Classic 1980's heavy metal band from North Carolina!

Guitarist Timothy Christopher "Chris" Pennell, age 46 passed away on Monday, April 12, 2010.

Too Late to Too Late To Pray
Cerebus - Too Late To Pray
(New Renaissance) 1986
Cerebus - Too Late To Pray (Cult Metal Classics) 1986/2008

1. Running Out Of Time (3:08)
2. Taking Your Chance" (3:48)
3. Distant Eyes (4:34)
4. Too Late To Pray (6:48)
5. Rock The House Down (4:18)
6. Catch Me If You Can (5:35)
7. Talk Is Cheap [instrumental] (3:34)
8. Longing For Home (6:27)
9. She Burns (4:39)
10. Stay in the Night (4:45)
11. Banshee on the Loose (4:21)
12. All Night Long (4:51)
13. Easy Money (4:54)
14. Change for the Worse (4:36)
15. Untitled 1 (5:12)
16. Untitled 2 (6:37)

Back in the mid-1980's when heavy metal was ruling the world, there were small independent labels popping up all over the place. One of those labels was New Renaissance Records. I was in college at the time and had a room mate that was also a DJ at a local radio station. He had a metal show and would often get free records in the mail from these companies to play on his show. One day he received a box of New Renaissance records that included two copies of Cerebus "Too Late To Pray". At the time we had no idea who this band from North Carolina was, but it took very little time to become intimately familiar with their music. We wore the grooves off the record; from the fast paced opening track "Running Out of Time" to the mid-paced classic metal of "Rock the House Down" to the melodic "Longing for Home", which ended the record. The band's sound rode a fence between speed metal and traditional metal, sitting comfortably between bands like Metal Church, Helstar, Heathens Rage, early Virgin Steele, etc. There is even a bit of early Iron Maiden influence mixed into the sound, especially in the dual guitar leads. Vocalist Scott Board has a high, soaring voice that commands attention. The original album also featured a smoking instrumental. "Too Late to Pray" was balls-to-the-wall, 1980s, U.S. power metal. The album was never a huge commercial success, but did manage to gain an immediate underground cult following/

"Too Late to Pray" had never been officially released on CD. Even vinyl copies were highly collectible. Finally Cult Metal Classics released the album on CD for the first time with several bonus tracks. The fast paced speed metal of "She Burns" had previously only been available on the European version of the LP from U.S. Metal Records. "Stay in the Night", "Like a Banshee on the Loose" ,"Easy Money” and "All Night Long" are all from the independent "Like a Banshee on the Loose" EP. The music from the EP pretty much continued in a similar style to "Too Late To Pray" riding a fence between traditional metal and speed metal. "Easy Money" is the more laid back track of the four, having a more traditional heavy metal sound. The last three tracks I am completely unfamiliar with, the last of the two which are untitled. All three sound like demo material. I'm not sure why a title wasn't given to the last two tracks. From the lyrics, I would think that track 15 should be named "American Dream" or "Rock and Roll Queen" or something like that. I have no real guesses on the title of track 16. Along with the bonus tracks, the CD includes a 12-page booklet with the complete story of the band, lyrics, and band photos from the original LP cover and inner sleeve.

According to the New Renaissance website, the Cult Metal Classics CD release is a bootleg, though it's also been said that the band gave the label the rights to release the album. Either way, it's cool to finally have this classic on CD.

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