Archive for New Wave of British Heavy Metal

Great Metal Albums of 1984: Tank- Honour and Blood

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2018 by 80smetalman

A term that has been batted around quite a lot here on 80smetalman is ‘hidden gem.’ In most cases, I use it to describe a song I really like on an album that has a well known single or two on it. On occasion, I have also used the term to describe albums from bands who have more well known albums than the one I am posting about at the time. Now, I’m going to use it to describe a band or two. Whenever the new wave of British heavy metal, (NWOBHM), is mentioned, the first bands that come to mind, even mine, are Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Def Leppard and maybe Saxon. All of them great bands who have given us more than three and a half decades of great music. However as I tour through the years, I have discovered two hidden gems from the NWOBHM age. One I posted about a couple of months ago, Grimm Reaper. The other is brought to you now, Tank. I knew of both bands back in the day and loved them and often wonder why neither of them were as big as the others.

Back in those days, I had become quite diligent in scouring the heavy metal import section at my local record store and that’s where I came across what I think is their best album, “Honour & Blood.” The problem is that I didn’t appreciate it enough back then, so I’m making up for it now. What you get with this album is seven songs of pure metal magic. The shortest song is a mere four minutes and thirty-seven seconds long and there is only one other song less than five. Tank go off on crazy long metal jams which are just superb. There is not one song, even the two that are eight minutes long, where I am thinking that the song has gone on for too long. BTW, those eight minuters are the opening and closing tracks on the album and a good way to do it. Especially so on the closer because it features the very amusing lyrics, “Kill, the poor bastard’s dying.” What a fun way to the close the album, of course the cool guitar solo kind of punctuates it too.

As for the songs in between, they are all great! “When All Hell Freezes Over” is a typical but well done pure metal jam and I’m hooked by the way they sing the chorus. Blistering guitars adorn the title track. “W.M.L.A. (Wasting My Life Away)” and “Too Tired to Wait For Love” are also great metal anthems and more than just amusing titles. However, my favourite track is the cover of the Aretha Franklin hit, “Chain of Fools.” I admit, the rhythm reminds me a little of the Rolling Stones classic, “Satisfaction,” but the song just kicks it.

Track Listing:

  1. The War Drags Ever On
  2. When All Hell Freezes Over
  3. Honour and Blood
  4. Chain of Fools
  5. W.M.L.A. (Wasting My Life Away)
  6. Too Tired To Wait For Love
  7. Kill

Tank

Algy Ward- bass, vocals

Cliff Evans- guitar

Mick Tucker- guitar

Graeme Crallan- drums

The more I reflect back to those years, the more convinced I am that Tank were a hidden gem in the new wave of British heavy metal. They may not have hit it as big as the others, constant personnel changes didn’t help them there, but they left behind several albums, including “Honour and Blood” for us to enjoy.

Next Post: TNT- Knights of New Thunder

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Great Metal Albums of 1984: Iron Maiden- Powerslave

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 2, 2018 by 80smetalman

Having had a glance back at posts about previous Iron Maiden, I mentioned when I posted about the “Piece of Mind” album, that the first Iron Maiden album I actually bought was “Live After Death,” which wouldn’t come out for another year after, “Powerslave.” But it was buying that great live album that got me to get off my ass and check out their earlier albums, including this great 1984 offering, “Powerslave.”

When you hear a song on a live album and then hear the studio version or vice versa, it’s hard not to compare and contrast the two versions. It is even more of the case when listening to “Powerslave” because four songs from it are played on “Live After Death.” There are some interesting comparisons both ways here. Take the opener. “Aces High” is a great song to open the album with. However, the live version is an even better song to open a concert on. It seems that the live version is played with much more intensity. That’s just my opinion. Thinking about it more, one thing that pisses me off is the fact that whenever there is talk about the Battle of Britain, “Aces High,” which is a great song to commemorate the battle, is never mentioned. This song is not only a great metal tune, it should be used as a teaching tool in schools.

