Friday, June 27, 2008


Howdy people, a little quicker than planned, here's another installment from New & Improved's alternative reality allstar hall of kick ass rock'n'roll fame. This post's early, the next one will be late as a result of my ongoing internet provider saga, so i hope you enjoy this selection, the next one may be a couple of weeks away.
Up first we bring you a nice one-two from our Canuck cousins, some Maple Leaf mayhem from the early '80's for you all.
After spells with FLUDD & SHEARMAN & PEABODY, bassist & vocalist Greg Godovitz formed GODDO with ex-BRUTUS guitarist Gino Scarpelli and drummer Marcus Morin in 1975 debuting with an independent single 'Louie, Louie'. GODDO signed to major label Polydor for their eponymous 1977 album. Godovitz's barbed sense of irony was amply displayed on the title of the follow up in 1978 "If Indeed It's Lonely At The Top… Who Cares… It's Lonely At The Bottom Too!" After the 1979 album "An Act Of Goddo", GODDO signed to Attic for the "Pretty Bad Boy" album and tonight's featured record, the awesome double live effort, "Goddo Lighve - Best Seat In The House", but folded shortly after.
This is Goddo in their prime, in their natural habitat, with guitars set on stun, enjoy.

GODDO - Goddo Lighve : Best Seat In The House (1981) Canada

More Canadian Heavy Rawkin' next from KILLER DWARFS, who were assembled in Toronto, Ontario during 1982. Initially without a name the band's manager dubbed them KILLER DWARFS due to singer Russ Dwarf standing proud at 5 foot 3 inches. The joke stuck and the band played upon their vocalist's diminutive status for the rest of their career. The band was created when Russ (Russell Graham) decamped from OZ to join SPHINX drummer Darrell Miller. Rounding off the band was bassist Ange (Angelo Fodero) and guitarist Bryce Trewin. Signing with the Attic label, they released their self-titled debut album in 1983, and a rather fine record it was too, and much better for the less commercial approach they took at this stage in their career. Grab it right here, it also comes with three bonus tracks you lucky people.

KILLER DWARFS - Killer Dwarfs (1983) Canada

To the US of A next for our next one tonight, BLACKSMITH were formed in Albany New York in 1984 and debuted with this eponymous five song 1986 mini album on their own label. For their second release, 1989's 'The Fire Within' LP on Tropical Records, BLACKSMITH underwent a drastic line-up change ousting vocalist Heidi Smith, bassist Michael J. Marino and drummer Tommy Ray. The new Look BLACKSMITH, centred on lynchpin guitarist David Smith, and comprised singer Malcolm Mania (!), bassist Chris Madsen and drummer Chris Caglione. Blacksmith were pure classic 1980's heavy metal. All power chords, shredding guitar solos, impressive vocals, and thundering drums. Headbanging mania!

BLACKSMITH - Blacksmith Mini LP (1986) USA

awarded "From Akron" an 'A-' and 'pick-of-the-month' in his Village Voice review. The band recorded an album entitled "You ever heard of the Bizarros? Let me Explain. Bizarros began existence in January 1976 in the industrial wasteland fondly referred to as Akron, Ohio, USA, and were each the son of a rubber worker. Their first release was this one, the 4 song "Lady Doubonette" EP on Gorilla Records in 1976. They followed this with a split album on Clone Records called "From Akron", which also featured RUBBER CITY REBELS. The Bizarros then released a self titled EP on Clone Records in 1978, and appeared on the "Akron" Compilation album released in Europe by Stiff Records in 1979. The Bizarros were signed by Mercury Records after rock music reviewer Robert ChristgauBizarros" in 1979 for Mercury Records. They don't really fit in with a lot of the stuff i post here, but i thought you may be interested in this fascinating band regardless. It's guitar music, often laconic and delivered with a wry smile, sometimes hypnotic or unsettling, hard to categorise & impossible to pigeon hole, it's lost treasure for the open-minded and that's why it's here. Let me know what you think, if there's interest, i have more.

BIZARROS - Lady Doubonette EP (1976) USA

Some NWOBHM next, from ALKATRAZZ who hailed from Maidstone in Kent and were fronted by Australian singer Craig Stevens. After coming to the attention of RCA Records they released debut alum "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". To promote the albums release the band recorded this four song session for Tommy Vance's BBC Radio 1 Friday Rock Show. These sessions always seem to go down well, this is a good one from a very overlooked band, i think you're gonna dig it.

