Monday, August 10, 2009


Yet again i am sorry to have to start a new post with an apology for my tardiness in bringing you the musical goodies. Life, health, family, work and many other elements of my existance appear to be conspiring against my blogging of late, but i'll try to be more regular. The best things come to those who wait.
Whilst i remember, Carl, check the comments section for the last post, where you'll find part of your request fulfilled. ;)
Shall we get on with it then?
Formed in 1991 and initially intended as a part time jam session between longstanding friends which spawned demo recordings, DOWN's 1995 debut album, "N.O.L.A.", a collision of dense groove, Southern harmony and huge riff distortion, inadvertantly gained the status of a timeless Metal masterpiece. Down was launched as a side project of PANTERA's vocalist Phil Anselmo and CORROSION OF CONFORMITY guitarist Pepper Keenan. Guitarist Kirk Windstein is a member of CROWBAR and played the bass parts on the debut album too. Drummer Jimmy Bower also plays with EYEHATEGOD and is a founder member of Crowbar. Crowbar guitarist Todd Strange was the bass player on the band's earliest live shows. Down, now with Anselmo's Pantera colleague Rex Brown on bass, would return in March of 2002 with a new album, "Down II: A Bustle In Your Hedgerow". The album debuted on the Billboard charts at No. 44 selling over 30,000 copies in it's first week of sale. DOWN would also be a late addition to the 2002 Ozzfest touring festival, putting in their own headline performances along the way. Phil Anselmo virtually retired from public view in the wake of the onstage murder of his erstwhile PANTERA comrade Darrell 'Dimebag' Abbott on 8th December 2004. Speculation as to Anselmo's wellbeing raged throughout the year, the singer eventually revealing he had been suffering from extreme back problems that required surgery and a lengthy recuperation. Anselmo marked his return to public performance with a March 10th 2006 concert for VH1 Classic's 'Decades Rock Live!' tribute to HEART. A reunited ALICE IN CHAINS, would be joined by the vocalist and GUNS N' ROSES and VELVET REVOLVER bassist DUFF McKAGAN, on second guitar. Down went back out on another high profile US tour in 2007, packaged with headliners HEAVEN & HELL and MOTORHEAD in March. Down issued album No. 3, "Over The Under" in Spring 2007, and, as well as playing at many European Festivals, also toured Australasia with Heaven & Hell & MEGADETH. The band then landed the coveted support slot on the 2008 METALLICA North American tour. Anselmo underwent further surgery in April 2009, this time to repair damage to his knee. European festival performances took the band through the summer, including a show stealing performance at the UK's Download Festival at Castle Donington, with Down gearing up to record a fourth album before the end of 2009. This one's made up of radio broadcasts, BBC sessions, and rare tracks. You need this in your life.

DOWN - Ghosts (2006-2008) USA

X-RAY were a Heavy Metal/Hard Rock quintet formed in Osaka, Japan in 1982.
After securing a deal with Teichiku Records, the band debuted with the "Hard Section" album in 1983. This was followed in early 1984 by second album, "Tradition Breaker" and an EP called "Outsider". A third album appeared before the busy years end, entitled "Shout!" By this time the band were very successful in their native Japan, but frustratingly, were unable to secure overseas releases for their records. 1985 began with a "best of" album called "Performance", and ended with studio album no.4, "Strike Back", as well as an EP entitled "Human Dog". The band called it a day in 1986, leaving us with a live album and video called "First and Final Live Concert". Singer Akira Fujimoto and drummer Takashi Fukumura reappeared in the early '90's alongside former members of EXCURIVER and EAU ROUGE in Melodic Heavy Metal band EBONY EYES. Ebony Eyes released two albums before splitting. With renewed interest in X-Ray, Teichiku Records released two double "best of" cds in 2002, entitled "X-Ray Twin - Very Best Collection" Volumes 1 & 2. The same year Ebony Eyes reconvened and rerecorded their debut album, but without input from the two former members of X-Ray.

X-RAY - Hard Section (1983) Japan

AMERICADE were a traditional Heavy Metal/Hard Rock quartet formed in Brooklyn USA in 1979 by brothers Gerard and P.J. De Marigny. Setting about building themselves a reputation on the live circuit, the band worked hard on their stage craft and built a good fan base with their energetic live shows. They had a flashy trashy semi-patriotic image and their 1982 debut album was suitably titled "American Metal". Released on Adem Records, the album was not the success they had hoped for, but undeterred they carried on, despite bassist Dave "The Beast" Spitz leaving to join BLACK SABBATH. Americade worked with producer Jeff Glixman on a second album with the working title "Rock Hard" but the band split up before having finished it. In 1989, guitarist Gerard tried to resurrect the band with a new line-up but it didn't last long. In 1995, Americade released a "new" album, "", which consisted of various unreleased studio recordings from different eras and line-ups of the band, mainly from 1988/89, along with a newly recorded track. "", didn't set the world on fire and nothing has been heard from the band since.

