Archive for British

Great Metal Albums of 1988: Battlezone- Warchild, The Best of

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2023 by 80smetalman

After two albums which went by with little notice, drink and drugs and lots of infighting, the band Battlezone, fronted by former Iron Maiden lead singer Paul Di’Anno, decided to call it quits. However, before they did, the put out a “Best of” album. Normally, I would scoff at bands who put out such an album after just two studio albums but it is different in this case. Battlezone’s first album, “Fighting Back,” escaped my attention. Therefore, with this album, I got to go back and listen to many of the songs which were on that album and some of them were quite good. One of these was “The Land God Gave to Cain.” This is a six minute long rocker, which is about a post nuclear holocaust. Paul drives the point home with some good vocals and there is a cool acoustic interlude in the middle of the song which accentuates his vocals really well. However, the power chords come in and really drive things home.

Very few songs from the two studio albums fail to make it on here. Therefore, I get to reminisce over the great songs from the album I did listen to, the second one, “Children of Madness” and got a good introduction to the debut album. It’s the songs from the first album which come first and then the songs from the second follow with a bonus track at the end, “To the Limit.” While not a bad thing, I can help thinking that maybe they should have arranged it the way its done on Youtube with the songs interwoven. That really made me concentrate more when listening to the album.

What you do get is seventeen good songs. I got to experience songs like “Welcome to the Battlezone” and reminisce over familiar ones such as “I Don’t Wanna Know,” Metal Tears” and I like “Whispered Rage” even more. As for the bonus track, it starts with some cool guitar riffs which sound even cooler once the rhythm section kicks in. Paul’s vocals are as good as always and the guitar solo tradeoff is done very well. Plus there is a cool drum solo after the guitar solo which gives it a more African feel.

Track Listing:

  1. Fighting Back
  2. Welcome to the Battlezone
  3. Warchild
  4. The Land God Gave to Cain
  5. Too Much to Heart
  6. Voice on the Radio
  7. Rising Star
  8. Rip It Up
  9. I Don’t Wanna Know
  10. Nuclear Breakdown
  11. Touch of Heat
  12. Whispered Rage
  13. Children of Madness
  14. Metal Tears
  15. It’s Love
  16. The Promise
  17. To the Limit

Paul Di’Anno- vocals

John Wiggins- guitar

Pete West- bass

Steve Hopgood- drums (tracks 8-16)

Bob Falck- drums (tracks 1-6)

Graham Bath- guitar (tracks 8-16)

John Hurley- guitar (tracks 1-6)

The easy answer to if you want to check out Paul Di’Anno’s Battlezone, get this “Best of” album. It has all the best songs you need to hear from them. Still, I wonder if it hadn’t been for all the rock related issues, how far they might have gone.

Next post: Kingdom Come

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Original vs. Cover vs. Cover: The Boys Are Back in Town

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 5, 2023 by 80smetalman

Unfortunately, I am not ready to post the intended next post which was Paul Di’Anno’s Battlezone “Best of” album. Owing to a busy week and the fact that the album is seventeen songs long, I wasn’t able to give the number of listens I give an album before I go to post. Instead, I thought I would treat you to an Original vs. Cover post but I am adding an extra cover. The song in question is the Thin Lizzy classic, “The Boys are Back in Town.” Will either cover be better than the original? And which of the two covers is the better one? Have a listen and judge for yourself.

Thin Lizzy

I can still remember back in 1977 this song blasting through my AM radio. I rocked to it then and more than 45 years later, it still rocks. There’s not much more about this classic which hasn’t already been said.

Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi’s cover of the song was known to me via the “Make A Difference” compilation album. For those not in the know, the album featured artists covering songs from ones who left the mortal plain. I did find Ozzy’s rendition of “Purple Haze” quite interesting. Anyway, Bon Jovi covered the Thin Lizzy classic.


While they never became a household name like Thin Lizzy or Bon Jovi, English metal band, Briar, covered the song on their 1988 “Crown of Thorns” album.

My Verdict:

The original wins this one hands down. For a song to be so well known after so many years says a lot about the band which recorded it. This song was a crowning achievement for Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy. As for the covers, my opinion on that score hasn’t changed. Briar wins out easily. Their hunger to make it big is reflecting in the way they record the song and I do like the echoing guitars as the song makes its exit. It was also good to give Phil a shout out at the beginning.

