"Demons and Wizards"-1972
"The Magicians Birthday"-1972
This veteran British Hard Rock outfit has had more line-ups than the LAPD! But the one constant in the ever-changing sea of musicians has been Founder/Leader Mick Box.The vastly talented,but disgustingly underrated guitarist has kept it going for 30 YEARS!Shit,Boston takes that long to record one album!And in the process,the Heep has come up with some true Hard Rock classics;The above albums are prime examples, since they are considered to be the bands best work."Demons and Wizards" is my favorite,as it contains "The Wizard"[not the Sabbath tune],"Traveller in Time",and their biggest hit "Easy Livin"."The Magicians Birthday",while not quite as good,still has its` moments;"Sunrise","Sweet Lorraine",like most of the groups work,feature some of the best 3 and 4 part vocal harmonizing around,then AND now.And you`ve GOTTA check out the title track,as it contains an incendiary guitar work-out by Mick that holds up even today!And,yes,they`re still together.Still very `Eavy and very `Umble!
"Long Live Rock`n`Roll"-1978
When The Man in Black dumped Deep Purple to form Rainbow in`75,he more or less re-made DP in his own image.Enlisting former Elf vocalist Ronnie James Dio,Blackmores` Rainbow played up the whole Medieval/Baronial image thang to the hilt,in the process creating some of the most CLASSIC Hard Rock around!Songs like"Man on the Silver Mountain",Sixteenth Century Greensleeves","Catch the Rainbow",and a great instrumental version of the Yardbirds oldie."Still I`m Sad",were staples of the bands live set up to the early `90s.With the addition of Drum GOD/LEGEND Cozy Powell [R.I.P.],Rainbow entered its` most fertile period w/ the release of "Rainbow Rising";this LP featured one of THE great Metal epics of all time,"Stargazer"."Long Live"`was even better;Blackmore,one of the greatest Blues-based Rock guitar players alive,positively SHINES on this album."Kill the King,"Lady of the Lake",the AWESOME "Gates of Babylon","The Shed [Subtle]",and the title track,are all testaments to this. Dio bailed soon after [to be replaced by Graham Bonnet] and Ritchie steered the band in a more [sigh] commercial direction,but as far as I`m concerned Rainbow was finished.
Ahhhh,whenever I think about the `80s Metal scene [and when I look at what passes for Metal these days,that`s ALOT!] this band always comes to mind!After a couple of sucessful releases,Helloween went high-concept and put out these LPs;Part one is chock-full of classic Euro Metal riffage,excellent song writing,and tight musicianship.The guitar interplay between Kai Hansen and Michael Weikath is among the finest in Metal[then AND now!],with Hansens` Malmsteen influenced pyrotechnics a perfect compliment to Weikaths more traditional,Schenker-styled fret work.This pairing comes to fruition on the epic"Halloween";over 13 minutes and never a dull moment! This,children of the `90s,is classic Power Metal at its` FINEST!Part 2 is something of a letdown,though.After coming out of the starting gate with the killer "Eagle Fly Free"and"You Always Walk Alone",things kinda peter out afterwards.Even the title cut seems lackluster.After this one,the German 5-piece gave us the goofy-assed "Pink Bubbles go Ape",and I forgot about `em! Apparently,they`ve gotten back to their old style,more or less.Maybe I was wrong...
This album was a career high point for Harry & co.!They toured for 18 MONTHS behind this one!They out-did Kiss in the stage-show dept.as well,towing along a set that looked as if they`ed condensed the entire Giza Plateu!AND,they were among the first Metal bands to play behind the dreaded Iron Curtain [remember that?]. This LP featured the barn-burning "Aces High","Powerslave"[personal fave],and an incredible Metalized reading of Samuel Taylor Coleridge`s epic poem,"The Rime of the Ancient Mariner".Cool or what?
Hard to believe now,but once upon a time,Leppard was mentioned in the same breath as Saxon,Iron Maiden,and Angelwitch! Ya see,they were part of that wonderful movement called NWOBHM; This 3-song,self-financed EP shows the heavier side of these-soon-to-be Pop icons."Ride into the Sun",Getcha` Rocks Off",and "Overture" all ROCK,even though one can see faint traces that the Leps already had their eye on the American charts!
WHOA! Absolutely BRUTAL release from these German [then] teens! After a couple of demos and an EP,Kreator[named after a German demon] unleashed this upon the world.What it lacked in technique and polish,"Pleasure.." MORE than made up for it in terms of sheer POWER;Every cut on this one is LETHAL!The band wouldn`t release anything nearly this intense [in my book] until 1990s`"Coma of Souls".AAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!
One of the lesser-known acts from the German Power Metal explosion of `84/`86.Exumer were good at what they did;on this album they played the standard [but still listenable] Germanic Metal riffs and song structures,and the high quality production accentuated their talents,as evidenced on tunes like"Fallen Saint","A Mortal in Black",and the title track.Definitely worth looking for.Destruction,Kreator,Exumer,man,THOSE were the days.....:)
"Fear of Tomorrow"-1985
This Danish 5-piece were definitely earmarked for great things with the release of "Terror Squad" in`86.After a few demos,they put out their first LP,which was good,if unremarkable,Thrash/Speed Metal.But with "Terror.." they asured their place in Metal history!And they followed the sure-fire formula for a great Metal album;jack the guitars up as LOUD as possible without drowning out everything else.Superior production,catchy riffs,a wrecking ball delivery,and the bizzaro vocals of Flemming Ronsdorf,made this one of THE Metal albums of 1986,out-gunned only by Slayers`"Reign in Blood"and Metallicas`"Master of Puppets"! Artillery put out one more album in 1990,the excellent "By Inheritance",and then fell apart.Or maybe they didn`t.I dunno.Do you?