Archive for the Heavy Metal Category

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Vyper- Afraid of the Dark

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on January 3, 2021 by 80smetalman

First, I hope all of you had a good new year. While most years, I say I hope people didn’t get too wrecked on New Year’s Day, this year, I have to say I hope no one got caught violating the Covid restrictions in their area. At least this year, the UK’s top metal hating newspaper, The Sun, didn’t splash pictures of young women being falling down drunk on its pages. Instead, it reported on all the lockdown violations. Anyway, let’s get to the subject at hand.

Still using the Metal Sisters’ compilation tape they sent me for Christmas in 1986, there was a song called, “Afraid of the Dark,” by a band I’d never heard of, Vyper. At the time, because there were so many good songs from other artists on the tape, it just sorted of blended in with them. Now that I’ve had a chance to listen to their 1986 EP of the same name, I realize just how good that song is. It starts with a cool guitar riff which if it didn’t totally grab my attention then, it certainly does now. This track highlights the talents of the entire band with some great guitar riffs and a cool solo in the middle, great vocals and a good bass line. Definitely the best song on this four track EP and it leaves you in hope that the others will be just as good.

“Afraid of the Dark” might have been the showcase tune for the album but “Diamonds” is the hard pounding heavy metal song on the album. No frills, just straight forward powerful metal, which is played very well by the band. The vocals remain clean and backed by some good background vocals. Then speed increases more with “Time Flies.” Definitely the fastest song on the album and though it’s not as tight as “Diamonds,” it is still a great song to headbang along to. The innuendos in the lyrics such as, “I like to sit you down, let you ride my rocket” and “Bring your girlfriend along, I like her too,” are quite amusing.

Controversial lyrics don’t end with “Time Flies.” On the closer, “Daddy’s Girl,” Vyper venture into very controversial territory. The song is about a father, who because he and mother work separate hours, uses his daughter to get his pleasure. Actually, I’m surprised there was no outcry from the fundamentalists in the US over this one. It could be why the band didn’t put out an album for an album for twenty more years. Shame though, because there is a really good guitar solo trade off on this track. This EP showed that the band had the potential to hit the big time.

Track Listing:

  1. Afraid of the Dark
  2. Diamonds
  3. Time Flies
  4. Daddy’s Girl
Vyper

Christy Black- lead vocals

Jacky Foxx- guitars

Michael Scott- drums, backing vocals

Rik Brock- bass, backing vocals

Robbie Saint- guitars

Because the EP is only 14 minutes long, I thought I’d share it in its entirety.

It’s easy to say that with so many metal bands around in 1986, that one can see why Vyper might have been overlooked. Still, it’s a shame because if more people listened to “Afraid of the Dark,” then Vyper could have risen to their full potential.

Next post: Jack Starr- Out of the Darkness

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

An Early Happy New Year

Posted in Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 30, 2020 by 80smetalman
Not a bad haul. I must have been a good boy this year.

I hope everyone had a good Christmas! As you can see, Santa was good to me this year. Not only did I get the new AC/DC album, I got a few albums I wasn’t expecting. The Metallica, Ozzy and Thin Lizzy, which for some reason isn’t in the photo, were upgrades as I had all of these on either cassette or vinyl. FTR, the Thin Lizzy was “Live and Dangerous.” Anyway, I hope all of you had good hauls as well.

Repeating what many other people have said, 2020 was a bust. Fortunately, I had my music and a lot of music which many of you have shared on your blogs. We all seemed to pull together and help each other get through, which was good to see and although there is still more shit ahead, the end might be insight. This past year was the first year since 2014 where I didn’t go to any live gigs. The lockdown meant that Hells Bells couldn’t come to town and my plan to go to Bloodstock for the Sunday was also put on hiatus. However, the good news about Bloodstock is that most of the line up planned for 2020 will be there for 2021. That means Judas Priest will still headline on the Sunday with Saxon on right before them! Additionally, and this has me considering coming out of retirement and going to Bloodstock for the full three days, Mercyful Fate is now headlining on the Saturday. Devin Townsend headlining the Friday makes it even more tempting.

Since, I will be working over the New Year’s period, I would like now to wish all of you an Happy New Year and may your 2021 be a joyous one.

