Reviews: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Ranking The Rez Band Albums

If we have in any way been used by God as a catalyst for holiness, form commitment, for integrity, that’s a whole lot more important than music.  If on the musical side we have been a catalyst for a Biblical culture sensitivity with music and musicians out there in the Body of Christ, then hallelujah!  That was by design, and that was God’s work, not mine.

- Glenn Kaiser

Resurrection Band promo pic

What is there to say about Resurrection Band that hasn’t already been said?  Well, for starters it bears repeating the group’s legacy, which when factoring output and longevity places them alongside Petra, Barnabas, Daniel Band and Jerusalem as forefathers of the modern Christian hard music scene.  A good case can be made accordingly that Stryper and the host of ‘white metal’ bands that followed - Barren Cross, Bloodgood, Bride, Saint, Deliverance, Guardian and Whitecross to name a few - owe a good measure of their success to said hard working predecessors that literally paved the trail ahead for them.

My experience with Rez Band dates to the early eighties when I borrowed a cassette copy of Rainbow’s End from a high school friend.  Unduly inspired, I proceeded to purchase on vinyl not only Rainbow’s End but also all other albums released by the group at the time, including Awaiting Your Reply, Colours and Mommy Don’t Love Daddy Anymore (each of which I still own to this day).  Contrary to rumor, the local Christian bookstore did not keep the earlier Rez Band albums hidden behind the front counter!

A lifelong love affair with Rez Band ensued in which I obtained each subsequent album released by the group: I embraced the formative early growing years, endured the frustrations of the erratic mid-eighties period and took great pleasure in the creative and artistic peak of the late eighties to mid-nineties era.

Such a panoramic view of Rez Band’s career inspired me to rank each of the group’s albums (both studio, live and compilation) and write a corresponding mini review.  Please do not take this as a definitive list or one with an elitist mentality (each person is going to have their own opinion about the group, right?) in that the selections in question (and order) reflect my personal preference and taste as it pertains to the Rez Band back catalog.

Studio Albums

1. Innocent Blood (1989)

Resurrection Band - Innocent Blood

Innocent Blood sets the standard as it pertains to quintessential Rez Band albums with its joining of impeccable songwriting and near flawless production.  Upshot is how the group factored out of the equation any musical inconsistencies at times characteristic to previous releases to create a work widely considered a classic regardless of genre.

Some all time great material stands out, such as knife edged hard rockers “Alter Of Pain” and “80,000 Underground” (two of Rez Band’s heaviest ever) in addition to seven minute blues driven “Where Roses Grow” (widely regarded one of the groups finest).  Wendi has her notable moments as well, as can be found in shuffling bass line plodders “The House Is On Fire” and “Fiend Or Foul” along with the lighter, keyboard accented “Right On Time”.  “Bargain” is a quality cover of The Who classic.

In similar fashion to Silence Screams, Innocent Blood is set apart from the strength of its deep cuts.  “Laughing Man” is a straightforward and no-nonsense hard rocker and “Child Of The Blues” a slab of gritty and blues driven rock.  “Great God In Heaven” closes things in very fine acoustic based fashion.

2. Rainbow’s End (1979)

Resurrection Band - Rainbow's End

Everything Rez Band debut Awaiting Your Reply hinted, sophomore effort Rainbow’s End builds upon and takes to the next level.  Yes, the album maintains the classic blues based hard rock sensibilities but proves that much better with the overall tighter and more concise songwriting.  Lone downgrade is production, which due to some slight muddiness prevents Rainbow’s End from challenging for the top position.

Rainbow’s End is similar to Awaiting Your Reply from starting to a number in which husband and wife team of Glenn and Wendi Kaiser vocally trade off on the punchy “Midnight Son”.  “Skyline” and “The Wolfsong” maintain the driving metal mentality as does the haunting tribal beats of “Afrikaans” and the albums catchy riff driven title track.  “Strongman” and “Sacrifice Of Love” hit hard in finding Wendi singing at her rawest best.  A lighter side to Rez Band also reveals itself on the medieval tinctured “Concert For A Queen” and classy ballads “Paint A Picture” (piano based) and “Every Time It Rains” (acoustic).

