Tuesday, February 26, 2008


More very varied relics from the dusty shelves of rock'n'roll's overlooked past.
Be it Heavy, Hard, Proggy or otherwise, we guarantee that every last item posted rocks!
Up first, a 1982 compilation album released by the UK based Ebony Records label. This is the 13 track "Metallic Storm", and a great little elpee it is too. Unlike many of their peers, Ebony cast their net a little wider when it came to the bands who featured on their compilations, so as well as stuffing their records to the brim with UK based NWOBHM acts, several Scandinavian and European bands found there way into those precious black grooves. So what can you find on this here platter? How does an early take on "Black Funeral" by MERCYFUL FATE grab you? "Hellride" by Dutch band WELLS FARGO? An otherwise unavailable WIKKYD VIKKER track? As well as obscure acts such as JURY, CONFESSOR, PENTAPUS & SCIMITAR amongst others. Also a brilliant song called "The Fool", by a band called TAROT SUTRA, who sound like a cross between ZEPPELIN, PRIEST & CAPTAIN BEYOND fed through a NWOBHM filter! Anyone know anything at all about these guys? I need more! You'll love this one, and if you leave nice comments on it i've another Ebony comp up my sleeve too!

VARIOUS ARTISTS - Metallic Storm (1982) UK/Europe/Scandinavia


Anyone fancy some mid-'80's private press US Power Metal then? Here y'go then. From Irwin Pennsylvania, X-Caliber recorded "Warriors of the Night" and released it in a limited run of 1000 copies in 1986 on their own private label. As you can imagine, this one changes hands for ridiculous sums of money nowadays. In recent times, I have seen this piece go for a little over $1100 on eBay and $1000 on GEMM. X-Caliber reveal their songwriting talents through some epic cuts like "Warriors of the Night", "The Sword" and "Told You Not to Run". For old school Metalheads & newbies alike, "Warriors Of The Night" is an essential romp into mid 80's power fantasy metal. Loincloths on & fill yer tankards with ale, this is a keeper.

X-CALIBER - Warriors Of The Night (1986) USA


Another nice one next from a band who were lumped in with the NWOBHM crowd, but were a little early and a little too oddball for that particular tag to sit easily with them. Money only left us this one full length album "First Investment", and it's one of those records which gives me a severe case of the "what if's". The music is hard yet melodic, has one foot in traditional Hard Rockery but is also laced with leftfield touches and unusual twists. It was a bold album to make in 1979, and remains a challenging, but ultimately rewarding listen now. A 7" preceded the albums release, and along with a session recorded for BBC Radio One's "Friday Rock Show", and the self-titled EP which i previously posted here, that's the slim recorded legacy Money left us. Open minded listeners will find this a treat, and will be left, as i am, bewildered by the band's obscurity.

MONEY - First Investment (1979) UK


To the US next, for a great six song slab of all-girl 1980's Los Angeles Metal. The brilliantly named Leather Angel had connections with MOTLEY CRUE, indeed Nikki Sixx designed their logo apparently, and there are definite parallels between the sound of these Metal mamas & that of early CRUE. You'd think it would be an easy sell, four hot chicks who kick ass whilst scantily clad in leather, but despite being a popular live draw on the LA club circuit & touring nationally on occasion with the likes of DIO, the big record deal just never appeared. So that leaves "We Came To Kill" on Miami Records as the band's sole release. Personnel changes led to the girls adopting a new name in 1985, re-emerging as JADED LADY, but this brought them no further success, and within a couple of years they were no more.

LEATHER ANGEL - We Came To Kill Mini LP (1982) USA


On a totally different musical tack now, we bring you the self released three song 1982 EP by a great band from the NWOBPR wing of the NWOBHM, Tamarisk. This was a band formed by former CHEMICAL ALICE men vocalist Andy Grant and keyboard player Steve Leigh in 1981. They recorded and released this EP in early '82 and set about building themselves a good buzz on the live circuit, resulting in a "Friday Rock Show" session before the years end. Unfortunately, the band were over by the end of the following year, with former members popping up in bands as diverse as DAGABAND, JADIS, QUASAR, THE ENID & KARNATAKA. This is really strong keyboard heavy prog rock influenced hard rock, and opener "Ascension" is a real stormer, if that sounds like your bag, you're onto a real treat here.