Next post: Vyper- Afraid of the Dark

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Merry Christmas to All!

Posted in Death, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on December 24, 2020 by 80smetalman

I would like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. 2020 has been a terrible year in a lot of ways and things aren’t looking to get better anytime soon. We’ve had the pandemic and the passing of many great rock stars. Now, it’s my sad duty to add one more to this sad list. Leslie West, guitarist in the band Mountain passed away yesterday. This means the year is going out in the same sucky way it came in.

Leslie West
Mountain

But enough gloom for now! Reading your posts and having you read and comment on mine has made a big difference this year. I hope everyone enjoys their Christmas. May those who indulge get plenty drunk and eat lots of turkey and sweets. I leave you now with Mountain’s best known song, “Mississippi Queen” and three alternative versions of the carol “Deck the Halls.”

Merry Christmas to all!

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Chastain- Ruler of the Wastelands

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 21, 2020 by 80smetalman

Here’s a perfect reason why I should have bought the album. My experience of Chastain, actually it was guitarist David Chastain, was through the two songs which appeared on the compilation tape the Metal Sisters sent me. Those songs were “No Man’s Land” and a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Communication Breakdown.” Both songs were superbly played and for years I simply assumed they were on Chastain’s 1986 album, “Ruler Wasteland.” Unfortunately, they are not. I have tried to find the album these songs appear on but my search has been fruitless. Therefore, I thought the only thing left to do was to listen the album through Youtube and post about it. This turned out to be a wise decision.

In 1986, guitarists who wanted to emulate one Yngwie J. Malmesteen seemed to be coming out of the woodwork. Reflecting back, I think Vinnie Vincent was trying to be such and so was David Chastain. While he is backed up by a very good band, especially lead singer, Leather Leone, “Ruler of the Wasteland” leaves no doubt that its objective was to showcase the guitar skills of David T. Chastain. Something the album does very well here from beginning to end as David solos his way through.

David T. Chastain

It’s not just David’s guitar skills that should be noted here as there are some very well crafted tracks on the album. “One Day to Live” has Leather’s best vocal performance, although she’s quite good on the other tracks. One song where it all comes together and highlights the album and shows the talents of the individual members is “Fighting to Stay Alive.” This song proves that David is a capable song writer as well as a great guitarist. Yes, he does hammer out a cool guitar solo on the track but the vocals are good as is the rhythm section. While all of those things are present on every track, it’s done the best on this one.

One very pleasant and eye opening surprise is “Angel of Mercy.” I have heard this song before, covered by Axel Rudi Pell, who does a great job on it. However, the original version here on the album is simply mind blowing and now I am in a quandary as to which song is better between “Angels of Mercy” and “Fighting to Stay Alive.” While the former is straight ahead full blown metal, Angels has a more blues feel to it and it too has all the band pulling together to make it great. I guess I’ll call it a tie.

The fastest song on the album is “There Will be Justice.” Imagine Yngwie playing a guitar solo on a speed metal song and you’ll get the picture of what I’m trying to say. Then right after, you get a progressive metal sounding fantasy track with “The Battle of Nevermore.” Every time I hear this track, I like it more. Therefore, maybe I should stop listening to it as I will have great difficulty in choosing which songs to feature. Then again, isn’t that a trait of a very good album?

Track Listing:

  1. Ruler of the Wasteland
  2. One Day to Live
  3. The King Has the Power
  4. Fighting to Stay Alive
  5. Angel of Mercy
  6. There Will be Justice
  7. The Battle of Nevermore
  8. Living in a Dreamworld
  9. Children of Eden
Chastain

David T. Chastain- guitar

Leather Leone- vocals

Mike Skimmerhorn- bass

Ken Mary- drums

Moral of the story: Get the album! I didn’t and for years I have missed out on the fine album which is “Ruler of the Wasteland.” As for the songs I have mentioned, I have plans for them in a future post.

