Archive for New Wave of British Heavy Metal

Great Metal Albums of 1983: Saxon- Power and the Glory

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 26, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-powerglorysaxon

For a young American living in the sticks of Southern New Jersey in 1983, Diamond Head was probably the best kept secret of the new wave of British heavy metal, (NWOBHM). I only was fortunate to know their existence because I happened to see them live in England that summer. However, if that is truly the case, then Saxon was the best NWOBHM band not to fully get the respect in the US they truly deserved. Their 1983 album “Power and the Glory” is a solid piece of evidence as to why.

It would be a very difficult task for any Saxon album to knock off “Denim and Leather” as my favourite album of theirs, so “Power and the Glory” will have to settle for number two. It is every much the killer as its 1981 predecessor! I have to admit, I’m pretty much impressed with all eight of the tracks on here. Maybe that’s why it’s only number two because “Denim and Leather” has nine.

“Power and the Glory” opens with the title track which is a good song to catch your attention. However, compared to the other tracks on the album, it’s the weakest, not that in any way it’s not a good track, it is. But the others that follow are mind blowing. Some really cool guitar solos from Oliver and Quinn on the tracks “Nightmare” and “This Town Rocks.” On the latter, I am wondering which town they are singing about because back in the mid 1980s, I lived in a town that didn’t. Some might say that about the town I live in now in the UK but those who rock aren’t visible. They just come out whenever a cool band like Hells Bells comes to town. Here I go digressing again. Great songs all here!

Impressing me further is the intro to “Midas Touch.” While Saxon has historically had many songs whose introduction has been a great hook, the one on this track takes the top spot for the album. And like so many Saxon songs, “Midas Touch” isn’t a song with a great intro that descends into mediocrity as the song progresses.

If my favourite Saxon album didn’t have such a killer closing track, then I would probably be gushing over the closer on “Power and the Glory.” I have to put “Denim and Leather” totally out of my mind so I can sing the praises of “The Eagle Has Landed.” It works in so many ways, as a closer and as a song in itself, great song. I have to say that I think Biff and the boys were on top form when they made “Power and the Glory.”

Track Listing:

  1. Power and the Glory
  2. Redline
  3. Warrior
  4. Nightmare
  5. This Town Rocks
  6. Watching the Sky
  7. Midas Touch
  8. The Eagle Has Landed
Saxon

Saxon

Biff Byford- vocals

Graham Oliver- guitar

Paul Quinn- guitar

Steve Dawson -bass

Nigel Glockler- drums

Some might argue that with all the great metal, especially (NWOBHM) albums that were out in 1983, it’s easy to see why Saxon’s “Power and the Glory” might have been overlooked in the US. No excuse I say and I wish it didn’t take me another two years before I started listening to Saxon in earnest. This album deserves to stand with all the other ones that were around in that year.

Next post: Y&T- Mean Streak

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

 

 

 

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Great Metal Albums of 1983: Diamond Head- Canterbury

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2016 by 80smetalman

diamond_head_canterbury_cover

It is quite possible that my mind is well and truly going. My memories from when I saw Diamond Head at the 1983 Monsters of Rock Festival at Donington Park in England, I thought that this band played some really hard metal. However, when I listen to their 1983 “Canterbury” album, which was released two months before their Donington appearance, I find myself asking, “Is this the same band?” The “Canterbury” album isn’t that straight forward in your face metal I remember from when I saw them all those years ago. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a cool album and there are a couple of hard tracks on it, however, the album takes a more progressive rock, artsy direction.

The first two tracks are definitely in the progressive vein but still decent tracks. For some reason, the opener, “Makin’ Music” reminds me a little of the opening track from Pat Travers’ live album. Things go gradually harder with the tracks that follow. The first metal track in the sense of the word for me is “One More Night.” That song does knock your socks off. I could say the same thing for the next track as well but the vocals remind me too much of early U2. I don’t want to insult lead singer Sean Harris but he does sound like Bono a little on it. One could say that this track might be what U2 would sound like if they went metal, as if. Then again, maybe I think too damn much.

