Victor Peraino's Kingdom Come - No Man's Land. 1975 USA
Victor Peraino's Kingdom Come - Were Next. 1981 private. EP
CD reissues: 2010 Black Widow (Italy); 2010 Belle Antique (Japan mini-LP)
Packaging details: One of the more mythical of the US privately released progressive rock albums, originals of Victor Peraino's Kingdom Come will set you back well over a $1,000 - probably a multiple of that. For many years, all that existed was a hastily done cheap vinyl transfer CD bootleg out of Japan from 1994. I owned that CD for years and, despite its legal status, was also one of the rarer CDs in my collection. I gladly sold it once the official CD finally surfaced from the great Italian label Black Widow. Of course at that point my CD wasn't worth much. Nor should have it been. The Black Widow version is excellent, with superb sound, liner notes from Peraino along with photos, original album covers, etc... They did alter the original cover art (top) by adding psychedelic colors, which isn't a bad idea really. If you want the original art, the Japanese mini-LP restores it exactly. And I guess that would be the only reason to own the more expensive version. For me, the Black Widow CD is ideal. As well, both of these CDs include the 1981 EP "Were Next" (as did the boot actually), which would only be worth getting as bonus tracks anyway.
Notes: Despite being originally associated with Arthur Brown's Kingdom Come as their flamboyant keyboardist, Victor Peraino is a denizen of Detroit, and his sole LP length album is clearly a product of the 1970's US Midwest. That is to say, a mix of radio friendly AOR music, and all out progressive rock compositions. The difference between the relatively simple 'Demon of Love' (2:30) and the ultra complex 'Empires of Steel' (8:25) back-to-back is jarring to say the least. At once Peraino puts together a radio friendly anthem and then follows with a mellotron fueled hyper-complex progressive piece with fluttering flute and psychedelic guitar solos, right out of Osanna's "Palepoli" songbook. This is followed by the trippy 'Tru' (2:15), an Eastern mystic mellotron piece that no doubt could have been found on a Timothy Leary inspired Kosmische Kourier album. And I suppose it's no surprise that Leary was considered a guru by Peraino himself. Perhaps 'Lady of the Morning' (6:10) is a concise example of the entire USA Midwest progressive movement. The songcraft and choruses are all radio friendly, but the instrumentation (some amazing mellotron, guitar, flute sequences here folks) and progressions point to a more arty pretension. This album could have only come out in the mid 1970's and from a place like Michigan. Really. Nowhere else. It's critical to understand the background of an album like this to truly appreciate it.
Despite many website's efforts to the contrary, as one can plainly see, the EP was released with the grammatically incorrect "Were Next" title. Or it's just a misspelling, as the first track is called 'Where Next' (many get this wrong too). But as we listen to the lyrics, the song continues with these gems: 'We're next in line'. OK, so Victor Peraino wasn't an English major. Those that were English majors are doing other things now too...
'Demon of Love' is as awful as the album version, but reduced to 1:11, so it's palpable. 'Fire' (2:53) is... well you know the Arthur Brown classic - so it's a cash-in for the related Peraino. Deal with it. 'Athena' (2:06) is an embarrassing Devo styled number (hello Akron!), with a cool progressive rock break.
"Were Next" (sic) serves well only as the bonus tracks on the Black Widow CD.