Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Howdy folks, more nostalgic midweek mayhem for your jaded modern musical palettes.
Savour the flavour.
Some nice hard rock to kick things off tonight, this is "Rock 'til You Drop", the 1996 album by the Richie Ranno Group. Richie, of course provided the guitar muscle & melody for 70's Hard Rock gods in waiting, STARZ. Later on he was the architect behind the shortlived HELLCATS as well as appearing on KISS man GENE SIMMONS' solo album. He's joined on this project by latterday STARZ bassist Peter Scance and superb vocalist Neil Sundet. Great sounding catchy Hard Rock which oozes class.

RICHIE RANNO GROUP - Rock 'Til You Drop (1996) USA

Now, from 1984, we're "proud" to present the "Fire Breaks the Dawn" album from Swedish rockers Proud. This is a minor masterpiece for those who love Euro Metal of a certain vintage. The youthful five piece take their cues from the earlier NWOBHM bands, but manage to imbue the music with a dark mood & unusual feel all of their own. Give this one a try, you won't be disappointed.

PROUD - Fire Breaks The Dawn (1984) Sweden

Anyone remember the song "The Kings", on "Metal Massacre 2", by Hyksos? Probably not, their contribution was overlooked in favour of SLAYER etc. by most. Well the L.A. based 5 piece, flushed with their "success" decided to record & self release a self titled album later the same year anyway. What a glorious racket it is too, old fashioned & epically Heavy, they don't make 'em like this anymore. They seldom did then either!

HYKSOS - Hyksos (1982) USA

Folks, my PC is fucked. This may be my last post for a little while while i try to get it fixed.
Remainder of post coming up, no time for descriptions.

DEMON FLIGHT - Flight Of The Demon EP (1982) USA


MONEY - Money EP (1980) UK

TITAN - East Wind West Wind (1979) UK (Pre HANDSOME BEASTS & WRATHCHILD)

CHASER - Raiders 7" (1984) UK

Hopefully i'll get fixed soon, enjoy this lot peeple.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Hi people, a bit of a "back to basics" post for today, pretty much Hard Rock & NWOBHM all the way.
And there ain't nothing wrong with that!
To begin with, putting the "live" into "Live & Otherwise", is the 1981 "Live & Raw" album by French maverick rock'n'rollers Shakin' Street. This one captures the band at the height of their powers playing before the biggest crowds of their career as the opening act on the US "Black & Blue Tour" of 1980, opening for BLUE OYSTER CULT & BLACK SABBATH. This shows the band raising their game to win over the huge audiences, and by the crowd responses, it sounds like they were succeeding. BOC's BUCK DHARMA & LED ZEPPELIN's JIMMY PAGE show up to guest on "Vampire Rock" too! PAGE reappearing to make a cameo appearance on the exclusive studio bonus track "Mome Des Villes" as well!

SHAKIN' STREET - Live & Raw (1981) France

Now to the USA for the sole album from a band with an interesting back story. This is "Max Havoc No 1", by Los Angeles Hard Rockers Max Havoc. Initially the band was put together by BLACK SABBATH drummer BILL WARD after his departure following "Heaven & Hell", alongside frontman Pat McKeon. They eventually drafted the services of former WRATHCHILD guitarist Phil Vokins, and recorded some demos before Vokins departure to PERSIAN RISK, and Ward's temporary return to SABBATH for "Born Again".
McKeon put together a new line up with former MICKEY RATT and future SALTY DOG drummer Khurt Maier, guitarist Scott Lane and bassist Jim Hudgins. This is the line up which recorded the album, with Ward overseeing the project as "executive producer", and featuring guest contributions from QUIET RIOT guitarist CARLOS CAVAZO and W.A.S.P. drummer TONY RICHARDS. Musically, it's top-notch Hard Rock in the mould of early CRUE/W.A.S.P. with a more radio friendly edge. Strange then that so few are aware of the band, especially considering the calibre of the players involved. Rectify the situation now folks, this is some good stuff!

