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JFH Staff Review

Audio Adrenaline

Artist Info: Discography
Album length: 13 tracks: 50 minutes, 27 seconds
Street Date: February 20, 1996

Fans of Audio Adrenaline's first two projects were a little taken back upon hearing the band's junior release Bloom in February, 1996. Their electronic-based pop sound was traded entirely for a raw and honest rock sound that more appropriately represented the band's live performances (and incidentally left keyboardist Bob Herdman with far less to do live and on the recordings). From the opening fade-in guitar riff of the memorable rock anthem "Secret," to the fun and loose closer "Memoir," Bloom had taken the young band to the next level.

While Audio Adrenaline would prove to be best known for the infectious pop smash hit "Big House," it's hard to forget the almost as irresistably catchy "Never Gonna Be As Big As Jesus" or even the lyrically simplistic - yet musically delectable - "I'm Not The King." Bloom was a brave and risky album for the band that only proved to be an ultimately wise stylistic change. While it may not be the band's most recognized effort, it's among their best, and a dang good 90's rock album.

- Review date: 8/13/05, written by John DiBiase

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Audio Adrenaline has been one of the biggest and most influential Christian rock bands in the past 20 years. Probably the most overlooked album in their 14 year history is the pivotal Bloom. This effort is very historical as it marked the final project featuring original guitarist Barry Blair before he left the band to pursue a career as a producer (which he carried out in producing the Bleach albums Space and Static, as well as some indie projects), and finally securing the band's first ever permanent drummer (Ben Cissell). Bloom was just the beginning in the band's transition to becoming a slightly heavier melodic rock band.

As with every Audio Adreanline album, Bloom beings strong and ends strong. The album's opener "Secret" is an urgency for Christians to not keep their faith and relationship with God to themselves. Two particular songs have similar meanings to each other; "I'm Not the King," a hard-hitting rock track, describes kings and proclaimed kings of past history while the upbeat fringe pop of "Never Gonna Be As Big As Jesus" stresses the issue of gaining all the fame in the world, but failing to match the character of Jesus Christ. Loud and melodic is the best way to define the tracks "See Through" and Bag Lady," while "Good People" symbolizes authentic AudioA in true fashion and expresses how to point out the love of the Almighty in others through their words and actions.

When it comes to slowing things down, "Walk On Water" blends together smooth vocals and an outstanding guitar and bass line and includes a message that directly implies the phrase "with God, anything is possible." "Man of God" is about an everyday individual who wears many different hats throughout his lifetime and realizes that although he messes up constantly, he depends on the grace of God to help him make it through. With Audio Adrenaline being so outspoken about their faith, one may wonder why they chose to cover Edgar Winter Group's "Free Ride" on this project. Fortunately, a slight lyric change in the first verse (I know of someone who'll give you a hand, lead you into the promised land) puts their rendition of this song in an entirely different, yet spiritual, perspective. One minor disappointment of Bloom is the demo version of "I Hear Jesus Calling," which in of itself has a poor sound quality to it. Surprisingly enough, there has never been a cleaner and more crisp sounding version of this song recorded to date for any of the band's albums that were to come later in their career.

With only a pair of songs being a minor problem to this project, Bloom showed Audio A's growth and potential that eventually made an impact on the rising popularity of Chrisian modern rock. No 90's Christian rock fan and/or Audio Adrenaline fanatic should be without this monumental project.

- Review date: 6/6/05, written by Paul Portell

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    Review #3

With their third album, Audio Adrenaline offer up a significant change in sound from their last offering Don't Censor Me. While Don't Censor Me was a fun, party record, its rock edge felt subdued and limited, with only a couple of songs showcasing AudioA's heavier side. However, with Bloom AudioA have turned up their amps just a little bit, crafting a grunge-influenced, and a far more rock-sounding, album this time around.

The louder guitars are obvious from the get-go, with the distorted-guitar intro leading off the opener "Secret." "Secret" has a strong grunge rock flavor that already displays a much heavier vibe than any song from the album Don't Censor Me. The rock onslaught continues with "I'm Not the King" and the massive riffs of "See Through." It's on these songs that guitarist Barry Blair really shines.

However, despite the heavier songs on the album, the band has not forgotten how to write catchy/upbeat pop songs in the process - after all, this is what the band is known for. For those who enjoyed "Big House" on the last album, the band provides the catchy single "Never Gonna Be as Big as Jesus," as well as the upbeat pop of "Walk on Water." These are classic AudioA tunes that fit their pop/rock sound quite well.

The band also knows how to slow it down from time to time, and two great songs definitely showcase that. "Man of God" and "Bag Lady" both show AudioA's sensitive, more introspective side - it's a side that often gets overlooked among the upbeat tunes on the album.

The band throws in a couple of neat surprises, too. There is the cover of Edgar Winter's "Free Ride" as well as the appearance of Mark's alter ego, 'Smooth Steve,' on the skit "Jazz Odyssey." The skit injects some humor in the album and adds a fun vibe in the process ('Smooth Steve' would later make a reappearance on the "Houseplant Song" for the album Underdog). Also included is "I Hear Jesus Calling," a song that was almost left off the album and was thoughtfully preserved in its demo form when the decision was made to leave it on. The demo has a nice raw feel to it that definitely enhances the wonderful simplicity of the song. The album comes to a close with yet another great rocker "Memoir."

All in all, Bloom is a fantastic album that manages to develop AudioA's rock sound quite well, while holding on to their signature pop/rock roots in the process. The songwriting has vastly improved from their previous two albums and Bloom definitely takes a step in the right direction towards establishing Audio Adrenaline as a premier rock group in CCM. This is an essential record for any AudioA fan!

- Review date: 12/25/04, written by
Sherwin Frias

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Buy This CD Online

. Artist Info: Discography
. Record Label: Forefront Records
. Album length: 13 tracks, 50 minutes and 27 seconds
. Street Date: February 20, 1996
. Buy It: iTunes
. Buy It:

  1. Secret (3:43)
  2. Never Gonna Be As Big As Jesus (4:27)
  3. Good People (3:26)
  4. I'm Not the King (3:53)
  5. Walk on Water (3:52)
  6. See Through (4:58)
  7. Free Ride (3:23)
  8. Man of God (4:17)
  9. Gloryland (4:24)
  10. Jazz Odyssey (1:22)
  11. Bag Lady (4:10)
  12. I Hear Jesus Calling (3:22)
  13. Memoir (5:10)
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