Azitis - Who's to Blame
Released in 1970, the sole album by Azitis (pronounced "as it is") is regarded by some folks (mostly the band themselves) as the first Christian rock album. Certainly, the themes are apparent enough from the overtly religious album cover and song titles like "Judgment Day," but this claim is dubious. Most Christian rockers consider the first Christian rock album to be Larry Norman's Upon This Rock. Nevertheless, Azitis' record is certainly the first overtly Christian psych album, if that counts for anything.
The band started out as a fourpiece in Sacramento, calling themselves the very unchristian sounding Cambridge Coroners. The key members were Don Lower and Steve Nelson; other members came and went.
Somehow the band got signed to Capitol and drove down to LA to record Help, an album presumably concerned with more important issues than what John Lennon had on his mind when he wrote a song of that name. According to the band, the cover was a symbol "chosen to represent Christianity, piercing the earth. It was the theme for our earlier work. The invention of christian faith was overshadowing the other philosophies of mankind. Our message was, all religions give us hope and faith in our fellow man. The only solution for a crowded planet."
Draw your own conclusions about the band's philosophy, but the music is indeed an intriguing mix of Floyd-style space rock and LA-styled folk rock.
The band has a website that badly needs updating, but does contain some useful information and plenty of period pics.