MAX HAVOC - Max Havoc No 1 (1983) USA

Another in the ever popular NWOBHM BBC session series now. This time around we're proud to present Wakefield three piece Vardis, with a four song session from back in '81, recorded for the late TOMMY VANCE's BBC "Friday Rock Show". Steve Zodiac and co. are on top form here, rollin' & a tumblin' through an inspired selection of their songs with verve and grit. For a while it seemed that Vardis were poised for the big breakthrough into the major league, but it never happened despite their initial promise. Listening to this, i'm baffled as to the reason why.

VARDIS - BBC Session (1981) UK

I'm afraid i don't have much info to impart on the subject of the next featured band, this is the "Phoenix Rising" EP by Phoenix, released in 1982 on their own Phoenix label. This contains four tracks of gritty, unmistakably British Heavy Metal, typical of the era in sound, but a cut above the norm in terms of songwriting. This appears to have been their only release unfortunately, fans of the genre will find much to appreciate here.

PHOENIX - Phoenix Rising EP (1982) UK

Next, as promised last time, here is the other release by Welsh Metallers Mithrandir, this is their debut 7", "Dreamers Of Fortune". This was released in 1982 on New Leaf Records and shows the band are capable of more concise songwriting than on their prog tinged "Magick" Ep. These songs are more straightforward and instant, and depending on your perspective, the "Magick" EP could be looked upon as a step backwards in comparison. Me? I like both. Considering the bands average age was 17 at the time of these recordings, it's astonishing that they'd mastered one style let alone two!

MITHRANDIR - Dreamers Of Fortune 7" (1982) UK

Another scintillating slab of prime NWOBHM black vinyl for you now, courtesy of Slough band Sledgehammer. This is their awesome "Living In Dreams" 7" from 1980, released to capitalise on the attention they'd gained from their appearance on "Metal For Muthas". The flipside, "Fantasia", is my favourite of the tracks, musically inventive with a slightly psychedelic edge and lyrically humorous to boot. "She blew my mind, that ain't all!" Great stuff from one of the unsung pillars of the early daze of the movement.

SLEDGEHAMMER - Living In Dreams 7" (1980) UK

Finally for now, here's the "We'll Rock The World" 7" by Sheffield based rockers Panza Division. This lot had been doing the rounds since 1978, initially under the name of ROKKA, releasing the "Come Back" 7" in 1980. Unfortunately, despite prime support slots with Y&T, SAXON & TWISTED SISTER, their recorded legacy is limited to this solitary 7". Eventually their bassist, Alan Edwards left to join WITCHFYNDE, leading to a period of personnel comings & goings and the eventual dissolution of the band. A pity, this is great Hard Rockin' fayre, and they must have had quite a catalogue of songs waiting to be recorded. Damn it!

PANZA DIVISION - We'll Rock The World 7" (1982) UK

See you again midweek, for some more rare treats!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Welcome again my friends, to the blog which never ends.
Another top selection of the great & the good from the "should have been huge" vault. Fine rockin' fayre that's good for what ails thee.
For starters, a collection of rare B-Sides, alternate versions & a complete BBC session by Australia's most mighty, the awesome Rose Tattoo. Top drawer hard nosed dirty rock'n'roll from the masters, at the height of their powers, between the years of 1978 and 1982. We'll never again hear so savage and beautiful a slide guitarist as the late great Pete Wells, may he rest in peace. You need this one, your pitiful life is incomplete without it, it's that simple.

ROSE TATTOO - Rare Blooms (1978-1982) Australia

Around about 1986 i was listening to the late Tommy Vance on the Friday Rock Show one Friday evening when he played a song by this next band. The name of the band was Jesters Of Destiny, and the song he played was "Diggin' That Grave". I was instantly fascinated, the song was heavy, but catchy, humorous but twisted. Like a Hard rock SPARKS or a rejuvenated ALICE COOPER playing FAITH NO MORE. I hunted for the album for years, finally getting a copy of the remastered expanded version recently. This is amazing stuff, instant but complex, fun without resorting to novelty, memorable and melodic without sacrificing an inch of musical muscle. A band too far ahead of the pack to reap the benefits of their pioneering. You'll listen to this agog that they didn't sweep the floor with every other release that year. Essential!

