BOX SET - DANIEL AMOS - The Alarma Chronicles Book Set (3 CD w/ Hard Cover Mini Book)

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Extremely rare piece! Pristine condition! This is a limited special edition DANIEL AMOS Alarma Chronicles Book Set. This 3-CD and 169 page book set was originally released in 2000 and contains all 4 of the original albums on 3 CDs (Alarma, Doppelganger, Vox Humana & Fearful Symmetry) of the groundbreaking Alarma Chronicles. This set is no longer in print and is a rare find. The CD's and packaging are new.

$90-$400 online. Here, half of that for a true, rare collectable.

These are the original recordings of the four Alarma Chronicle albums as they were originally released on vinyl. In the 1990s the albums were individually released on CD with a couple bonus cuts each, for this release the bonus cuts were dropped and the four albums were printed on three discs. As others have mentioned, we were told at the time by the then manager that Frontline didn't want the albums released on individual discs so Fearful Symmetry was split in half and put on disc two and three. Its possible Frontline never said this though. :/

The song order is the same as the original albums as well. The songs on Vox Humana have also had the CD IDs corrected, which were goofed up on the original single CD issue. Also, the Vox Humana cassette typo "It's Slick" was corrected to the songs actual title, "It's Sick." Some inbetween album narration was added by Terry Taylor himself. The book is a collection of lyrics, album information, transcripts of radio shows, photos and other cool stuff. Unfortunately after completion of the text and submission, someone ran the text through some kind of goofed up spell checker which added errors to some of the text. Originally it was all correct, I know because I typed it.

Larry Norman had nothing to do with these four albums, and frankly little to do with Horrendous Disc other than delaying it and eventually releasing different versions of the album in different countries. That album was recorded before his involvement with the band.

here's an essay from 2000 I found:

Before the early 80s, Daniel Amos was known as a country-rock band in the near wasteland of the Christian music market with very keen pop sensibilities, that kept it just barely within "church-acceptance" parameters. That all ended with the nearly dual-release of Horrendous Disc and Alarma! in 1981. Beginning with Alarma!, the next four albums to come from Terry Taylor and company would set a small part of the Christian music scene on fire, and continue to reverberate nearly two decades later in the lives and musical stylings of hundreds of artists and tens of thousands of fans throughout North America. The Chronicles would set Daniel Amos apart from all other artists in the Christian market as "the only band that matters". Shifting to Beatlesque pop-rock in Horrendous Disc, and then to stripped-down post-punk guitar rock in Alarma! (not to mention the incredibly cutting lyrics), proved to be too much for the prior Daniel Amos fan base. But apparently for anyone who knew Taylor and co., it was a necessary progression. And it earned Daniel Amos an entirely new (and rabidly loyal) legion of fans.

Almost two decades later, all of the behind-the-scenes efforts to bring the four albums out of the "out-of-print" archives of four different record companies and unite them in a "book" set (I'll explain this shortly) have paid off, and now the Alarma! Chronicles come to us in three discs slipped into a 170-page book. The book contains essays on the history and significance of the Chronicles, transcripts of the two Daniel Amos radio shows that heralded the first two Chronicles releases, and the accompanying "vision" narratives that came with the original albums (which of themselves generated numerous discussions, let alone the music), not to mention pictures (and the provocative album art); hence the need for a "book" set, as opposed to the Box Set.

Alarma! is a post-punk, new wave guitar-rock record that is rather stripped-down and has the spontaneity of a live performance. The musical direction was a quantuum leap forward, and the cover art (both front and back cover) was equally innovative and thought-provoking. The lyrics weave a common theme throughout the 16 tracks, which match the cover art and the written narrative--that of self-serving, self-righteous Christians who keep plugging away for their own gain in a serene and affluent culture (and getting into rabid arguments with other Christians over stupid things) while turning a blind eye to people who suffer and die all around the world without Jesus or the compassion that those Christians could provide, and a God who could easily lose patience with us and somehow does not. Great guitar work, excellent vocals, nicely placed keyboards, and production that sounds a lot more expensive than it likely was. Nearly every track is devastating in both its sound and in its lyrical content. It's very hard to single any out, though "Through the Speakers", "Alarma!", "Big Time/Big Deal", and "Cloak & Dagger" seem to really stand out. Very affecting, but just a warm-up to...