Thoughts of U2  don’t disappear immediately on the very next track. They linger for the first half of “Knight of the Swords” but they do go away when Brian Tatler lays down his best guitar solo on the album. For me, that alone makes it the best track on the album. You know all this thinking about U2, I have to remember that back in 1983, they were good in my eyes and ears as they were with many others. So, the comparisons shouldn’t be seen as a harsh criticism. After “Knight of the Swords,” things go more melodic hard rock with “Ishmael.” It’s an okay song but I don’t find it anything to get too excited about. With “I Need Your Love,” Diamond Head goes kind of new wave/metal. It is a good track to bop your head along to and it hosts the second best guitar solo on it, so pluses all around. The title track closes the album and this is definitely an artsy progressive rock tune. It begins with a piano to which Harris sings a ballad like tune for the first two and a half minutes. While the song doesn’t go crazy power metal after, it does pick up the tempo. There is some fine musicianship on it and it turns out to be a good way to end the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Makin’ Music
  2. Out of Phase
  3. The Kingmaker
  4. One More Night
  5. To the Devil His Due
  6. Knight of the Swords
  7. Ishmael
  8. I Need Your Love
  9. Cantebury
Sean Harris and  Brian Tatler who made up Diamond Head

Sean Harris and Brian Tatler who made up Diamond Head

Sean Harris- vocals

Brian Tatler- guitars

Additional Musicians:

Colin Kimberly- bass

Mervyn Goldsworthy- bass

Duncan Scott- drums

Robbie France- drums

Jamie Lane- drums

Chris Heaton- keyboards

Back in the early 1980s, Diamond were the best kept secret of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, (NWOBHM). While Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Saxon to name some had established themselves as big names in the US, most Americans never heard of Diamond Head. One such person, when reading my Donington t-shirt thought that because the name Diamond Head was on it, the concert had taken place in Hawaii. I put him right on that one. “Canterbury” might not have been the metal album one would expect from Diamond Head, but it’s still good album nevertheless.

Next post: Saxon- Power and Glory

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

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Great Metal Albums of 1983: Iron Maiden- Piece of Mind

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2016 by 80smetalman

iron_maiden_-_piece_of_mind

One problem with me back in 1983 was procrastination. When I would hear about how good a particular band was or even heard a couple of songs I really liked from said band, I still wouldn’t rush out and buy their album. I put it down to me being too tight with my money back then. In the case of Iron Maiden, I heard a lot of good songs from them in the early years and even saw their kick ass live show in January 1985, which is highlighted in “Rock And Roll Children,” but the first Maiden album I actually bought was “Live After Death.” It was then that I started to delve into their backlog of studio albums and discovered what would be my all time favourite Iron Maiden studio album, “Piece of Mind.”

If I’m completely honest, I think what I liked most about “Piece of Mind” was that fact that it has many of the songs that I loved from “Live After Death” on it. What’s an added bonus is that the studio versions of those songs don’t sound too different from the live ones. Although when I hear “Revelations,” even after all these years, I still half expect Bruce Dickinson to shout “Scream for me Longbeach!” in the middle of the song. Still, you can’t go wrong with such great tracks as the one mentioned as well as two others near the top of my favourite Iron Maiden song list, “The Trooper” and “The Flight of Icarus.” The weird thing about those two songs is that “The Flight of Icarus” sounds shorter in length that what it actually is and “The Trooper” sounds longer. But hey, who cares about things like that? They’re both great songs, one written about a famous Greek fable while the other is about a tragic blunder in British military history, the charge of the light brigade. Both done very well set to music.

“Die With Your Boots On” is another cross over from the live album and I really like that one as well but those don’t lessen the effect the other tracks has on the album. “Where Eagles Dare” is a fantastic opener and “To Tame a Land” is a cool closer. The other three tracks on the album also contribute to “Piece of Mind’s” greatness although I never really get to hear what is said in “Nicko” which is a backwards message at the beginning of “Still Life.” It was included as a dig at the religious nuts who claimed Iron Maiden were Satanic on account of the “The Number of the Beast Album.” On the subject of Nicko, this was the first album to feature drummer Nicko McBrain, who replaced Clive Burr. What I never knew was that Nicko used to play with guitar great, Pat Travers. Man, you learn something new every day.