On the other hand, the title track, sounds just average on “Live After Death.” It’s played well and all that but it just sort of blends in along with all the great songs from the other studio albums that are played live. However, it does stand out more on the studio album that bears its name and as a result, I get into it more. In regards to the other two songs from this album that appear on the live album, “Two Minutes to Midnight” and “Rime of the Ancient Mariner sound just as good played either way.

Now before stones start getting hurled at me, when I say that the title track stands out more, I am no way implying that the other songs on the album are sub par. I enjoy listening to all the songs on “Powerslave.” “The Duellists” is a great song where guitarists Smith and Murray trade off solos very well. I also find the instrumental, “Losfer Words” very enjoyable as well. I think that like the previously mentioned song, Adrian and Dave were given more liberty to shine on their six strings and with fantastic results! “Back in the Village” is a more powerful Maiden track that gets more in your face. So you have a little bit of everything Iron Maiden can do at their best here and that makes a fine album.

Track Listing:

  1. Aces High
  2. Two Minutes to Midnight
  3. Losfer Words
  4. Flash of the Blade
  5. The Duellists
  6. Back in the Village
  7. Powerslave
  8. Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Iron Maiden

Bruce Dickinson- vocals

Steve Harris- bass

Dave Murray- guitar

Adrian Smith- guitar

Nicko McBrain- drums

Heavy metal was exploding across the world in 1984. Great bands from all around the world were making their mark but it was still great that all the great NWOBHM bands like Iron Maiden were leading the charge and still proving they were a force to be reckoned with. “Powerslave” stamps that point emphatically.

Next post: Mercyful Fate- Don’t Break the Oath

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Great Metal Albums of 1984: Saxon- Crusader

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 14, 2018 by 80smetalman

My trip through all the great albums of 1984 has led me to make many conclusions about the year, the music and certain bands. Here’s another one. It is my belief that Saxon were the best band from the new wave of British heavy metal, (NWOBHM), age not to have made a major impact in America. Sure, I had heard of them and even heard a couple of their songs back when I was in the marines stationed on Okinawa and liked them, but I never got around to listening to them properly until early 1985 when I heard their classic “Princess of the Night” from the outstanding “Denim and Leather” album on a metal compilation album. While I did make up for that mistake afterwards, I still think that Saxon never really got the recognition in America they truly deserved.

Onto Saxon’s 1984 album “Crusader.” The problem is that when any band puts out the album one calls their favourite by that band, all other albums are held in comparison to that one. In my case, all Saxon albums are held up to the light shone from “Denim and Leather” and that’s not particularly fair to “Crusader.” What Saxon did on this album is to take all the great things from the one album and recreate it on this album while at the same time not making it a total clone of the former. I think the objective was achieved on “Crusader.”

I love the way “Crusader” opens. It starts with medieval fanfare with galloping horses and all before going into the big title track. For me, it’s history coming to life through music as the story of crusaders is told in the song. It also helps that that period of history is one of my favourite eras. You know, knights on horses hacking down their enemies with swords, damsels in distress and catapults reducing castles to rubble, I love all that. I do think that if teachers play this song while teaching about it in school, more metalheads would wake up and pay attention and learn about all about the Crusades.

Tired cliche alert: One song doesn’t make or break an entire album. The rest of “Crusader” holds up very well and I do hear all the good things done on “Denim and Leather” on it. It’s just that one track, “Just Let Me Rock” seems to take all of those good things and incorporate them all into one song, although the title track of “Denim and Leather” seems to be the biggest influence here and that’s not a bad thing because Saxon definitely did not simply clone that song. On that thought, “Bad Boys Like to Rock and Roll” sounds like a fusion of the “Denim and Leather” tracks “Rough and Ready” and “Midnight Rider” and again, it’s done very uniquely and played outstandingly. The one song where there is no influence from my favourite Saxon album is the power ballad, “Do It All For You.” Power is the key word in the song and it does belt your eardrums even though it’s a ballad. However, the big clincher on the track is the Biff’s vocals. His best effort definitely shines through here.

