CHISEL A GARGOYLE
First though, i'd just like to say many thanks to everyone who has contributed to the blog throughout 2008, whether by uploading music, contributing info or sharing their opinions or recollections in the comments section. It's been very much appreciated and has helped keep this blogger going when he's occassionally felt like jacking it all in.
In no particular order, a pat on the back goes to :
Nightsblood, Ron...The Cheeb, Rob, Blofeld, The Devil To Pay, Rod, !VJ, Woody, Agnostic Fool, Haywire, Nwobhm00, Zeeb Parkes, Nils Tibor, Feral, Lama, Jsn, 6070Rock, Sir Lord Bloodfist, Mister Maniac, Patrick, Aesop, Keir, Nightlock, Khnud, Skydogg, David, Grk!, Tina, MisterManiac, Unrealbe, Sleyja, Kosmonaut, David Shaw, Stu, Nelwizard, Graham Murphy Wales, s204599, Blood RED, Blalock, Mick's Guitar, Compudad9, Elvenking, Matt, Hellride Mike, RagnarR, V.O.D., Ade, Gifford, Suicidal86, Cleveland, J.T., JF France, Dutchboy, Scoob, Vol 4, mazez, HELL YEAH, Harley Texas, Marquis 70, Sheena 66, Stradinger, John, MercyfulUngol, Chris, P In The Hole, Bonk Bonk, RobertBassist, Kristian, Shogun, Eris, Johan, Lonewolf, Deh, Ogmonster, Monty, Danny, BlackFlag, 501 Blues, Barfly, Chewie, Sadness, Mike, C T, Demoniser, Sir Lord Doom, Keep It NWOBHM!!!, Jazz Drummer, Keith Webb, Daysbetween, Kai, Annis, SB, ESH, Mettle H, Pete, Gills, XMac, Heavy Rock, Carajo, G, Ramjet, Sven, Goblin, D. Moose, Remandcharlotte, Jim Kosmicki , Metalrorschach, Deth, Olivier, Melmoth, Michaback, Wallace, UFO and, of course, my M.I.A. former partner in crime, Time Traveller, where you at Bryon? Please get in touch!
Right, that said, let's get to the tunes then.
AGONY BAG was formed in early 1976 when Clive Jones, a member of BLACK WIDOW from its beginning to its demise, approached original Black Widow drummer Clive Box (known as Bok) with the idea of forming a new band. Bok had played in both PESKY GEE! and the original Black Widow with Clive and both featured on the seminal Black Widow album, "Sacrifice". Bruce Cluley was quickly brought in on guitar and after a couple of unsuccessful bass players, Geoff Beaven came in to complete the classic Agony Bag line-up. The band were seen by their future manager, Mark Pollard who immediately saw the potential of the band and contracts were signed. He took the band off the road to polish both their act and image to the professional standard required to realise that potential. The band relaunched with a European tour and was particularly well received in Germany, where they built a healthy fan base and were to tour regularly over the next couple of years. In April 1979 they entered the studio at Kamen near Dortmund to record the songs for their 7", “Rabies Is A Killer” and “Never Never Land”. For the rest of the year Agony Bag gigged hard and the record was released on Monza Records. The band toured everywhere to promote the single but sales did not meet expectations and some disillusionment crept into the ranks, culminating in Bruce & Geoff leaving the band.Clive and Bok regrouped and added Ian Watts on guitar and Mick Wright on bass and Agony Bag carried on for a while longer. However, it was the combination of the four original members that had made Agony Bag what it was, and that magic could not be reproduced. The band folded altogether when songwriter and frontman Clive decided to leave in late 1980.
AGONY BAG - Feelmazumba (1976-80) UK
In the early 1980's GASKIN had a good following and released two LPs and two singles on Rondelet Records before going their separate ways. In the year 2000 GASKIN made a comeback with a new album release, "Stand Or Fall", on Edgy/Neat Records. By this point, GASKIN was not really the same band anymore, with leader Paul Gaskin pursuing a more Hard Rock direction for this record. The CD starts pretty heavy with "The Man Is Back", fast melodic Metal a la PRETTY MAIDS, and it's clear from the off that Paul Gaskin still has a really good melodic voice, in the uptempo melodic rocker "Breaking My Heart" this really shines through, this track sounding like a cross between RAINBOW and SANTERS. So then, a strong comeback, but it sadly also appears to have been Gaskin's last hurrah, as nothing has been heard from them since an appearance at the prestigious German Wacken festival.
