Monday, January 26, 2009


Hi again people, we're back again with some more overlooked tasty truffles for ya, as rooted out by my own fair snout from rock'n'roll's leaf covered forest floor. My metaphors are getting worse aren't they? So what do we have then? Four kick ass relics recorded between 1979 and 1985, that's what. Three from the UK, one from the States. A discography completed, and another advanced, a one-off and a compilation. Let's get started shall we?
The NWOBHM movement gave us dozens of lesser known bands that are well worth checking out, one worth a special mention is DRAGSTER. The band were active between 1979 and 1983, and during their lifetime they released a lone 7", "Ambitions" in 1981 on the Heavy Metal Records label. Dragster's sound was very much a product of its time, having a very NWOBHM, DIAMOND HEAD meets SAXON flavour. What they lacked in originality, they more than made up for in pure energy. To date, this album, 1999's 19 song "NWOBHM Revisited - the Very Best of Dragster" is the only collection of Dragster material officially available. Hard charging rock/metal anthems with plenty of speed and a surprising amount of melody, exactly what you want blasting from your speakers as you're cruising down the highway with your speedometer in the red. These recordings were culled from a variety of sessions recorded between 1979 and 1983. Grab it with both hands.

DRAGSTER - NWOBHM Revisited : The Best Of Dragster (1979-1983) UK

Next, The all black SOUND BARRIER evolved from the demise of the R&B oriented, seven-piece COLOUR in 1979. COLOUR had steadily become more Rock oriented thanks to the recruitment of New Jersey born guitarist Spacey T. However, alongside COLOUR drummer Dave Brown, Spacey formed the Metal band he had always longed for in SOUND BARRIER. The first line-up of the group included bassist Keith Roster in a group that, initially, went for more of a Progressive feel until Roster departed and was replaced with Stanley E., rounding out a line-up fronted by vocalist Bernie K. SOUND BARRIER cut a four track demo with producer Neftali Santiago, which landed them a deal with MCA Records. Despite laudable press for the debut album, 1983's 'Total Control', and valuable support slots to no less than VAN HALEN, sales were not forthcoming and SOUND BARRIER was duly dropped by MCA. Undaunted, retained they kept the momentum going with the independent mini LP "Born To Rock" on Pitbull Records which contained a cover of STEPPENWOLF's "Born To Be Wild". The band was picked up by Metal Blade for their third release "Speed Of Light", by which time Stanley E., had been succeeded by ex-TERRIF bassist Emil Lech Brando. The album included a cover of THIN LIZZY's "Hollywood (Down On Your Luck)". The band fell apart once Italian six string hotshot ALEX MASI got into the band and set about taking control leaving the remaining original members no option but to quit the SOUND BARRIER ship. Soon enough the band evolved into MASI. Both Dave Brown and Bernie K. appeared on the 1987 debut MASI release 'Fire In The Rain'. After a period in late 1986 working with BLACK SHEEP bassist Willie Basse in SPACEY T'S LIBERTY, original SOUND BARRIER guitarist Spacey T briefly joined MOTHER'S FINEST in the early 90's on their initial European touring stint in support of the 'Black Radio Won't Play This Record' album. However, he had been replaced by a keyboard player by the time they returned. Lech turned up in JOSHUA whilst Brown formed TOTAL ECLIPSE with ex-BUSBOYS guitarist Victor Johnson, who had guested on the 'Speed Of Light' album. By 1998 Johnson was a member of SAMMY HAGAR's touring band THE WABORITAS. Spacey T. joined FISHBONE.

SOUND BARRIER - Born To Rock Mini LP (1984) USA

A brief review from Sounds magazine now, from 02/08/1980.
"Lady fronted hard rockers CANIS MAJOR have their debut single issued by Gem Records this week. The single features two self penned songs, 'Freeway Rock' b/w 'Fire', and both tracks were produced by ex-WISHBONE ASH and DEEP PURPLE producer Derek Lawrence. The band's first Gem album 'Butterfly Queen' is set for October release."
The "Freeway Rock" 7" failed to set the charts alight, but undeterred, Gem released the eight song "Butterfly Queen" LP late in 1980 to little response. The music itself is well played hard rock/aor with some pomp/prog rock pretensions. Jacquie Bodimead, it has to be said, sounds very different here to her later CHER-like style. Andy Sears replaced Gary Wise just after the LPs release. After the commercial failure of the single & album, the band were dropped by their label and split up in 1981. Singer Jacquie Bodimead would later go on to join SHE, and later GIRLSCHOOL, (as "Jackie" Bodimead). As a member of GIRLSCHOOL Jackie recorded the album "Running Wild", in 1984, and toured heavily with the band for the next two years before moving on. Following her departure from GIRLSCHOOL, Jacquie teamed up again with her brother Tony (also of CANIS MAJOR) in new band HARMONIC 228. Jackie later fronted IF ONLY, appearing on their "Destiny" album, and in 1996 released a solo album entitled "Don't Believe In Love", which featured members of FASTWAY. Canis Major's co-vocalist Andy Sears would join Neo-Prog outfit TWELFTH NIGHT in 1983, recording the albums "Art & Illusion" and "Twelfth Night", with them, before leaving the band in late 1986. He reunited with the reformed TWELFTH NIGHT for a series of dates in 2007, and there are strong rumours that they will record a new album together in 2009.

