Friday, May 28, 2010


Hi again. Time for more Hard & Heavy sonic gold exhumed from yesterday's bargain bins.
No preamble tonight, on with the music eh?
BASHFUL ALLEY were a Lancaster based NWOBHM trio formed in 1980.
They amassed a large biker following from their live shows and specialised in Hard no nonsense heads down boogie rawk.
Having issued a demo cassette in 1980, another tape followed the next year.
Bashful Alley's only official release during their short life-time was the 1982 "Running Blind" 7" on Ellie Jay/Graffiti Records, which was posted here a long time ago.
They split in 1984 after two further demo tapes, due to lack of serious interest from record companies.
Guitarist/Singer Rob Tidd eventually resurfaced in the band DOLLFACE in the mid 1990's, releasing 3 EP's and an album, touring Europe with GIRLSCHOOL and supporting SLASH'S SNAKEPIT on a UK tour, before they split in 1997.
Over the years the Bashful Alley single had become a recognised NWOBHM classic, which eventually led to the release of a compilation album, "It's About Time", (featuring 10 tracks culled from the 7" and demo recordings), on the German High Vaultage label in the 1990's.
High Roller Records re-released "It's About Time" in 2009, with a new cover and sleeve notes, on vinyl only, in a strictly limited edition of 300 copies.
Of these, 200 copies were on standard black vinyl, with the other 100 pressed on white wax.
Your chances of securing one of these now is pretty slim, so enjoy this pristine 320kbps rip instead.

BASHFUL ALLEY - It's About Time (1980-84) UK

SHIVA were a brilliant NWOBHM trio which formed in Bristol in 1979.
Unlike the majority of NWOBHM acts however, the band successfully incorporated prog-rock influences coupled with intelligent and thoughtful lyrics, setting themselves apart sonically from the pack. Their RUSH influenced sound is perhaps only comparable to that of NWOBHM compatriots CHASAR and LIMELIGHT.
After early uncirculated demo sessions, Shiva signed with the legendary Wolverhampton based Heavy Metal Records in 1981.
The band debuted with the haunting classic "Angel Of Mons" 7" in early 1982, which won them rave reviews in the Rock & Metal press.
A second single, the more uptempo "Rock Lives On", was issued a couple of months later, and again found favour in the columns of Sounds, Kerrang! and the like.
The band's album, "Firedance", was released later in the year, and again, was raved over by high profile critics such as Geoff Barton and Malcolm Dome.
However, the critical acclaim they received sadly did not translate into sales for Shiva, and despite recording demos of material for a second album, Heavy Metal Records dropped the group, and they eventually split up in 1984, without releasing further official product.
Now rightly acclaimed as one of the most individual and musically enterprising acts of the NWOBHM explosion, their reputation has grown steadily over the decades.
As a result of this, in collaboration with Shiva, Majestic Rock Records released the "Continuance" album in 2004, featuring 12 unreleased songs which were recorded during the band's '80's heyday, including the 7 songs from the unfinished second album.
Every bit as fascinating as the band's classic debut, this album is now also out of print.
Despite the rather poor cover art and design, the music contained in "Continuance", only adds credence to the belief that Shiva were a very special band who deserved a wider audience than they ultimately found.

