Light Force - 1986-1989
Some of you may be wondering what Steve Rowe did before starting Mortification. Well, the answer lies within this CD. And depending on your musical tastes, you may or may not like what you hear. While Mortification entered the scene as more of a thrash band that turned to death and grindcore, Light Force was more of the power metal variety (think Iron Maiden and Judas Priest musically). So those Mortification fans that are open to many other genres, you may dig this mid-'80's metal band. But if you prefer the extreme stuff, you best keep your distance. No blast beats or growling vocals here. Actually, you can hear a lot of influence in Light Force for some of the material that Steve would later use when he turned Mortification's style more in a power metal direction. If you liked albums like The Silver Cord is Severed and maybe Hammer of God, you may enjoy some of the music of Light Force. While the sound is a bit thin, the music isn't all that bad. There is Steve's signature romping bass lines, the chugga-chugga guitars with plenty of solos, and then unfortunately, the lame clean vocals along with some bad executed attempts at humor at the end of a song or two. I think with a better vocalist, Light Force might have been one of those more memorable bands from the '80's. Instead, they are more of a collectors item just simply because Steve Rowe handled bass guitar duties for the band.
As for the material here, the first eight songs are from their last release, Mystical Thieves. The next seven songs are from their Battlezone album. And the final 2 songs are from the self-titled Light Force demo. The quality goes downhill as you go from album to album, with the Mystical Thieves material easily being the best. The CD booklet does not include lyrics, but they are very understandable. The band is very bold for Christ, although sometimes that boldness borders on cheese. The booklet does include a very detailed history of Light Force written by Mick Jelinic. It's actually more of a Steve Rowe history than Light Force though, as it touches on his other bands before and after Light Force. There are also pictures of each of Light Force's albums along with band pictures from that time period. It's absolutely hilarious seeing Steve Rowe with his huge curly, afro hair with the big glasses. Not so sure I would've let them print those.
Overall, it was cool to hear this slice of metal history. It was the first time I had heard some of the songs on this disc. While Light Force was definitely not one of the best bands there was, you can't deny the part they played in history. Without them, there may never have been a Mortification. So, my hats are off to Light Force for forging the path and to Soundmass for making this rare material available again. You can pick up this disc at http://www.soundmass.com
Review: Matt Morrow
Total Songs: 17
Total Time: 75:53
Tracklisting: 1. Mystical Thieves, 2. Crossfire, 3. City Streets, 4. Metal Missionary, 5. Children of Sorrow, 6. Searching, 7. Fast Lane, 8. Babylon, 9. Choose to Win, 10. Evil Desires, 11. Reigning with the King, 12. Eyes of Destruction, 13. I Won't Conform, 14. The Day is Near, 15. Battlezone, 16. 12 Men, 17. Slay the Enemy.
Best Songs: Track 1.
Band Lineup: Murray Adams - Guitar, Errol Willemburg - Drums, Steve Rowe - Bass Guitar, Steve Johnson - Vocals, Cameron Hall - Guitar, Rohan McDowell - Drums, Phadrah Hirschfield - Vocals, Chris Miller - Guitar.
Band Website: N/A