Sunday, January 05, 2014

Six obscure albums that I love.

I love a lot of obscure music. Bands that no one has ever heard of and albums that you only find in the bargain bids at music stores. There are a few that I think deserved to find a greater audience but for one reason or another never did. Here are my top six.

XL & D.B.D - Sodom and America. I found this CD in the bargain bid at the bookstore at Speak the Word Church in the mid 90s. The album came out in 1993 and was just too far ahead of its time. The vocals were done by XL, an African American rapper who also loved metal. He called himself XL because he was a large man. In interviews he would talk about how he loved mosh pits and metal as much as he loved rap. The band was D.B.D, otherwise known as Death Before Dishonor. The fusion of metal and rap would become huge a few years later, but at the time, no one really knew what to do with these guys. I would have loved to see their live show. They did make another album about six years after this one but it was not nearly as good.

Red Sea - Blood. This was a project album where some guys from other bands got together to record an album but only saw it as a one time collaboration. The most well known member was Robin Kyle, of Joshua and Die Happy. The album was released in 1995 and featured a hard rock blues sound. The lyrics were consistent with most blues albums, looking at some of the more difficult aspects of life yet remaining hopeful. I am not sure if they ever toured but I would have loved to see their music played live.

Velocipedes - Sane. This band consisted of just two guys. The first was the drummer and the second guy was the guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter. They submitted a demo to REX Records and got a deal. After a week of recording, they were told that they were done and never heard from REX again. The album was released in 1995 to almost no fanfare and sold a few thousand copies before going out of print. The album's production was pretty bad and I wonder what could have been if they were given a shot at another album with a bigger budget. The sound is hard to explain other than it was a modern metal (modern in 1995) sound with loud guitars and even louder vocals. I found the lyrics to be encouraging and when I am feeling low this album tends to find its way into my Ipod playlist.

PK Mitchell - All Hail the Power. PK was the bass played from Neon Cross before he struck out on his own. This album is unique in that it consists of 10 old hymns put to metal music. The words to the hymns were not updated or changed, just recorded right from the hymnal. It was released in 1993 but had been completed a couple years earlier. Therefore sound was more 80s metal than the grunge that was all the rage in 1993. He just released All Hail the Power 2 a month or two ago and I am excited to check it out.

38th Parallel - Turn the Tides. This is probably the most well known band on this list. They put out one album in 2002 on Squint Entertainment (after Steve Taylor left the label) and broke up after touring to promote the album. Their sound was rapcore with two lead vocalists and their live show was extremely entertaining. Sadly, Squint did a poor job of promoting them and then went under soon after the album was released. I held out hope that they would make another album but a few years ago the band said that they are done for good. The song Horizon remains one of my favorite songs of all time.

Dogs of Peace - Speak. One of my favorite concerts featured Dogs of Peace opening for PFR on their farewell tour in 1996 (before PFR reformed and broke up a couple more times). The production on this album was so good and the band was so talented that I could not wait for them to record another album. I had to wait a long time. A friend told me that they are working on another album with the same lineup and I hope I am not disappointed. In my humble opinion, their song, Necessary Pain, is one of the greatest songs ever made. The guitars in that song blow my mind every time.

Now I am wondering how many of my friends out there know about any of these albums.