SHIVA - Continuance (1983) UK

FAITHFUL BREATH, hailing from Witten, Germany, would develop from atmospheric Art Rockers to fully fledged, horned helmeted Heavy Metallers during their career. Forming back in the late '60's round a nucleus of bassist Horst Stabenow and vocalist/guitarist Heinrich Mikus, their original 1967 formation featured saxophonist Ulrich Bock, guitarists Reinhold Immig and Walter Scheuer plus drummer Jürgen Fisher. Both Immig and Fisher exited in 1969. Scheuer and Bock opted out during 1972.
Faithful Breath's first album, a self-financed effort titled "Fading Beauty", was not released until 1974.
Very much in the mellotron themed Progressive Rock mould, alongside Stabenow and Mikus for these recordings would be female singer Renate Heemann, keyboard player Manfred Von Buttlar and drummer Jürgen Weritz.
It was a four year wait before the band recorded their second album, "Back On My Hill", for Sky Records. Faithful Breath maintained a stable line-up of musicians but drafted in singer Jürgen Renfordt. However, the album was shelved and it took a legal battle before it eventually surfaced in 1980. The band actually split shortly after this album's release but they were soon to reform as a three piece, drummer Uwe Otto rounding the band out, pursuing a far heavier direction with a Viking image to match.
Uwe Otto departed in 1982 following the release of the "Rock Lions" album, to be replaced by Jürgen Düsterloh, and by fourth album "Hard Breath" Faithful Breath had established a healthy European following and switched labels to Mausoleum. Second guitarist Andy Honig and bassist Peter Dell were added at this juncture to augment the band's increasingly Heavy sound.
The band's first album for Mausoleum, "Gold n' Glory", was an instant success and garnered the band favourable responses from media and fans alike. An immensely hard hitting Heavy Metal album produced by the team of noted German knob twiddler Michael Wagener and ACCEPT vocalist Udo Dirkschneider at Dieter Dierks' studios, "Gold n' Glory" established the band as a leading light in the German Metal scene, however briefly.
After a bout of successful touring Andy Honig was replaced by Thilo Herrmann to record another fine effort "Skol", an album that gained further mileage from the beer drinking and hell raising Viking image the group had given itself. Recorded at Dierks Studios once more, "Skol" benefited from a skillful production by producer Gerd Rautenbach.
In the wake of the album's release Faithful Breath actually performed a short East Coast tour of America before concentrating once more on Europe, with the "Live" album emerging in 1986, although by 1987 the band had strangely opted to change names to RISK.
As RISK, the band continued to record, releasing five albums and an EP between 1988 and 1993.

FAITHFUL BREATH - Skol (1985) Germany

Finally, SIREN were an American Heavy Metal act founded in Tampa, Florida in 1981, which centred around vocalist Doug "Dead" Lee who joined the following year.
Their 1984 debut self financed "Metro Mercenary" single saw Siren with a line up of Lee, guitarist Rob Phillips, bassist Ben Parrish and teenage drummer Ed Aborn.
Following the single release Parrish made way for Edward Amyx before Siren recorded the 1985 four track demo tape "Iron Coffins".
The impressive demo prompted Pennsylvania based Sanaty Records to include the Siren track "Over The Rainbow" on their "Start To Stardom" compilation album.
Following the four song "Dead Of Night" demo tape in 1986, the band replaced bassist Brian Law with Gregg Culbertson and scored a record deal with the independent Flametrader Records label.
Their debut album, "No Place Like Home" surfaced later in the year, and showed the band moving on from it's earlier NWOBHM influenced sound into a more distinctive area with Progressive touches and some Thrash influences in evidence amongst the more traditional, if technical, sounding material.
Following the debut album Lee completely rebuilt SIREN, drafting in guitarist Brian C. Hendrickson, bassist Less Talent and drummer David Smith before recording a five song demo called "The Garage Experiment".
Album No.2, "Financial Suicide" was recorded in Germany and released on AAARRGG Records, (the label of MEKONG DELTA main man Ralph Hubert), in 1988.
The album didn't sell particularly well, and Siren eventually went their separate ways in 1989.
Doug Lee resurfaced the following year as the new singer in Mekong Delta, singing on all 4 of their albums between 1990's "Dances of Death (and other Walking Shadows)" and 1994's "Vision's Fugitives", and also appearing in the "Live in Frankfurt 1991" DVD, before leaving the band in 1997.

SIREN - Financial Suicide (1988) USA

That's yer lot for now people.
Hope you enjoy tonight's selection, i'm sure there's something to lift even the most jaded spirit amidst this little lot.
Some quick points:
Comments have been in short supply recently, although the amount of downloads have remained steady.

It takes two minutes to comment, please make the effort.
Even if it's only to to tell me i suck.
Thanks to those of you who did take the time to share your opinions and remembrances on this music we so dearly love.
It is always appreciated.
Until next time, take care.

Sunday, May 16, 2010



From Blabbermouth:

Wendy Dio, wife/manager of legendary heavy metal singer Ronnie James Dio (DIO, HEAVEN & HELL, BLACK SABBATH, RAINBOW), has released the following statement to BLABBERMOUTH.NET:

"Today my heart is broken, Ronnie passed away at 7:45 a.m. [on Sunday] 16th May. Many, many friends and family were able to say their private goodbyes before he peacefully passed away.

"Ronnie knew how much he was loved by all.

"We so appreciate the love and support that you have all given us.

