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Sound Barrier -Total Control lp [original]


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Original 1983 Scandinavian press

Influenced by Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, among others, Sound Barrier was among the many heavy metal bands active in Los Angeles in the 1980s. The thing that set Sound Barrier apart from other metal bands was the fact that all four of its original members — lead singer Bernie K., guitarist Spacey T., bassist/singer Stanley E., and drummer Dave ‘Skavido’ Brown — were black. Rock journalists were intrigued by the fact that four African Americans were playing heavy metal and Sound Barrier enjoyed a fair amount of press in the beginning. But the band never broke through commercially and only had a small following. Formed in 1980, Sound Barrier signed with MCA two years later and recorded their debut album, Total Control, in 1982. Regrettably, the LP only sold about 12,000 copies and MCA dropped the band. Can Sound Barrier’s lack of commercial success be attributed to racism? Perhaps to a degree. It’s quite possible that some rock programmers saw the band’s picture and automatically assumed it was an R&B group, and it’s also possible that some A&R people didn’t sign Sound Barrier because they believed that white rock fans wouldn’t accept black artists. So while Sound Barrier probably was affected by racism in some cases, the band was most likely victimized by inadequate promotion and poor marketing more than anything. If Sound Barrier had been promoted as aggressively as Living Colour or Kravitz, the foursome might have broken through commercially. At any rate, Sound Barrier was a solid metal band. As blistering and forceful as the L.A. residents could be, this album underscores their love of melody and nuance. In interviews, lead vocalist Bernie K. stressed that Sound Barrier considered Rush a major influence and loved that band’s musicality–and while this album is much closer to Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Grim Reaper than Rush, you can see Bernie’s point.

Track listing:
1. The Other Side
2. Total Control
3. Rock Without The Roll
4. Mayday
5. Second Thoughts
6. Nobody Cares
7. Don’t Put Me On Hold
8. Hey U
9. Rock On The Wild Side

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MCA records

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