I continued to check these guys out whenever they played in town. They continued to get more popular over time, touring with band like Barren Cross and opening for the likes of Sacred Warrior. Their new songs continued into thrashier terrain and moved away from the classic metal sound. Eventually, Rapture played their last show at Calvary Chapel, Albuquerque, and announced that they were changing their name to The Moshketeers. It was a funny name, yet it worked for their sound. It was the late 1980's and thanks to bands like Anthrax thrash had began to incorporate more humor and those colorful Bermuda shorts. This was the direction that The Moshketeers were taking. Every time they played a local show, it was packed with fans. Eventually they put out another four song demo, which I also purchased. We were all sure that these guys would be the next big Christian thrash band, along with guys like Deliverance, Believer, The Crucified, and Vengeance Rising. The Moshketeers were opening for many of these bands and pulling in just about as many fans. Rumors began flying that the Moshketeers were signing with Intense Records, who were also home to some of the aforementioned bands. Rumors and speculations as to what happened have been around for years, but suffice it to say that it just never happened.
In the meantime the band released their full length album "Downward Spiral". This tape featured 11 slabs of prime speed metal and thrash. In my opinion, they sounded like no other thrash band. They incorporated elements of doom ("Self Extinction"), groove ("Grease the Duck") and classic metal ("Nightmares") but were mostly good old American thrash metal. The songs weren't overly technical, but the riffs were unique and somewhat complicated, aided by some outstanding bass work and shredding guitar solos. Paul Scozzafava, along side being a guitarist and singer, was also a preacher. That came across loud and clear in their lyrics. The Moshketeers were unashamed of their faith in Christ, even when sharing the stage with bands like Testament. While nostalgia of a popular local band probably colors my opinion of this album, I have always considered "The Downward Spiral" to be a solid platter from beginning to end. Favorite tracks are "Locked in Chains", "The Myth", "Posers of Deceit", "Nightmares", "The Life of Emptiness" and longtime concert favorite "Ye". "Ye" features a hilariously silly guitar solo that the band milked on the stage. Guitarist Paul Scozzafava is far from a slacker when it comes to lead playing. Unfortunately those not pivy to the joke misunderstood the silliness and ragged on the band for this guitar solo. One listen to the solos in tracks like "Posers of Deceit" and "The Life of Emptiness" should convince any skeptic of Paul's ability to tear up a fretboard. "Locked in Chains" was also recorded on the band's "Vacation from Hell" demo under the name Rapture.
"The Downard Spiral" has always been one of my favorite albums. Decades later and I still play it frequently. I have hoped for years that it would get a proper CD release, perhaps with some bonus tracks from the many demos the band recorded over they years. Remastering is certainly in order. As of 2006 it still hasn't happened, although thankfully, Paul burned me a CDR copy.
The Moshketeers broke up for a spell, then in the mid 1990's Paul reformed the band with new members, performed a handful of shows, opening for Ultimatum and P.O.D. They released what was suppose to be a "pre-release" demo. Unfortunately that was as far as they got. Another full length album was never released and the band split. Paul became a full time preacher and is now pastor of Calvary Chapel in Santa Fe, NM.
Ultimatum recorded a cover of "Locked in Chains" on their 2009 album "Lex Metalis".
This four song demo tape was released as a "pre-release" to a new full length album. That full length album was mostly recorded, but never released. Musically the band stays the course, plowing through four heavy songs of mostly mid-paced thrash metal. Nothing on this demo is quite as fast as the music on "The Downward Spiral". However, some of the other songs not included on this tape, such as "Psycho Heresy" and "Eternal Torment" were. Both songs were to be included on the full length album and were played regularly by the band in concert. Hopefully, someday, the album will see a proper release on CD.
The Downward Spiral (1992)
1. Sin (3:36)
2. The Downward Spiral (3:54)
3. Locked in Chains (3:04)
4. Ye! (2:03)
5. The Myth (5:20)
6. Self Extinction (4:19)
7. Epicurus (5:39)
8. Posers of Deceit (2:48)
9. Grease the Duck (3:35)
10. Nightmares (5:16)
11. The Life of Emptiness (3:29)
12. Return [1997 demo] (3:40)
13. Death or Life [1997 demo] (5:10)
14. Thelo Agnoia [1997 demo] (4:19)
15. Take My Life [1997 demo] (4:32)
16. Ye! [1989 demo] (2:09)
Vacation from Hell [1989 demo]
1. America (4:29)
2. Suicide (3:43)
3. Murder for a Profit (3:49)
4. Locked in Chains (3:11)
5. Forgotten Faces (4:22)
6. The Ballad (:07)
7. Deception (2:53)
"The Downward Spiral" had never been officially released on any record label, no less on CD. Finally in 2010 the album was released by Roxx Records with several bonus tracks. Those lucky enough to get in on the pre-release received a special 2-CD version with the complete Rapture "Vacation from Hell" demo and a black "Downard Spiral" t-shirt. The Roxx release is packaged with completely brand new cover art, liner notes and some classic photos of the band. Unfortunately this album was printed in very limited supply with only 1000 pieces being pressed in total and only 125 2-CD versions making it an instant collector's item. "The Downward Spiral" is one of my favorite thrash metal albums and it deserves to be released officially on CD, especially with some kick butt artwork.
This original album features eleven slabs of prime speed and thrash metal. They incorporated elements of doom ("Self Extinction"), groove ("Grease the Duck") and classic metal ("Nightmares") but were mostly good just classic, American thrash metal. The songs are not overly technical, but the riffs are somewhat complicated, aided by some outstanding bass work and shredding guitar solos. The songs themselves are all quite distinct, with varied tempos and strong hooks, keeping the music from sounding boring and samey. At one moment the songs are driving and fast, such as "The Posers of Deceit" and the title track, whie other moments offer a bit more mid-paced groove such as "Epicurus" and the ultra-heavy "Sin". Paul Scozzafava has the classic, aggressive, shouted, slightly gravely vocal approach that fits well the music.
The original mix was solid, with heavy guitar tones and each individual instrument sitting in it's place. However, thanks to modern mastering technologies, the sound here is outstanding and far improved over the original cassette tape release.
The bonus tracks are demos, including four from the 1996 demo, and the demo version of "Ye!" from the self-titled 1989 demo. The bonus disc includes the entire 1989 "Vacation from Hell" demo. It too is packed full of classic speed metal and thrash. My favorite track is "Murder for a Profit", a song with lyrics written by Mike Lee of Barren Cross fame. The sound on the demo isn't quite as good as the album, but it's still nice to finally have these songs on CD. Overall, Roxx did a great job with this album. The six page foldout booklet includes liner notes by yours tuly, some classic photos and a smokin' new cover.