Spear of Destiny's most successful album has always been a contentious beast. Longtime fans bemoaned the demise of the original band and its replacement with a far more anonymous unit; newer listeners simply liked the tunes and didn't give a damn about history. The demos for the album, however, go a long way toward pleasing both sets, as Kirk Brandon experiments with both the limitations and the imaginations of the new musicians (including guitarist Marco Pirroni), without having to please a producer as well. The result is a denser sound, more akin to the first SoD album, and a vocal performance that occasionally rises as wild and weird as anything he'd done before. True, there's nothing to be done about the weaker songs that scarred the finished record, but "Never Take Me Alive," "Strangers in Our Town," and "Miami Vice" blaze with an intent that the familiar versions only toyed with, and the demos ultimately please a lot more than Outland itself ever did.
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AllMusic Review by Dave Thompson