ALKATRAZZ - On The BBC (1982) UK

More NWOBHM for you next, LAST FLIGHT had their track 'Dance To The Music' included on the BBC 'Friday Rock Show' compilation album and the track was also released as the A-side of the band's sole single by Heavy Metal Records in 1981. Following the demise of the band, vocalist Rob Hawthorn joined ex WHITESNAKE guitarist BERNIE MARSDEN in ALASKA. He also contributed lead vocals to the 'Electric Cinema' solo album from KYOJI YAMAMOTO, the guitar player from Japanese Metal outfit BOW WOW. Hawthorn later joined the cabaret circuit as a ROD STEWART impersonator.

LAST FLIGHT - Dance To The Music 7" (1981) UK

Finally tonight some more rare Swedish steel courtesy of our old friend Dom, the lone 1982 single from SERGEANT, "Doubt". The Corosseum describes it thus : "Doubt" is a very unique, very melancholic piece of early melodic Hard Rockin'. Pretty classy musicianship and songwriting skills here, definitely a grower and very far from happy-go-lucky AOR. It's however the B-side "Connection" that truly impresses. We're talking top-class, total NWOBHM-style HM/HR in the style of classics like TRESPASS, GEDDES AXE, ANGEL WITCH etc with some superb harmony soloing at the end. Vocalist Lars Hägglund is a deadringer for Kevin Heybourne and after a few listenings I've come to notice how the song ("Connection") actually reminds me of ANGEL WITCH's "Hades Paradise" at times. Highly recommended!"
What are you waiting for?

SERGEANT - Doubt 7" (1982) Sweden

So that's the lot for this evening, hope this'll keep you all going until i'm next able to deliver the goods, with luck it won't take too long.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Hello and welcome to another round up of the great & the good from the shadows of rock's murky past. Sorry for the delay in getting this weeks goodies to you, there's just been too many good football matches on the TV. Hey i need some "me time" now & again! There may be some delays in the coming weeks too as i'm switching internet providers, but hopefully the switch over will be trouble free and quick as there's loads of goodies coming your way in the next few weeks.
Tonight's post is NWOBHM from start to finish, but there's still lots of variety sonically, something for everyone i hope.
Newcastle Upon Tyne Heavy Metal band FIST were signed to Neat Records mere weeks after their formation under the original handle of AXE in 1980 and subsequently found themselves on major label MCA Records following an inter-label deal. In addition to a crop of singles and albums FIST also contributed a track to the Neat Records compilation 'Lead Weight' and the band supported UFO on their British January 1981 tour. In 1982 Keith Satchfield and John Wylie left as FIST re-signed to Neat Records after the flirtation with MCA. Vocalist Glenn Coates, who had previously been a member of HOLLOW GROUND, was later ousted in favour of ex-THRUST man Jon Appleby and second guitarist John Paul Roach of MYTHRA was also added. Further changes ensued when Roach was sacked in favour of a slimmed down four piece line-up. Dave Irwin subsequently deputized for Mantas on VENOM's 1985 American tour when the guitarist fell ill. After a lengthy hiatus FIST regrouped during 2002. This is their debut album "Turn The Hell On" from 1980, the best thing they ever recorded as far as i'm concerned, and as it comes from the long out of print Japanese cd version, the sound is fantastic and it also features a couple of bonus tracks. Grab a fist full!

FIST - Turn The Hell On (1980) UK

Next tonight, the sole album from Hologram, "Steal The Stars" from 1983. Hologram were basically a more commercial Hard Rock focused version of Scottish NWOBHM band HOLOCAUST, indeed they even fashioned their logo after the parent bands own. HOLOGRAM was formed in 1982 by erstwhile members drummer Ray Marciano (a.k.a. Raymond Lafferty) and guitarist Ed Dudley. The album was released on Phoenix Records in early 1983. Despite a massive cash injection HOLOGRAM fell apart when HOLOCAUST once more became a priority. Holocaust have sporadically reformed and split ever since.

HOLOGRAM - Steal The Stars (1983) UK

Some more from Sunderland's Battleaxe for you next, this being the bands shelved four song "Nightmare Zone" EP from 1987. After recording for both Guardian Records ("Battleaxe" 7"), and Music For Nations ("Burn This Town" & "Power From The Universe"),drummer Ian Thompson was superseded by Ian McCormack, Thompson joining DARK HEART. At their peak BATTLEAXE toured Britain opening for SAXON and although a third album, 'Mean Machine', was recorded in 1987, it never saw the light of day. Tracks from the shelved album finally surfaced as the "Nightmare Zone" EP a few years ago.

