Thursday, July 20, 2017

Linija Mass - "1987" [2007]

Artist: Linija Mass
Title: 1987
Genre: Percussion Industrial, Noise
Country: Russia
Release date: 2007

Linija Mass is one of the earliest Soviet industrial/noise projects that already was mentioned on my blog several times. This 3'' CD, released in 2007 as a part of the Linija Mass boxset, contains two untitled tracks slightly less than 5 minutes in total length. If I understand correctly, these are the earliest known recordings by LM from 1987, which would make them one of the earliest examples of Soviet industrial, along with the early demos by StereoZoldat and ZGA. Just like all other releases by LM, this one consists mostly of percussion noise inspired mostly by the history and aesthetics of the Soviet industrialization era (1920-30s).

Alexander Lebedev-Frontov, the mastermind of LM, claims to become interested in such music as early as in 1973, when he bought a bootleg 7'' expecting to hear a new song by The Beatles, and getting several minutes of pure noise instead. Later on, he found out about the "musique concrete" movement and the Italian futurism, and started his own musical experiments in 1979. No recordings survived from these times, however.

Malhavoc - "The Release" [1990]

Artist: Malhavoc
Title: The Release
Genre: Thrash Metal, Industrial Metal
Country: Canada
Release date: 1990

Track List:
  1. Release
  2. S.C.E.X.
  3. Second Image
  4. Cruciform
  5. A Portrait Of (William Wilson)
  6. Age of Desire
  7. Released
  8. S.C.E.X. (XXX-Rated)
One of the earliest industrial metal bands, Malhavoc started in 1983 as a thrash metal project, but switched to more electronic/industrial kind of sound on their debut full-length album, named simply "The Release". Prior to that I've heard only their 1986 demo "Age of the Dark Renaissance" which I disliked, but this album is quite good (maybe not 100 points out of 100, as it was rated on, but still good).

Thunder Rider - "Tales of Darkness and Light" [1989]

Artist: Thunder Rider
Title: Tales of Darkness and Light
Genre: Epic Heavy Metal
Country: Canada
Release date: 1989

Track List:
  1. Death To Death
  2. Electric Chair
  3. Executioner
  4. For Christ's Sake
  5. Rain Dance
  6. Blackwing
  7. Galaxy
  8. Preacher
This is a fairly unique release from the late 80s' Canadian metal scene which I discovered thanks to the Vibrations of Doom archive of classic albums. A pretty detailed description of this album is given here, and I fully agree that it's quite strange to say the least. Most people indeed associate the term "epic heavy metal" with Manilla Road or Manowar -inspired stuff, but that's definitely not the case here. Perhaps the "atmospheric heavy metal" label would fit it much better, although I haven't seen it being used by anyone else. Anyway, it's a weird but great and undeservedly forgotten album. Enjoy!

Solar Eagle - s/t [1988]

Artist: Solar Eagle
Title: Solar Eagle
Genre: Heavy/Power Metal
Country: Canada
Release date: 1988

Track List:
  1. See
  2. Dimensional Charter
  3. Tree Of Snakes
  4. Lost Season
This very obscure Canadian band released only one 12'' EP and one more cassette demo in the late 1980s. Two of their members later went on to form a band called Candle Opera, which likewise didn't get much publicity. Pretty much everything else that's known about Solar Eagle (not very much) can be found on this page.

What can be said about this release? Simplistic but nice cover art with a pleasant color scheme, well played music in the typical 80s' USPM style. Recommended to everyone who's into obscure early speed/power metal:

Saturday, July 15, 2017

D.D.T. - "Let The Screw..." [1984]

Artist: D.D.T.
Title: Let The Screw...
Genre: Heavy Metal
Country: Canada (Quebec)
Release date: 1984

Track List:
  1. Let The Screw... (Turn You On!)
  2. Bitches
  3. Metal On Ashes
  4. Wasted
  5. Where Were You?
 ...No, it isn't the much better known Russian rock band with the same name. This D.D.T. was active in Canada during the 1980s, having released one EP and many more demos. Like in case with many other obscure 80s' metal releases, I found out about "Let the Screw..." via the Vibrations of Doom archive of classic albums, where it was uploaded with a comment about its strange title: "Let the screw... what?" (Turn you on, of course!) While it isn't some essential release, I still find it to be pretty good and would recommend it if you're interested in forgotten metal releases from the 80s.