CANIS MAJOR - Butterfly Queen (1980) UK

Finally, the last piece of an ongoing discography. Cheltenham, Gloucestershire NWOBHM band CHATEAUX had formed originally under the title of STEALER, but switched to CHATEAUX with their first vinyl appearance, a track on the 1982 Ebony Records compilation 'Metal Maniaxe'. The group was promptly signed by Ebony to an album deal and the first release, preceded by the 'Young Blood' single, was recorded with original vocalist and bassist Alec Houston, whilst Andre Baylis contributed drums. Released in 1983, 'Chained And Desperate', also featured session lead vocals by MEDUSA and GRIM REAPER's Steve Grimmett. Both Baylis and Houston were to quit after 'Chained And Desperate's release and were duly replaced by ex-CONFESSOR vocalist / bassist Krys Mason and former WOLFBANE, SAM THUNDER and ARAGORN drummer Chris Dadson. Second album 'Fire Power', also produced by Darryl Johnston, arrived in 1984 with third album 'Highly Strung' delivered in 1985. Mason was to leave in 1986, with the band folding the following year. Sanctuary Records compiled a two disc anthology set entitled 'Fight To The Last!' in 2003.

CHATEAUX - Highly Strung (1985) UK

So that's it for this week, hope there's something here to get yer heads bobbin' or at least set yer toes a-tappin'. Please keep the comments, positive or negative coming, that's what keeps me goin' here, and the response to last week's post was particularly disheartening. It takes ages to rip or source this music, find info on the releases, hunt down art and then post this stuff. It takes a couple of minutes to share your thoughts, recollections or feelings on the subjects at hand, and that gives me a better idea of the stuff you want to see here. Let's get typin' people.
If you need more archive sounds try my other blog here, to get yer extra fix, and we'll meet again here real soon. Until then, toodles!


Anonymous nightsblood said...

Thanks for rounding out the Chateaux discography. I have 'em all on vinyl, but it's nice to have the convenience of mp3s Also looking forward to hearing more of Sound Barrier; 'speed of light' has some excellent tunes on it. I don't remember being too interested in the Canis Major single, although the A-side wasn't too bad, so I may check out the album sometime too. It's almost worth it just for the cover art- I suddenly found myself humming 'Fairies Wear Boots' :-)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009 8:14:00 AM  
Anonymous MisterManiac said...

The Dragster was interesting...remember hearing their original single on one of those nwobhm comps that Lars Ulrich oversaw in the 80's. One item of note, however, is that I'm pretyy sure the recordings on this disc are actually from the late-80's incarnation of the band (with only Trafford and Grant remaining from the original line-up), as opposed to being from the years 79-83. Of course, I may be wrong (although AMG also says this is the case)...not to take anything away from this release (it's got some good stuff in the classic nwobhm vein), but just figured I'd provide some more insight into the recordings on this CD.

As always, keep up the awesome work and - as usual - looking forward to the next post.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009 2:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I only discovered your site about two weeks ago and my hard drive is creaking already. Fantastic to get gems from old faves such as Samson, Rolling Stones, Wild Horses, Buck Dharma, Chinatown (huge thanks for their stuff),Weapon and Tygers of Pan Tang among many others. I love any BBC stuff as i had a lot of this on tape years back. It's been great to discover stuff by bands i knew of but had not really heard much by such as Legs Diamond , Dakota and Goddo but better still hearing stuff by bands i've never heard of at all.I've been grooving to Kidd Gloves, Iron Hawk, Bodine ,Alien ,Winterhawk,Messendger,Amethyst and Sirius among many others. Absolutely brilliant work mate , i wish i'd found the site years back. Would love some Reading Festival stuff from the Friday Rock Show especially Samson and Magnum from 1980 , Bernie Torme and Randy California and Tygers of Pan Tang from 82 and Rose Tattoo and Saga from i think 83. Keep it up you will get no complaints from me.



Tuesday, January 27, 2009 3:59:00 PM  
Blogger s204599 said...

I'm really curious if the album from Canis Major is just a good as their single "Freeway Rock". I really liked that one.

Thursday, January 29, 2009 2:54:00 AM  
Anonymous MisterManiac said...