Next post: Merry Christmas

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Albums of 1986: Tobruk- Wild On the Run

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 17, 2020 by 80smetalman

During my first Christmas in Britain in 1986, my sister Dawn and her friend Stacy, (together known as ‘The Metal Sisters’), sent me a cassette full of metal songs. This tape will comprise the next several posts but I’m getting ahead of myself. Maybe they thought I was missing some good heavy metal, this couldn’t have been farther from the truth. The first two songs on the tape were from the band Tobruk and from the album, “Wild On the Run.” However, I had already heard of the band because a few weeks earlier, Kerrang Magazine, (long before it became Kerrap in the mid 90s), ran an article on them in their “Wimpwire” feature.

Wimps? Well quite possibly because there are spots on the album where they sound like they want to be the next Bon Jovi. The intro and the short keyboard solo on the second track, “Falling” definitely gives that impression. However, even on that track, there are some good hard rock portions to be heard. What Tobruk do successfully on this album is to blend the heavy metal with just the right amount of keyboards. The keys enhance the songs. One good example of this blend is “Running From the Night.” It’s basically a great hard rockin’ track with a cool guitar solo and I love the guitars at the intro. The keyboards can be heard but they compliment the song. Thinking about it, that particular track reminds me of Autograph.

Since I would only be repeating myself if I dissected each song individually, not that the songs all sound the same because they don’t, I will look at three songs. First, there is the opening title track which was also released as a single. It didn’t do anything as far as the singles charts but it doesn’t stop it from being a good song. On the other hand, I can see why this song would have been considered for single release, it has that commercial vibe and the keyboards are just a little more noticeable but the guitars still rule. Then comes the two tracks which were recorded on the tape sent by The Metal Sisters. “She’s Nobody’s Angel” is yet another song which gives the impression that musicians have a thing about writing songs about prostitutes. However, when I heard the song, it made me question why Kerrang would consider this wimp metal. Sure, it opens with a fantastic keyboard intro, I think it might have even influenced the likes of bands like Stratovarius. Maybe because of the keyboards or possibly because whoever wrote the article only heard the single.

Lyrics from “She’s Nobody’s Angel:”

She’s a streetwalker, got to make her living pay

He’s just a normal guy looking to get his evil way

Then with one kiss, he gets what he’s wishing for

She’ll do special things if pays a little more.

The second song on the tape is the hidden gem and that is “Going Down for the Third Time.” Again, some great keyboards work around the edges. I think that Jem Davis deserves more recognition for his mastery of the craft but the song simply kicks ass. While everything comes together on the songs on “Wild on the Run,” they come together a little more on this one. It’s also the closer for the album and it does that job magnificently.

Track Listing:

  1. Wild on the Run
  2. Falling
  3. Running From the Night
  4. Hotline
  5. Rebound
  6. Poor Girl
  7. She’s Nobody’s Angel
  8. Breakdown
  9. Going Down for the Third Time
  10. The Show Must Go On (Not on the album but appeared as a B-side on the single “Wild On the Run”
Tobruk

Snake- lead vocals

Mike Brown- bass, backing vocals

Nigel Evans- guitar, backing vocals

Mick Newman- guitar

Jem Davis- keyboards

Eddie Fincher- drums

I have a sneaking suspicion that this album might have passed a lot of people by. This could be on account of people like me were on the hunt for more and more power chords and that is not Tobruk. Still, if you like good melodic heavy metal, then I can recommend “Wild On the Run.”

Next post: Chastain- Rulers of the Wasteland

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Slayer- Reign in Blood

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2020 by 80smetalman

Two major questions always arise whenever Slayer’s 1986 album, “Reign in Blood,” is mentioned. One, is it the best Slayer album of all time? Two, should it take its place along some of the other great albums which helped pioneer thrash metal in 1986 such as Metallica’s “Master of Puppets,” Anthrax’s “Spreading the Disease” and Megadeath’s “Peace Sells Buy Who’s Buying?” To me, the answer is an obvious and definite, “Yes!” While there is room for debate on question one, there shouldn’t be any on question two. “Reign in Blood” was one of the standard bearers for thrash, not only in 1986 but for all time.