I usually view covers of songs with a hint of cynicism and I did so with the cover of The Sweet classic, “Set Me Free.” Another cliche alert: Saxon put their own stamp on it and make the song their own, believe me they do. It’s not often that I like a cover as much, possibly more than the original, but I can’t fault Saxon’s efforts here. The answer, I think to why I like this song and all the other songs so much, is the guitar work of Oliver and Quinn. Both guitarists are simply exemplary on the album.

Track Listing:

  1.  The Crusader Prelude
  2. Crusader
  3. A Little Bit of What You Fancy
  4. Sailing to America
  5. Set Me Free
  6. Just Let Me Rock
  7. (Bad Boys) Like to Rock and Roll
  8. Do It All For You
  9. Rock City
  10. Run For Your Loves

Saxon

Biff Byford- vocals

Graham Oliver- guitar

Paul Quinn- guitar

Steve Dawson- bass

Nigel Glockler- drums

While I might have only highlighted a few songs on “Crusader,” let me just say that all the songs make this album great.

Next post: Motorhead- No Remorse

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://book-fm.cf/print/free-download-rock-and-roll-children-by-michael-d-lefevre-pdf.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1984: Grim Reaper- See You In Hell

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 16, 2017 by 80smetalman

Whenever the new wave of British heavy metal or NWOBHM is mentioned, it is usually Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Def Leppard and Saxon who spring to mind first. These great bands blazed a trail for metal bands from both sides of the Atlantic to follow. Leading the chase out of Great Britain was the heavy metal outfit, Grim Reaper. For me, the name alone made them worth giving them a listen and that turned out to be a very wise choice.

Coming from Droitwich which is in Worcestershire, England and only about 20 miles from Birmingham, there is no surprise in the Judas Priest influence with the band. However, lead singer Steve Grimmett has a vocal style that is somewhat like Iron Maiden although I can at times hear a little of Halford as well. Okay, I’m a wishy-washy bastard. Anyway, with this mighty infusion, it is little wonder that Grim Reaper sounds as good as they do and why I think their debut album, “See You in Hell” is cool.

The title track, which is the band’s best known song leads the charge. Listening to it, it is no wonder why it’s number 38 on VHS Most Awesome Bad Metal Songs Ever. It’s definitely my all time favourite Grim Reaper song. However, the seven other songs on the album aren’t far behind and make sure that it’s not a one song album. All throughout the album are the bashing power chords and way out soloing of guitarist Nick Bowcott and the fore-mentioned vocals of Grimmett. All of which are supported by a more than capable rhythm section of Dave Wanklin and Lee Harris. This makes it difficult for me to pick out a standout song beyond the title track. They are all stomp on your face metal tunes that rock. The only possible exception is the slower, at times ballad like “The Show Must Go On.” While quality wise, its as good but no better  than the other tracks, it does depart from the hammering chords of those songs and shows that Grim Reaper are versatile. Bowcott’s guitar work is quite eerily outstanding on it. However, that only changes things up slightly before the closer blasts your ears to pieces.

Track Listing:

  1. See You in Hell
  2. Dead On Arrival
  3. Liar
  4. Wrath of the Ripper
  5. Now or Never
  6. Run For Your Life
  7. The Show Must Go On
  8. All Hell Let Loose

Grim Reaper

Steve Grimmett- vocals

Nick Bowcott- guitars

Dave Wanklin- bass

Lee Harris- drums

Grim Reaper’s debut “See You in Hell” album led the charge for what many thought would be a second new wave of British heavy metal. Especially with Maiden and Priest coming out with albums the same year. In 1984, that was true and though things would go sour for this band a few years later, this is still an album to be proud of.

