Aaronsrod – “Illusions Kill” (1986)

Aaronsrod!  I’m going to assume not too many people remember this band?  Their one and only record, Illusions Kill, was released in ’86 by Roadrunner.  To date, I believe it has never been released on CD.  Aaronsrod came out of Hawaii and Illusions Kill was recorded in Hawaii at Sea-West Studios with producer Rick Asher Keefer.  Keefer had previously produced In Your Face by TKO (1984) and Fatal Attraction by Adam Bomb (1985).  One of the tracks on Illusions Kill is a cover of Adam Bomb’s Russian Roulette (co-written by Keefer).  Another cover on the album is I Wanna Take You Higher, an old Sly & the Family Stone tune.

My Worthless Opinion:  This is a good find right here.  If I were presented with only the cover photo to go by, I would assume that Aaronsrod were a thrash band like Anthrax (they all look like Joey Belladonna!).  But nay, Aaronsrod played pretty straightforward hard rock with elements of heavy metal.  They certainly didn’t have the gloss of the more commercial hair bands of the day, nor the snarl and bite of the mainstream metal bands of the mid-eighties.  In fact, it is really hard to pinpoint exactly what audience Aaronsord were shooting for.  This kind of gimmick-free, song-based hard rock was not really something attempted by many bands of the day.  I guess the closest I can think of in terms of style would be TKO and maybe debut-era Black ‘N Blue.  The riffs are very simple, a novice player could learn them fairly easily.  This isn’t an album that tries to show off any type of technical prowess.  The production is pretty bare bones, with audible bass and good instrument separation but a rather low budget overall sound.  Aaronsrod’s greatest weapon was their vocalist, Angelo Jensen.  It is because of his great performance that Illusions Kill makes the grade for me.  The guy has a great set of pipes; crystal clear and a with a smooth delivery.  His lyrics lack the cheese and braggadocio of his more glamorous contemporaries.  Jensen leads the charge through rocking rumblers such as Do Me In and Never Cry Wolf, and he also shines on the album’s lone ballad Deceiving Eyes.  If Aaronsrod had the backing of a major label and been afforded the higher production values, they may well have made it onto the airwaves or MTV, but instead we only have this one lost album upon which to ponder “what if?”.  My score: A-


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4 thoughts on “Aaronsrod – “Illusions Kill” (1986)

  1. To bad they signed to RoadrunneR records instead of Enigma stateside, because in my opinion RoadrunneR has always had a over-signing to many artist at one time, business model and really promoting none of the bands.

    I believe if they signed to Enigma, this would of had a better chance of getting a CD pressing.

    TKO meets Black ‘n Blue, sounds like a cool sounding album.

    • i have known angelo jenson for about 12 years now, the lead vocalist of aaronsrod. he is the frontman/bassist for a metal band in portland oregon named earth to ashes. they kick ass. if ever in portland look them up, well worth it…

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