Lightforce is the classic metal band that eventually became Mortification.

Battle Lightforce - Battlezone (Heart of Metal) 1987

1. Choose to Win (2:56)
2. Evil Desires (5:40)
3. Reigning with the King (5:47)
4. Eyes of Destruction (2:44)
5. I Won't Conform (2:36)
6. The Day is Near (2:50)
7. Battlezone (3:52)
8. Fast Lane (6:03)
9. Atomic Decay [live] (5:50)
10. Epidemic of Injustice [live] (4:20)
11. Back to Basics [live] (4:33)

"Battlezone" is humble beginnings for Steve Rowe and Lightforce, being the second the band's first full length release. It was recorded independently in 1987. The music is heavily influenced by classic metal artists like Judas Priest, Manowar and especially Iron Maiden. However, vocalist Steve Johnson's punky vocal delivery gives the album a slight punk edge, even if the music is completely rooted in traditional heavy metal. The track "Eyes of Destruction" even gives a glimpse into the thrash metal leanings that the band would eventually take with their "Break the Curse" demo a few years later. It would be interesting to hear Steve Rowe's current band Mortification re-record this song in their style with those gutteral death vocals.

This version of "Battlezone" is a fan bootleg. As it says on the back inserts "This CD is not for sale and made strictly for the fans". Despite it being a bootleg, it's one nicely made bootleg. I've seen official releases that don't have the time and effort put into the cover art and packaging that this does. The album also contains three live bonus tracks that were also released on the 1994 compilation "The Best of Lightforce-Mortification's Beginnings".

Mystical Thieves Lightforce - Mystical Thieves (Pure Metal) 1989

1. "Mystical Thieves" (8:05)
2. "Crossfire" (4:15)
3. "City Streets" (4:35)
4. "Metal Missionary" (5:26)
5. "Children of Sorrow" (3:54)
6. "Searching" (5:30)
7. "Fastlane" (3:52)
8. "Babylon" (7:00)

These guys eventually turned into Mortification. Lightforce were Iron Maiden wanna-bes -- BIG TIME. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing. Lots of metal bands have made careers off this style. The thing about Lightforce is that I could never get into their vocalist. I held onto this disc anyhow, and still gave it a spin every so often. Now I kind of like it, but it is far from a frequent player. This disc is LONG out of print. My copy is autographed by bassist Steve Rowe.

Steve Rowe
Steve Rowe

Break the Curse demo Lightforce - Break the Curse (demo tape) 1990

1. "Journey of Reconciliation"
2. "Blood Sacrifice"
3. "Brutal Warfare"
4. "Illusion of Life"
5. "Break the Curse"
6. "Impulsation"

OK, I know it's not a CD but the Lightforce Break the Curse demo from 1990 is a rare collector's item. The sound is very thin, but still very listenable. The music is usually (mis)labeled as death metal, but rather what we have here is THRASH that is very influenced by the German thrash scene. All six of these songs appear on the Nuclear Blast re-release Mortification - "Break The Curse 1990" but sound a bit better, probably due to mastering and the CD format. Black and white cover art with a cool black plastic cassette with gold print. Not something I ever listen to, but a nice Lightforce collector's item.

the best of Lightforce-Mortification's Beginning Lightforce - The Best of Lightforce-Mortification's Beginnings (Rowe) 1994

1. "Babylon" (7:01)
2. "Eyes of Destruction" (5:37)
3. "Atomic Decay [live] (6:01)
4. "Searching" (5:31)
5. "I Won't Conform" (2:41)
6. "Epidemic of Injustice" [live] (5:48)
7. "Metal Missionary" (5:26)
8. "Choose to Win" (4:33)
9. "City Streets" (4:37)
10. "Back to Basics" [live] (4:18)
11. "Mystical Thievers" (8:07)

Lightforce is to Mortification what Hellhammer was to Celtic Frost; they were the launchpad for another great band. In 1994 Steve Rowe of Mortification re-released some of Lightforce's material since all of Lightforce's material was out of print. This compilation also includes some unreleased live material that showed where the band was headed musically, had they not disbanded for a short time. To be really honest, despite Mortification being one of my favorite bands, I don't really care for Lightforce (until "Break the Curse" that is.) The music is ok, being a take off of Iron Maiden, but I just do not like the vocals. This is more of a collector's disc than something I would spend any great amount of time listening to.

1986 - 1989 LightForce - 1986 to 1989 (Rowe Productions) 2003

1. "Mystical Thieves" (8:05)
2. "Crossfire" (4:15)
3. "City Streets" (4:35)
4. "Metal Missionary" (5:26)
5. "Children of Sorrow" (3:54)
6. "Searching" (5:30)
7. "Fastlane" (3:52)
8. "Babylon" (7:00)
9. "Choose to Win" (4:33)
10. "Evil Desires" (2:56)
11. "Reigning With the King" (5:40)
12. "Eyes of Destruction" (5:47)
13. "I Won't Conform" (2:44)
14. "The Day Is Near" (2:36)
15. "Battlezone" (2:50)
16. "12 Men" (2:40)
17. "Slay the Enemy" (3:28)

Lightforce 1986 to 1989 contains the Mystical Thieves (Tracks 1-8) and Battlezone albums (Tracks 9-15) plus 2 bonus songs from the 1986 Lightforce Demo. Other than the couple tracks included on the "Best of Lightforce" CD, this is the first time that "Battlezone" has been released on CD. As with "Mystical Thieves", the "Battlezone" tracks are of the same Iron Maiden/Manowar inspired heavy metal. The booklet includes photos, a discography and a biography written by current Mortification guitarist Mick Jelinic.

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