JESTERS OF DESTINY - Fun At The Funeral (1986) USA

Part One:
Part Two:

A very pleasant gift now from Ogmonster for you all. This is a fantastic compilation of tracks by Detroits own Seduce. Thanks very much Og, the hard work & the thought are both very much appreciated. Here's the lowdown in his own words.
"I made this comp from Seduce's only two albums, demos from 2nd LP, and some live unreleased songs.
01-06 From " Seduce " '85
07-11 From " Too Much, Ain't Enough " '88
12-16 From " Demos " 1986-87
17-19 From " Live @ Traxx: Detroit, Michigan 1985 "
The photos are an early promo '83 and promo from their 2nd LP '88. Hope you enjoy it and let me know how you like 'em."

SEDUCE - The Best Of Seduce (1985-1988) USA

Here's another in the ongoing series of Wrathchild posts, this is their final album from 1989, "Delirium". By the time they recorded this one the writing was on the wall for the band. Their big opportunities had come & gone. But they still managed to pull one last hurrah out of the hat. This is a slicker than their output of yore, more American sounding, but still unmistakeably Wrathchild. The huge choruses, bolstered by guest backing vocals from GRIM REAPER man Steve Grimmett, stick to your psyche, like gooey bubblegum to backcombed hair. A good if untypical farewell from a great band.

WRATHCHILD - Delirium (1989) UK

A nice slice of Welsh NWOBHM from the unfeasibly youthful Mithrandir next. This is their "Magick" EP from 1982, which came out on the New Leaf label. Recorded in Peterbourgh on Christmas Day 1981, the 569 copies of the EP sold out quickly, making them hard to come by nowadays, copies changing hands for $140 US when they come up. Musically, this is technically complex NWOBHM with memorable melodies and great guitar. Nice stuff.

MITHRANDIR - Magick EP (1982) UK

Back to 1980 now for some more NWOBHM from High Treason. This is their "Saturday Night Special" 7" which was released on Burlington Records. Nice solid riffing stuff, this is NOT the LYNYRD SKYNYRD song of the same name, but it manages to stand nicely on its own 2 feet. Miraculously, after a 1981 split, High Treason reformed in 2005, releasing an album called "Radio Will Find Me", the same year. They are currently recording a new album.

HIGH TREASON - Saturday Night Special 7" (1980) UK

This one i like despite it not really fitting the remit of the page. This is the "Hypnotizing You" 7" by Amazon, a record i hunted down as it was described as a NWOBHM release in something i'd read. Whilst it fits the DIY ethos & the time frame of the movement, the music is not particularly Heavy. It's more in the Powerpop mould with strong vocals by Lori Chacko, who would later sing the title track from the ELVIRA movie, "Mistress Of The Dark", before teaming up with ex-HAWKWIND man, Huw Lloyd Langton in THE HUWLIGANS. It's good catchy stuff, so if you enjoy that style of music why not give it a go.

AMAZON - Hypnotizing You 7" (1980) UK

Finally tonight, here's another obscure gem from Sweden courtesy of Dom. This is the "Fighting Man" 7" by Lezlie Paice from back in 1983. Great big monolithic slabs of Heavy Heavy guitar riffage are the outstanding elements on this one, the songs themselves being memorable if slightly too simplistic. The vocals are a bit of a disappointment unfortunately, being heavily accented and providing some unintentional giggles as a result.
But that guitar sound...unbelievably fine.

LEZLIE PAICE - Fighting Man 7" (1983) Sweden

Phew, that was a biggy. Hope you enjoy it folks. More to come at the weekend.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


Hello again, boys & girls, another selection of musical treats this evening to rawk yer sox awf.
Without further ado, let's get it on.
Up first, from 1983, here's "Take One", the lone album by Hayward, California's Max Lynx. I'll give you a sample of some of the songtitles & see if you can guess what this one sounds like.
"Dragons & Warriors", "Metal Never Dies", "Running With The Devil", "Rainbow Riders". The list goes on in similar style. Now go download the album & see if you were right in your assumptions. Hint : yes you were, and it's every bit as fun as you'd imagine!