Brainfever - "Capture the Night" [1984]

Artist: Brainfever
Title: Capture the Night
Genre: Heavy Metal
Country: Germany
Release date: 1984

Track List
  1. Into The Sky
  2. Hangman
  3. Danger In The Night
  4. Thunder And Lightning
  5. Dirty Streets
  6. Brainfever
  7. Capture The Night
  8. Midnight Train
  9. Tool For The Show
  10. Suicide
This album is my favourite among the now-forgotten releases from the 80s German metal scene, despite its rather poor quality of production (which was okay for its time, though). Not all songs on "Capture the Night" are equally good, yet it does contain some really awesome tracks, such as "Into the Sky", "Midnight Train", and the title track. What should be also noted is the outstanding vocal performance. While there's apparently something wrong with the anatomy of the person on the cover picture, this cover art reflects the overall atmosphere of the album very well.

The Hand Of Doom - "Poisonoise" [1979]

Artist: The Hand Of Doom
Title: Poisonoise
Genre: Heavy Metal, Hard Rock
Country: Germany
Release date: 1979

Track List:
  1. There Ain't No Running Away
  2. They Who'll Creep At Night
  3. Rock 'N' Roll Close To The End Of The World
  4. Heavy Mad Head
  5. Deadman's Dream
  6. The Meanest Man
  7. Doom Power
  8. Poisonoise
  9. The Hound
  10. The Lights Of The Blind
What to expect from a release with the name "The Hand of Doom - Poisonoise" on its cover? Doom metal? Noise? Not really, yet it's surprisingly heavy for the time it was released. A reviewer on compares this band to Deep Purple, Black Rose, Mercy and some obscure NWOBHM band, and it'd add Motorhead to this list. This very obscure album was first unearthed by the Vibrations of Doom zine, and later re-released by Shadow Kingdom records with a lot of bonus tracks:

"Who in the hell on Earth is THE HAND OF DOOM you ask? Sorry Doom Metal nuts, they're not Doom at all. BUT... good news, they're an incredible heavy band from Germany that originally had a limited press album from 1979. You might be surprised when I tell you they're really a Heavy Rock N' Roll Punk / (proto/early) Metal band, and very similar to the early bands that started the N.W.O.B.H.M. that combine early Punk Rock and fused it with Heavy Rock. I think this band will appeal to fans of (of course) 70's era MOTORHEAD, DISCHARGE, BRATS (pre-MERCYFUL FATE band), MC5, THE STOOGES, THE CLASH, SEX PISTOLS, SARCOFAGUS, ACCEPT, 70's era JUDAS PRIEST, DIAMOND HEAD, and all fans of the N.W.O.B.H.M..."

Flight Charm - "Waiting White Lady" [1988]

Artist: Flight Charm
Title: Waiting White Lady
Genre: Heavy Metal
Country: Italy
Release date: 1988

Track List:
  1. Hard Magic Rock
  2. Flight Charm
  3. Waiting White Lady
  4. Flash Light
  5. Nuclear Trap
Flight Charm were a very obscure heavy metal band from Venice formed in 1983 or 1984, and broke up in 1989. Here's the only info about them I could find:

"Formed in 1984 "Flight Charm" released a very good
demo tape(Magician's Nightmare)in 1987,a rare EP
(Waiting White Lady - for LM Records)followed in 1988
(this rare vinyl was bootlegged some years ago on cd together
with the albums by "Buster Brown" and "Rychus Syn" on the
'Hard'n'Heavy Rarities' vol. 11 " by Racer Records).

In 1989 took part to the "Surgery of The Power" compilation
with the song "Come Out of Your Shell",a new singer and
bass player joined the band,this new line up recorded the
songs for a full lenght album that stayed unreleased because
the label LM Records went bankrupt,Flight Charm did not find
another deal and disbanded while the mastermind Eros Mazzon
moved to London(UK)where he is still based pursuing his solo
career(he recorded several demos and released a cd entitled
"Headshrinker" in 2012)"

All their recordings are nearly impossible to find, except for this EP. While the last two songs on there are rather generic and forgettable, the first three ones are quite good, especially the title track:

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Destiny - "Atomic Winter" [1988]

Artist: Destiny
Title: Atomic Winter
Genre: Heavy/Thrash Metal
Country: Sweden
Release date: 1988

Track List:
  1. Bermuda
  2. Who Am I
  3. Spellbreaker
  4. Beware
  5. Religion
  6. The Extreme Unction
  7. Dark Heroes
  8. Living Dead
  9. Atomic Winter
This one is significantly heavier than the rest of Swedish metal releases from the 80s I've posted here so far, even with hints of early doom metal (especially in the title track) - but overall, it's still heavy/power/thrash metal. However, this album is pretty different from most other classic metal albums of the 80s, as there weren't many bands mixing all thesse genres in this exact proportion. As you could expect from the band of that era, the main lyrical theme of this album is the fear of a nuclear war, but they also touch a lot of fantasy/occult/mystery topics, as well as religion (or lack thereof). The band still exists up to this day, and Steven Cannon of Vibrations of Doom has made an interview with their bassist not so long ago.