"Please give us a few days of privacy to deal with this terrible loss.

"Please know he loved you all and his music will live on forever."

It was only a month ago that Dio, 67, spoke about his battle with cancer with the Artisan News Service on the "black carpet" of the Revolver Golden Gods Awards, which took place on April 8 at Club Nokia in downtown Los Angeles. When asked about how he had been feeling since he was diagnosed with the disease late last year, Dio said, "Well, I feel good and bad at times. It's a long process. Chemotherapy is a... I never realized what a difficult thing it was to go through. It's a real cumulative effect — the more you have, the more it piles up on top and it takes longer and longer to get over it. I find it very difficult to eat. I don't like to eat anyway, so I guess that's OK. But I know I have to. But this makes it very, very hard. But if you're determined to beat it, then you have to go with what you believe is going to beat it for you, and in this case it's that. I go to a great hospital in Houston called M.D. Anderson, which I think is the best hospital in the world, I have the best doctor in the world, Dr. Ajani, who I really trust and I really believe in, so I think I've done all the right things. It makes me feel positive about my life and positive that there is a lot more of it to live."

Earlier this month, HEAVEN & HELL canceled its summer tour plans in Europe due to Dio's treatment for stomach cancer. The band said in a statement that Dio wasn't "well enough to tour this summer. We hope that everyone understands and want to thank fans and industry colleagues for their continuing support at this time."

Ronnie James Dio had performed with ELF, RAINBOW, BLACK SABBATH, and his own band DIO. Other musical projects included the collective fundraiser "Hear 'n Aid". He is widely hailed as one of the most powerful singers in heavy metal, renowned for his consistently powerful voice and for popularizing the "devil's horns" hand gesture in metal culture. He was most recently involved with HEAVEN & HELL, a project which also included former BLACK SABBATH bandmates Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Vinny Appice. Their first and only studio album, "The Devil You Know", was released on April 28, 2009.

R.I.P. Ronnie & thank you.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Hi again.
I'll start by apologising for the delay in getting these rawkin' relics up here for your enjoyment.
Life recently has been increasingly complicated and time to blog has been difficult to come by as a result.
Still, i think you'll find tonight's selection was worth the wait.
LIES OF SMILES are a band formed in Stockton-On-Tees in 2006 by former members of cult NWOBHM bands.
Guitarist Dave "D.D." Little was formerly a member of AXIS and THE PAULINE GILLAN BAND, whilst drummer Jeff Armstrong was a member of TYGERS OF PAN TANG.
To date, they have recorded one album, 2008's "Truth, Lies & Damnation", released by Damnation Records.
The album was produced by former TYGERS OF PAN TANG & PENETRATION guitarist Fred Purser, who also guests on the record.
In 2009 the band parted ways with Singer/Guitarist Ian "Gilly" Gilson and Drummer Armstrong.
They have been replaced by former BERLYN, SAHARA, PANAMA & THE PACK Vocalist Tony Thurlow, former BLACK ROSE guitarist Pat O'Neill and former PAULINE GILLAN BAND Bassist Chris Wing.
The band are due to enter the studio, (with Purser again producing and contributing), this Summer to record a second album.
Jessica Freeman from Sturmfront Magazine had this to say about LIES OF SMILES debut:
"This CD is a dark delight. At their best, LIES OF SMILES (LOS) create distinctive hard metal in deceptively catchy compositions.
"Line Of Fire" is the blasting opener, a hammer-down chord riff that slams into a wildly discordant stutter chord break, before an anthemic hook line to die for and a guitar solo that will shear the top off your head. Add to this the totally unique, soulful sneer of Ian Gillson, snarling lyrics which obliquely refer to the moral decline of the human race and you've got the beginnings of LOS's trademark cryptic menace.
“New World Order” is heavy-metal bone-cruncher meant to be played while you're breaking the land-speed record on your Harley. Air-guitar specialists, on the other hand, will be sent into spasms by the dazzling speed and precision of the guitar solo. An avalanche of sonic hysteria summons your attention, then it's full speed ahead into “Judas”, the ultimate betrayal has never been told this brutally and the bible was never this venomous in its condemnation, when Gillson snarls “your nothing but a Judas” you can feel the animosity, there’s no forgiveness, no turning the other cheek in the face of being nailed to a cross!
“Sins of the Father”, the fourth cataclysmic mind fuck in a row, pegged around religioso, incendiary lyrics. And with typical LOS aplomb, it's a dark and disturbing ride, rife with nightmarish religious pay back imagery. A symphonic experiment in leviathan rock!
The most hardened metal purist will find Truth Lies and Damnation hard to resist because, even in this over saturated market of mediocrity, this is vintage heavy metal menace, mixed with evangelical fire and brimstone, sometimes introverted, sometimes painful in its stripped down, monochrome view of our society, a nightmare mosaic of brooding chorales, flame-thrower riffing and snappy crackling metal melody.
Armed with truckloads of skull-crushing chords and scalding lead-guitar lines, powerhouse, intelligent percussion and evangelical fire vocals, LOS at times here achieve the kind of intensity and rhythmic momentum that the wheelchair cases that represent British metal can only dream about."
I'm in full agreement, check 'em out.