MAX LYNX - Take One (1983) USA

Next we bring you the final official release in our ongoing set of Gotham City posts, this is their full length album, "The Unknown", from 1984. By the time they recorded this one they had replaced original vocalist Ola Ohlsson with the considerably more gifted Anders Zackariasson, who would later find a greater level of success with NOCTURNAL RITES. Compared to their previous releases, thinks are sounding a whole lot more professional with slicker production and more mature songs. I miss the ramshackle approach of the earlier stuff, but this is great in its own right, treat it like it's another band and you'll probably get the most from it. It certainly sounds like a different band on several of the tracks. Still Heavy though. Still Heavy.

GOTHAM CITY - The Unknown (1984) Sweden

To New York now, for the "ultra" "mega" "hideously" rare, one off Mini LP by a Big Apple five piece called Dark Knight. This one came out in '84 on their own Dark Knight label with the "none more Metal" catalogue no. of DK-666-SS, and is as good an example of why people spend small fortunes on private pressing Metal as you're never likely to hear. You'll never be able to afford a copy of this, hell, they show up so seldom you'll never find one anyway, but thanks to the appliance of internet science you can hear what the hullabaloo is all about. Great guitar all over this one courtesy of one Larry Rola, whatever happened to him, he could really blare. A keeper!

DARK KNIGHT - Dark Knight Mini LP (1984) USA

A nice one now from the Netherlands for your air guitaring & fist clenching enjoyment. This is the sole release by Lady, the 1982 "Ladykiller" EP, and is so influenced by the NWOBHM scene that it often turns up on NWOBHM wants lists. They were Dutch, people! To be fair there's also a lot of JUDAS PRIEST worship going on here too, although the presence of a keyboard player gives the band a slightly more commercial bent, but axeman Rene Enthoven has obviously spent a lot of time studying Tipton & Downing to good effect. For the most part it works nicely, the vocals are a little overambitious here & there, but all in all this is some good stuff.

LADY - The Ladykiller EP (1982) HOL

To Sweden now, where again, courtesy of Dom we get to immerse ourselves in the Doomy Hard Rawking of the awesome Hels. This is their one & only release, the double A-Side 7" "Birth"/"Death" from 1985. Lots of nice Mercyful Fate style time changes on the first side, then the tempo drops to a Mogadon bludgeon whilst the guitar's transform into a fuzzy "Death-tone" for the less than chirpy "Death". Nice stuff for folks who enjoy their Metal in slo-mo.

HELS - Birth/Death 7" (1985) Sweden

Not to be confused with the Durham based band who released "Nobody's Move", this is another NWOBHM band by the name of Lone Wolf. No, not the PAUL Di'ANNO fronted band either, but that was a nice try. This lot were a one shot band, releasing only this, their "Cash For Candy" 7" on their own Wolf label waaaay back in 1980. It's some nice stuff with catchy choruses alongside the boogie Metal parts. Give it a try, i think you'll like.

LONE WOLF - Cash For Candy 7" (1980) UK

Finally tonight, we stay with the NWOBHM for a great 7" from Camargue. This is "Howl Of The Pack" on Clubland Records from 1983, but, as i can't find anything on the net about them at all, i'm assuming that this is all they recorded. I have a suspicion that they may have had a track or two on one of Ebony Records Metal sampler albums around this time too, but i haven't been able to research that. Anyway, this is good solid Rawkin' stuff, with occasional early Maiden style guitar parts. Which is nice.

CAMARGUE - Howl Of The Pack 7" (1983) NWOBHM

Hope you enjoy tonight's selection of rare treats. See you again midweek for more goodies.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

GUITARS FROM MARS (& South London Bars)

"Larga Vida Al Rock'n'Roll"! as Baron Rojo used to say.
Lots to get through in a short space of time, minimal descriptions as a result.
A request from a while back to start us off, this is "Sacrifice" by Joe Step, which appears to be the name of the band, it's not a solo performer. This is their rare as hens teeth one & only LP from 1982 on the CCS label. From Illinois, this is high energy psychedelic Heavy Rawk with awesome guitar playing in Iommi-esque tones. Goes for big bucks if you can find one, no need now, you've got it here for free. Did i mention the guitars?