What really amused me back then and further proves my insanity is the controversy some of the songs on the album caused. Take the opener and probably best known song on the album, “Angel of Death.” The song is about evil Nazi scientist Josef Mengele, who performed hideous experiments on inmates at Auschwitz during World War 2. A few idiots suggested that the song was pro-Nazi because the lyrics don’t say what an evil man Mengele was. However, I do like guitarist Jeff Hanneman’s response: “Well, wasn’t it obvious?” No matter though, because like all other songs on the album, it’s one massive thrash-a-thon. It gives you a great introduction to what the rest of the album is going to be like: fast, pounding guitar chords, manic vocals, thumping rhythm section and the classic guitar solo trade-off between virtuosos King and Hanneman.

Of course, if you want to get controversial, then look at “Necrophobic.” I remember religious fanatics spitting out their milk and cookies over this one. Then again, the lyrics are about having sex with a corpse but of all the times I’ve listened to the song, I have never had any inclination whatsoever to do such things. Proof that if the music is good and in this case, the music for the entire album is outstanding, then the lyrics won’t matter much. However, a friend and I were thinking of recording the anti-religious song, “Jesus Saves,” and sending it to Jimmy Swaggart. Actually, if I hadn’t already been in England at this time and got to see Slayer in America, I would have been tempted to record and play it to the Jesus freaks who would have undoubtedly come to the concert to save our souls. It’s the only reason why “Jesus Saves” is my choice for hidden gem because every song here is one.

Slayer, Cardiff 2018

Actually, there’s not much more I can say about “Reign in Blood” because the album speaks for itself. With this album, you have the mold which many thrash bands would try to imitate in the years after. It’s definitely one of the greatest thrash albums of all time and did I say, it’s my favourite Slayer album?

Track Listing:

  1. Angel of Death
  2. Piece by Piece
  3. Necrophobic
  4. Altar of Sacrifice
  5. Jesus Saves
  6. Criminally Insane
  7. Reborn
  8. Epidemic
  9. Postmortem
  10. Raining Blood
Slayer

Tom Araya- bass, vocals

Jeff Hanneman- guitar

Kerry King- guitar

Dave Lombardo- drums

Much to the annoyance of Duranies, Madonna Wannabees and glam rock poseurs, thrash metal had truly found its home in 1986. Fantastic albums such as Slayer’s “Reign in Blood” was the reason why.

Next post: Tobrik- Wild On the Run

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Billy Squier- Enough if Enough

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 10, 2020 by 80smetalman

Music media and even a few metal stars and metalheads should hang their heads in shame. After Billy Squier’s rather embarrassing video for his hit “Rock Me Tonight,” from his previous album, “Signs of Life,” it seemed that there was a collective ‘abandon ship’ in the music world in regards to Billy. Personally, that video never bothered me, so I think it was wrong for everyone to walk away from him on account of one misjudged video. Hell, even Rudy Schenker of the Scorpions said he couldn’t take Billy seriously after that video. Come on, it was one video! My point of all this is has been said that it was on account of that video as to why his next album, “Enough is Enough” didn’t do as well and that was a shame because I think the world missed out on a really good album.

Another offered reason for why “Enough is Enough” didn’t do as well was because of the changing tides of music in 1986. As I said in previous posts, in 1986, music was diverging in different directions, either towards plastic synth pop or hardcore thrash. For many, Billy was now becoming either too pop or too metal for people on the extremes. And here’s another amusing point with me. I have always considered Mr. Squier to be the best American artist not to have cracked Great Britain but I saw this album on sale at a record shop called “Shades” in Central London. Side note: the blogger “Every Record Tells a Story” once wrote a post on what I call in “Rock and Roll Children,” “an Aladdin’s cave of heavy metal records and accessories.”

From the very first song on the album, “Shot o’ Love,” it is easy to hear that Billy is at his usual best. This song is a clear reminder that he hasn’t lost any of the chops he did so well on albums like “Don’t Say No” and “Emotions in Motion.” The song sets the tone for the rest of the album. Following that up is the only single from the album, which was a minor hit for Billy, “Love is the Hero.” Freddie Mercury provides the backing vocals on it. It’s too bad that his career as a singles artist was practically over because it’s not a bad song. Freddie also gets a song writing credit on “Lady With a Tenor Sax.” This is a good jazz-rocker and again proves that Billy hadn’t lost anything in musical ability. It’s a second hidden gem on the album.

