This two-cassette box set gave me the opportunity to hear bands I’d only ever read about in the Word Record Club magazine. The collection is a chronicle, really, of some of the most significant CCM rock and metal bands to that point. Inevitably, Stryper are included—but the accompanying booklet and tapes remind us that they were not the first and most definitely (in my view) not the best. This is the compilation that introduced me properly to Tourniquet, Bride, The Crucified, and Mortification, among others.
The early 90s was, musically speaking, a time of genuine transition. On the one hand, there was Guns ‘n’ Roses; on the other, Nirvana. And this shift had its parallel in CCM, as the photograph from the accompanying booklet shows: pop/glam metal on the left (Holy Soldier, whose eponymous debut album is worth listening to) and the increasingly popular extreme forms of metal on the right (Tourniquet). Strangely, the different stylings of rock and metal on these two tapes do manage to sit alongside one another without jarring too much. Perhaps this indicated something of how difficult it was to pledge allegiance to a particular music genre to the exclusion of all others.
I’m not going to list the standout track from this compilation as this will likely be the standout track on a future post; I want to avoid unnecessary duplication duplication. But the track I’ve selected is still very good.
Standout track: Trytan, ‘Genesis’