Silver Step Child Philadelphia - Tell the Truth... (Millenium) 1984

1. Tell The Truth (4:53)
2. Livin' The Love (5:27)
3. No Time For Honey (3:30)
4. No Compromise (4:03)
5. Razor's Edge (5:03)
6. The Life Inside (3:08)
7. New Jerusalem (8:41)
8. Oh My Boy [rough mix edit] (4:51)
9. Showdown [radio edit] (3:57)
10. Patmos radio spots (1:39)
11. Entertainment Concepts radio promo (:33)

Philadelphia are one of those bands that many Christians who were into the early years of metal have a nostalgia for. While I was into Christian metal faily early on, Philadelphia are not one of the band's I was familiar with until nearly a decade after their demise. Fortunately for those who were longing for this album to see the light of day on CD, Millennim Records finally saw fit to re-issue "Tell the Truth" in '99. Philadelphia have a classic, early 1980's metal sound not unlike bands like early Riot, Virgin Steel or Omen. I wouldn't be surprised if Philadelphia were inspired by the whole NWOBHM movement as well. I was actually quite surprised at how much I enjoyed this CD, even though it sounds very dated. Yes, the guitar licks are simple, the vocals predictable, and the lyrics are a bit cheesy, but that is by 2006 standards. In 1984 Philadelphia were groundbreakers. I am sure more than one eyebrow was raised by a suspecting, well-meaning parent when their teenage kid was cranking "Tell the Truth" on their turntable in 1984. I can hear the cries of, "Turn off that devil music!" or "what is that noise you are listening to?" So, while "Tell the Truth" may not be scoffed at by many of today's modern metalheads, it is an interesting looking into the history of metal, and into the even smaller Christian metal scene. Those who enjoy those early years of metal will probably find themselves sporting their air guitar while rocking out to some righteous Philadelphia. Here's to all the headbangers and rivetheads!

The bonus tracks here are basically unnecessary. The two song inlcuded are an interesting listen, but the radio spots are one of those things you'll listen to once then never again. One other minor complaint about this CD re-issue is that it could have been mastered better.

Philadelphia - Search & Destroy
(Patmos) 1985
Philadelphia - Search & Destroy
(Roxx) 2019

1. Search and Destroy (6:00)
2. Bobby's Song (3:52)
3. Oh My Boy (5:11)
4. Judgement Day (3:51) 
5. Mirror Man (3:10)
6. Fastrack (4:32)
7. Showdown (4:27)
8. Decision Time (5:57)
9. Losin' Out (Bonus Track) (4:36)

Philadelphia's 1985 album "Search & Destroy" is considered an underground cult heavy metal classic by many metal aficionados. The short album featured eight diverse tracks that ran from the straight-forward heavy metal riffing of the title track and "Judgement Day" to the upbeat aggressive heavy metal of "Fasttrack" to the slow, slightly doomy and melodic sounds of "Oh Boy". The album is built around solid riffing, catchy choruses, melodic vocal lines, big hooks and well written songs.

Unfortunately the original release was only put out on vinyl. The album had been put on CD in the mid-2000s by Magdalene Records, but even that short run CD was near impossible to find only a couple years later. In 2019 Roxx Records saw fit to re-release this classic on both CD and vinyl. There is a huge improvement in the overall sound quality, thanks to new mastering from Bombworks Sound (Rob Colwell). The CD also features a previously unreleased song titled "Losin' Out". 

The original all red album cover was always a bit ominous but also over-the-top cheesy. The 2019 reissue features an upgraded, full-color reinterpretation of the original cover art. A contest was announced for the cover and several people submitted their interpretations of the cover, many of which are featured in the 8-page booklet and also inside the LP insert. The winning cover was chosen by the band and label owner Bill Bafford.

The vinyl package was pressed in a limited-edition quantity of 500 pieces , with 150 on gold vinyl and 350 on classic black vinyl. The CD version comes housed in a jewel case with 8 panel insert and is also limited to only 500 pieces.

Warlord Warlord Philadelphia ‎– Warlord (Roxx) 2016

1.     Brothers In Arms (5:26)
2.     Defender (4:26)
3.     I'm Not Listening (3:32)
4.     Prophecy (4:01)
5.     Wasteland (4:10)
6.     Sane Asylum (3:52)
7.     Son of the Morning (4:08)
8.     Lady Fortune (4:49)
9.     Way of the Skull (6:25)    
10.     Warlord (6:22)
11.    Brothers in Arms (Demo) (5:26)

Philadelphia haven't been around for over three decades. It's with a bit of skepticism and concern that I approached this new released from this underground band.  Will they try to update their sound and go for some modern rock approach? Will they tarnish the legacy they had from those classic 80's albums by releasing something that isn't up to par? That has been the case with many bands who have tried a return after such a long period of time. The band did reunite briefly to record two bonus tracks for the 2000 re-issue of their classic concept album "Search and Destroy" but even that was sixteen years ago.

I am glad to report that Philadelphia have neither released a dud nor have they attempted to change their sound. "Warlord" is an old-school, hard rock/heavy metal. In fact, "Warlord" is the album that the band had planned on releasing as their follow-up to "Search and Destroy" all those years ago. Apparently the song of the songs had mostly been written for the album back in 1985 but the band's demise put an end to the album. After some rekindling of bonds between the band members, including the band visiting bassist/vocalist "Wuflie" Clark in the hospital for bypass surgery, the three members Brian "Wulfie" Clark, Brian Martini (Drums) and Phil Scholling (guitars) reassembled and record the album.

The production is simplistic with each instrument being clearly heard. However, the album was obviously recorded with more modern recording techniques so the overall sound is much more clear than either of the band's past two albums. As well, the guitars aren't quite as dirty and gritty as they were back in the 80's. As such, it would be a stretch to call this album heavy in 2016, but it definitely is a rocking' album. From front to back, the entire album is solid and reminds me at times of early Leviticus and to a lesser degree, Warlord. The album is chock full of hooky riffs, shredding guitar solos, and melodic, memorable songs. The six and a half minute long title track is perhaps the best example of the band retaining it's identity. It's also one of the standout tracks on the album. Some of the more upbeat tracks such as "Sane Asylum" and "I'm No Listening" would have been at home on either of the band's first two albums as well. The song "Way of the Skull" is a slower, more chugging song that has a slightly doomy vibe despite the guitar tone lacking the heavy edge required for doom metal. Otherwise the material here is straightforward, driving hard rock/traditional heavy metal.

If given the time, "Warlord" is sure to please old-school hard rock and metal fans. It's a solid album with and a welcome return for a band that has been on a 20-year hiatus.

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