Have a listen to all three and let me know your thoughts. Remember dissent is always welcome on 80smetalman.

Next post: Paul DiAnno’s Battlezone- Warchild, The Best of

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On another note, the petition to have Ozzy knighted as reached 35,000 signatures.

Great Metal Albums of 1988: Briar- Crown of Thorns

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 13, 2023 by 80smetalman

With heavy metal bands being a dime a dozen in the late 1980s, it was very easy for bands to come and go unnoticed. In some cases, it was whether you were in the right place at the right time to catch a particular band. That was the case for me with UK metal band, Briar. I discovered them when I saw them open for Styper in London in 1987. Another reason why they might have not gotten true recognition is that while they were pretty good that evening, I wasn’t wowed by them either. Still, it was enough for me to check out their previous album “Take On the World” and their 1988 offering, “Crown of Thorns.”

Here’s another take from the evening, the song I remember the most from their set was “One Foot Back in the Door.” When I got “Take on the World,” I assumed the song was going to be on that album but it wasn’t. However, it does appear on this album. Here’s another idea, because they played that song, I assumed that it was going to be released as a single and it might have been. There was a vague air of familiarity when Briar played the song in London but I don’t remember it as a single. On the other hand, the song that made its way onto MTV in the US was “Frankie.” Both songs were worthy of being released as a single, they have that vibe to it but it’s the deeper cuts which interest me more.

When Briar stick with the melodic metal, which they do for most of the album, things sound really good. The opening title cut and tracks like “Back and Wild,” (my vote for hidden gem) and “Another Day in the Life of a Fool” bear witness to this. All three tracks are straight forward, let’s get down to business songs which are really good. Furthermore, one of their two covers, the one of Thin Lizzy’s classic, “The Boys Are Back in Town,” is done quite well. In fact, I’m going to step into the ring of controversy and declare that I prefer this cover to Bon Jovi’s cover of the same song on the “Make a Difference” compilation album. As for the other cover, Los Lobos’s “La Bamba,” well let’s just say that it’s pretty amusing though metalled out fairly well. I do like the guitar solo on it and Dean Cook has a nice drum fill at the end.

Again, they’re not bad tracks but “Spirit of the Wood” attempts to go a bit progressive at the beginning before going back to Briar basics. Perhaps they realized they shouldn’t veer to far away from their bread and butter. Saying that, the guitar at the intro and between the verses is quite alluring. “Empty Words” is a decent but unspectacular power ballad. Normally, I would say that the album ends with a cool closer and “Everyone’s Going Crazy” is just that. However, officially, it’s not the closer because that is the two second long track, “Fart.” Yes, it’s literally that!

One thing I can say for sure from listening to “Crown of Thorns” is that Briar were a good tight band. Kevin Griffiths has double duties on vocals and bass, just like Lemmy. His vocals are good and I can’t fault his bass playing. The guitar duo of Dave Fletcher and Darren Underwood make a great combination. I like the way they complement each other on the Thin Lizzy cover. Maybe they should have done more, even one guitar solo trade off. Drummer Dean has already been mentioned and what he does on “La Bamba” he does throughout the album. Together, they did make a good band.

Track Listing:

  1. Crown of Thorns
  2. Frankie
  3. Just Another Day in the Life of a Fool
  4. Back and Wild
  5. La Bamba
  6. One Foot Back in Your Door
  7. Spirit of the Wood
  8. The Boys Are Back in Town
  9. Empty Words
  10. Everyone’s Going Crazy
  11. Fart


Kevin Griffiths- lead vocals, bass

Dave Fletcher- guitars, backing vocals

Darren Underwood- guitars, backing vocals

Dean Cook- drums

There are probably many reasons why Briar , like so many other bands, never made the big time. It’s basically down to the fact that they were competing in a very saturated market at the time. As “Crown of Thorns” shows, they had the tools. Oh yes, I’ve decided that in the not too distant future, I will write a Cover vs. Cover or even an Original vs. Cover vs. Cover post in reference to “The Boys are Back in Town.”