Proud - "Fire Breaks The Dawn" [1984]

Artist: Proud
Title: Fire Breaks the Dawn
Genre: Melodic Heavy Metal
Country: Sweden
Release date: 1984

Track List:
  1. Star Fighter
  2. Echoes From the Past
  3. United World
  4. No Losers
  5. Fire Breaks the Dawn
  6. Dark Lady Forest
  7. Crucified
  8. Star of the Masquerade
Another fine example of a mid-80s Swedish melodic metal band that released only one very good LP (and a cople of demos) and then vanished. Compared to Universe, they're definitely heavier (but not too much), and their sound is unquestionably in the traditional heavy metal territory. Despite being released by a major label (EMI), this album is quite rare and unknown to the majority of metal fans nowadays, which is a pity. My personal favourites: "Star Fighter", "Dark Lady Forest", "Star Of The Masquerade", and the title track.

Universe - s/t [1985]

Artist: Universe
Title: Universe
Genre: Melodic Heavy Metal
Country: Sweden
Release date: 1985

Track List:
  1. Rollin' On
  2. Stories from the Old Days
  3. Weekend Warrior
  4. Lonely Child
  5. Looking for an Answer
  6. Angel
  7. Woman
  8. Strong Vibration
  9. Burning Machine
  10. Question of Time
"...Universe is about as 80's as you can get. Take the band logo that looks more like a company that makes blank VHS tapes, for instance"

A pretty fitting description for one of the best Swedish metal bands from the 80s... wait, is it really metal or just melodic hard rock? Well, they're definitely heavier than their much more famous compatriots, Europe, that the other reviewer on has compared them too. While not all tracks on this LP are equally great, the ones like "Rollin' On", "Looking for an Answer" and "Burning Machine" are extremely catchy, and the whole album can definitely be recommeded if you like that melodic post-NWOBHM sound.

Behemoth - "Deathwings" [1982]

Artist: Behemoth
Title: Deathwings
Genre: Heavy Metal
Country: Sweden
Release date: 1982

Track List:
  1. Deathwings
  2. Vengeance
...No, it isn't that commercial black metal band from Poland with most people associate the name "Behemoth" with. This band was formed in Sweden (Sundsvall) in 1982 and disbanded shortly thereafter, having released only a cassette demo and one 7'' single. They have reformed in 2009, but had to change their name to Deathwings for an obvious reason. Many sources list them as an NWOBHM band, but they aren't from Britain, even if their sound is indeed quite similar to many good but obscure NWOBHM bands that have released only one or two 7''s and then disappeared.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Marquis de Sade - "Somewhere up in the Mountains" [1981]

Artist: Marquis de Sade
Title: Somewhere Up In The Mountains
Country: UK
Release date: 1981

Track List:
  1. Somewhere Up In The Mountains
  2. Black Angel 
And finally, a true gem of the NWOBHM scene that, like many other obscure singles from that era, I've discovered via the Vibrations of Doom archive. Marquis de Sade, a band with awesome name featuring members of Angel Witch and Sanctus in their lineup, existed from 1979 to 1981 and never got much publicity, but managed to release one of my favourite melodic metal/hard rock 7''s.

AFAIK it was re-released in 2012 along with their earlier demo, but I haven't listened to it yet. Anyway, here's the original 1981 version. Enjoy:

Monday, July 10, 2017

Triarchy - "Save the Khan" [1979]

Artist: Triarchy
Title: Save The Khan
Country: UK
Release date: 1979

Track List:
  1. Save The Khan
  2. Juliet's Tomb 
Another underservedly forgotten NWOBHM band, Triarchy were formed in 1972 but released their debut single only in 1979. As you can guess from their name, they were a trio (but not a so-called "power trio", because they actively used synthesizers in addition to the standard lineup of guitar, bass and drums).