The first ballad on the album, “All We Have To Give” is okay but there is a better one further along. He then rocks out with “Come Home.” This is the best power rocker on the album, some great power chords and some of the best guitar soloing I’ve heard on any Billy Squier album. However, the rock doesn’t go away with “Break the Silence.” Again, some great power chords but there’s a more melodic soft part in the song. It’s creative but at the same time very catchy. Another cool guitar solo helps too. On “Powerhouse,” I get the impression that either Billy or the record company were going for a second single. There is some 80s style synthesizer work on it as well as some really hard power chords. The reason why it was never a single was the fact that people were going into different camps and a song that encompasses both, even when it was done as superbly as this one, isn’t going to attract attention. “Lonely One” starts out as if it’s going to be a ballad and then sounds like it’s going to be a pop single before some power chords and heavy drumming from guest drummer Steve Ferrone (Average White Band and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers). It also has what could be Billy’s best guitar solo for the album.

“Til It’s Over” is not only the second power ballad on the album but my choice for hidden gem. If I had ever gotten the chance to have seen him live, you can bet my cigarette lighter would have been held high in the air for this one. This is one of those ballads which make you want to bang your head while at the same time, cry in you beer. The acoustic parts on the intro and throughout the song give me goosebumps whenever I listen to it and the power chords are just mind blowing. Of course, it has a cool guitar solo. If it was the closer, then I would say that “Enough is Enough” would have ended on a great high. However, as for closers go, “Wink of an Eye” might not be as magnificent as the penultimate track but it is still a good way to end the album. It has that melodic, catchy feel to it that good closer should have but without losing the hard rock. It deserves to end the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Shot O’ Love
  2. Love is the Hero
  3. Lady With a Tenor Sax
  4. All We Have to Give
  5. Come Home
  6. Break the Silence
  7. Powerhouse
  8. Lonely One
  9. Til It’s Over
  10. Wink of an Eye
Billy Squier

Billy Squier- vocals, guitars, synthesizers

Jeff Golub- guitar

Robin Jeffrey- guitar

Jeff Bova- keyboards

David Frank- keyboards, synthesizers

Andy Richards- keyboards

Alan St John- keyboards, synthesizers, backing vocals

T.M. Stevens- bass

Jimmy Bralower- drums

Bobby Chouinard- drums

Steve Ferrone- drums on track 8

Jody Linscott- percussion

Freddie Mercury- backing vocals on track 2

Mitch Weissman- backing vocals

I’ll scream it again and again, I think the music world owes Billy Squier a big apology. Shunning him on account of one video was rather narrow-minded because the album, “Enough is Enough” is a very good one. Maybe you can help make amends by giving it a listen.

Next post: Slayer- Reign in Blood

To buy “Rock and Roll Children,” email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Agnostic Front- Cause for Alarm

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2020 by 80smetalman

Even though I had been in England for a couple of months and was soaking up the NWOBHM bands who hadn’t made it across the Atlantic, it didn’t prevent great American thrash bands from making it across the ocean in the opposite direction. Although I like to think I was solely responsible for introducing the Stormtroopers of Death and Suicidal Tendencies to Great Britain, (at least to my new friends at Queen Mary College), I know that this wasn’t the case. Especially as the metalheads of Britain were getting into thrash all on their own and one of these albums which came their way was the 1986, “Cause for Alarm” album from Agnostic Front.

In the spirit of their New York counterparts, Stormtroopers of Death, “Cause for Alarm” is a short, sharp assault of thrash metal. Those with delicate ears should definitely not listen to this album. Ten songs in just over twenty-three minutes but they are all super explosive songs guaranteed to pack any mosh pit. The longest song is “Growing Concern” which is just over four minutes long. One point of note is the contribution of newly added guitarist Alex Kinon. He does produce some good guitar solos on the album and tracks like “Growing Concern” and the opener “The Eliminator” are definitely ones to note. Another point to note was that the track, “Your Mistake,” has been covered by both Fear Factory and Hatebreed. But for me the track of note is “Out for Blood,” which successfully combines the hardcore thrash and a cool more metal guitar solo so well.