Next post: Gary Moore- Victims of the Future

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_8?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1510850234&sr=1-8&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1984: Rock Goddess- Hell Hath No Fury

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 29, 2017 by 80smetalman

Girlschool wasn’t the only female band to come along on the new wave of British heavy metal, (NWOBHM). In early 1984, I happened to catch another band of ladies who proved they could rock as hard as the men. That band happened to be the trio known as Rock Goddess. I have to admit, when I first saw the video for the big single from this album, “Hell Hath No Fury,” “I Didn’t Know Till I Saw You Rock and Roll,” I was totally smitten. Not only did these three ladies tingle my then 22 year old hormones, they could play metal as well and play it well. Note: this single doesn’t appear on the UK release of the album.

While the mentioned single can still be found on some compilation albums from time to time and is the song Rock Goddess is best known for, I can say with certainty that the entire album kicks ass. It’s just one complete blow your eardrums to pieces rock party from start to finish. In fact, if I had to pick, I would say that the opening title track is probably the least strongest track on here. I can’t use weakest because I don’t think that applies. “Gotta Let Your Hair Down” is a great example of what I mean by blow your eardrums metal. When I hear that song, I regret the fact that I never seen them live.

Because they are an all female band, I feel the need to make the cliched comment that they are just as good as their male counterparts. Take singer/guitarist Jody Turner. Now, I admit that her guitar playing isn’t equal to greats like Blackmore or Van Halen but it’s good enough. Her best guitar effort can be found on “In the Night” and runner up is “Hold Me Down.” Plus she has the added gift of having a good singing voice that can bellow to the high extremes and then soften to a melodic purr. If that’s not all, she was the songwriter for the band and to me, she does write some good songs. I find, “The Visitors Are Here,” a song about an alien visit, quite cool. As for the rhythm section of Julie Turner and Dee O’Malley, they are as tight as any other section I know of.

Track Listing:

  1. Hell Hath No Fury
  2. I Didn’t Know I Loved You Till I Saw You Rock and Roll
  3. Gotta Let Your Hair Down
  4. In the Night
  5. Hold Me Down
  6. The Visitors Are Here
  7. You Got the Fire
  8. It Will Never Change
  9. Don’t Want Your Love
  10. God Be With You

Rock Goddess

Jody Turner- guitars, lead vocals

Julie Turner- drums, backing vocals

Dee O’Malley- bass, keyboards, backing vocals

My question has always been, why didn’t Rock Goddess go further? According to Wikapedia, there were problems from the outset. Julie Turner was still a school age minor and there were legal limitation on how many live shows she could perform. Right before the scheduled US tour, Dee O’Malley announced she was pregnant and left the band. That was typical of the band’s history as bassists and sometimes second guitarists would come and go so they never became fully solid. Damn shame in my opinion because they could have achieved so much more.

Next post: White Wolf- Standing Alone

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Great Metal Albums of 1983: Raven- All For One

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 2, 2017 by 80smetalman

220px-raven_-_all_for_one

In 1983, not only the likes of NWOBHM bands like, Def Leppard, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest were gaining headway in the US but other bands like Raven were establishing themselves as well. It is true that Raven never came close to the commercial success the bands mentioned would go on to achieve, many metalheads would know of them nonetheless. One reason might be albums like their 1983 “All For One” album, which some people say was the last of their golden age albums.

“All For One” has everything any metalhead needs to like in a metal album. It has a straight ahead power chords augmented by some cool guitar solos from Mark Gallagher. Meanwhile, his brother John proves he is a decent vocalist and like Lemmy can play bass at the same time, thus fulfilling the second half of the rhythm section with drummer, Rob Hunter. I know I have said this many times about many bands but Raven were a good band that didn’t have the breaks of some of their NWOBHM contemporaries.

What I like about this album is that all of the tracks can be seen to be pure metal, if such a thing exists now a days. That starts right away with the first two tracks but it’s the third track, “Sledgehammer Rock” that really grabs my attention. The power of that song takes the album that much higher. In the 80s, many bands would use the technique of an a cappella harmonizing followed by a killer guitar riff but not done so much in 1983. Raven do it very well with the title track. Then they follow it up with some cool opening guitar riffs on “Run Silent, Run Deep.”