Tying together one of the few Rez Band albums in which I am not tempted to hit the skip is the occasional psychedelic influence reflective of the late seventies period in which the album was recorded.  The only stone left unturned is for Rainbow’s End to be professionally re-mastered and re-issued.

3. Lament (1995)

Resurrection Band - Lament

Lament represents the lone Rez Band concept album, with a storyline based around “one man's disillusionment with the harshness and cruelty of life and his eventual realization that things will not change without his own spiritual redemption”.  It also stands alongside Reach Of Love as the groups most reserved and bluesy release, interweaving between straight on hard rockers and more relaxed acoustic material.  It also deserves note the immaculate production courtesy of Ty Tabor (King’s X).

Standout heavier cuts include “Across These Fields”, “Summerthrow” and “Mirror”, a trio of slow and hulking plodders that are moody as it gets.  Single Wendi piece is the moving bass impelled sounds of “Road”, although you can here her in the backdrop to “Song And Dance”, another heavy hitter with a staunch guitar based disposition.  “Surprise” proves every bit lively in approaching the near mesmerizing.

In terms of a bluesy acoustic direction, “On The Move” (with bass and harmonica holding sway) and “In Change” (almost giving rise to a pop basis) take a faster heading, while “Dark Carnival” (aptly entitled with its use of piano) and “At Land’s Edge” (airy and atmospheric) slow things down.  “Richest” combines generous use of organ and soulful backing vocals.

4. Silence Screams (1988)

Resurrection Band -  Silence Screams

On Silence Screams, new bassist Roy Montroy makes his first full time contributions on a Rez Band album.  It is change for the good in that Silence Screams finds the group returning to the front to back blues based hard rock roots that made its first three albums so successful.  Correspondingly, you will encounter no pop or wave or punk or keyboard or experiments weird songs.  In other words, Rez Band has left its affinity for the erratic that plagued prior releases behind while upping the standard as it pertains to production.

“Silence Screams”, rollicking with its riff-laden mentality, and “Waitin’ On Sundown”, highlighting a commercial flair with its catchy hook, find Rez Band at its brazen hard rocking best.  “Someone Sleeps” and “Rain Dance” set the standard when it comes to top notch blues heavy rock (these two find Glenn at his gritty and raspy best vocal wise) as does Eric Clapton cover “Presence Of The Lord”.  “Light/Light” is an uplifting and inspiring Wendi piece that would later become a concert staple.

What allows Silence Screams to rank so high is the presence of no filler.  Heavy hitting closing tracks “Every Waking Hour”, “Three Seconds” and “You Get What You Choose” are all solid.  Lone potential iffy song, aptly named “You Got Me Rockin’”, is still good (I have never skipped over it).

5. Awaiting Your Reply (1978)

Resurrection Band - Awaiting Your Reply

Rez Band debut Awaiting Your Reply represents a classic sign of the times scenario.  In other words, those curious about the details as they pertain to the late seventies hard rock scene need look no further than Awaiting Your Reply.  Also, do not worry about production, which is quite solid when factoring the period in which the group recorded the album.

Opener “Waves” serves up a good introduction to classic hard rock done Rez Band style with its trademark Glenn and Wendi vocal trade off.  “Lightshine” and “Death Of The Dying” up the heaviness in maintaining a similar musical heading, while the albums monstrous (and catchy) title track approaches the doom like.  The bluesy side to Rez Band reveals itself on “Broken Promises”, with its sublime classic to progressive rock flavorings, and “The Return”, closing to a haunting saxophone solo.  Led Zeppelin influences abound as well, particularly on the psychedelic acoustic lacings to “Golden Road” and “Irish Garden”.

With the possible exception of the offbeat “Ananias & Sapphira”, there is nothing worth skipping over.  All around, Awaiting Your Reply proves solid and consistent in setting the standard for things to come from the group, both near and far.

6. Civil Rites (1991)

Resurrection Band - Civil Rites

Civil Rites might find Rez Band maintaining the same production values and heavier musical focus upheld since Silence Screams, but it also takes a slight step back in terms of musical consistency. 

Similar to its recent predecessors, Civil Rites features its share of standout material.  “Lovespeak”, “Mission Bells” and “Comatose” represent three as vibrant opening tracks as you will find, while “Death Machine” and “Pauper’s Grave” highlight the slower and more ominous sound but prove no less able.  Also revealed is some of the groups best ever bluesy material, with “Players”, “Lincoln’s Train”, “In My Room” and “Footprints” reveling in heart, soul and catchy emotion.