TAMARISK - Tamarisk EP (1982) UK


Cobra are another obscure NWOBHM band that time has forgotten. Formed in the town of Winchester, the "Looking for a Lady" 7" was their only release and came out at the very dawn of the NWOBHM movement in 1978. As a result it doesn’t sound as heavy as you'd expect compared to bands of this ilk from later on. This single has its roots placed firmly in classic rock and blues with some added boogie, and it is really only the PRIEST-like soloing which make it fit the NWOBHM bill. Still, i've got a real fondness for the single's flipside, "Graveyard Boogie", which always make me smile. This is not the same Cobra as released two albums in the '80's.

COBRA - Looking For A Lady 7" (1978) UK


Finally tonight, the debut 7" by Londoners Lightning Raiders, "Psychedelic Musik", released on Arista Records in 1980. For this one main men Little Jon & Andy Allan were joined on the A-Side by former SEX PISTOLS Steve Jones & Paul Cook, and on the flip, former PINK FAIRIES Russell Hunter & Duncan Sanderson. An all star cast then! Surprisingly given that Jones was also producer, the sound owes more to the Fairies legacy than the Pistols, with a little of the HEARTBREAKERS feel thrown into the mix too. The A-Side especially is a real gem, tough but with a chorus that sticks in the mind for days, it could have been chart material had radio picked up on it. Great stuff, and one that definitely falls into that borderline NWOBHM category.

LIGHTNING RAIDERS - Psychedelic Musik 7" (1980) UK


Well, that's my work done for the evening, hope you enjoy tonight's selection and we'll see you back here again, with more fine obscurios real soon.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Hi again, an international selection for you this evening of the obscure, the great & the good from rock'n'roll's recycle bin.
For starters we bring you a band with an international line up, shortlived Hard Rockers Rebel. The band was formed by Englishman and former LUCIFER'S FRIEND and URIAH HEEP vocalist John Lawton with talented German guitarist Tommy Clauss. Adding fellow Teutons Peter Weber on bass and keyboard player Albert Stübler, as well as Italian drummer Peter Garratoni, the band set about writing an albums worth of rocking songs which straddled the line between the traditional Blues influenced Hard Rock of the 1970's and the leaner, more commercial sound of the genre in the new decade. The combination works really well, but record buyers in 1982 remained unmoved by this, their sole album, "Stargazer", which was released by Lark Records. So sadly the band went their seperate ways in 1983. Lawton & Clauss reunited again in 1990 in the band ZAR, recording the "Live Your Life Forever", album together before Lawton left to join GUNHILL.

REBEL - Stargazer (1982) UK/Ger/Ita


To the US now, for the lone, rare and extremely expensive "Cry At The Sky" album from 1983, by Kentucky based Heavy Metal quartet Desire. Nine fine tracks of old school Heavy Metal with fantasy themed lyrics, quasi-classical lead guitars, and soaring vocals. They call this kinda stuff Power Metal nowadays, to me it's just Metal, plain & true. Great "so bad it's good", fantasy artwork too. Now do you want to shell out $100 dollars for a copy or d/l here? Don't you just love options?

DESIRE - Cry At The Sky (1983) USA


Back in Blighty now for one of the lesser known albums from the Neat Records roster, this is "Cut It Up", the 1985 album by Newcastle trio Phasslayne. Musically more rocky than most of their Neat label mates, it's a good little record once you get past the typical bargain basement Neat production job. Roadrunner picked the band up after they were dropped by Neat, rereleasing "Cut It Up" with slightly altered artwork, but the band folded before recording a follow up. Drummer Andrew Stiddolph went on to bigger things later, although you may know him better as "Stidi" from his time with THE JELLYS & THE WILDHEARTS.

PHASSLAYNE - Cut It Up (1985) UK


To Canada next, to the town of Kitchener Ontario, to be specific, where guitarist Phil Xenedis formed Sidinex in 1982. Trivia fans : the bands unusual name is the guitarists surname spelled backwards. The Hard Rock four piece released their only record, the "Forever Young" six song Mini LP on the Voice label in 1985. Despite the quality of the playing & songwriting the record sold poorly at the time, forcing the band to give up the ghost shortly after it's release. Connisseurs of 1980's Hard Rock have reappraised the record since then and it has become a much sought after item, see what you reckon.

SIDINEX - Forever Young Mini LP (1985) Canada


We head down under now, to Brisbane Australia to become aquainted with traditional Heavy Metal quartet Vice who formed in 1983. The band debuted in 1985 with the four song "Daddy's Little Girl" EP on Sundown Records, which featured a rather tastless "sexy" cover which many shops refused to stock. It also featured their unlikely (and pretty awful), remake of The Supremes "Stop! In The Name Of Love". The rest of the EP however is far better, Vice rocking a sound similar to that of early TOKYO BLADE. The band split in '86, only for vocalist Peter James to put together a whole new line up for the far more commercial 1989 EP "Take Me Home" EP. Original guitarist David Warner returned to the fold for their only full length album, the glam tinged "Bad Girls" in 1990, but the band fractured soon after it's release, calling it a day before the years end. Remember them this way instead, loud & proud, with a slightly out of tune bass far too high in the mix, it's how they'd want it.

VICE - Daddy's Little Girl EP (1985) AUS


Staying in the Southern Hemisphere for now, we cross the Tasman Sea for an ultra-rare local private pressing from Wellington, New Zealand quartet TYRANT. Apparently the influence of the NWOBHM had made it to the other side of the globe by 1984, as this, their only release, the "Breaking Out" EP, sounds like it could have been recorded in a glum Nothern British town by mullet sporting denim clad spotty youth. A few of the tracks have a slightly more Hard Rock feel in places, and the sound is derivative, but i like this one and think that you might do too. Who's your favourite Kiwi NWOBHM band? There can't have been many, but i'll bet Tyrant were one of the best.

TYRANT - Breaking Out EP (1984) NZ


Finally tonight, another excellent contribution from nwobhm00 for your listening pleasure. This is the second and final release by NWOBHM band Energy, the 1983 "Nowhere To Hide" 7" on Aros Records. The flipside "Fight For Freedom" is probably their best & best-known track, as it has appeared on several NWOBHM comps over the years, it's a real knock-out with great energy (no pun intended!), driving rhythm & terrific vocals. The A-Side is a far more commercial slice of Hard Rockery, but damn fine nonetheless! Thanks again nwobhm00!

ENERGY - Nowhere To Hide 7" (1983) UK


So that's all for this time, a world of rock'n'rollin' heaviosity for your discerning pallettes. Enjoy!

Monday, February 11, 2008


Well, here we go again. Tonight's post sandwiches 5 great pieces of NWOBHM from 1980-1985, between two obscure jewels of US Hard Rock, plenty of good stuff for you to sink your teeth into.
Up first, the sole 1980 album by Pennsylvanian Hard Rock quartet Full Moon. Self-titled upon it's original vinyl release, this is a rip of the (now out of print), remastered Monster Records cd reissue, which added 5 bonus tracks and changed the title to "State Of The Artist". Musically, fans of THIN LIZZY's trademark twin harmony leads will find much to enjoy here, courtesy of guitarist brothers Joseph & John Fischer who really set the bands material apart with their inventive playing. Fans of UFO will also surely enjoy the bands catchy choruses, reminding me occasionally of early Y&T. And yes, the bonus tracks include both sides of their 1981 single too, so this really is the complete package. A long overdue request finally filled, enjoy!

FULL MOON - State Of The Artist (1980) USA


Some of you may be familiar with the work of Teeside band Millenium from their two songs on the 1983 Guardian Records compilation LP, "Pure Overkill", i'm betting far fewer of you know their sole, self-titled 1984 album. This is some fine sturdy working class British Metal which may have done better at the time had Guardian not been teetering on the brink of collapse at the time of it's release. Undettered by their label going belly up, Millenium recorded a follow up album at their own expense, but were unable to secure a new deal for it's release. Recording further demos in '86 & '87, Millenium sadly remained unsigned, calling it quits in late 1987.
Singer Mark Duffy eventually reappeared with Brit Thrash band TORANAGA, releasing 2 albums & an EP, later forming X-SEED who released the "Desolation" album in 1996.
"Millenium"'s stand out track, "The Devil Rides Out" makes this one worth the d/l all by itself.

MILLENIUM - Millenium (1984) UK


Next, an archival release which collects the 1980 & '81 output of Mansfield's Sparta. Despite only releasing two 45s and having a track on the "Scene Of The Crime" compilation, the band soldiered on until 1992 in various guises whilst their back catalogue became sought after NWOBHM must haves. In 2006 High Roller Records released this compilation of the bands early material in a limited vinyl run of only 500 copies. Needless to say, all 500 copies disappeared very quickly, so enjoy this nice vinyl rip and relive those glory days of the early '80's at ear scuffing volume.

SPARTA - Sparta (1980/81) UK


Another band who laboured away in relative obscurity at the time, but who are now held in high esteem by conniseurs of the movement are Welsh quintet Stormqueen. This is the Barry based band's first demo which is also sometimes referred to as the "Battle Of Britain " demo, after it's bombastic opening track. Four top notch rockin' tunes here complete with all the "period charm" essential to the enjoyment of such treats. If you enjoy this one, search out their "Come Silent The World" 7", which you'll find in the archives here.