JOE STEP - Sacrifice (1982) USA

More now from Eveshams glam rock titans Wrathchild, this is a compilation LP of their early EPs which surfaced on the Dojo label in 1985, much to the bands annoyance. Musically, this is upbeat dumb fun, 70's styled glam rock bubblegum schlock with tongues firmly in cheek and confetti cannons set on "stun". Some would argue that they never bettered their early EPs so this is a great way to hear that stuff in one fell swoop, and where else can you hear a song with the awesome title, "Cock Rock Shock"?

WRATHCHILD - Trash Queens (1985) UK

Up next, Canada's Wikka, this is their sole release, the 4 song "Wikka" EP, which crept out on TNT Records in 1988. Featuring former DARKON and ORACLE members, the band split in half just 2 weeks before going into the studio to record this, with the time booked they quickly drilled 2 new members & went in & laid down the songs anyway. Considering the chaotic nature of the set up, this is remarkable stuff, like an amalgam of MAIDEN or WARLORD with something more straightforward & hooky, say early CRUE, with epic bits intact. Nice one, go getcha.

WIKKA - Wikka EP (1988) Canada

Some epic Doomy Heavy Metal now, which comes courtesy of the awesome Dom, font of all things Heavy & Swedish. This is the "Hymn Of The Sinner" 7" by Faith, from 1986. Apart from a couple of earlier demos, (one as "STORMBRINGER"), this was all the band released until they reformed in the 1990's finally bringing us their debut LP, "Salvation Lies Within" in 2003. Apparently that's more in a prog-metal vein than this primitive Doom Rawker, pity, this is some nice primal stuff.

FAITH - Hymn Of The Sinner (1986) Sweden

Staying in the Swedish fjords for the moment, here's another classic slab of primeval black 7" vinyl, this time from the cheerily named Grave. This is their "Screaming From The Grave" single, which appeared on their own Grave label in 1983. This is some fast & furious traditional Heavy Metal in the style of Manowar or Dio, slightly marred 9for me), by some very 80's sounding keyboards. This was all she wrote for the Haparanda based band, as guitarist Jan Granvik was soon after to be found sizzling the six strings for the better known GLORY.

GRAVE - Screaming From The Grave 7'' (1983) Sweden

A couple opf little belters from the NWOBHM vault to finish things off with now.
The first is the "USA" 7" by Skitzofrenik on the collectible Guardian label. Aside from the fact that they had members called Mike Muskett and Steve Cabbage, the 'net has yielded very little info on the band. Apparently they also had two exclusive tracks on the Guardian compilation, "ROXCALIBUR". This is neat stuff, which rocks away quite catchily without ever threatening to blow your speakers, but its hooks imbed themselves in you over time.

SKITZOFRENIK - U.S.A. 7'' (1981) UK

Finally, here's South London's Brunel, with their 2nd and final self released 7", 1982's "Astral Lady". This is great stuff with some tasty guitar lickage and good solid songwriting. Apparently the band had a large biker following at the time, the straight forward hard driving nature of the music being the perfect accompaniment to some rubber burning obviously.

BRUNEL - Astral Lady 7" (1982) UK

That's it for now boys & girls, hope you find something here to fill thy head with rawk.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


Here we are again, another week , another post, another grab bag of the great & the good from musics dark rare past.
We'll begin tonight with a rare "import" compilation of rarities, b-sides & rerecordings from Welsh wizards, Budgie. This is "Back To The Egg", a 17 track compilation, which gathers together some of their rarest obscurities from 1971 to 2006. There are six alternate versions from 1971-1975, studio rerecordings of tracks from their glorious past by the current line up from 2003 & 2006, and a couple of acoustic versions from 2004 featuring Burke Shelley & original guitarist Tony Bourge. The rerecordings are excellent, they've really deconstructed many of the songs & given them radically different treatments. I know it sounds like heresy, but for the most part, the reworkings work terrifically well. Listen out for the blistering lead guitar work of Simon Lees, boy can he play! The alternate early versions are pretty similar to the originals to be honest, but worth having for completists, and the 2 acoustic tracks are a joy to hear, Bourge has lost nothing over the years, bringing fresh perspective to "Parents" in particular. Get it now, and watch the feathers fly!

