Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Lots of killer kick ass antiquities for you tonight, so without any further preamble, let's get to it.
To begin with tonight, some vintage NWOBHM from Alkatrazz, this is their debut album, "Young Blood" from 1981.
ALKATRAZZ, hailed from Maidstone in Kent and were fronted by Australian singer Craig Stevens. After coming to the attention of RCA Records they released debut album "Young Blood" in 1981 and toured as support on a three band package with TYGERS OF PAN TANG and MAGNUM. 1982 saw them release their second & final album, "Radio 5". During the Spring of 1983 former SAMSON and IRON MAIDEN drummer Clive Burr figured in the ranks. Burr would later join PRAYING MANTIS, TRUST, GOGMAGOG and ELIXIR. Alkatrazz split in late '83 after being dropped by RCA.

ALKATRAZZ - Young Blood (1981) UK

Next another NWOBHM compilation from the legendary Ebony Records label. This is the 1982 "METAL MANIAXE" album, and features the likes of CHATEAUX, EMERALD, TROJAN & CRY WOLF amongst others.
Ebony Records was one of the classic minor-league labels of the NWOBHM time, focusing on up-and-coming mid-eighties bands mostly from the UK, though a few Euro bands crept in as well. Similar to labels such as Metal Blade, Ebony started out releasing compilations of unsigned acts, a few of which went on to record albums with the label (one notable band that did appear on a comp but later went on to bigger things on another label was MERCYFUL FATE).
Many of the releases were produced in-house by label founder Darryl Johnston, giving several of the albums a similar low-budget style that nevertheless was part of the charm of the NWOBHM period. A lot of the bands released one or two albums and never amounted to a lot, but there were a few gems in there, including SAVAGE's classic "Loose 'n' Lethal", while the biggest band to emerge from this label would almost certainly be GRIM REAPER, who were snapped up by the major label RCA on their way to a successful worldwide career.

VARIOUS - Metal Maniaxe (1982) UK

To 1984 now for the "We Come In Peace" EP from cult Canadian Heavy Metal quartet Probe. Probe were formed in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1982 by drummer Wes Lawrie and Bassist Brian Morrison. After trying out a few guys for the vacant guitar slot, they settled on the versatile & dexterous Greg Manuck by the years end. After spending some time writing material, they recruited singer Steve Jack in mid 1983. This is the line up which recorded 1984's self-released "We Come In Peace" EP, nowadays a collectors item for fans of early '80's Metal.
All four songs were of a uniformly high standard with terrific playing from all concerned, and the release prompted good reviews. Unfortunately at this point Manuck flew the coop, and the band gradually splintered during the search for a replacement, leaving only the EP as their legacy.

PROBE - We Come In Peace EP (1984) Canada

Back to Blighty next for the 1982 Demo by Runestaff. RUNESTAFF began life in Ipswich in 1980 as an all male quintet in the Tolkien inspired Prog Rock mould. Their first recorded product would be this three track 1982 demo cassette recorded at Hillside Sound Studios in Ipswich.
Dogged by line-up shuffles the band added vocalist Joanna Symes when guitarist/vocalist Andy Page departed. However, Page soon returned, inspired by the possibilities opened up by the new singer, concentrating solely on guitar. The band spent the next couple of years building up a strong live following with constant gigging and the odd decent support slot, gradually adding a Harder edge to their Proggy sound. The Wolverhampton based Heavy Metal Records issued a self-titled album in 1985. They followed this with two 7" singles, "Road To Ruin", and "Do It!" on Heavy Metal subsidiary FM/Revolver Records later that same year. Tragically, keyboard player Kaust Rakhit died of Thalasemia in mid 1985 and was replaced by Barry Godfrey. Depressed by the death of his friend, Page quit once more in 1986. A planned second album was forestalled as vocalist Joanne Syme then suffered a serious throat problem. With their momentum stalled by Syme's illness the band gradually dissolved in late '86.

