Archive for The Alarm

The Rise of Christian Rock

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2017 by 80smetalman

Normally, I don’t write three posts in a week unless in exceptional circumstances which this is. Nothing major, I’m just going to be in Blackpool for the weekend and working a lot next week so I won’t be able to post again until next Friday. However, this doesn’t excuse any of you from your homework assignment from the last post. Only kidding.

1984 was the golden year of heavy metal but it also saw a huge rise in the interest in what has become known as ‘Christian Rock.’ With the onslaught of accusations of rock music being Satanic, Christian youth needed something they could listen to without their beliefs being affected. What emerged was a large number of bands and artists who were Born Again Christians and wanted to use music to spread their word and entertain the flock. I remember back in 1984 a lot of bands of this nature coming on the scene. In fact, early Sunday mornings, my local radio station had a four hour slot called TCN Hot Rock, where they would play music from Christian groups. When I did listen to it, I immediately dismissed the false belief that Christian bands were second rate musicians who were only using religion as a gimmick because they weren’t good enough to make it mainstream. Really, some people actually thought that. No these people could really wail and the music was very good and to shoot down another myth, not all the songs were in your face about Jesus.

You’d be surprised how many bands there are who are considered Christian Rock, even some of those who were popular among us heathens. Did you know that three of the four members of U2 were Born Again Christians? Adam Clayton is the only non believer in the band. Needless to say, their music got a lot of air play on TCN. As did another band who I featured here not too long ago, The Alarm. Other artists also came onto my radar thanks to this radio programme, including former Kansas star, Kerry Livgren. I’ll be featuring his album two posts from now. There was Mylon LeFevre, (no relation), Petra, the Daniel Band and it was here that I got my introduction to some heavy metal band called Styper. You might have heard of them.

The Alarm

U2

I remember one song getting a lot of airplay on TCN Hot Rock during the summer of 1984 so I thought, I would share it with you. It’s by Steve Taylor and it’s called “We Don’t Need No Color Code.” The song actually is a rant against a supposedly Christian College in the South who was accused of racist practices.

Like with everything to do with religion, the concept of Christian Rock is great. Like I said on other blogs, I can listen to Stryper and Mercyful Fate in the same sitting. There are some pretty amazing musicians who are Born Again Christians and I think that’s cool. However, like with everything else, people mess it up and make it look bad. The rise of Christian Rock gave rise to the arrogance in the attitudes of those who listened to it. Some would take this to extremes and if you’ve read “Rock And Roll Children,” (shameless plug), you’ll know what I mean.

Next post: Originally, I was going to put a song by the Daniel Band on this post but when I listened to their 1984 album, “Rush Out of the Darkness,” I was so impressed that I’m going to make it my next post.

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1505466016&sr=8-3&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Great Rock Albums of 1984: The Alarm- Declaration

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2017 by 80smetalman

In very early months of 1984, when MTV was still playing lots of good music, one song definitely caught my attention. It wasn’t metal, not even hard rock. If I were to categorize it, something I don’t like doing, I would say it was post punk or new wave. Categories and labels a side, what I knew for sure was that I really liked the song “Sixty Eight Guns” by the Alarm. This song was a true anthem for me at the time and I still find myself singing it after all these years. The guitars were hard enough for my tastes but the way the chorus was belted out totally blew me away.

“Sixty Eight guns will never die

Sixty Eight guns our battle cry.”

As I’ve said many times, I will not buy an album on account of one song so you have to know that the rest of the album kicks just as much ass as the feature song. Most of the first half of “The Declaration” are straight ahead new wave rockers and really cook. I do detect a little Irish folk influence in the track “Where Were You Hiding When the Storm Broke.” Then again, when doing further research on the band, I discovered they were Welsh, so I’m not surprised at this. “We Are the Light” is an acoustic track but even that doesn’t limit the powerful vocals of lead singer Mike Peters. For years, I have underestimated his vocal ability, I’ll never do that again.

“Shout to the Devil” is not a Motley Crue cover but very intelligently combines the acoustic flavour of the previous track and the more powerful sounds of the previous songs. Again, it’s very catchy. “Blaze of Glory” is also a good anthem like “Sixty Eight Guns” and like that song, I found myself wanting to sing along to the chorus. Only the lyrics aren’t quite as straight forward as “68 Guns.” I can at least sing the first part over and over, “Going out in a blaze of glory.”¬†I do like how they use the horns on it. “The Deceiver” has an eerie introduction before going into a fast acoustic track with some good harmonica played on it. In fact the second side, isn’t quite as hard rock as the first but that doesn’t diminish the quality of “The Declaration” in the slightest.

Track Listing:

  1. Declaration
  2. Marching On
  3. Where Were You Hiding When the Storm Broke
  4. Third Light
  5. Sixty Eight Guns
  6. We Are the Light
  7. Shout to the Devil
  8. Blaze of Glory
  9. Tell Me
  10. The Deceiver
  11. The Stand
  12. Howling Wind

The Alarm

Mike Peters- vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica

Dave Sharp- acoustic and electric guitars, backing vocals

Eddie MacDonald- bass, guitar, backing vocals

Twist- drums, percussion, backing vocals

When I listen to “The Declaration” I wonder why The Alarm didn’t get more commercial success. Some misguided people did say that they were too much like U2 but I never thought so. They were unique enough to avoid that. So, I wonder if it’s down to the discovery I made about them in the early summer of 1984, they were born again Christians. True, Christian rock was getting more attention at this time, something I’ll talk about in a future post, but I don’t hear any obvious Jesus lyrics in any of the songs that would frighten off listeners. For me, The Alarm’s “The Declaration” defined the direction I was heading in 1984 and it’s still a great album.

Next post: The Pretenders- Learning to Crawl

To Buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London