305. Allies – Allies

ALLIES (1985)


I remember my exact thought when I first heard the song “Surrender” by Allies…

“Holy crap, what was that!!!”

That voice was just over the top. Those screams, in perfect pitch and intense, were something that simply did not exist in CCM. No one…repeat NO ONE…sang like that in CCM! Add to that the fantastic melody, huge production and great guitar work and one just had to wonder “what were they thinking with that cover?”

I understand that colorizing was cool at the time, but seriously, was no one at the record company fired for that one?

That aside, the debut of Allies was one of the biggest surprises of 1985 and the band went on to a wonderful career. Led by former Sweet Comfort Band guitarists, Randy Thomas, and vocalist extraordinaire, Bob Carlisle, the band would experience a  solid 6 album career. With Allies, Thomas could what was working musically at the end of Sweet Comfort’s tenure and crank it up a bit with Carlisle’s rockier vocals.

Fitting nicely in the world of Toto, Petra and White Heart, the band experienced initial and long lasting success. Future albums would expand upon the formula here, but few songs would match the passion of the ones on this album. It is admittedly formulaic rock, but what a great formula.

Thomas would work with other vocalist later (Identical Strangers) and Carlisle would pursue a solo career. They would join forces again later to write a little song called “Butterfly Kisses.”

  1. Brian
    November 13, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    This was such a wonderful album full of power and rock from the opening track that I was wholly disappointed in the them after the second release. I never listened to nor could I (it was just that bad) after album 2.

    Despite having the pipes of Bob Carlisle and the excitement of half of the Sweet Comfort Band Brain-trust, plus the momentum of this excellent release (which shines on virtually every cut), the band produce sub par music.

    On two tracks were really standouts on the next release. After that nada. Unlistenable.

    I remember looking at the debut cover – that power image of allies at war, guns in hand, action in progress and even the bald drummer to me said this will be a rocking power group. Everything was setup for them.

    I really lost them when I saw them perform live in Orlando, FL. The guy in the beret (I believe this was the bassist) was standing next to me watching every other group perform. After their stage performance I can see why they needed help.

    Notwithstanding my opinion of their later projects, this was truly stellar and remains a favorite even today. If only all of their releases were of this caliber.

    • Sam
      January 13, 2014 at 5:30 pm

      hey thanks for your review of our first and second records…. We really enjoyed the writing and recording process .. I was blessed to do most bgv’s with Bob and our pal John Elefante…also Tim Heintz was guest session dude… The beret guy is Matt , one of my closest friends… He is actually staying with my wife and I in Calif this week haha…..sure appreciate your comments Sam Scott , Keys , owner, writer, vocalist …ALLIES ;0))

  2. Greenchili
    March 8, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    Surprised this album didn’t get flagged as too much “Synth” and not enough rock. But alot of the songs have a way of really sticking in my mind.

  3. Rodney Jackson
    October 29, 2014 at 11:42 pm

    When talking about a Christian band, probably not good to use the word “holy c–p.” Think about what you are saying!!

    • low5point
      November 13, 2014 at 8:39 pm

      You may not approve with many words throughout the blog.

  4. T. Scott Peterson
    November 7, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    Allies was my favorite band in high school and college, and still is today (now a pastor, at age 45). Certainly the first two releases on Light Records were awesome, produced by Dino Elefante. Obviously there was a shift to more of a commercial pop sound on DaySpring Records with “Shoulder To Shoulder”, but still a strong project with great writing. if you missed the rock, the band jumped back into the genre head on with “Long Way From Paradise”, and continued in their blend of classic rock, modern rock, and rhythm and blues to the end. It would have been nice if excellent keyboardist and writer Sam Scott had remained with the band the whole time, as he was part of the original brain trust, but such is life. Nobody has better vocal chops than Bob Carlisle (and I mean nobody!), Randy Thomas is a guitarist virtuoso, Jim Erickson is as solid as they come on drums, and Matthew Chapman is an excellent bassist. I actually played in the same group that he did years ago (after his time), prior to Allies – the Heritage Singers. I would love it if the guys put together a reunion project, much like Sweet Comfort Band did a couple of years ago. For me, Allies will always be the best!

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