freedom" being one of those gradual build-up numbers. Great production and songwriting and a very big "tip-of-the-hat" to Queensryche make this a very impressive, if not entirely original, offering.

- Shane Copher


Interstellar Productions, 3770 East Prospect Rd., York, PA 17402
This band displays a diverse range that drifts from typical alternative radio fare to blisteringly intense at the drop of a hat. Catchy, hook-laden material with plenty of rhythm and able musicianship. Heavy percussion permeates this album and adds much of its power in the process. The ability to cover a variety of styles, such as the disco-reggae-rap "Butt," which incidentally contains some ripping guitarwork, may help Kroy to appeal to a large market. This is truly an "alternative" band, and it's a very pleasing listen.

- Shane Copher


Fylo Records, P.O. Box 1001, Ormond Beach, FL 32174
This four song cassette was quite a pleasant surprise. All the material was written by Phil Weidner in 1995, and it appears to be fresh but quite reminiscent of early Dan Fogelburg (without Joe Walsh) or early Jackson Browne. This guitar-based tunesmith created these four songs with superb harmonies, poetic lyrics, and all the "country-rock" style he could muster. My question is... Will the songs "One Way Highway," "Running Out of Gas," "Brain Surgeon," and "Tribute" be included on a full length CD?

- Bob Smith

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