CCM Magazine March 1981
After many years of searching, stumbling, and pressing on, Daniel Amos has finally reached their third album release - Alarma.
"It's high energy 1980s rock 'n' roll with a literary bent," says Terry Taylor, the band's songwriter and lead vocalist. "Lyrically and musically, it's definitely the 1980s. But I think we're closer in conceptualization to Shotgun Angel than Horrendous Disc which was just a loose collection of songs."
Daniel Amos signed with the NewPax label last January 31 and delivered Alarma shortly after. The New Benson Company immediately locked into high gear in order to deliver the album to stores by the end of the first quarter of '81. If all goes well, Alarma will be in general distribution by the end of this month.
"This album is now, a new beginning... a new attitude," says Taylor. "It's meant for the Body. We confess that for a while we didn't have much to offer the Body. Our vision hasn't changed, but how to get there has got distorted while we stumbled around for a couple of years. We repent of that, and in this new album we're addressing Christian and heartfelt issues."
Taylor, drummer Ed McTaggert, keyboardist and bassist Marty Dieckmeyer and guitarist Jerry Chamberlain have all been through some tough experiences during the last few years - a kind of course in spiritual hard knocks. But the result has been that Taylor's songs, which the other band members says reflect their views well, have acquired a new vitality and new burden to address problems that we all share as Christians. Alarma deals with issues such as Christian responsibility towards those in need. , Christian isolationist tendencies and the scandal of world hunger.
“God's Word tells us that if His people call His name, He'll heal our land," Taylor remarks. "Christians have to take responsibility for what the country has come to. If this country has become violentas , if John Lennon was shot... we're responsible for not bringing the Good News to the world." The songs, he adds, came from inspecting his own life and "admitting that I'm letting the world go by, by focusing on my own problems."
Apparently, the Horrendous Disc experience while with Solid Rock has had a profound effect on the band's growing understanding of their music and Christian ministry.
“It's not a star system. It's a lot of hard work, a lot of sacrifice in our family life and at the same time, it's a privilege," says Taylor. "We see kids come to us with stars in their eyes... We never see people say 'God is calling us to play at our Sunday school next week.' "
"Lord knows I went through those things, but the Lord really wants us to be faithful in little things."
Stylistically, Alarma is straight on rock 'n' roll band music. The album has a lot of presence, almost a live sound. There's a lot of breathing on the LP, squeaking steel strings, etc. Produced by Rebel Base Productions, the LP is the first of many hopes Daniel Amos. Rebel Base Productions was recently formed by the Daniel Amos and Tom Howard (also formerly with Solid Rock.)
Rockers will appreciate that Alarma's cuts are not mixed down however. In fact, some lyrics are difficult to hear, but they are there and they have something to say - things like music ministers have a serious responsibility to communicate in the right form from the stage, not to feed people sugar coatings without the pill, and not to use the media to the degree that we forget the human touch.
"So much Christian music addresses certain key subjects like Christ being the answer - which is true - but we need to address the pain so many Christians feel and are afraid to admit to themselves - to reveal the complexities of the issues, to identify the pain," adds Ed McTaggert. "Do Christians need reassuring that Christ is the answer? Most Christian music doesn't even ask that question."
“Maybe the album will leave listeners with more questions than answers," Terry proposes. "Hopefully it will urge them to seek God."