Civil Rites fails to sustain the momentum, however, in that I have never warmed up to high-energy tracks “Hotfootin’” and “Little Jeanie”, while I find Jefferson Airplane cover “Somebody To Love” somewhat contrived.  If the group had cut these three in favor of one or two others of better quality (how about a studio version of Live Bootleg track “Gameroom”?) then I can see Civil Rites potentially rating with the top five.

7. Colours (1980)

Resurrection Band - Colours

Colours set itself apart as perhaps Rez Band’s overall heaviest release.  It starts with production, which while on the raw (but by no means crude) side of things, cements guitars to the front of the mix but also allows an equally forthright bass presence.  The upshot is a front to back hard rocking proclivity we will not hear from the group starting with its late eighties era.

High intensity technical metal of “American Dream” (my all time favorite Rez Band song) and hit like a ton of bricks “N.Y.C.” sound as if composed with a heavier environment in mind. Likewise, “City Streets” delivers some riffs that bring to mind Ted Nugent.  “Autograph” opens its first two minutes as a melodic instrumental before morphing into a straight on rocker, while a more blues based direction is taken on the albums title track (with its lengthy stretch of inspired soloing) and rousing “Beggar In The Alleyway”.  “The Struggle” reveals the more emotional side to Rez Band.

Lone complaint is a couple song I struggle with in “Amazing”, elevated with its punk-like disposition but too short at two and a half minutes, and “Benny & Sue”, a dramatic piece that I find to not quite build and plateau as it should.

8. Reach Of Love (1993)

Resurrection Band - Reach of Love

Perhaps it is from mellowing with age, but in Reach Of Love Rez Band recorded perhaps its most laid back, low key and moodiest release of its career (or at the very least ranking alongside Lament in this capacity).  In no way does this imply it to be any less of a work in that you will still encounter your share of classic material up to the standards one expects from the group.

Groove laden “Heart’s Desire” gives rise to one of Rez Band’s most prominent commercial hooks, while albums title track and “Land Of Stolen Breath” touch upon the group’s trademark bluesy aesthetic.  “Thought I’d Never Love Again” and “Sunrise” also bask in the blues but from a more traditional standpoint as does “On My Dying Bed” with its up-tempo milieu.  A contrasting heavy hitting hard rock direction is taken on “Numbers” (short but pointed) and “While Lies” (a persistent mauler) in addition to “Empty Hearts” (joining the hulking doom-like with lighter keyboards).

Some of the inconsistencies characteristic to predecessor Civil Rites also make their way onto Reach Of Love in that “Your Love Grows Cold” and “Dead To The World” do not do anything for me in falling a bit flat.  Such lack of continuity in deep cuts ultimately prevents me from ranking Reach Of Love alongside more well rounded efforts such as Silence Screams and Innocent Blood.

9. Mommy Don’t Love Daddy Anymore (1981)

Resurrection Band - Mommy Don't Love Daddy Anymore

Rez Band began to lose its consistent hard rocking focus on Mommy Don’t Love Daddy Anymore from branching out and embracing other forms of hard music, a particular that did not always work on albums that followed.  It proves successful here due to quality of songwriting (the differing styles fail to come across tedious as a result) and production (by far the best of the early releases). 

Rez Band can still hit hard as ever, as they do on “The Chair”, a monster of a bottom heavy track ranking alongside its best, and “Stark/Spare”, an overlooked gem from its crunchy guitars and understated catchiness.  The group even delivers perhaps its fastest piece ever in the relentless “First Degree Apathy”.  Two shorter numbers also stand out in the gutsy riffs of “Alienated” and punk-based angst to “Elevator Musik”.  The scintillating “The Crossing” (in which Glenn provides the emotional lead guitar) and albums haunting title track touch upon blues heavy rock.

Where Rez Band branches out musically is on the up-tempo pop-based sounds of “Cant Get You Outta My Mind” and almost wave flavored “Little Children”, two tracks in which Wendi shines.  Glenn closes the album to “Lovin’ You”, a melodic piece in which keyboards play a decided (albeit not detracting) role.