The "Save The Khan" 7'' got a quite disparaging review on, whose author found it boring, but that's not my impression at all. Maybe Triarchy indeed weren't the most skilled musicians in the NWOBHM scene, but this single is pretty catchy and definitely not boring, unlike many other obscure metal releases from the 80s:

Sunday, July 9, 2017

ARC - "War of the Ring" [1981]

Artist: ARC
Title: War Of The Ring
Country: UK
Release date: 1981

Track List:
  1. War Of The Ring
  2. Ice Cream Theme
Just like Aragorn, ARC apparently were heavily inspired by LotR (thus being one of the first Tolkien-inspired bands in existence), and they also are primarily known for just one very interesting 7'' single released in 1981. Looks like I don't need to write a review for it, because there already is a pretty good one here:

"I would officially declare this single The Greatest NWOBHM 7” Ever and promtly give sceptics, besserwissers and naysayers the boot, if it weren’t for the fact that ARC, at least on this EP, is very far from traditional NWOBHM (so I guess REINCARNATE still reigns). If you thought you’d already heard the best of early 80’s Epic Metal, think again! “War of the ring” is one of those rare Perfect Metal Anthems, a 10-out-of-10 masterpiece with both a brillant, heavy, crunchy lead riff and a mindblowing, spinechilling, epic chorus that gives BLIND GUARDIAN a run for their Deutschmarks – sorry, €uros...

The flipside, oddly entitled “Ice Cream Theme” deserves a mention, but is nowhere near the A-side hit in excellence. It also draws towards the epic, but in a more 70’s inspired manner. While the lyrix to “War..” is the most classic imaginable (the JRR Tolkien mythology), the lyrix to the flip is original to say the least. A depressing story about a strange man (no, he’s not carrying a crystal sword) living in an ice cream van (no, it’s not equipped with dragon’s wings)... Do not confuse this band with The A.R.C. Rock Band. who released a single in 1979 called "The Chase/Homemade Wine". It's a completely different band, although still NWOBHM and almost as rare"

Friday, July 7, 2017

Aragorn - "Black Ice" [1981]

Artist: Aragorn
Title: Black Ice
Country: UK
Release date: 1981

Track List:
  1. Black Ice
  2. Noonday
Sometimes called "a band that has built their reputation on one single", Aragorn indeed have released only one single and a couple of demos in early 1980s, and then disbanded. A full-length album called "Night Is Burning" was about to be released in 1982, but it finally saw the light of day only in 2014. Anyway, "Black Ice" is widely considered to be an NWOBHM classic, mainly because of the very catchy title track which features a quite pecular vocal style.

Voltz - "Knight's Fall" [1982]

Artist: Voltz
Title: Knight's Fall
Genre: NWOBHM, Hard Rock
Country: UK
Release date: 1982

Track List:
  1. After Armageddon
  2. In a Dream
  3. Dorian Grey
  4. Badon Hill
  5. The Rose
  6. Red Eyes
  7. Years
  8. Knight's Fall
"An album which represented the "screw you, we'll do it ourselves" philosophy of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal - if not its customary sonic blueprint - Voltz' Knight's Fall was a largely independently financed and produced affair, complete with bottom-dollar recording conditions and a charmingly amateurish, hand-drawn cover featuring an armored knight with a swooning damsel in one arm, a sword hoisted high in the other, and a castle looming in the background. But metal fans of the day were in for quite a surprise once they dropped needle onto the vinyl album's grooves; for, as well as generous helpings of hard rock and metal found in the Quartz-like "Badon Hill" and the no-frills "Red Eyes," Knight's Fall was actually dominated by astonishingly mellow and melodious elements. And when combined with the band's template-free songwriting approach for ambitious material such as "After Armageddon" and "Years," these elements produced truly unusual results, arguably closer to progressive rock than metal - although stylistic parallels can be found in fellow Brits Witchfynde and, a little further away and a few years earlier, Wichita, KS originals Manilla Road. Moreover, Voltz didn't even bother to juice up their amps during lengthy, almost gothic-folk ballads like "In a Dream" and the title cut, but struck the perfect balance between their dark and light extremities on the standouts "Dorian Gray" and "The Rose." In the end, Knight's Fall was the sort of idiosyncratic work that had a few wide-eyed supporters embracing Voltz as the second coming, while the vast majority of metal and prog fans were simply left confused..."