STORMQUEEN - 1st Demo (aka "Battle Of Britain" Demo) (1980) UK


Don't know much about the background to this next one, this is the self-released "Burnin' White Hot" EP by Damacles from 1985. Four rockin' tracks which occasionally remind me of the heavier tracks on ROX's "Violent Breed" LP. There is a slightly glam edge to some of the choruses which ensure that they stay glued to the inside of your head for days at a time, but the delivery is, rest assured, far more balls out than that of the glitter & hairspray brigade. Ann odd mix, but it works!

DAMACLES - Burnin' White Hot EP (1985) UK


This next one is another personal favourite of mine, the "Devil Takes The High Road" EP by Traitors Gate also from '85. Just look at their name, "Traitor's Gate", it's a quintissential NWOBHM monicker, you know this one's gonna deliver before you've even slid the vinyl out of the sleeve. And deliver it does. Also from Wales, the Rhondda Valley quartet had released two demos prior to this record, which had interested French label Bullet Records. With the ink barely dry on the contract, Bullet released the newly recorded EP to excellent reviews in the Metal press, especially in continental Europe, and things were really looking up for Traitors Gate. However, no sooner had the record hit the shelves than the shit hit the fan, Bullet declaring bankruptcy, leaving their latest signings high & dry.
Traitors Gate knocked it on the head shortly thereafter.
Only bassist Steve Colley appears to have carried on playing music professionally after the bands demise, surfacing a few years later as a member of AOR influenced Hard Rockers KOOGA, who released the well received "Across The Water" album.
Oh, what might have been.

TRAITORS GATE - Devil Takes The High Road EP (1985) UK


Finally tonight, a meeting of Metallic minds which you were never supposed to hear. This is a rare Riot bootleg 7", recorded in 1993. The two tracks here were recorded during demo sessions for the band's "Nightbreaker" album, but finding themselves without a singer, guitarist Mark Reale asked old friend and JAG PANZER/TITAN FORCE vocalist HARRY "The Tyrant" CONKLIN to fill in for the recordings. These tracks show us what might have been had throat problems not forced Conklin out of the band back in 1984 after a shortlived assosciation, leaving the door open for RHETT FORRESTER to rejoin in time for "Born In America"'s recording. The two songs here were rerecorded for the "Nightbreaker" album, with new vocalist Mike DiMeo, but these harder arrangements with Conklin's awesome voice atop are a tantalizing glimpse into a "what if" scenario, that makes you wish that things had worked out differently way back when. A real treat.

RIOT - The Tyrant Sessions 7" (1993) USA


Thanks for all the interesting comments of late, i'm taking note of those "wants" and where possible i'll be filling them in the fullness of time. Also, i was interested to read the comment about those "Borderline NWOBHM" releases, i've got a few of those in the pipeline for tjose of you who enjoy that type of thing. You'll find them here, soon. Best wishes to you all, and i hope you enjoy tonight's selection.

Sunday, February 03, 2008


Another week, another post, more ass-kicking action from the past dragged out of the dusty vault to shame todays practitioners of the art. A hefty chunk of NWOBHM, both vinyl and demo stylee, some US Metal from the glory days and even a little sojourn into Hard Rock/AOR land for them that like such things. There's bound to be something here to bring a smile to your face, at least that's the plan.
To begin with tonight, we quantum leap back in time to the year 1985 for a rendezvous with US Trad Metal four-piece Dungeon, who released this, their lone album, "Fortress Of Rock" that year on the Medieval label.
Taking their cues from the MAIDEN/PRIEST axis of influence, the boys riff up a storm across the 10 songs here. Although perhaps not individual enough to have made the major league, nonetheless the songs are well written and conscise, played really well by musicians with style and guile, and despite budget constraints the production is effective if a little "of it's time". It's certainly a big hit on the collectors circuit, with copies changing hands for $100 a piece. The band managed to release a further three song demo in 1987, but as Metal was split into opposing "Glam" & "Thrash" camps by this time, interest in Dungeon's proto-Power Metal was limited, and the boys called it a day soon after. Don't know if i'd feel the same way if i'd just shelled out $100 for a copy, but i like this one, it's solid from start to finish with genuine pockets of excitement and innovation, try for yourself.

DUNGEON - Fortress Of Rock (1985) USA


A really obscure collectors piece for you now, this is the lone album by Texan Hard Rock/AOR band Sirius, 1979's "Rising". Some of you with long memories or eclectic record collections may remember earlier Texan bands BUBBLE PUPPY & DEMIAN, who both released one off albums in the late '60's and early '70's. Guitarists Rod Price & Todd Potter had been mainstays of both of those bands, and after several years apart, reunited in the late 70's in a new quartet which they named Sirius and recorded this underrated little record. Fans of their previous acts will probably be a little disappointed by "Rising" initially as hit has none of the psychedelia or fuzz guitarwork which were hallmarks of the earlier bands, but approached with an open mind their is much to enjoy & admire here. The closest comparison i can come up with is that it reminds me of TOMMY BOLIN era JAMES GANG in places, especially on stand out track, "No Idea". Some of the songs veer off too far into radio rock territory for my tastes, but the defy twin guitarwork rescues even the poppier songs. Todd Potter also deserves special praise for his fantastic vocals, sounding great whatever tangent the music takes him on. Give it a listen, lemmy know what you reckon.

SIRIUS - Rising (1979) USA


Mox Nix were another four-piece act from the state of Texas, however the Houston quartet were a far weightier proposition than Sirius. Formed in '82, they bagan as a covers band playing PRIEST, UFO, SAXON & MAIDEN songs on the local club circuit, gradually introducing more & more self written material into their set and building a strong local following. A 1984 demo called "All Access", generated positive reviews in the European Metal magazines, and French label, Axe Killer Records offered the band a one album deal on the strength of it. The self-titled album was released the following year, and received strong reviews and a lot of local airplay, which resulted in the band touring with the likes of ACCEPT, WARLOCK and YNGWIE MALMSTEEN. At this time they signed with Shatter Records & recorded a still unreleased album in New York which was produced by Alex Perialis & RAVEN drummer Rob Hunter, and featured ex-MAIDEN man Paul Di'Anno on vocals. Unfortunately the label folded shortly thereafter and a proposed release through Metal Blade fell through, eventually leading to the frustrated bands demise.
A real shame, as this is resolutely "up" feel good Metal with great anthemic choruses, they could'a bin contenders! Enjoy Mox Nix, they might just "Steal The Show".

MOX NIX - Mox Nix (1985) USA


The rest of this weeks post is now devoted solely to the great and the good of the NWOBHM scene, beginning with Welsh quartet Preyer. This is their first demo, "On The Prowl" from 1985, 3 excellent songs which again are heavily influenced by Brummie Metal Gods, JUDAS PRIEST.
They released a further demo before signing with Ebony Records who released their sole album, "Terminator", in 1986, which attracted good reviews and led to the band appearing twice on BBC TV's youth programme, "Juice". I love the raw sound of this one, the album being too polished for my tastes at the time, although i'd probably enjoy it now. As Kerrang! magazine said of them at the time, "Preyer provide a sharp kick in the kidneys", now how's that for a recommendation?

PREYER - On The Prowl Demo (1985) UK


A nice little EP next for you from the legendary Neat Records label. This is the Various Artists compilation, "One Take No Dubs" EP from 1982, and features HELLANBACH, BLACK ROSE, AVENGER & ALIEN. As you're doubtless aware, the first three bands went on to achieve a degree of success, releasing at least two albums each, however this appears to be the only recorded legacy of the band Alien. For all four bands this was their recording debut, and as the title suggests, all were flung in at the deep end, with only one song to impress, recorded quickly with no frills, just stand or fall on your performance. All 4 bands do well out of the format, sounding lean & hungry. A good 'un.

VARIOUS ARTISTS - One Take No Dubs EP (1982) UK


On the more Hard Rock end of the NWOBHM scale now, we bring you the lone release by Stockport quintet Thin End Of The Wedge, the "Lights Are On Green" 7" which came out on the Jungle label in 1981. This is one of the overlooked gems in the dusty box marked "NWOBHM", a pair of seriously catchy but rockin' tracks, both topped by the excellent vocals of one Babs Norris, with some tasty guitar playing courtesy of her brother Steve. Unfortunately for us, they didn't stick around long enough to record an album, splitting shortly after the single's release. The Norris siblings musically reunited in 2001 in a new band called FAG ASH LIL, to date they have released an EP and a Mini Album. Details in txt file included with rar. This one's recommended!!!

THIN END OF THE WEDGE - Lights Are On Green 7" (1981) UK


Finally tonight, another early entry in the genre, this one from way back in 1979. This is the "Change" 7" by Reading Hard Rockers Firebird, which was their only record, released on the Rat Records label. This is musically much more in tune with the mid-70's Rock sound than the grass roots Metal movement which was beginning to find it's feet, with keyboards well to the fore & a boogie back beat. Still a worthwhile listen though, it has what we old timers call "period charm".

FIREBIRD - Change 7" (1979) UK


So that's it again for another week, hope you enjoy this selection.
See y'all back here again soon for more of the unusual.
Keep commenting!