GASKIN - Stand Or Fall (2000) UK
URCHIN (originally STONE FREE) was formed in 1972 by guitarists and childhood friends Dave Murray and Adrian Smith with bassist John Hoye and various drummers. Early in 1974 Dave decided to leave and eventually joined the embryonic IRON MAIDEN. Adrian and John met up with guitarist Maurice Coyne and renamed the band EVIL WAYS. Drummer Barry Tyler then joined the band, followed by Dave Hall on vocals. By this time Evil Ways were playing regularly at most of the well known London venues and in August 1976 they were signed by DJM Records and changed their name to URCHIN. Their first single was to be "Without Love" b/w "Rocka Rolla" (the JUDAS PRIEST song), which was recorded but never released. John Hoye left the band to form HEADLIGHTS before embarking on a successful career as an actor, and was replaced by Alan Levett. "Black Leather Fantasy", was released as a 45 in May 1977 with Dave Hall leaving in July, followed by Maurice Coyne who joined BERLYN in January 1978. Maurice was replaced, briefly, by Dave Murray who had left IRON MAIDEN after an argument. Following this the band recorded six songs in sessions for BBC Radio, but Dave decided not to stay and after playing on Urchin's second single - "She's A Roller", he returned to Maiden. Urchin carried on and recruited ex METAL MIRROR/future FM guitarist Andy Barnett and keyboard player Dick Young. However, the advent of punk rock led to the loss of their recording contract and meant that live work was drying up as their brand of hard rock was no longer fashionable. Eventually the band broke up, and in early 1980 Adrian and Andy formed THE BROADWAY BRATS, with ex members of BLAZER BLAZER, with Levett joining ex-member coyne in BERLYN. Later that year Adrian was invited to replace guitarist Dennis Stratton in Iron Maiden and the rest, as they say, is history. In 1989, Adrian got some of his former Urchin bandmates and some friends together to form ASAP (Adrian Smith And Project). They released two singles, "Silver And Gold" and "Down The Wire", and one album, "Silver And Gold". In 2004, High Roller Records released the "Urchin" archive compilation album, which was handnumbered and limited to 330 silver vinyl copies. The same label also released 2 limited vinyl archive albums by early '80's band BERLYN which featured ex-Urchin members, 2005's "Berlyn" and "This One Bites" in 2006.
URCHIN - At The BBC (1978) UK
Glam Metallers Axatak hailed from Melbourne, Australia and were formerly called the 'KISS Klones', one of the first KISS tribute bands in the early 1980's. The musical influence of KISS is noticeable in their sound, but Axatak were a heavier proposition than their heroes. Forming Axatak in 1983, the band's first release was their four song "Sneak Attak" demo the following year. Later in the year, and following line up changes which saw guitarist Yuri Linzew join BENGAL TIGERS, and drummer Eddie Dessmann leave to join SCRIPTURE, the band's debut album "Shock Rock" was released by Aussie Records, with new members Don Hailes and Pete Denero featuring. In 1985 the band released the five song "Axatak" Mini LP on Crunch Records, which, although the band didn't split until 1988, would be their final record. Following the band's demise, Vocalist/Bassist Andy Zouman formed a new band called CHINA BLUE, which was eventually derailed by Zouman's conversion to Christianity. After becoming "born again", Zouman made a one hour video entitled "The Mermaids, The Mysteries of Music (Satanism in Rock Music)" a low budget documentary explaining why Rock, Heavy Metal and Rap are "the works of Satan". Apparently the video was shown to children in Australian schools during their Religious Education classes.
Zouman was to die of cancer in 1993.
So much for god then...
AXATAK - Axatak Mini LP (1985) Australia
This next review is by DaN from The Corroseum, i couldn't have said it better myself.