Doppelganger follows with quantuum physics, social commentary on spiritual matters, and much fuller, layered music with that same post-punk quirkiness and a big sound. This 1983 release was my first exposure to Daniel Amos. It also took the evolving musical direction to new horizons, incorporating backward masking ("Hollow Man", which is "Ghost of the Heart" from Alarma! run backwards with added lyrics) and sound effects to enhance the punch of the cutting lyrical content. The "big" sound comes at least in part from drummer Ed McTaggart pounding the skins in a warehouse. Very nice effect. The overall effect on individual tracks is that they're more stimulating to the imagination, and help the listener to visualize the powerful concepts in the lyrics. The cover art deals this time with duality, sometimes that of the quantuum physics variety (your "future" or "timeless" self in eternity looking back to your current self--note "The Double"), to more of the self-serving, prosperity-centric Christianity (all the while acting pious and holy) that Alarma! rightly skewered two years before. TV preachers and the whole "prosperity gospel" mentality get their come-uppance in several tracks ("New Car", "Angels Tuck You In", "Little Crosses", "Autographs For the Sick", and "I Didn't Build it For Me"), and they range musically from R&B to new wave to modern/hard rock. Living in the past? You're taking too many trips down "Memory Lane", but at least this is a nice techno tune. Ten years before Bob Briner published his "impact the culture" treatise Roaring Lambs, Terry Taylor had already lambasted modern American Christianity for being out of sync with what's going on in society (or with other believers, for that matter) in "Here I Am". Get these lyrics..."Moving about, in our own exclusive spheres/we touch not, we are not even near". Ouch! Expecting the next album to be called Vox Robottica, we were instead treated to...

Vox Humana was the techno tour-de-force that may have actually been the climax of the Chronicles. The encroachment of technology, and its ability to obscure what is important to humanity motivates the cry of the "voice of the human", to translate the title. To sum it up, this album is probably the best played and best composed of the four. With a few traditional rock instruments, the sound is largely generated by synthesized instruments, with sequencers and keyboards (and drum pads) abounding. And the concepts of the music, cover art, and narratives again strike a common chord--technology is poised to crush us under its weight, and relationships are taking a beating as a result of its allure and isolating tendencies (sounds just a tad prophetic in the Internet age, doesn't it?). Somehow, God manages to get through to us in spite of it all. One of the most passionate (and complex) compositions on the album is a tribute to the 16th(?)-century British poet "William Blake" (certainly a rebellion against the techno 80s, despite the nice techno effects). Beautifully worded, with all sorts of allusions to Blake's work. A likely favorite on this album would be "Dance Stop", the anti-anti-dance tune that was a favorite at DA concerts. Also very noteworthy (and catchy) is "It's the Eighties (So Where's Our Rocket Packs?"), where techno-pop meets Depression-era radio crooning (and possibly Depression-era predictions of how science would radically change our lives by the 1980s) that proves the more things "change", the more they really stay the same, especially in social and religious terms. "Travelog" uses serious wit to decry the pseudo-travels of those who sit in front of the TV. Shallow spirituality is the subject of "Home Permanent", and God's love the subject of "When Worlds Collide". A fitting end to man's search for meaning and assurance in an overwhelming age of technology, God becomes our "Sanctuary", in a tune that is so brooding, yet so moving that the listener can easily slip into "the zone", nearly trance-like, in worship of our Lord.

Fearful Symmetry is the final chapter of the Chronicles, with moments of sharp wit in socio-religious commentary, but largely holds the elements of an artfully played worship album. God sings for us, so to speak, in "A Sigh For You", and we respond to the "Beautiful One" (the Lord, of course), at the end, with another call to the Love of our lives in "When The Moonlight Sleeps (On the Frosted Hill)". All things become new in the narrative and the lyrics, as the Creator's love for us is consumated. The mystical interpretations of baptism are explored in "The Pool", with the driving modern rock beat. A few fun tunes hold a serious message--first, the folly of legalistic piety is pitted against what sounds convincingly like those old instructional films that we were shown in schools decades ago in "Instructions Through Film". Impressive. Second, anyone wishing for those old steel guitar days of DA's country rock get one last look with a frantic twist in "Sudden Heaven", dealing with God breaking in on the darkness of our current lives with His glory. Third, "Neverland Ballroom" sounds an awful lot like a dance club take on Revelation. Hmmm...Two tunes get a fair mention for a slightly different reason--"Sleep, Silent Child" and "Shadowcatcher", moreso musically than lyrically, though the lyrics are as haunting as the music. These two tracks stand out in my memory, as at the time I was reading Frank Miller's classic graphic novel on an aging Batman's swan song, The Dark Knight Returns. These tracks became the soundtrack for a dark, brooding comic book, and I will ever see Miller's stark images and stammering prose when I listen to this disc.

Put together, the four Alarma! Chronicles represent the best of Christian music in the 80s. A few typos in the lyric sheets should not make you even the least bit hesitant about trying to get a copy of the new Book Set, but you should be warned that the Book Set is a limited pressing--supposedly only 2,000 copies were published, most of which were sold earlier this summer at the Cornerstone festival. You may have a hard time procuring a copy, but it will be worth the effort if you can still get your hands on this.