Amazing Grace is a band that I know more about through research and word-of-mouth than I do from personal interaction.
Reputedly, these guys were the kings of South Florida's punk rock scene in the sense that they pretty much nailed every groupie in town and opened up for bigger punk acts who dared to venture this far south. And adding to the mystique, they were one of a handful of bands who actually released a full-length effort in an era dominated by the seven-inch EP.
AG was comprised of Spinout vocalist Steve Lambert, his bassist brother Gary Lambert, guitarist Billy La Volpe, and drummer Ron Norton. This is the lineup that recorded the Entities LP. However, there would be significant personnel changes in the future that would affect the sound of the band -- namely the recruitment of Stack Jones, who according to legend agreed to join if the band went into more hard rock and psychedelic stuff.
There is something almost gothic-y a la Killing Joke that can be seen in their long jam "Morbid Opera" and a certain NWOBHM influence in thrash anthem "Raw Power," which you can download below. There is a nuanced macho-posturing to some of the tracks, which I am only picking up because it seems to be the consensus among those who witnessed the band live back in the day. Of course, that could also be a retaliatory shot from miffed boyfriends.
There's also a solid Reagan-era punk rock attitude which comes across in "White Dollar" and just straight-up four-on-the-floor with layered vocals and crunchy breakdowns like "No Solution" that'll satisfy the most gung-ho punker. And while the entire nine tracks on this release might be best taken in parts and not as a whole, depending on how eclectic you're feeling, I find the album OK overall. There's even a full-on pop tune called "The Day" that feels like the 1980s.
The album was produced by Hal Hansford and it is currently listed on eBay with a "Buy It Now!" tag of 30 bucks. There are claims that this slab of wax has fetched close to $1500 in the past. But that puts it in league with Critical Mass' first seven-inch. And I find such a thing pretty hard to believe.
Finally, it also seems that some version of AG continues to exist and its website boasts two more recent releases that we will be examining within these pages in the future. In the meantime, enjoy the free track, it should give you a good, thrashy jolt.
Download: Amazing Grace - "Raw Power"
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