10. Between Heaven ‘N Hell (1985)

Resurrection Band - Between Heaven 'N Hell

Between Heaven ‘N Hell highlights the highest highs and lowest lows as far as Rez Band are concerned.  Yes, the album found the group starting to drift back to a more constant bluesy hard rock sound but still mixed in some frustratingly bad keyboard based pop wave moments.

In terms of the highs, “Shadows”, with its histrionic amalgamating of the lighter and heavier, ranks with the groups finest, while the short but catchy up-tempo dispositions to “Love Comes Down” and “I Think You Know” entice all the same.  Other standouts include “Zuid Afrikan”, in which similar to Rainbow’s End track “Afrikaans” the group addresses apartheid, and decisive biting milieu to “2000”.  Wendi exhibits the soulful range to her voice on the keyed up “Nervous World”.

From the standpoint of the lows, the keyboard laden techno sounds to “Talk To Me” and “Save Me From Myself”, as one might imagine, come across on the trite side of things.  Ultimately, Between Heaven ‘N Hell proves a step forward overall but still proves a disjointed effort from a band unable decide upon which direction to head musically.

11. Ampendectomy (1997)

Resurrection Band - Ampendectomy

Final Rez Band studio album features bluesy acoustic re-interpretations of the bands classic material of the past.  As one might imagine, some very significant changes make their presence felt in the process (most of them good).

“Love Speaks” shines with its cool use of honky-tonk piano, as does “Right On Time”, accented by Hammond B 3, and “2000”, as violin plays a highlighting role.  Slowing to a near crawl is “Souls For Hire” from its large than life bass presence and “Irish Garden” in almost reflecting a Country & Western flair.  “I Need Your Love”, filler on DMZ, brilliantly comes to life in an acoustic setting, while the airy and dreamy “Broken Promises” and momentous “Shadows” translate acoustically every bit as much.  “Colours” features a moving acoustic guitar and harmonica instrumental trade off.

Not everything works.  I could have done without the saxophone on “House Is On Fire”, while “Lincoln’s Train” stays a bit too much true to the original for my taste.  I also cannot help but feel there are better cuts in the group’s repertoire to re-record than “So In Love With You” and “Can’t Stop Loving You”.  How about “The Crossing” or “Paint A Picture” (there deserves to be at least one song off Rainbow’s End here) instead?

12. Hostage (1984)

Resurrection Band - Hostage

Mid-eighties found Rez Band continuing its descend into the erratic and inconsistent and Hostage proves no exception.  I am going to give the band the benefit of the doubt and suggest that label pressure forced it to intertwine its signature hard rock with such bad pop-wave-keyboard-techno elements. 

The album, nevertheless, is not without its share of quality moments, as blistering hard rockers “Souls For Hire” and “Defective Youth” (both Glenn) and “Attention” and “Crimes” (Wendi) aptly attest.  “Tears In The Rain” is close to a classic as it gets, while “Beyond The Gun” revels in laid back melody.

That being said layer upon layer of keyboards prevents “S.O.S.” from being a potentially good song; likewise, other keyboard based tracks “Who’s Real Anymore”, “It’s You” and enigmatic “Armageddon Appetite” leave you scratching your head.  The good news is that much better things were soon on the way from the group!

13. DMZ (1982)

Resurrection Band - DMZ

Rez Band swung and missed on DMZ, an album that while shining in places otherwise comes across too erratic.  To be fair, DMZ is the fifth album from Rez Band in as many years, which perhaps accounts for the group running out of ideas and inspiration during a period in which if it was not on the road it was in the studio.  Hence, a lack of time to work on new material potentially was the problem at hand.  It did not help matters production trended towards the muddy.

Still, some very fine material came out of DMZ, including “Military Man”, highlighting one of the all time great hard rock guitar riffs, and “No Alibi”, almost U2 influences with its wavy guitar tones not to mention featuring some of John Herrin’s most inspired drumming.  “Babylon” is a two and a half minute energy burst and “White Noise” a brazen metal piece starting to a distorted open-air guitar solo.  “Area 312” is OK, but I could have done without the saxophone solo.

Remainder of the album leaves somewhat desired.  “Reluctance” and “So In Love With You” feature keyboards in the same manner as Mommy Don’t Love Daddy Anymore track “Lovin’ You” but are not on the same level musically, while “I Need Your Love” slowly grows and builds but ultimately goes nowhere.  Repeat listen reveals “Lonely Hearts” and “The Prisoner” (in my opinion) to be likewise nondescript.