BATTLEAXE - Nightmare Zone EP (1987) UK

Burnley's STREETFIGHTER is best noted for their ex-lead guitarist's exploits. JOHN SYKES left the band and joined TYGERS OF PAN TANG, THIN LIZZY and WHITESNAKE before inevitably going solo in ventures that have seen the creation of BLUE MURDER and a string of successful solo albums in Japan. In the wake of Sykes' departure STREETFIGHTER soldiered on by bringing in two replacement guitarists, Dave Senczek and Mick Kremoustoulis. When the band split Senczek created CANNES and guested on LEA HART's 1994 album 'Ready To Rumble'. Bassist Merv Goldsworthy teamed up with a covers band for a four month band residency in Khartoum, Africa of all places. A return to Britain saw him as a member of DIAMOND HEAD, SAMSON and slick AOR act FM. The band's sole legacy is this, 1982's "Crazy Game" EP, and a track, 'She's No Angel', on the 'New Electric Warriors' compilation album. Sykes has since recreated THIN LIZZY.

STREETFIGHTER - Crazy Game EP (1982) UK

DEMOLITION were a Birmingham based NWOBHM quartet formed in 1979. Their only recorded output was this, the highly regarded "Hooker Hater" 7", released in 1981. The band split in 1983 without releasing any further material. However, continued interest in the golden age of the NWOBHM prompted German label High Vaultage to approach the band regarding a possible compilation release of their old material. This led to the 2006 compilation album, "Wrecking Crew - The Demolition Anthology", which featured 19 vintage tracks.

DEMOLITION - Hooker Hater 7" (1981) UK

Surrey's popular STATIC were originally conceived as far back as 1978, and after tours with TRUST and WEAPON in the intervening years, the band were featured in the 'Armed And Ready' section of 'Kerrang' in the summer of 1982. STATIC's lone single was released a couple of months later, coupling "Voice On The Line" with "Stealin'", two songs in the general style of URCHIN or early SAMSON, not overly heavy but still quite strong on the guitar front. The band unfortunately suffered from personnel problems, and after much toing and froing, Static called it a day in 1983. Vocalist/guitarist Noel Jones eventually returned with the considerably more distinctive and successful WHITE LIGHTNING.

STATIC - Voice On The Line 7" (1982) UK

Finally tonight, we bring you Hard Rock/NWOBHM band V8 who formed in 1982. They had just one release, 1984's "Lonely Days" single which appeared on the Music Factory label. The band soldiered on for a few years after this, but appeared to be no more by 1987. 2004 found former V8 bassist Toby Pelham back to the fore with IRON HORSE, a Leamington Spa based outfit comprising a cast of veritable NWoBHM veterans comprising OLIVER/DAWSON SAXON singer John 'Wardi' Ward, guitarists Alan Nyland of HANDSOME BEASTS and the CHEVY pairing of guitarist Baz Eardley and drummer Ted Duggan.

V8 - Lonely Days 7" (1984) UK

That's tonight's selection complete, hope you find something amongst that little lot to tickle your fancy. And remember, keep the comments & requests coming folks!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Well, we've been down there in the dark mining the rock for you this week as per usual, and we came across a rich seam of precious metal indeed! Hold on to your hats boys & girls, because we've got the goods, and you need to hear this stuff.
Firstly, another nice compilation from the catalogue of Ebony Records, this one's from 1983, and goes by the name of "Metal Warriors". As usual obscure NWOBHM is the main theme, but their are also French & Scandinavian acts featured too. So who's on it? SHY, HIGH LEVEL, FLYTE, MITCHELL TROY, WISH, OMEGA, SORTILEGE, LYADRIVE, T.N.T., VORTEX, SINNER, RANDOM BLACK & BREEZE, that's who. No, i've never heard of half of them either. That's one of the reasons why it's such an interesting listen, i think you'll find lots to enjoy on this one.

VARIOUS ARTISTS : Metal Warriors (1983) Various

Next we are pleased to bring you one of the rarest NWOBHM albums. The self-titled and only album by Jody St. was released in 1980 on Stick Records. Apparently only a handful were produced as a white label in a plain sleeve with the band logo stamped on it.
The NWOBHM ENCYLOPEDIA says this : "Their monumentally scarce album rapidly passed into the realms of NWOBHM folklore, in spite of the fact that nobody seemed to be entirely sure just how good the album really was. NWOBHM fans, were by the end of the 90's foaming at the mouth at the prospect of any copies coming up for sale, and the theoretical value swiftly rocketed to astronomical level, in fact only a couple of copies have come into the market in recent years"
See what you reckon to this impossibly rare relic, right now.