Next post: Stryper- In God We Trust

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Great Rock/Metal Albums of 1988: Dogs D’Amour- In the Dynamite Jet Saloon

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2023 by 80smetalman

Readers have ask why I will be stopping my tour of rock and metal history after 1989 and there are several reasons for this. One of which was because by 1990, I was becoming more and more aloof musically. I blame that thing called life. However, as I reflect back to that time, that thing was already intruding upon my love for music as early 1988. With a new marriage and a baby on the way, it’s easy to see why. Of course, I had my then wife telling me that I needed to stop being a prat and grow up, which I did. Now, you might be asking what does the album, “In the Dynamite Jet Saloon” by English band, Dogs D’Amour have to with it? The answer is that this album is proof of my oncoming drift away from rock and metal. I never listened to this album until now and I only knew of their big single, “How Come It Never Rains?”

The album explodes another big misconception from that time. Back then, anything with a power chord from a guitar was immediately regards as being heavy metal and with the band’s image, Dogs D’Amour were cast into that pool. Here’s the thing, “ITDJS” is not metal, not by today’s definition for sure. If there is any category they should be put in is melodic hard rock, although the Heavy Harmonies site lists them as ‘sleaze rock.’ I can go with that sentiment.

What you get with this album, is ten, (thirteen if on CD), great melodic rock songs. The songs aren’t power chords galore but the guitar work from Jo Almeida lets you know that this is a rock album. Now Jo doesn’t blow you away with blistering solos but his solos do make the songs sound good. He does play some cool guitar hooks on “Gonna Get It Right.” Furthermore, the rhythm section of Steve James and Bam provide a great foundation on which to build the music on. They especially shine on the track, “Medicine Man.” Plus Steve has a nice little bass line on “Gonna Get It Right.” Lead singer, Tyla, is another reason why Dogs D’Amour can’t be called metal. He doesn’t hit the high notes like a Gillan or a Dickinson but he doesn’t need to.

Two other tracks, “I Don’t Want To Go” and “The Kid From Kensington,” were also released as singles. The thing is, while both are cool songs, it’s the deep cuts which really make this album so enjoyable. Guitar, bass and drums come together to make “Everything I Want,” the hidden gem and that’s after beating off some stiff competition from the already mentioned “Gonna Get it Right” and “Last Bandit.” I haver heard many rock albums which were very easy to listen to but Dogs D’Amour make “ITDJS” a very enjoyable listen.

Track Listing:

  1. Debauchery
  2. I Don’t Want to Go
  3. How Come It Never Rains
  4. Last Bandit
  5. Medicine Man
  6. Gonna Get It Right
  7. Everything I Want
  8. Heartbreak
  9. Billy Two Rivers
  10. Wait Until I’m Dead
  11. Sometimes
  12. The Kid From Kensington
  13. The State I’m In

Note: Track 11-13 were only available on the CD version of the album.

Dogs D’Amour

Tyla- lead vocals

Jo ‘Dog’ Almeida- guitar

Steve James- bass

Bam- drums

Dogs D’Amour and the “In The Dynamite Jet Saloon” is a classic case of better late than never with me. I feel I should kick myself for missing out on this cool album when it came out the first time. Note: when I have posted the last album of 1989, I will still be sticking around.

Next post: Briar- Crown of Thorns

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Great Metal Albums of 1988: Wrathchild- The Biz Suxx

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2023 by 80smetalman

What seems like a long time ago, I stated that the band Tigertailz were trying to be the British version of Poison. Perhaps I was a bit hasty there because after listening their album, “The Biz Suxx,” it might be Wrathchild who more deserve that title. Although, Wrathchild came out of the new wave of British heavy metal in the early 1980s, they didn’t achieve the success of other bands from that time. Then there’s their image, while not quite the ‘fillies with willys’ which Poison have been called, Wrathchild do try to go heavy on the make up.

The album is pretty fun, a good one to have at parties but I can also hear why they didn’t achieve the success of let me say, Iron Maiden or Judas Priest or even Saxon. What I can say is that there is a sound similar to Poison with many of the songs. What I do like is some of the spoken parts like at the beginning of the title track which states, “What’s wrong? It’s only rock and roll” and the dialogue with an unknown lady on the track, “Hooked.”

Girl: What are you doing, Rocky?

