Great Local Metal Talent

In late 1985 and throughout the first half of 1986, there was one metal band which made the rounds in the clubs of South Jersey. That band was called Sacred Sword and they were the main metal band around at the time. There were a few others, but Sacred Sword was the best known. In 1986, they put out a five song EP titled, “Give’Em Hell.” Rumour at the time had it that the record was financed as a result of the lead singer’s brother’s financial compensation following an accident. In any case, what people got was a cool metal EP, which was something not very common around my way at the time.

Local radio did play the EP on occasion, most of the time it was the opening track, “Ready to Pop,” which was the track most suited to be released as a single. However, my favourite track on the album was “Curse of Fright Night” where Alice Cooper’s influence on the band comes in. What I had forgotten after all these years is how good the other three tracks are. All three are straight up metal tunes, “Summer Heat” being the best of the three. I did tape the EP and take it to England with me later on in the year and some of my new friends there were quite impressed with them. Unfortunately, no one from the major record labels were.

Track Listing:

  1. Ready to Pop
  2. Curse of Fright Night
  3. Desolation Love
  4. Summer Heat
  5. Give’Em Hell

John Higbee- vocals

Robin Russo- guitar

Kurt Stunckell- bass

I don’t remember the drummer’s name nor can I locate it anywhere online.

Jerry Johnson was added as a second guitarist after the EP was made

What I have been neglecting to mention on this blog was the impact of a late night radio programme out of Philadelphia. Every Saturday night at midnight, Philly’s best radio station, in my opinion, WYSP, had a one hour programme called “Metal Shop,” hosted my one ‘Mean’ Ed Green. One hour of metal tunes and whenever a metal band played the Spectrum at any weekend, the opening act would appear on the programme as guests. It was the first time I heard any interviews with Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield, among others. The programme got a lot of mention in “Rock and Roll Children, so I should mention it more here.

Getting to the point, in the summer of 1986, Mean Ed Green began pushing a Philly based metal outfit called The Bloody Stools. The song which he chose was called, “Give Head or Die.” Again, recently was the first time in years I heard the song but I like the eerie piano intro similar to Alice Cooper and Blue Oyster Cult. The band would go onto release an album in 1991 but I would only hear about this now. Having had a listen, “Meet the Bloody Stools” is a pretty good album.

Frankie Long- vocals

Fabian Vegas- guitar

Tova- bass

Vinnie Bafingucci- guitar

Nikki Sptiz- drums

Then in the Autumn of 1986, I went over to Great Britain. In my first week at university there, when all metalheads find themselves, I met a guitarist who played in a band from Swansea in Wales called Torque Show. His main reason for coming to London was the hopes that his band would make it in the big city. The rest of the band would follow.

Before I met Leigh, Dave and John, they had put out a three song demo called “Heroes and Bad Girls” and they played on a heavy metal compilation album, called “The Metal Collection,” which featured bands from all over Europe.

The original drummer never made the trip to London so the first thing they had to do was find a new one, which they did. That accomplished, they would rehearse in the Halls’ music room where myself and others would watch them. Eventually, they would get some real gigs in 1987 and put out another demo before eventually breaking up. One note, I did see them open for German metal greats, Bonfire,” at The Marquee in London, in 1988.

Heroes and Bad Girls Track Listing:

  1. Looking for the Rock
  2. On Come the Lights
  3. Melt Me

The song from the compilation was called, “Hour of the Slowest Clock.”

Torque Show

Dave Williams- vocals

Leigh Griffiths- guitar

John Gerring- bass, pedals

Mike Edwards- drums

Mark Pardy would take over on drums in late 1986 and because there is no recorded material to be found, I thought I would include a second picture of the band.

Torque Show Mark II

For the most part, none of these bands made it beyond their locality and it’s only die hard fans like me who keep their memories going. Still, these three bands were all part of my 1986 and I am singing their praises now.

Next post: Europe- The Final Countdown

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9 Responses to “Great Local Metal Talent”

  1. Good work keeping the memory alive of local artists. Sacred Sword don’t sound super heavy to me – I’d almost file them under hard rock rather than metal from that track – not miles away from a heavy Aerosmith track.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. If you’re from the NY/NJ area you probably remember the group, Wicked Lester.

    Liked by 1 person

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