One track, which brought some controversy in 1986 was “Public Assistance.” It was even criticized by Dead Kennedys lead singer, Jello Biafra, for its lyrics and if I had actually been able to decipher the lyrics above the music back in 1986, my left leaning self would not have been impressed with them. “Public Assistance” has racist implications, stating that racial minorities were living a life of luxury off the backs of hard working white people. A belief that was particularly common all throughout 1980s Reagan America.

Uncle Sam takes half my pay

So you can live for free

I got a family and bills to pay

No one hands money to me

Get money in advance

You can go to school for nothing

Got that government grant

When you’re sick from shooting up

Medicaid pays full portion

When little Maria gets knocked up

She gets a free abortion

If I had understood lyrics such as this back then, I might have been put off the rest of the album. Back then, I was left of centre in the realms of British politics which in the American realm, would have made me a pinko, Commie subversive. Now a days, I’m more open minded and won’t punish a band just because I don’t agree with the lyrics in one song. Besides, the band didn’t actually write the song. This is still a great thrash album.

Track Listing:

  1. The Eliminator
  2. Existence of Hate
  3. Time Will Come
  4. Growing Concern
  5. Your Mistake
  6. Out for Blood
  7. Toxic Shock
  8. Bomber Zee
  9. Public Assistance
  10. Shoot His Load

Roger Miret- vocals

Alex Kinon- lead guitar

Vinnie Stigma- rhythm guitar

Louie Beatto- drums

Rob Kabula- bass

In 1986, thrash metal was thriving on both sides of the Atlantic and beyond. Agnostic Front contributed to this with one hell of an album in “Cause for Alarm.”

Next post: Billy Squier- Enough is Enough

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Tygers of Pan Tang- First Kill

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 3, 2020 by 80smetalman

Here is one band that totally passed me by back in the 1980s. While I had heard of Tygers of Pan Tang throughout the years, I never got around to listening to any of their material. That all changed about a year ago when a colleague I know from officiating (American) football gave me a bag full of CDs, three of which were from this band. None of those albums was their 1986 compilation album, “First Kill,” but the other albums I did listen to gave me more than enough reason to include them here.

All the tracks, except for the closer, were all from the band’s early days and were recorded live. Having a quick look back through the discography, the only songs which appear on other albums are “Euthanasia” and “Slaves to Freedom,” which appear on the debut, “Wild Cat,” although “Bad Times” and my personal favourite,”Straight as a Die,” appear on the 1997 re-issue. With all of that said, it doesn’t make that much difference because all of the songs appeal to me.

What impresses me the most about the band is the strings section. Guitarist Robb Weir hammers out some great guitar solos on the album, especially on my favourite track. Then again, his best solo is on “Slave to Freedom.” Mr. Weir really goes nuts on that one and because it’s live, I regret not being in the audience. On the downside and why “Slaves to Freedom” is not my favourite song, is because the vocals of Jess Cox sound strained on it. Anyway, I was talking about the strings section and I must point out that the bass playing of Richard ‘Rocky’ Laws is some of the best bass playing I’ve heard. I’m now going to make a bold declaration by saying he belongs in the same category as Billy Sheehan, Michael Anthony, Lemmy and so many others.

It’s not just Weir’s solos that I like. Many of the songs on “First Kill” open with some ear grabbing riffs. “The Final Answer,” “Euthanasia” and “Shakespeare Road” all open with great riffs and establish the songs right from the start. The latter of the three has some another noteworthy guitar solo and not to leave him out, it’s the track which best showcases the drumming of Brian Dick. Putting all of these elements together and listening to the result, I fail to see why Tygers of Pan Tang don’t get more recognition in mentions of new wave of British heavy metal, which they were part of. I guess they were to NWOBHM what the Johnny Van Zant band was to Southern Rock in the very early 80s, a great band that didn’t get the recognition it should have gotten.

Track Listing:

  1. Slaves to Freedom
  2. Angel
  3. Straight as a Die
  4. The Final Answer
  5. Euthanasia
  6. Shakespeare Road
  7. Don’t Take Nothing
  8. All Right on the Night
  9. Bad Times
  10. Small Town Flirt

*”Small Town Flirt” was recorded just prior to the release of the album and done with a different bass player and drummer. This band was officially known as Tyger Tyger and it was the only song they released.