Rocky: Looks like you, babe

Girl: You’re pretty sure of yourself

Rocky: Well, your mother didn’t seem to mind

I know this isn’t too politically correct these days but a cool guitar solo from Lance Rocket follows immediately. The album also features what is possibly Wrathchild’s best known song, “Na Na Nuklear Rokket.” Yes, I am sure the bad spelling on the song titles is one of the band’s selling points but what I like about the song is the fact that it has a real catchy melody and the band aren’t trying to sound like Poison or anyone else for that matter. But if “Na Na Nuklear Rokket” was the single, then “She’z No Angel” is the hidden gem. You get a good vocal performance, cool guitar solo and a steady rhythm section, all in a song about a bad girl.

My realization from the album is that Wratchild use innuendos, some sleazy some not, in the lyrics to attract listeners and not just on the spoken parts. Further along on the title track, there’s the line: “I look like a star but I’m still on the dole” which is a dig at the fact that the band weren’t getting rich from their record sales.

With all that said, the band can play some. Lance puts down a couple of good guitar solos, one on “Hooked” and another on “Ring My Bell.” Furthermore, his opening riffs on “Hooligunz” is quite impressive and a decent guitar solo to boot. Credit where due must be given to the rhythm section as well. While not mind blowing, Marc Angel and Eddie Starr lay down a consistent beat all throughout the album. While I won’t call lead singer Rocky Shades a weak link, he’s not the greatest singer in metal but makes up for it with plenty of charisma.

Track Listing:

  1. The Biz Suxx
  2. ££ Millionaire $$
  3. Hooked
  4. Na Na Nuklear Rokket
  5. Wild Wild Honey
  6. Ring My Bell
  7. Hooligunz
  8. She’z No Angel
  9. OK. UK
  10. Noo Sensation
  11. Sticky Fingerz


Rocky Shades- vocals

Lance Rocket- guitar

Marc Angel- bass

Eddie Starr- drums

They say that in 1988, glam and hair metal bands were coming out of the woodwork and I can see truth in that. It could be why Wrathchild never got any real traction. However, this album is a fun listen and oh yes, that’s Bruce Dickinson in the video for “Na Na Nuklear Rokket.”

Next post: Dogs D’Amour- In the Dynamite Jet Saloon

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Thank You All!

Posted in Illness, Uncategorized with tags , on January 21, 2023 by 80smetalman

Today, Mrs 80smetalman along with her eldest son, youngest daughter and granddaughter and I made the 350 round trip to Sheffield Children’s Hospital to visit baby Paisley. I am happy to say that things are looking good. She’s on the mend and hopefully will be out of the hospital next week. From the bottom of our hearts, my wife and I would like to thank all of you for sending your prayers, thoughts and vibes.

Paisley today

Paisley with her step-grandfather

Asking For Your Thoughts, Prayers and Vibes

Posted in Death, Illness, Uncategorized with tags , , on January 20, 2023 by 80smetalman

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Last week, my step granddaughter, Paisley Jorja Josephine was born. She has only been in the world a week but already, she has been through the wars. When she was two days old, it was discovered that she was neither peeing nor pooing. At first, they thought it might be a blockage and she was rushed to a children’s hospital 60 miles away. After an initial five hours of surgery, it was found that her bowels and intestines weren’t attached. As a result, her internal organs are now outside of her body, waiting for when it’s safe to attach everything.

Therefore, I am asking all of my readers to say a prayer and spare a thought for baby Paisley. Also remember her father, Kane, (my stepson), and mother, Steph. Hopefully, with all the positive energy, Paisley will pull through and be able to lead a normal life.

In Case You Missed Them

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on January 18, 2023 by 80smetalman

Admittedly, I was a little disappointed that no one commented on my Iron Maiden stamps. Then again, I can understand because Cinderella’s “Long Cold Winter” album is good enough to distract from anything else. Anyway, here’s a couple of strips I bought the other day and I will buy the presentation pack.