AMERICADE - Americade.Com (1995) USA (Recorded 1988/1989)

THE AVENGERS only managed a single release in their brief existence but paved the way for female led Punk Rock. The band came together in early 1977, the product of a union between two San Francisco Institute of Art students PENELOPE HOUSTON, hailing from Seattle, and drummer Danny Furious. Pulling in guitarist Greg Ingraham and bass player Jon Postal the band put in an inaugural live performance opening for THE NUNS at the Mabuhay Gardens venue that June. Shortly after this gig Jimmy Wisley took command of the bass position as Postal opted out to join THE READYMADES. It was this quartet that proceeeded to light up the Californian club scene. To mark this ignition The Avengers cut a self-titled three track EP for the Dangerhouse label. A valuable career step came as the band scored the support slot to the SEX PISTOLS closing US tour gig at San Francisco's Winterland. After this show STEVE JONES entered the studio with The Avengers to produce their next product, a four song EP. However, internal tensions began to have an impact at this critical juncture resulting in the departure of Ingraham. The guitarist was soon superseded by Brad Kent but the band did not make it until the end of the year and folded, before their second EP hit the stores. Penelope Houston developed her own career but, to the surprise of many, took on a whole new direction into folk orientated material. The singer took to the solo trail with the 1988 'Birdboys' album. The legacy of The Avengers was such that a sef titled 1983 compilation album surfaced on the CD Presents label. A further round up of demos and archive recordings was delivered in 1999 as 'Died For Your Sins'. This latter release would also host three brand new reworkings of archive tracks. Cut by Houston and Ingraham, the sessions, billed as THE SCAVENGERS, also numbered bass player Joel Reader and drummer Danny Sullivan. The Scavengers put in a batch of gigs before going their separate ways.

THE AVENGERS - The Avengers EP (1977) USA (aka "We Are The One" EP)

THE NEXT BAND were a Hard Rockin' trio formed in Grantham, Lincolnshire at the dawn of the NWOBHM era. Their only release was to be the four song "Four By Three" EP, released in 1978 on the Gannet Records label. The band eventually splintered with members plying their trade with other musicians, (including a spell where drummer Frank Noon played with DEF LEPPARD), before eventually regrouping having changed their name to RED ALERT (not to be confused with the band that appeared on the "Metal For Muthas", album), and releasing the single "Run To The Ground", in 1982 on Steel City Records. Due to contractual problems with the new name, the band then changed their name again to WILD FIRE. To reflect the name change, there were stickers with the name Wildfire pasted over the Red Alert credits of later copies of the single. Drummer Frank Noon and bassist Rocky Newton teamed up with ex-TYGERS OF PAN TANG vocalist Jess Cox and former IRON MAIDEN guitarist Dennis Stratton to form LIONHEART, but before long Noon left to join WILD HORSES, later playing with STAMPEDE and WAYSTED. Next Band guitarist John Lockton was also part of WILD HORSES for a spell and was later in the ranks of VICTORY. After Lionheart, Newton would go on to play with MACAULEY SCHENKER GROUP and MIDNIGHT.

THE NEXT BAND - Four By Three EP (1978) UK

THE ALEC JOHNSON BAND was a short lived Hard Rock band formed at the dawn of the NWOBHM era by journeyman vocalist/guitarist Alec Johnson. By the time of the band's lone release, the 1979 "Busman's Holiday" 7", Johnson had played already with the likes of 100 WATT RABBIT, THE TANGLED WEB, SHABAZZ, SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION, TIME, DESTINY and MAGIC. Shortly after the single's release, Johnson was asked by his old friend, drummer Steve Bartley to audition for a new band called NIGHTWING. Joining NIGHTWING, the band of former STRIFE guitarist Gordon Rowley in 1980, Johnson experienced the most prolific period of success of his career to date. First album, "SOMETHING IN THE AIR", got the ball rolling for the band, then, in 1981, 2nd album, "BLACK SUMMER", was followed by a European tour supporting GILLAN. The band got such a good response they were back in Europe again straight after the GILLAN tour, headlining in eight countries, with "BLACK SUMMER" earning Gold & Silver albums and entering the Top 10 in the album charts of four different countries. The band began recording 3rd album, "STAND UP AND BE COUNTED", in November 1982 with MAX BACON as their new vocalist. This album reached the Top 10 in Scandinavia, Germany and Yugoslavia. Following extensive European, British and American tours, Nightwing recorded their 4th album, "MY KINGDOM COME", with STEVE HACKETT of GENESIS producing. The completion of the album marked the exit from the band of BACON, (who went on to join GTR with STEVE HACKETT and YES's STEVE HOWE) and JOHNSON.
In the late 80s and through the 90s Alec continued to write and perform - mainly in a freelance capacity, until in 1994, he joined the reformed HERMAN'S HERMITS (!) . In 2001, as well as returning to some solo work, Alec formed PLAIN TRUTH with Steve Bartley, and Chris Alderman who were joined later by world-class bass player Simon Crumley. In 2005, Johnson accepted the offer to join reformed prog rock band ENGLAND and has sinced played selected festival dates with the band, who are due to return in 2010 with a new album entitled, "Box Of Circles".

ALEC JOHNSON BAND - Busman's Holiday 7" (1979) UK

CHINAWITE were a NWOBHM five piece from Sheffield, South Yorkshire. Previously known as NO ESCAPE, following the arrival of new bassist Gary North, Chinawite was formed in early 1983. The new band quickly recorded a session for local station Radio Hallam, and their "Blood On The Streets" single was then released through Future Earth Records. In August of 1983 Chinawite contributed two tracks to the "Metal Prisoners", compilation album on Mausoleum Records, which in turn led to an album deal with the label. The resultant album, recorded at Vibrasound Studios, Sheffield in July 1984 with engineer Kevin Maloney, was titled "Run For Cover". The ten song album showed the band move in a far more melodic direction than previous recordings, but Chinawite failed to find much of an audience for their more polished sound. The band issued no further recordings and split in early 1985.

CHINAWITE - Blood On The Streets 7" (1983) UK

And that's that for another week, hope you enjoy tonight's selection, and hopefully i can get on top of my life soon and get back to some sort of regular posting form. Well, i can dream...