Tygers of Pan Tang

Jess Cox- vocals

Robb Weir- guitars

Richard ‘Rocky’ Laws- bass

Brian Dick- drums

On “Small Town Flirt”

Brian Emerson- bass

Mr. Roland- drums

Better late than never they say. It’s definitely true in my case in regards to Tygers of Pan Tang. This was a great band, actually, they’re back together and touring so after listening to “First Kill” and some of their other albums, I will have to see them if they come around.

Next post: Agnostic Front- Cause for Alarm

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Iron Maiden: Somewhere in Time

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on November 29, 2020 by 80smetalman

After Judas Priest’s use of guitar synthesizers on their “Turbo” album, many people in the metal world were waiting with great anxiety on the release of Iron Maiden’s “Somewhere in Time” album because the rumours were flying that Maiden were also using guitar synthesizers on their new album, me included. Like so many metalheads at the time, I thought synthesizers were for pop bands and true metal bands didn’t use them. However, when all the anxiety was over and I finally got to listen to the album, I found that the use of guitar synthesizers didn’t turn Iron Maiden into Duran Duran and actually, “Somewhere in Time” is still a cool album.

Taking a step I didn’t normally take back then, I bought the twelve inch single, “Wasted Years.” Normally, I went straight for the album but I guess the guitar synth rumours made me a little nervous. After a listen or two, I found that the synths suited the song very well and that there was nothing to worry about. Iron Maiden remained true to the sound which made them a sensation. Long story short, I loved the song. One piece of 80smetalman history: the “Wasted Years” twelve inch was the first record I bought when I got to England.

If there was any question to whether Iron Maiden rocks out on the album, then have a listen to the track, “Sea of Madness.” The tracks opens with typical Iron Maiden guitar riffs from Smith and Murray before catapulting into a power tune. Bruce’s vocals are as clear as ever, Steve’s bass line is what you expect from the man as is Nicko’s drumming, plus there is a cool guitar solo. Everything’s there on “Sea of Madness” but it still doesn’t get my vote for hidden gem!

My vote for hidden gem on the album could be controversial. “Heaven Can Wait” wasn’t released as a single but it was played live on the next few Maiden tours after this one. The other point is the fact that it is definitely up there in my top ten or possibly top five of all time 80smetalman favourite Iron Maiden songs. Therefore, it could be argued that the gem isn’t exactly hidden. Nevertheless, this song just totally kicks ass and it’s a case of taking all the good things I said about “Sea of Madness” and multiplying them two or three times more for “Heaven Can Wait.”

Another track which might qualify is “Deja Vu.” Back in 86, it didn’t really make itself known unto me but listening to the album recently, it has caught my notice and it is a better track than what I used to remember. Of course, the other tracks are just as cool, having been a long distance or semi long distance runner in high school, (I ran the 800 metres), I can identify with “The Loneliness of a Long Distance Runner.” While the lyrics ring true with me, Iron Maiden are one of the few bands who can capture it so well in the music.

Steve Harris stated that “Somewhere in Time” was never meant to be a concept album but it just happened that most of the songs on it were to do with time, interesting thought. However, Mr. Harris also keeps to his love of putting history to music with the closing track, “Alexander the Great.” I know if I was ever to have the opportunity to teach children about Alexander, then I would use the song to motivate the pupils.

Track Listing:

  1. Caught Somewhere in Time
  2. Wasted Years
  3. Sea of Madness
  4. Heaven Can Wait
  5. The Loneliness of a Long Distance Runner
  6. Stranger in a Strange Land
  7. Deja- Vu
  8. Alexander the Great
Iron Maiden

Bruce Dickinson- lead vocals

Steve Harris- bass

Adrian Smith- guitar, backing vocals

Dave Murray- guitar

Nicko McBrain- drums

Guitar synthesizers or not, Iron Maiden put out another great album in 1986 with “Somewhere in Time.” I don’t think the band intended it but the release of the album almost coincided with my arrival in England. It’s not a bad album to arrive in another country to because after listening to it, I didn’t feel like (bad pun alert) a stranger in a strange land.

Next post: Tygers of Pan Tang- First Kill

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