LIES OF SMILES - Truth, Lies And Damnation (2008) UK

Next up, BURNER formed in Ashby-de-la-Zouch in Leicestershire in 1980 (initially as SAVAGE DOGS), and belatedly released two records, 2002's "Savage Killer" 7", (posted here aeons ago), and the "Hammer Of The Gods" EP in 2007, on Zerlinda and High Roller Records.
The former single came from a 1982 Demo tape, whilst the latter was recorded in 1984, but never released at the time.
"Old Enough to Know Better", recorded in 1984 (also on the "Hammer of the Gods" single) appeared on the 2004 NWOBHM Compilation CD "Total Metal Attack" by Old School Records.
Their debut album, "Resurrection", was recorded between 2006 and 2008 and whilst it contains songs written between 1984 and 2007, sound wise it's in the traditional '80s NWOBHM style, with a sound which recalls bands like BLITZKRIEG and DIAMOND HEAD.
Released on vinyl by High Roller Records in a limited edition of 500 copies in 2008, "Resurrection", found a place in the record collections and hearts of NWOBHM aficionados.
A CD version of the album is soon due for release through Heart Of Steel Records, with the songs from the prior 7" and EP included as bonus tracks.
If you like this vinyl rip, support the band by buying the CD.
For the time being Burner are a studio-only project, but may play dates in the future if there's enough interest.

BURNER - Resurrection (2008) UK

Ah, yes, DEMON PACT.
"Eaten Alive" was the sole single by the band 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 following some line up changes they did record a further four song demo in 1982 before splitting.
Only drummer Iain Finlay was able to carve out a musical career post Demon Pact, playing with German bands RUNNING WILD, KRUIZ and JUSTICE.
Demon Pact's 7" and 1982 demo tracks were later combined for the six song 2006 Hades Paradise Records limited edition "Demon Pact" vinyl only Mini LP.
The Mini LP was later condemned by the band as being unauthorised, with the tapes used apparently being 2nd or 3rd generation copies rather than the original masters.
A 13 song full length official release of Demon Pact's archive material titled "Released From Hell", is due later in the year from High Roller Records.
If you like this Mini LP, support the band & label by buying the new improved legitimate full lengther.
And if you like ripping old school heavy metal with raw vocals, Demon Pact is for you.

DEMON PACT - Demon Pact Mini LP (1980-1981) UK

SABOTAGE were a U.S. Heavy Metal quintet formed in Detroit, Michigan in 1982.
They quickly built up a devoted following in the local area with their epic, moody Heavy Metal sound and became a popular feature on the Detroit club scene of the time.
In 1983 the band recorded their debut album, the eleven song "Cloudborne", financing the sessions themselves. A schizophrenic affair, the album veers between the epic heavy sound of the band's beginnings and the more polished Hard Rock/AOR style which they were beginning to pursue.
With no record deal forthcoming, the band were forced to self-release the album on cassette in early 1984 and use the tape as a demo to try to stir up some label interest.
Signing a deal with the small IHM Record label, the band recorded a five song self-titled Mini LP in late 1984 which was released early the following year.
This recording is almost entirely in the AOR mould with occasional Prog-Rock flourishes, but the superb guitar playing elevates it beyond the throng.
Around the time of the record's release, guitarist John Patrick left the band, and, unable to find a suitable replacement, Sabotage folded.
Vocalist Doug Tucker & John Patrick were then reunited in TAROT, a band who featured former members of PONY EXPRESS & DEATH WISH, releasing a demo in late 1985.
This alliance was to be short lived however, with Tucker soon rejoining his former Sabotage band mates under the new band name of DYING BREED.
John Patrick would again resurface in the late '80's with the tongue in cheek Thrash influenced quartet Sgt. BILLHEAD, who released a 12 song 1990 demo called "Apocalypso".
Following Dying Breed's dissolution, bassist Chris Bezas and drummer Glenn Gugel formed a new band called SADDLETRAMP who recorded a couple of early '90's demo tapes and played extensively around the Michigan area.
Patrick and Tucker would later work together yet again when both joined a new line-up of early '80's Detroit band ILLUSION in 1997.
Illusion have since released four albums, the live "Memphis After Dark" (2001), "Mysteries & Secrets Revealed!" (2002), "Sleight Of Hand" (2005), (also releasing an EP called "Silent Valor" the same year), and last year's "Turbulence and Tranquility".