BUDGIE - Back To The Egg (1971-2006) UK

Part One:
Part Two:

Ever wondered where Mike Portnoy from DREAM THEATRE cut his teeth? Nah, me either, but it just so happens that we now bring you his debut vinyl appearance, as the man behind the kit on Inner Sanctum's "12 am". A cracking example of the 1980s US Metal private pressing, this is their sole vinyl outing from 1986 which came out on their own Insan imprint. The production is a little odd & the waaay overdistorted guitars too high in the mix, but this only serves to give this one a unique feel and atmosphere. Musically, they mainly cover the grey area where Hard Rock becomes Heavy Metal, but they swing back & forth a little too, with interesting song structures, tempo changes and a lot of light & shade. A must have, especially for nothing. I warn you now, the last track has a few glitches, not my rip, not my fault, nothing i can do about it. I bet you barely notice.

INNER SANCTUM - 12 am (1986) USA

Next one up is a really hard one to describe, i'll do my best, but i'm fully aware that i'll be struggling to do it justice. Imagine IRON MAIDEN, playing epic proto-thrash with prog rock leanings, in a cave possibly. That's not bad, but there's something really odd & slightly unsettling going on under the surface the whole time too, which i feel should put me off, but seems to only intrigue me further. This is the self titled Mini Lp from Spectral Incursion and it's plain barmy. I can't wait to see what y'all make of this one, it's definitely an acquired taste. Go acquire the taste!

SPECTRAL INCURSION - Spectral Incursion Mini LP (1989) USA

Another Swedish treat next for your delectation, courtesy of Dom, this is "Caress Of Steel" by Paradize. Formed in 1978 in Karlshamn in 1978, Paradize initially began life as a covers band, finally getting round to recording original compositions for their one & only 7" from 1980. An intriguing mix of pomp styled Hard Rock and 1970's style Metal, the 2 songs here are memorably catchy & quite unique. They walk the line between the two contrasting styles with ease, never leaning too much in either direction. An interesting blend, i think you'll agree, members later went on to OVERDRIVE & LOCOMOTIVE BREATH. Welcome to Paradize!

PARADIZE - Caress Of Steel 7" (1980) Sweden

Not to be confused with the Californian punk band of the same name, this China White were a trad Metal outfit from Albany New York who formed in 1983. In 1986, they brought us this sublime piece of wax, the awesome "Heavy Metal Thunder" 7". No, not the SAXON song, this shares a NWOBHM influence, but is a much harder hitter, with a great refrain that gets lodged in your head like bullets. The b-side is slightly more epic in feel and has an awesome breakdown section.They belatedly released their self titled debut album in 1997 and promptly split up straight after! After 14 years together, what the hell?

CHINA WHITE - Heavy Metal Thunder 7" (1986) USA

Two little crackers to finish with tonight from the NWOBHM, very different in style, but great in their own distinct ways.
Firstly, here's the much sought after "Running Blind" 7" from Bashful Alley, a Staffordshire based trio with a big biker following who specialized in no nonsense heads down boogie rawk. They split shortly after this was released, only for a compilation album, "It's About Time" featuring 10 tracks, (recorded at the same time as the 7"), to be released on the German High Vaultage label in the 1990's.

BASHFUL ALLEY - Running Blind 7" (1982) UK

Finally, here's the lone 7" from Barnsley quintet, Lotus Cruise, "Billy's Got A Gun". This 1983 release is very much influenced by American AOR, and as such may not be of interest to many of you. For the rest of you, this is tightly written, well played, slick rock music with killer choruses. The A-Side in particular, is one of those radio hits which never were, and when you've heard it a few times you'll be as stumped as i as to why.

LOTUS CRUISE - Billy's Got A Gun 7" (1983) UK

That's yer lot folks, hope you find something amongst tonights selection to tickle your fancy!