Live Albums

1. XX Years Live (1992)

Resurrection Band - XX Years Live

Professionally done double live album released to celebrate the groups 20 years of music ministry.  It more than makes up for the disappointment of Live Bootleg in that much more time, thought and attention to detail went into the track listing, which encompasses at least one song from each Rez Band album recorded at the time of its release.

All the classics one would expect are present, such as “Military Man”, “White Noise”, “Colours”, “Shadows”, “Light/Light” and “Where Roses Grow”.  However, it is deep cuts that make XX Years so special in that “Paint A Picture”, “Every Time It Rains”, “Afrikaans”, “The Struggle” and “Alienated” (all rarely if ever performed live) are included as well.  It is a pleasure hearing such older material in a live setting!

Similar to Live Bootleg, Glenn and Wendi each take opportunity to speak with the audience but achieve better balance in light of the larger running time of a 2-disc release.  Yes, I wish the group had made room for personal favorites “American Dream”, “The Chair” and “No Alibi”, but XX Years still proves a fine a double live album as you will hear (right up there with DeGarmo  & Key’s No Turning Back Live).

2. Live Bootleg (1984)

Resurrection Band - Live Bootleg

An average at best live album that with a bit more planning and attention to detail could have been so much better.  Problem revolves around misappropriation of the track listing, which devotes six and a half of the albums forty-two minutes to band members speaking to the audience (“Wendi’s Rap” & “Glenn’s Rap”).  Another six and a half minutes ends up reserved for a medley of older material, one of my live album pet peeves.

The remaining half hour proves hit and miss.  Rousing versions of “Military Man” and “White Noise” find Rez Band at the top of its live game, as does the aggressive milieu of scorching new track “Gameroom”.  Scintillating blues rocker “Quite Enough” (originally recorded for the Music To Raise The Dead demo) features some fantastic soloing from Stu Heiss.  Second new song “Playground”, on the other hand, fails to inspire with its keyboard based sound, while better songs exist in the groups back catalog than “Area 312” and “Can’t Stop Loving You”. 

Live Bootleg ultimately leaves me asking questions:  Did Rez Band only play just a 40 minute set the night Live Bootleg was recorded?  If not then what happened to the remaining material that the group performed?  Wouldn’t it make better sense to release a double live album instead?

Compilation Albums

1. The Light Years (1995)

Resurrection Band - The Light Years

The Light Years in my opinion is the better of the three early Rez Band compilations that also include The Best Of Rez (1984) and Rez: Compact Favorites (1988).  What sets The Light Years apart is how it is a true full length offering from featuring 21 songs off the groups three Light Record releases.  The other two compilations in comparison come across incomplete in containing just 10 songs each.

It does not hurt that The Light Years got it right in terms of song selection in that all essential material was included: “American Dream”, “Colours”, “City Streets”, “The Chair”, “The Crossing”, “Military Man”, “No Alibi”, “Babylon” and “White Noise”.  I might have chosen “Stark/Spare” over “The Prisoner” or “So In Love With You”, but otherwise track listing (again) is spot on.

Packaging excels as well, as a professionally done six-panel digi pak with multi page mini-booklet filled with interviews, band memories and band photos sets the standard as far as compilations go.

2. Music To Raise The Dead 1972-1998 (2008)

Resurrection Band - Music To Raise The Dead 1972-1998

Boxed set Music To Raise The Dead comes with 3 CD’s that span the groups entire career (including 52 re-mastered tracks) and one DVD featuring the XX Years Live performance in its entirety.

Similar to The Light Years there is no complaint about song selection in that you will find no glaring omissions and (mercifully) none of the group’s techno-wave-keyboard material.  That said, with the exception of the demo version to “Quite Enough” no hard to find or unreleased material was included- this is disappointing in light of how difficult The Music To Raise The Dead demo can be to find.  I might have added a fourth CD made up of all tracks off the demo in addition to any alternate versions to songs, unreleased or demo tracks, unique live recordings, etc.

Top-notch packaging features an 80-page booklet that chronicles the bands history along with scores of never before scene photos.

 

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