I dunno if these girls really were sisters, if they did a "RAMONES" or if it's just a case of good ol' southern inbreeding, but judging by the nifty promo-shot I received with the single I'd put my money on the 1st option. Having said that, one is tempted to dub HEATHER LEATHER the "THE SHAGGS of Metal!", but that would be unfair. True, they could barely play, Ruth weren't much of a singer and productionwise this 7" is a mess, but what they lack in perfection they more than make up for in charm and good looks. Is it just me who has a special place in my heart (or somewhere..) for voluptuous chicks in studded leather posing by tanks and palmtrees? Didn't think so. "We Came To Destroy" makes a quaint impression with far too many breaks for the girls to handle, but the basic song is a good enough, heavy nwobhmic anthem. What a waste then to hurry into a recording studio after what must have been only a week or two of rehearsals.
Perhaps it's just my sick sense of humor, but the flipside "Child Molester" is a total riot. If you want pure, unadulterated shock-value, leave it to the Garzas to deliver: "Child Molester, c'mon and show me WOW! what you do. Child Molester, c'mon and show me WOW! what you mean...".
Something along the lines of "feel my hellish chainsaw gutfuck you, scum! and may Satan himself impale you on his throbbing, fiery member for all eternity!" may have been more appropriate, but oh so boring and predictably PC. Oh, the music? Pretty straight forward, rockin' Metal/HR not quite as sloppy as the A-side.
HEATHER LEATHER - We Came To Destroy 7" (1985) USA
"Eaten Alive" was the sole single by DEMON PACT, which was issued in 1981 on Slime Records in a great picture sleeve. This followed 1980's three song demo, which attracted some great press attention for the band, as did the track they contributed to the "Kent Rock" compilation LP. The four-piece band, formed in Bromley in Kent in 1979, were regarded as one of the foremost in the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal and the single has become a much sought-after collector's item over the years. The single was the band's only official release at the time, but they did record a further four song demo in 1982. The 7" and 1982 demo tracks were combined for the 2006 High Roller Records limited edition "Demon Pact" Mini LP. If you like ripping old school heavy metal with raw vocals, Demon Pact is for you.
DEMON PACT - Eaten Alive 7" (1981) UK
VIRTUE were a five piece NWOBHM band formed in Oxford in 1981. They were to make only one record, the "We Stand to Fight" 7" released in 1985 on Other Records. As "Nightzblood" @ MA says, "Virtue's single came out rather late in the NWOBHM movement, but it remains one of the strongest singles of the entire genre. Housed in an eye-catching picture sleeve, both songs live up to the promise of the artwork. 'We Stand to Fight' is the better song in my opinion, with the incredible guitar intro giving way to a galloping riff that gets the blood pumping before the vocals even kick in. The singer has a strong, clear voice similar to the vocalists of HOLLOW GROUND and TRIDENT. Musically, comparisons can be made to early SATAN and some of the faster, less commercialy-friendly songs performed by TOKYO BLADE in their early days." The single would later become a most sought after release, so much so that the Brazilian Phoenix bootleg label re-pressed it years later as a limited edition of 250 on coloured vinyl. A three track EP called "Fool's Gold" was scheduled for release on Hatchet Records in 1986, but financial problems prevented the release, the songs eventually surfaced as the bands "1987 Demo". Sadly, Virtue were to fold soon after the demo's release. VIRTUE guitarist Matt Sheldon subsequently formed SHOCK TACTICS, releasing the "Act One" demo in 1993. After line up reshuffles and a name change to THE SHOCK, the band, now also featuring ex-Virtue guitarist Boz "Beast" Bozlee, released the 1998 "Pinumultimate" album on Frontiers Records. Very different stylistically to Virtue, the album was more of a polished affair, heading into AOR territory.
VIRTUE - We Stand To Fight 7" (1985) UK
So that's that then, hope you enjoy tonight's selection, and we'll be back with more very soon.
To Devil To Pay, my many thanks for your kind words and your offer to upload those albums for me, it's very much appreciated my friend, if you leave the links in the comments section over at the other blog i'll retrieve them there. The address is http://guntherspaps.blogspot.com/
Hope you all enjoy the holidays, over & out.