Only knowing this album on vinyl gives me the advantage of dividing “All For One” in two because Side 2 definitely outshines Side 1. It helps that the second side starts with my favourite track, “Hung, Drawn and Quartered.” This track is in the Judas Priest vein but Raven put their own mark on it, especially with Mark’s guitar solo on it. The next track, “Breaking the Chains” is the second best track so we get a one-two punch here that knocks you out. Again, we hear more impressive guitar work from Mark at the beginning of “Breaking the Chains.” It has a cool chorus and it’s well sung. The three remaining tracks, while not as dynamic as the two that lead the Side 2 charge, are very good songs in their own right. When they’re finished, you know that you’ve listened to a true metal album.

Track Listing:

  1. Take Control
  2. Mind Over Metal
  3. Sledgehammer Rock
  4. All For One
  5. Run Silent, Run Deep
  6. Hung, Drawn and Quartered
  7. Breaking the Chains
  8. Take it Away
  9. Seek and Destroy
  10. Athletic Rock

raven

John Gallagher- bass, lead and backing vocals

Mark Gallagher- guitars

Rob Hunter- drums, backing vocals

While “All For One” is probably my favourite Raven album, I don’t quite agree with the last of their golden age theory. I thought they put out some fine material after, which I will cover in the appropriate year. Still, if you’re a metalhead, you can’t go wrong with this album.

Next post: ~Girlschool- Play Dirty

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1983: Tank- This Means War

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2017 by 80smetalman

220px-tank_this_means_war

Whenever a group of bands are identified with a certain area and style of music, there are those who stamp their names as standard bearers of that music but if you look down the list, there are many other bands in that group who typify that style but don’t get the recognition they probably deserve. For example, when Southern Rock was at its commercial hey day in the very early 1980s, bands like Molly Hatchet, The Outlaws, 38 Special and Blackfoot were the bands people identified with that form of rock. Not many would be able to identify Doc Holliday, Johnny Van Zant Band or Mother’s Finest to name just a few and they were just as good as the ones previously mentioned.

The same applies to the new wave of British Heavy Metal, (NWOBHM), which came out right after. Living in the US at the time, I knew and adored Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Saxon, Motorhead, Def Leppard but bands like Diamond Head, I only knew because I had seen them live. As for Tank, they came to my attention because I just happened to see one of their albums in the import section of my local record store. It wasn’t the one I’m posting about now.

To be honest, I didn’t listen to “This Means War” until I actually came to Britain and that was late 1986. A new friend who we nicknamed ‘Trendy Bastard’ because he dressed a little too much like Bon Jovi, had an extensive collection of music and one night, treated us to the album. It definitely made an impression on me because although I never bought this album, it has stuck in my mind for all these years.

All of the elements of NWOBHM are present on “This Means War.” When I listen to it, I hear influences from Motorhead and Judas Priest. The songs are fast paced but not at a real break neck speed. Still, the power and rhythm combine to make them catchy. Algy Ward’s vocals sound closer to that of Rob Halford and done competently.  Guitars are also done well, prime example being “I Won’t Ever Let You Down,” though I’m not quite ready to add Peter Brabbs and Mick Tucker to my guitar list. The best examples of what I’m talking about are the tracks, “This Means War,” “If We Go, We Go Down Fighting,” “Just Like Something From Hell” and “Echoes of a Distant Battlefield.”

Track Listing:

  1. Just Like Something From Hell
  2. Hot Lead, Cold Steel
  3. This Means War
  4. Laughing in the Face of Death
  5. (If We Go) We Go Down Fighting]
  6. I Won’t Ever Let You Down
  7. Echoes of a Distant Battlefied
Tank

Tank

Algy Ward- bass, vocals

Peter Brabbs- guitar

Mick Tucker- guitar

Mark Brabbs- drums

Was it because so many British metal bands were gaining status in the US the reason why Tank got left out? While they might not have been as spectacular as the greats who did achieve, they were still a cool band and as “This Means War” proved to me, they deserve some recognition.

Next Post: KISS- Lick it Up

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London