Sometime last year, I put a request out on this blog to see if anyone had the live ep by the band Axtion (creatively titled "Live Axtion"). Sadly, no one came forth and I've been searching since. As luck would have it, I just found a posting on another blog, so passing along the link in case anyone is interested (good mid-80's metal out of my hometown, Pittsburgh). So no need to look further on my behalf, but for anyone else who wants to check it out, here it is:

Thursday, January 29, 2009 8:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That particular blog is a thorn in my fucking side. The admin doesn't bother to post his own work, just d/ls from other blogs then re-ups on usercash so that he gets paid for other peoples worki. He gives no credits to the original posters and even goes so far as to steal the blurbs that accompany posts.
Within 2 days of anything being posted here you'll find my work there being passed off as this pricks own. I'm certainly not his only victim, several excellent sites on the blogosphere get looted regularly by this charlatan so he can feather his own nest.
That's why my mp3 ID tags now read "Bounded By Metal Is A Thief", and consequently why all of my posts re-upped at his site read the same.
Boycott this rip-off cunt.
As always folks, thanks for the comments, sorry for the spleen venting, but it really pisses me awf.
Not sure about those dates now regarding Dragster, i forget where i got my info from, but you may be right Mr Maniac.
To Carl, Rose Tattoo's 1981 Reading Festival set pops up quite regularly on music blogs as a bootleg album usually called "All The Lessons". You should be able to find it reasonably easily through Shareminer or as a torrent. I'll see what i can turn up regarding those other requests.

Friday, January 30, 2009 6:10:00 PM  
Anonymous MisterManiac said...

Sorry...had no idea and certainly didn't mean to cause any harm...just meant to pass on the info and see if anyone else was interested in this rarity. Guess you could always "return the favor" and post the Axtion in a future post. And again, I apologize if my earlier post pissed you (or anyone) off...certainly not my intent at all.

Friday, January 30, 2009 7:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No worries Mr Maniac, my beef isn't with you but the admin of that particular blog. Sorry if i gave you the impression that i was pissed off at you, that certainly wasn't my intention.
I certainly don't begrudge you the thrill of finding a long sought after release, regardless of the source.
Reposting albums from his blog would just mean that i was also ripping off someone elses work, so i won't be stooping that low, but the thought of it made me chuckle, so thanks. I like to chuckle.

Saturday, January 31, 2009 1:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey ,thanks a lot for another great post-I have been looking for the Canis Major lp since Adam was a lad..
cheers now!

Sunday, February 01, 2009 4:00:00 PM  
Blogger Sir Lord Doom said...

Canis Major kicks aerse...thanks for sharing this stuff. I have a few albums on vinyl but it's so much new music to discover here, I know I will never lay my hands on in it's original format...I down on my knees, mate! Keep up the good work! I finally found LODESTONE from California somewhere, a kinda Manilla Road ish 1981 epicmetal effort with a slight edge of Legend (Jersey)...I doubt that Lodestone had heard of both bands before when they recorded it...Drop me a line at my email if I shall upload and send the album...



Monday, February 02, 2009 11:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the offer Sir Lord Doom, but the Lodestone album's just recently been posted over @ Zosopat's blog & i wouldn't want to tread on his toes.
I appreciate the offer though.
Glad you enjoyed the Canis Major album, it's an interesting listen for sure.

Monday, February 02, 2009 2:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Feral said...

Been away for a little while so had hree posts to catch up on... Thanks loads for Stillwater, Larger Than Life and the gloriously bad taste Handsome Beasts!
Keep it up man.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009 10:07:00 AM  
Anonymous ron..... the cheeb said...

Hi Kit-----

Finally checked out The Handsome Beasts. Somehow I never heard them back in the day. This could be just a mental thing, but I really like the 1st LP from '81, and was unmoved by the '90 follow up. Could it be that I am programmed to enjoy the music that was made when I was in love with the NWOBHM?

Thursday, February 05, 2009 9:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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Friday, February 06, 2009 4:38:00 AM  
Anonymous ron..... the cheeb said...

Canis Major---
ahhhh, the satisfying 'click' I hear in my head when completing a nwobhm band discography. The overlaying lameness of the music has more to do with the mix and vocal approach, than with the actual songs. Listen to this LP, and try to imagine a rougher attitude, without changing the songs. It could have been very, very good. BTW, this rip contains the 8 song album, PLUS the non album track 'fire', from the single that preceeded the LP release. So this has all of Canis Major's official output.

Friday, February 06, 2009 9:24:00 AM  
Anonymous ron..... the cheeb said...

Sound Barrier--
I liked the earlier posting of the 2nd album. I am diggin' the EP right now. I have read that the first LP is a more funky blended metal. May I be so bold as to request that if you have it?
best wishes, Ron

Friday, February 06, 2009 9:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Kit - appreciate the posts. Chateaux were one of those bands that bypassed me ( or vice versa?) but have since listened to them on the anthology collection that was released a couple of years ago. Not bad, methinks. Still looking for the debut album by Axe (79 from memory, the one with 'Battles' on it). Anyone got a link? Take care and best wishes, Blofeld.

Friday, February 06, 2009 11:39:00 AM  

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