Rest in Peace Jeff Beck

Posted in 1980s, Death, Heavy Metal, Illness, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 12, 2023 by 80smetalman
Jeff Beck

It looks like 2023 is going to suck for sure. Last night, guitarist extraordinaire, Jeff Beck, passed away in hospital in Southern England from Meningitis. He was 78. Beck’s music spanned many decades and you can click the link below to read about his amazing life in music. While I have always known him to be a fantastic guitarist, his appearances on 80smetalman featured his 1985 album, “Flash” and his appearance on Rod Stewart’s 1984 album where in the video for the song, “Infatuation,” he pops up in a hotel room to play his guitar solo. Of course, according to the most famous roadie, Del Preston, in “Wayne’s World 2,” Jeff found a sweet shop so Ozzy could fill a brandy glass with brown M&Ms.

To read about Jeff Beck’s amazing career:

Rest in peace Jeff Beck.

Great Metal Albums of 1988: Judas Priest- Ram It Down

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 15, 2022 by 80smetalman

There has been much negative talk over the years in regards to Judas Priest’s 1988 album, “Ram It Down.” I agree that it doesn’t reach the heights of colossal albums like “Screaming for Vengeance” and “British Steel” nor does it even come close to two very underrated albums, “Point of Entry” and “Defenders of the Faith.” “However, I must give the album credit where credit is due, I thought it was better than “Turbo.”

It was plain from the opening title track that Judas Priest was determined to put their synthesized previous album behind them and get back to basics. “Ram It Down” comes out of the blocks at 500 mph with the determination of pounding your ears into submission. It also host the first of a number of great guitar solo tradeoffs between KK and Glenn. Then with “Heavy Metal,” following an interesting guitar intro, they try to recapture the formula which made those great albums mentioned in the first paragraph what they were. This track sounds a little like the bastard child of “Better By You, Better Than Me” and “Some Heads Are Gonna Roll.” There are many cool guitar riffs, hooks and solos in the song.

Judas Priest continue their all out assault over the next two songs starting with a cool drum solo to start, “Love Zone.” The chorus on the song is quite catchy and does bring back memories of their former glories. While critics said that the album brought nothing new to the table, on this track, it didn’t need to. Instead, they remind you of what they did to get you listening to them in the first place. I can pretty much say the same on “Come and Get It,” although that has a cool guitar intro and great riffs and solos throughout the song instead. Then we come to the hidden gem, “Hard as Iron.” Not only does this track capture the glory days, it does so without sounding like you’ve heard this all before. That chorus blows my mind away and the solo tradeoff is damn cool.

The second half of the album starts off with the more progressive metal sounding “Blood Red Skies.” The way out intro lets you know that this is going to be more than an assault on the ear drums. The acoustic guitars and Rob’s more sombre vocals stamp it as fact. The only problem is that after the intro synths and drum machines reminding you of “Turbo” do threaten to put one off the song. However, the guitars and Rob’s falsetto vocals spear any thoughts of a return to the previous album. Actually, the track is well placed as the change up keeps the interest and thought it’s nearly eight minutes long, it never gets boring.

If you want a song which is pure traditional Judas Priest, then I give you “I’m a Rocker.” While slammed for being nothing new, it is a great reminder of something old and after “Turbo,” I think this was what they needed. Following on is a cool cover of the Chuck Berry classic, “Johnny B. Goode.” This appears on the “Greatest Hits” album and I can see why it would be there. One question I ask about a lot of albums is why least strongest track is used as a penultimate track. AC/DC did this a lot and I have to say it’s the case here. “Love You to Death” isn’t a bad track but is the one which sounds a bit tired. However, “Monsters of Rock” closes the album out superbly. The song may have an impending doom feel but tells you that Judas Priest weren’t finished yet.

Track Listing:

  1. Ram It Down
  2. Heavy Metal
  3. Love Zone
  4. Come and Get It
  5. Hard as Iron
  6. Blood Red Skies
  7. I’m a Rocker
  8. Johnny B. Goode
  9. Love You To Death
  10. Monsters of Rock
Judas Priest

Rob Halford- vocals

Glenn Tipton- guitars, synthesizer

KK Downing- guitar

Ian Hill- bass

David Holland- drums, drum machine

Some people were ready to give up on Judas Priest after “Turbo” and even after this one. Fortunately, most of the masses didn’t and they are still out there blowing people away. “Ram It Down,” while no where near those classic from the late 1970s and early 80s, it was a step back in the right direction after what many called a misstep.

Next post: RATT- Reach For the Sky

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