Track Listing:

  1. Where Eagles Dare
  2. Revelations
  3. The Flight of Icarus
  4. Die With You Boots On
  5. The Trooper
  6. Still Life
  7. Quest for Fire
  8. Sun and Steel
  9. To Tame a Land
Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden

Bruce Dickinson- vocals

Steve Harris- bass

Adrian Smith- guitar

Dave Murray- guitar

Nicko McBrain- drums

History has tried to state that the new wave of British heavy metal, (NWOBH) was fading by 1983. I guess that Iron Maiden forgot to pick up the memo because they put out a stellar album in that year. One can’t fault “Piece of Mind” at all as it cemented their place as heavy metal legends.

Next post: Def Leppard- Pyromania

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

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Great Rock/Metal Albums of 1983: Thin Lizzy- Thunder and Lightning

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 4, 2016 by 80smetalman

Thin_Lizzy_-_Thunder_and_Lightning

Before I launch into the final studio album from one of the greatest rock bands from the 1970s, I feel I must bring to everyone’s attention the boo-boo I made on my last post. Having looked at it, I realise that I never posted the photos I took of the headline band, Twister, that night. I have since rectified this mistake and the photos are there for your viewing enjoyment. I’ve listened to a couple of Twister songs on Youtube and they’re quite good.

Yes, “Thunder and Lightning” would be the final studio album from Thin Lizzy. My first experience of this album came in 1986, when partying in my college dorm room, my new British friends and I were making a tape for my sister. A Thin Lizzy song was suggested and “Thunder and Lightning” was further suggested. Upon hearing that suggestion, the Thin Lizzy officianado in the room stated that it was the worst Thin Lizzy song you could play. Having to decide things like that for myself, I listened to the album and I never agreed with my friend’s opinion.

Whether it was the addition of John Sykes on guitar or Thin Lizzy trying to jump on the new wave of British heavy metal, (NWOBHM), “Thunder and Lightning” is the heaviest Thin Lizzy album I have experienced. The title cut opens the album and from the first notes, you know that this is a much heavier brand of Thin Lizzy. That heaviness carries on through the second song as well. However, things slow right down with “The Sun Goes Down.” This one is much slower, a rock against the tide of the rest of the album. Still, there is some good keyboard work on it and I have always been a sucker for a great slow blues guitar solo. However, the song does drag in some places.

“The Holy War” returns things to its natural pace. While not quite as hard as the first two tracks, it does deliver through the melodic hard rock avenue and it’s possibly my favourite track on the album. It’s melody is quite catchy. That track sets up the rest of the album. From then on it’s one hard tune after the other, sort of a one, two, three, four, five punch. The opening riffs of “Cold Sweat” give that away. Even then, I can still hear the what some would say as traditional Thin Lizzy coming through and there is some good soloing from both Goram and Sykes.

One song that really intrigued me on “Thunder and Lightning” is “Someday She’s Going to Hit Back.” The title suggests this is an anti- domestic abuse song and having a read of the lyrics, it seems to support that theory. Here’s the paradox. This music to this rocker is really cool with another great guitar solo. However, I fear that on account of that, the message of the lyrics gets lost in the song. Just an observation here. Then comes “Baby Please Don’t Go,” another cool hard rock song but I am left to wonder if the last song sets up this one. However, both songs lead the way out for the album which ends on a terrific closer in “Heart Attack.” Not to take anything away from the penultimate song as that’s a good one too.

Track Listing:

  1. Thunder and Lightning
  2. This is the One
  3. The Sun Goes Down
  4. The Holy War
  5. Cold Sweat
  6. Someday She’s Going to Hit Back
  7. Baby, Please Don’t Go
  8. Bad Habits
  9. Heart Attack
Thin Lizzy

Thin Lizzy

Phil Lynott- bass, lead vocals

Scott Goram- guitar, backing vocals

John Sykes- guitar, backing vocals

Darren Wharton- keyboards, backing vocals

Brian Downey- drums, percussion

Usually in the case of final albums, they are a lackluster offering from a band whose attitude is to get it done and go. This isn’t the case here with “Thunder and Lightning.” There was some good thought put into it. Some say that the lyrics aren’t up to much but that’s a technicality. The music more than makes up for it. Definitely the rockingest album from Thin Lizzy.