SABOTAGE - Sabotage Mini LP (1985) USA

NO FAITH were a NWOBHM power trio about whom i've been unable to find much information.
Their lone release was the 1981 "Double Trouble" 7", which was issued on their own No Faith Record label.
1982 saw No Faith make their final vinyl appearance when their track "Oh Well" was featured on Heavy Metal Records' "Heavy Metal Heroes Volume Two", compilation album, alongside the likes of WITCHFINDER GENERAL, MENDES PREY and PERSIAN RISK.
And there the meagre trail of information about the band and it's members runs out unfortunately.
Anyone able to fill in a little extra info on No Faith and their rather spiffing 7" ?
One of you fellers out there in the World Wide Webernet must know something/anything about the band or it's members.
If so, let us know.

NO FAITH - Double Trouble 7" (1981) UK

RED ALERT were a short-lived Heavy Rock band formed in the late 1970's.
Their big break was being featured on the 1980 EMI Records NWOBHM compilation album "Metal For Muthas Volume II", with the track "Open Heart".
The band's only other vinyl appearance was a 7" release, the 1980 "Break The Rules" single on State Records.
All copies of the single came in a blue company sleeve, but some were additionally branded with a Red Alert sticker & had a biography sheet included.
In a somewhat bizarre career move, RED ALERT, after winning the Arctic Life Beer "Battle Of The Bands" competition, changed their name to ARCTIC LIFE!
Then promptly disappeared.
Please note : this is NOT the same band who released the "Run To The Ground" 7" in 1982.
That Red Alert was THE NEXT BAND under a new name.

RED ALERT - Break The Rules 7" (1980) UK

RED RAGE were a short-lived trio from London who recorded a solitary 7" in 1980.
Although selling modestly at the time, the disc in question, "Total Control", on Flicknife Records, has since become equally sought after by NWOBHM and Punk collectors, and now commands a rather high price tag as a result.
The funny thing is, it doesn't really fit into either category easily, but straddles both genres a little, boasting an individual sound that makes you wish they'd recorded more material.
Even stranger for a record with such a high price tag, both sides of the record have appeared on various compilations over the years like "Punk Collectors Series : Flicknife Records", "Bloodstains Across Britain Volume 2", "England Belongs To Me" and "Teen Age Treats Vol 2".
I'm struggling to think of an easy comparison for Red Rage's sound, and frankly it eludes me at the moment, it's probably easier for you to download it, hear for yourself and draw your own conclusions.
Or shell out £75 for a copy when one surfaces.

RED RAGE - Total Control 7" (1980) UK

So that's yer lot for now.
If you find that even this treasure trove of sonic delights doesn't satisfy your thirst for the vintage Hard stuff, take a look over at my other blog, Still Alive & Well.
I've been a busy boy over there adding plenty of new old stuff for you to dig through.
The current post over there is the first in a series covering obscure U.S. Metal albums, from 1976 up to the present day.
This particular installment covers the years 1976-1983 and features releases by tye likes of BAD AXE, CULPRIT, BEOWULF, SORCERY, FORTNOX, MESSENDGER, HYKSOS and AMERICADE amongst others.
You can find STILL ALIVE & WELL BLOG here.
Thanks for all your opinions, thoughts, praise etc in the comments section on the previous post, glad it went down well with you all.
Some more feedback may well persuade me to bring you some more old Rawk gold in about two weeks time, he hinted, subtly.
See you back here then.