JODY : Jody St. (1980) UK

Nextly, Black Ice were a traditional Heavy Metal band formed in Los Angeles California by bassist Tom Ferry formerly of cult Alaskan Metal act THE PLADS. Their only release was this four song EP entitled "Hot 'n' Heavy", released by Ironworks Records in 1986. The band was short lived however, and split without recording any further material. Drummer Steve Quartarola would subsequently reappear later as a member of Oakland's ALTAR OF THE KING, who released a lone self-titled album in 1995.

BLACK ICE : Hot'n'Heavy EP (1986) USA

Now another nice little item by Warrior, the NWOBHM quintet formed by guitarists Dave Dawson & Eddie Watson in Newcastle in 1981. The band debuted in 1982 on the Neat Records label, with a well received three song EP entitled "Dead When It Comes To Love". Here it is for your listening pleasure, and hasn't it aged well?

WARRIOR : Dead When It Comes To Love EP (1982) UK

Export were a class Hard Rock/NWOBHM act formed in Liverpool in 1980 by ex HARD STUFF vocalist Harry Shaw. Following this self financed 1981 single, "You Gotta Rock", & an album they achieved a major American deal with Epic Records, releasing 1984's more AOR styled 'Contraband' and, in 1986, the critically acclaimed, Lance Quinn produced 'Living In Fear Of The Private Eye'. Following the band's 1987 demise, guitarist Steve Morris produced the debut TORINO album and later joined ex DEEP PURPLE vocalist IAN GILLAN's band, whilst Lou Rosentahl formed 2AM with ex RAGE & NUTZ vocalist Dave Lloyd.

EXPORT : You Gotta Rock 7" (1981) UK

Sunderland Metal band BATTLEAXE suffered from their undoubted musical merits being somewhat marred by an appalling debut album cover. The band first came to prominence with this little gem, the 'Burn This Town' single in 1982 on the local Guardian Records label, and the B Side, 'Battleaxe', also appeared on the Guardian compilation album 'Roxcalibur'. The group was amongst the first signings to the Music For Nations label, with the London based concern releasing the band's debut album, 'Burn This Town', which featured the aforementioned offending artwork. BATTLEAXE stuck around with MFN for a follow-up release, 1984's 'Power From The Universe', which appeared a year later, seeing drummer Ian Thompson superseded by Ian McCormack. Thompson went on to DARK HEART. At their peak BATTLEAXE toured Britain opening for SAXON and although a third album, 'Mean Machine', was recorded in 1987, it never saw the light of day. Tracks from the shelved album finally surfaced as the "Nightmare Zone" EP a few years ago.

BATTLEAXE : Burn This Town 7" (1982) UK

Finally tonight, here's something a little unusual, Welsh language NWOBHM band, Y DIAWLED. The band hailed from Crymych, and formed in 1981. In 1982 the band contributed the track 'Shwt Mae Siapus', with Kevin Davies on vocals, to a Fflach Records four way EP showcasing other local talents MALCOLM NEON, ERYR WEN and Y FICAR. The 1983 single 'Noson Y Blaidd' featured Rhiannon Tomos as new frontman, and is the release we're featuring tonight. A further 45, "S.O.S.", followed the same year, but the group split shortly thereafter.

Y DIAWLED : Noson y Blaidd 7" (1983) UK

So there you have it, another assault on the senses courtesy of those nearly men from the margins of music's history.
Those who dared to rock, we salute you!
More soon.

Monday, June 02, 2008


Another week, another post, more of yesterday's unfairly overlooked steel. Now buffed up to a high shine & brought back out into the light to gleam again, take a little time to marvel at the treats assembled for you this evening.
To begin this evening's selection we are pleased to bring you another of the great Ebony Records compilation albums. 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. This particular album is "Metal Plated" from 1983 & features eight bands in all, including four from the UK : BADGER, COMA, DOUBLE AGENT & STALLION, three from France : DEMON EYES, BLASPHEME & VULCAIN, and from Sweden, STEEL WINGS. If you've enjoyed any of the previous Ebony comps we've posted, i reckon you'll dig this too, if you haven't enjoyed them i suggest you may be at the wrong blog.