Next post: Thin Lizzy- Life

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Great Metal Albums of 1982: Venom- Black Metal

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-Venomblackmetal

When many people talk about the new wave of British heavy metal, (NWOBHM,) they usually do so with bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Saxon and Def Leppard in mind. A good number will also include Motorhead in with the above but most will leave black metal thrashers Venom out. One reason for that, according to some British metalheads I met upon my arrival in the UK, is that they couldn’t take Venom seriously. Who’s trying to take them seriously? I’m sure not in the sense of being some kind of music critic. I simply appreciate their loud, aggressive thrash metal sound supplemented by very amusing lyrics about death and Satan. Granted, they’re not the most talented musicians in metal but what they put together is enjoyable for me. This is evidenced the 1982 album, “Black Metal.”

Listening to “Black Metal” makes me regret the fact that I had never heard of Venom until 1984. I can’t even blame being in the service for that. This album would have satisfied the hard edge I was searching for in music and while I wouldn’t hear of the term ‘thrash’ for three more years, “Black Metal” would still have been the answer.

From the get go with the opening title cut, I immediately found myself soaking up the thunderous beat and thrashing guitars from the album. Even when they try to slow down with the introduction of “Buried Alive,” you know that in a second, you’re going to get your ears blasted. You know, I can never make out what they’re trying to do at the beginning of that song, but hey, who cares? Even though, I have to really concentrate to listen for when “Buried Alive” ends and “Raise the Dead” begins, it’s not a major thing to worry about. The album just goes on rocking your socks off.

I think one problem some people might have had with this album is that they couldn’t pigeon hole it. While the music is thrash, the lyrics are definitely black metal. Take “To Hell and Back” for instance.

“I have been to Hell and back – kissed satanic Queen
Traveling at the speed of light – saw thing never seen
Arm in arm with Lucifer – Belial on my back
I have swam the lake of flames – walked forbidden tracks
To Hell – – and back
To Hell – – and back”

True, part of me wants to roll on the floor laughing my ass off when I hear them but it also makes me want to scream them at any religious nuts who happen by. I think that this is something else that makes this album so cool. If you think that those lyrics are amusing, then check out “Teacher’s Pet” which opens with the line “Teacher caught me masturbating underneath my desk.” Then there’s my favourite track, “Sacrifice” where they constantly spell the title throughout the song. With all of this, no wonder it is said that “Black Metal” influenced a generation of metal.

Track Listing:

  1. Black Metal
  2. To Hell and Back
  3. Buried Alive
  4. Raise the Dead
  5. Teacher’s Pet
  6. Leave Me In Hell
  7. Sacrifice
  8. Heaven’s On Fire
  9. Countess Bathory
  10. Don’t Burn the Witch
  11. At War With Satan (preview)
Venom

Venom

Cronos- bass, lead vocals

Mantas- guitar

Abbadon- drums

History has rewarded “Black Metal” by saying that it influenced both the thrash metal and black metal scene. Hearing this album, I can certainly testify to that. It possesses what I have always loved about both sub-genres of metal. It’s just a shame I didn’t get to listen to it back in the day because I think Venom were ahead of their time.

Next post: Triumph- Never Surrender

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 1982: Ted Nugent- Nugent

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 9, 2015 by 80smetalman

NUGENTTED_N

New Wave of British Heavy Metal or NWOBHM had clearly established its dominance around the world in 1982. However, thanks to bands like Riot and Y&T as well as others whose albums will be visited very soon, American metal wasn’t completely silent . Of all the American bands, the one artist who draped himself (and still does) in the American flag was Ted Nugent. In this year, the Motor City Madman put out a studio album and a live one. It is the studio album, “Nugent” that is being visited today.

Another reason why I’ve decided to visit the studio album first was that because of my military obligations, it was another album that passed me by in that year. Yet again, it’s another album I regret missing in 1982. “Nugent” has all the classic trademarks of the things that made Ted Nugent great. Most noteworthy, as is always the case with Ted, is the fact that he can wail on a guitar. His solos are present on each and every song, though the stand out for me is “Good and Ready.” “No, No, No” also comes to mind in this respect.

Apart from his exemplary guitar work, he does write some good songs. It is true that “Bound and Gagged” may be the first inclination of Ted’s feelings of fanatical American patriotism and right wing politics but I know I wouldn’t have noticed or cared back then. It’s still a cool song. That’s one problem with listening to the song with, in this case, the curse of hindsight. I also found myself wanting to sing along to “Fightin’ Words.” “Ebony” might be classed as his attempt at a single but I never heard it on the radio, not that you ever heard much of his material there to begin with. Nevertheless, it’s a decent song.