RUNESTAFF - Runestaff Demo (1982) UK

1980 is the year we're visiting next, the band is Metal Mirror, the record, their "Rock'n'Roll's Never Gonna Leave Us" 7". METAL MIRROR had the track 'Hard Life' on the 'Heavy Metal Heroes' compilation album in 1980, the 7" single 'Rock n' Roll Ain't Never Gonna Leave' emerging the same year. Vocalist CAMERON VEGAS (a.k.a. Cameron Vagges) later released two solo albums. Drummer Ian Thompson journeyed through Sunderland's BATTLEAXE, DARK HEART and AOR band CHANGE OF HEART. Another previous METAL MIRROR drummer Mick Green joined Progressive Rock act PALI GAP in 1984. Guitarist Chris Haggerty passed away in 2004.
METAL MIRROR made a surprise return in early 2006 on the back of an archive live album, recorded in London during 1981. New recruits into the fold would be NWoBHM veterans Benjamin Reio Franklyn of PRAYING MANTIS repute on drums and guitarist Andy Barnett of URCHIN, A.S.A.P., FM and BROADWAY BRATS.

METAL MIRROR - Rock'n'Roll's Never Gonna Leave Us 7" (1980) UK

To 1981 now, for this next one by JANINE who were a short lived London based NWOBHM band. They released just this one record, the AC/DC influenced "Crazy On You" 7", released on the Stiletto Records label. Guitarist Paul Smith also played in the NWOBHM band DEEP MACHINE which recorded some demos. Subsequently several members of Deep Machine formed famous NWOBHM bands ANGEL WITCH and TOKYO BLADE.

JANINE - Crazy On You 7" (1981) UK

Finally tonight we bring you the lone 7" by Croydon Metallers SABRE. Formed in late 1980, SABRE demoed in 1981 but a lack of response from record companies prompted original vocalist Nick Pyatt to leave in November. Ex PREACHER vocalist Rob Brown joined briefly followed in early 1982 by John Ward. SABRE's vinyl debut was a track entitled 'Cry To The Wind' on the Neat Records 'Leadweight 2' compilation, shortly followed by the 1983 single 'Miracle Man'.
Bassist Geoff Gillespie later joined SNOWBLIND, recording an album for Mausoleum Records, before having an interest in AOR outfit PEROUX and following a career in the music industry where he worked for the likes of EastWest and Sony. Gillespie moved on to Zoom Club Records then his own Majestic Rock concern. This latter label compiled archive SABRE tracks, including demos and rehearsals for the 2005 album 'Roar To The Core'. Amongst the demos would be songs recorded with LIONHEART vocalist Rob 'Chad' Brown.

SABRE - Miracle Man 7" (1983) UK

So that's yer wack for this evening, hope yer like 'em.
Keep those comments coming.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Incredible post! The more NWOBHM the better. The Sabre single is a cracker and it is well worth picking up the CD on Majestic. Always appreciate the hard to find demos.Thanks a lot, Blofeld.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008 3:32:00 PM  
Blogger bigfootkit said...

Blofeld, glad you enjoyed tonights selection so much, you are very welcome my friend.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008 3:37:00 PM  
Blogger s204599 said...

Thank you very much. The NWOBHM posts keep surprising me!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 4:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess I've found a new place to waste all my free time.

I have a silly little request though... In October of 07 you put "Battle Axe - We're on the Attack" up on rapidshare. It appears though, I can no longer download it. Could you please re-upload it, or shall I be forced to cry into my beer?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 11:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd love to see the RUNESTAFF self titled album appear here. Can you make it happen?

Sunday, June 15, 2008 7:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Probe - bio is completely wrong...PROBE was formed by Greg Manuck,Brian Morrison & Wes Lawrie.They then joined forces with Steve Jack.Probe then left their management and formed Hobbit with Glen Caloren on vocals & Chris Weintze on Keys.
Greg went on to Cinderella Rockafella.Steve was hired by RockHead.Brian was hired by Eventide,The Big Chill & House Of Frustration.Wes & Greg formed a project called the GUF.Greg is currently performing under the alias G.Willy.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012 12:53:00 AM  

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