VARIOUS ARTISTS : Metal Plated (1983) UK/Fra/Swe

Next tonight, here's the 2nd (and best imho) album by classic Canadian Hard Rockers Goddo, the excellently titled "If Indeed It's Lonely At The Top… Who Cares… It's Lonely At The Bottom Too!", from 1978. The album features a rather barbed view of rock and roll lifestyles and the music industry in general with tracks like "Cock On", "Oh Carole (Kiss My Whip)" (about legendary ROUGH TRADE vocalist Carole Pope), "Drop Dead (That's Who)" and the Classic Rock anthem "Sweet Thing". The opening and closing tracks are my personal favourites, "Tough Times", the mellow but evocative opening shot and "Too Much Carousing", the heavy riffing deal sealer. All four of their early albums are worth seeking out, but for me, this is the cream of the Goddo crop.

GODDO : Who Cares? (1978) Canada

Sunderland Metal band BATTLEAXE suffered from their undoubted musical merits being somewhat marred by an appalling debut album cover. The band first came to prominence with the 'Burn This Town' single in 1982 on the local Guardian Records label, and the B Side, 'Battleaxe', also appeared on the Guardian compilation album 'Roxcalibur'.The group was amongst the first signings to the Music For Nations label, with the London based concern releasing the band's debut album, 'Burn This Town', which featured the aforementioned offending artwork. At the time of the debut's release, the band were summoned to the BBC to record a four song session for Tommy Vance's BBC Radio 1 Friday Rock Show. This is that session, i think you're gonna like this one.

BATTLEAXE : BBC Session (1983) UK

Expozer were a five piece NWOBHM band who were formed in Stoke On Trent in 1979. They debuted with the "Exposed At Last" 7" on Hit Hard Records in 1980. First track "Rock Japan" is a groove-laden and riff-based, all-out NWOBHM affair that sounds much like cranked up Boogie with a rough edge and somewhat contrasting, melodic-chants. This energetic upbeat number scores high in terms of all round impact, accessibility and structure, the latter which is highlighted by it's knack for melody and measure. "On My Knees" is a fast-paced number, less melodic and Bluesy rooted with rough style vocals and traces of early JAGUAR. Highly recommended.
The band got exposed on a larger scale through their contribution to the '81 Heavy Metal Records "Heavy Metal Heroes" compilation LP contributing the very same version of "Rock Japan", that appeared on the A-side of the 2-tracker. The single was later repressed as this EP which added two more untitled tracks. This four song version was only available for sale at their gigs.The band went their separate ways in 1982, with guitarist Tim Blackwood going on to form LE GRIFFE.

EXPOZER - Exposed At Last EP (1980) UK

DAGABAND were a Chesterfield based NWOBHM/Progressive Rock trio formed in the late 70's.
They debuted in 1980 with this record, the "Test Flight" 7" on Rutland Records. A serious car crash involving all three members of the band at the time put DAGABAND's career on ice until a return to the live circuit supporting BUDGIE on their 1982 British tour gave the band the impetus to release a further EP, and later, a cassette only live album. After several line up changes, the band finally split in 1986.

DAGABAND - Test Flight 7" (1980) UK

A NWOBHM band by association only, HORSEPOWER originally came from Philadelphia (Pennsylvania) in the USA. They relocated to the UK and released this, their "Outrageous" 7" in 1979 and became adopted as part of the NWOBHM. The single was produced by legendary ANIMALS bassist/JIMI HENDRIX producer Chas Chandler. The band were also featured on the 1980 "Metal For Muthas II" compilation with the song "She Gives Me Candy". They later moved back to Philadelphia in the USA and reportedly released a full-length album called "Stoked!" Late guitarist Mike Kennedy had previously been a member of the band ROCK ISLAND, and also worked as a session guitarist with John Entwistle, Keith Moon, Tony Williams, Simon Kirke, Eric Burdon, and many others.

HORSEPOWER : Outrageous 7" (1979) USA/UK

East Lansing, Michigan's DED ENGINE, were founded in 1980. Featured would be ex-RAZER bassist Marky DeSade (a.k.a. Mark Alan Sliker). DED ENGINE's recording debut had come in 1983 with the issue of a 4 song $300 demo cassette entitled 'Limited Edition E.P.' Later that year DED ENGINE re-recorded the track 'Renegade' for inclusion on the British compilation album 'It's Unheard Of' album, issued through Sane Records, leading many at the time to the mistaken belief that the band were British. This same recording was included on this, their 1983 'Two Bad' 7" single, a limited edition of 1000 copies from Genocide Records.

DED ENGINE : Two Bad 7" (1983) USA

I told you tonight's post was gonna be a bit special, i hope you agree with my assessment that we've surpassed ourselves tonight. Now to try & match the quality presented here next week!