“Don’t Push Me” is short and to the point and definitely one I would have used to blast out the car window while driving. Note to self, maybe I should make my own CD of driving songs. Anyway back on the subject. The way he lays down the guitar jam while the band is repeating the title works for me in so many ways. If there was one thing I would change on “Nugent” it would be the order of the last two songs. “Tailgunner” is a good song but I thought the one before it “We’re Gonna Rock Tonight” would have been a better closer. It’s just that the lyrics and overall vibe of the song make it a great song to end the album on but that’s just me.

Track Listing:

  1. No, No, No
  2. Bound and Gagged
  3. Habitual Offender
  4. Fightin’ Words
  5. Good and Ready
  6. Ebony
  7. Don’t Push Me
  8. Can’t Stop Me Now
  9. We’re Gonna Rock Tonight
  10. Tailgunner
Ted Nugent

  Ted Nugent

Ted Nugent- lead vocals, lead guitars

Derek St. Holmes- guitar, vocals

Dave Kiswiney- bass, vocals

Carmine Appice- drums, vocals

Larry Brown- percussion

Donnie Backus- piano

Ted Nugent let the world know in 1982 that there was still plenty of good metal in America with his two albums. “Nugent” was one of those and proved that he could still rock with the best of them.

Next post: Manowar- Battle Hyms

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 1982: Riot- Restless Breed

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2015 by 80smetalman

RIOT_RB

Having reread my post for the previous Riot album, “Fire Down Under,” I realise that I did post a picture of RATT when I meant to post a picture of the band Riot. Therefore, I have come to the executive decision that I will no longer use google images when I post pictures of albums or bands. Instead, I will use the heavyharmonies.com site which actually takes getting its facts right seriously. Enough of that now, let’s get to another great album from Riot that I should not have waited til the late 80s to listen to.

Again, after listening to the 1982 offering from Riot, “Restless Breed,” I am again asking why this band didn’t have more commercial success. As I listened to the album, I could hear songs that, in my mind, influenced some of the bands that came after and had more success. For instance, the track “C.I.A.” sounds like something that WASP would have done and “When I Was Young” reminds me a little of Y & T. However, Riot was around long before either of these bands were so they drew influence from Riot. Saying that, I could hear a little Judas Priest influence in “When I was Young” as well. However, the rest of the album is straight ahead no frills heavy metal, the way heavy metal was supposed to be played.

“Hard Lovin’ Man” may not be the greatest song in the world to open an album but it does the job in preparing the way for the rest of the album. It may have influenced WASP but “C.I.A.” is still a brilliant song and the next one “Restless Breed” is even better. The middle of the order on the album is for me, the strongest. The songs “When I Was Young,” “Loanshark” and “Loved by You” are the stand outs for me. The latter has one of those catchy choruses where you are still singing it long after the album has finished and you are three miles down the road in the car. They are just loveable rockers. And the best guitar solo goes to the next track, “Over to You.” “Slow Down” is the token ballad on the album but it’s not bad with some good guitar work on it. Things return to normal with the last two songs. “Dream Away” sounds like it might be another ballad but don’t let the title fool you. It has that Southern rock boogie vibe to it and the closer, “Violent Crimes” ends things very nicely. All in all, “Restless Breed” by Riot is one I should have had on cassette blasting out of the car as I cruised down the road.

Track Listing:

  1. Hard Lovin’ Man
  2. C.I.A.
  3. Restless Breed
  4. When I was Young
  5. Loanshark
  6. Loved By You
  7. Over to You
  8. Slow Down
  9. Dream Away
  10. Violent Crimes
Riot (and this time it actually is them)

Riot (and this time it actually is them)

Rhett Forester- vocals, harmonica

Mark Reale- guitar

Rick Ventura- guitar

Kip Leming- bass

Sandy Slavin- drums

Let me venture a theory on why Riot didn’t get the notoriety they so richly deserved back in the day. I think that people were so caught up in the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) that possibly American metal bands got pushed to one side. Whatever, the case, Riot was a band who rocked and those who were fortunate to listen to them can vouch for it.

Next post: Y & T- Black Tiger

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