...Well, the review quoted above is pretty much spot on, and I too was quite surprised to find this on the Vibrations of Doom archive of classic metal albums. Voltz (initially called Airline) are considered to be an NWOBHM band - however, there's not much metal in their music, even if I'm not saying it as a bad thing. Anyway, this is a very interesting obscure album, just don't expect something really "heavy" from it (although its cover art might suggest so).

Chasar - s/t [1983]

Artist: Chasar
Title: Chasar
Country: UK (Scotland)
Release date: 1983

Track List:
  1. Destiny
  2. Visions of Time
  3. Deceiver
  4. Kings
  5. Lights
  6. Gypsy Roller
  7. Underground
Another "atypical" NWOBHM band heavily influenced by 1970's progressive rock and dirty-sounding hard rock. Maybe not as good as Dawnwatcher, but still deserves attention if you like obscure bands of this kind.

Dawnwatcher - studio recordings [1977-83]

Here's a video compilation dedicated to a quite unique NWOBHM band called Dawnwatcher, featuring their tracks "Hall of Mirrors", "Attitudes", "Spellbound", "Firing On All Eight", "Salvador's Dream", "Children of the Night" and "Backlash", all of which were recorded during 1977-83.

Their 1979 demo got a quite negative review on, whose author has called them a poor clone of Deep Purple - but regardless of that, I can safely say that their later releases are awesome. Their sound isn't typical of NWOBHM, being full of 1970s progressive rock elements (especially the keyboard improvisations). My favourite songs of theirs are "Backlash" and "Hall of Mirrors".

V/A - "New Electric Warriors" [1980]

Artist: (various)
Title: New Electric Warriors
Country: UK
Release date: 1980

Track List:
  1. Turbo - Running
  2. Buffalo - Battle Torn Heroes
  3. Streetfighter - She's No Angel
  4. Stormtrooper - Grind 'n Heat
  5. Tarot - Feel the Power
  6. Bastille - Hard Man
  7. Oxym - Hor Rain
  8. Dawnwatcher - Firing on All Eight
  9. Vardis - If I Were King
  10. Silverwing - Rock & Roll are Four Letter Words
  11. Rhabstallion - Chain Reaction
  12. Colossus - Holding Back Your Love
  13. Jedediah Strut - Workin' Nights
  14. Warrior - Still on the Outside
  15. Kosh - The Hit
  16. Race Against Time - Bedtime
A legendary compilation of obscure NWOBHM bands released in 1980 - the year NWOBHM broke into mainstream in Britain. To be honest, quite a lot of bands on N.E.W. are mediocre - but if you, just like me, love to dig into lesser known NWOBHM releases in search of forgotten gems (and that scene had quite a few of them!), and you aren't afraid of lo-fi sound, this compilation might be of interest for you. My personal favourites on N.E.W. are Oxym and Dawnwatcher, although the songs featured on this disc aren't their best.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Shocksplit - "Under Wraps" [1989]

Artist: Shocksplit
Title: Under Wraps
Genre: Melodic Heavy Metal
Country: UK
Release date: 1989

Track List:
  1. Undo the Chains
  2. Take Me in Heat
  3. Running Away
  4. The End Is Nigh
The NWOBHM movement ended in 1984-85, but some British metal bands appeared in the second half of 1980s can be regarded as "post-NWOBHM". One of such bands is Shocksplit, formed originally under the name Vengeance. They've released an EP and a couple of demos during 1987-90, and then disappeared without a trace along with many other lesser known metal bands around that time.

All 4 songs on this EP are very melodic and catchy, especially the opening track "Undo The Chains". Other notable tracks are "Take Me In Heat" (a fairly typical love ballad, but quite catchy as well), and "The End Is Nigh" (as you can guess from the name, this track is about the fears of a nuclear war, a quite common lyrical theme in the 80s' metal). Very recommended to check out if you like obscure melodic metal from the 1980s.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Charger - "Desperadoes / Are You Out There?" [1984]

Artist: Charger
Title: Desperadoes / Are You Out There? 7''
Country: UK
Release date: 1984

Track List:
  1. Desperadoes 
  2. Are You Out There?
In the next few days, I'm going to review quite a lot of obscure NWOBHM bands (most of which I've discovered thanks to Vibrations of Doom), many of which have released just one 7'' single and then vanished. Let's start from a band that shares name with their much better known compatriots who have played sludge. Honestly the only thing I find interesting about the sludge Charger is the name of their second album, "Confessions of a Man (Mad Enough to Live Among Beasts)". This Charger, however, managed to release a very good 7'' with two simplistic but catchy songs. Enjoy: