Here we have one of the BEST Metal bands to ever come out of Glam-infested Los Angeles! Formed in the early `80s by guitarist William Tsamis [aka"Destroyer"] and drummer Mark Zonder ["Thunderchild"], this group released precious lttle recorded work, an EP,a couple of singles, and a soundtrack to a live concept video, "And The Cannons of Destruction have begun". They seemed to have everything going for them: Excellent songs["Deliver us", "Winter Tears", "Child of the Damned","Lucifers Hammer"] Great muscianship, and COOL stage-names! In addition to Tsamis and Zonders` alias`, you had "Sentinel"on keyboards, "Archangel"on bass, and "Damien King" [numbers 1,2 and 3!!] on vocals. In the end, it was the old "personal & creative differences" between Tsamis and Zonder that pulled the band apart in `86. Zonder went on to join Fates Warning while Tsamis has expanded on his Warlord concepts wth his brilliant new band, Lordian Guard. And Hammerfall paid tribute by covering "Child.." on their "Glory to the Brave" CD. For such a brief time in the spotlight, Warlord have left a legacy that continues to inspire bands both present & future! [**Newsflash!** As of Spring 2001, both Tsamis and Zonder have joined forces once again, enlisting Hammerfall vocalist Joachim Cans, and are currently re-recording unreleased Warlord material! Although the project wil be under the Warlord moniker, this is only a one-time project. Hey, we`ll take it! For more info, click
Oh, YEAH! Fronted by screech-monger Udo Dirkschnider and powered by the classical-flavored guitar stylings of Wolf Hoffman, these German Metal Merchants unleashed this album [their 3rd, I believe] to the hungry hordes of Metal fans on BOTH sides of the "pond" to almost universal acclaim! Songs like "Fast as a Shark" [love that intro!] the title track, "Neon Nights", and MY personal favorite, "Princess of the Dawn", helped the band build momentum for the next disc, the equally good "Balls to the Wall" in late`83. Then they had to go and release "Metal Heart" in late`84, and that was ALL she wrote! At least Udo has a successful solo career going for him! As for the rest, they tried to carry on but never re-captured those past glories. What a WASTE!
Formed in late `77 by vocalist Sean Harris and guitarist Brian Tatler, this British four-piece had become the darlings of the NWOBHM [that stands for New Wave of British Heavy Metal, for those of you who think Marilyn Manson is Metal] by the time they put out this self-produced LP on their own label. A case of the whole being greater than the sum of its` parts, this band built a reputation based on well constructed songs, Harris` Robert Plant-style vocals & posturing, and the bands ferocious live act. And this is yet another example of a band that seemed to have it all, but the fates conspired against them: In Diamond Heads case, a series of disasters, such as choosing the wrong label [MCA] at the wrong time, and putting out couple of mediocre follow-up albums, spelled the end for this once-promising act. A shame; DH could`ve gone far. They re-united in `92, and released the excellent "Death and Progress" , then split up again! And,yeah, I know that their songs have been covered by the Artists formerly known as Metallica, and that Diamond Head were a huge influence on them etc..; Doesn`t look like the influence lasted long, does it?
The final studio release from the LIZZIES`, and the late,great, Phillip Lynott made sure they went out with a BANG! With the addition of John Sykes [formerly of Tygers of Pan Tang] the band went on to make their best album since "Black Rose". And Sykes proved to be the best compliment to fellow guitarist Scott Gorham since Brian Robertson. Check out the title track, or "The Holy War",or "Cold Sweat", or..Oh, Hell, just go buy the damned thing!! You WON`T be sorry!!! "Like Thunder and Lightning,GODDAMN it`s so exciting..."
Recorded in late summer`82, this EP helped put the Seattle-based quintet on the Metal map; originally self-released, they were later picked up by EMI and the EP re-released under the major labels` banner to wide-spread acclaim. With a decidedly European sound, the `ryche carved out a style all their own, sort of a cross between early Rainbow & Rush. But Geoff Nicholls`all- octaves-and-above vocalisations, the twin-guitar crunch of Michael Wilton and Chris Degarmo, plus great tracks like "Queen of the Ryche" [check out the intro. Shades of Purples"Highway Star!}, "Nightrider", and the powerful quasi-ballad "The Lady wore Black", made Queensryche a can`t-miss combination. The group expanded these concepts on their next LP,1984s` "The Warning" [on which they scored a hit w/ "Take Hold of the Flame"] and in `86 with the release of "Rage for Order". In 1988, the band came out with "Operation:Mindcrime", a concept album of epic proporions that became their biggest selling [and most popular] CD until "Empire" came out in `90. This sucessfully elevated them to mainstream status, and I pretty much lost interest in `em after that. Not because of their "commercial" success, but because later albums saw them floundering amidst ever-changing musical trends and the fact that they seem to have just plain run out of ideas. But hey, that`s just MY opinion! The first 3 discs are my favorites. How `bout YOU?
Never a big fan Schenkers`solo work before [or since] this LP, "Assault Attack" stands out [for me,at least] as the cream of his solo days. Produced by the legendary Martin Birch, this album is probably the highest quality Schenker release,in terms of song-writing, production, vocals [courtesy of Graham Bonnet],and The Mad Axemans` own high-flying [V] guitar antics. Cuts like "Samurai", "Broken Promises", the title track,and the instrumental barn-burner, "Ulcer" showcase MSG the BAND, rather than a group of backing musicians creating a platform for Schenkers` guitar breaks. Bonnet left soon after to work with another European guitar hero, Yngwie Malmsteen!
Standard but still listenable post-NWOBHM fare from this British 5-piece who have quite a [Metal] family tree! Former members of Raven, Blitzkrieg, and future members of Pariah, Sabbat, and the awesome Skyclad have called this band home at one time or another. "Court.." was originally released on Roadrunner in Europe, and later here in the States on the fledgling Metal Blade label. Choice cuts: "Trial by Fire", "Blades of Steel", "Broken Treaties". As I said, nothing earth-shattering, but still a good dose of British Metal.[beats listening to Oasis!!]
Like Satan, The Tygers were good, but average, examples of the early `80s British Metal scene. Formed in the late `70s, they put out a couple of singles and an LP before enlisting a then-unknown guitarist named John Sykes, wth whom they recorded "Spellbound", probably the best album of their career. "Crazy Nights" saw the band testing more commercial waters but still retaining some of the raw power of their previous efforts. By the time of"The Cage", Sykes had long since gone to join Thin Lizzy [for "The Cage" he only played on 2 cuts] and the rest of the band soldiered on, finally coming to a halt in `86 after countless line-up changes and lifeless albums. Such is the case with many NWOBHM acts!
Although they hailed from New York City, Riot were warmly embraced by many British head-bangers and thus [in spite of their national origin] accepted into the ranks of the then-thriving NWOBHM [I don`t have to explain what that stands for at this point, do I?] scene. With the release of this, their 3rd album,in 1981, the band cemented its` position with such tunes as "Swords and Tequila" [I first heard this one when it was first released back in `81; the local [commercial] station only played it once! 38 Special was more to their taste, I suppose....] the moody "Feel the Same", and my personal fave, "Outlaw". Many people, myself included, believe "Fire.." to be the groups best album. Vocalist Guy Speranza left after this one; he was replaced by the late Rhett Forrester, and the band carried on through countless line-up changes [only one original member remains as of this writing].For the most part, Riots` later albums were inconsistent, although recent efforts have been much improved; they still tour relentlessly and have a rabid following world-wide.
S.O.D. started out as a side-project made up of members from NYC Metal outfits Anthrax [Scott Ian,Charlie Benante], Nuclear Assault [Dan Lilker,late of Anthrax],and Method of Destruction vocalist Billy Milano. Destroying the lines between Metal and Hardcore, "Speak English..'was crammed with more cool riffs per SONG than most bands come up with in a lifetime. Tunes like "Sargent D and the S.O.D.", "Kill Yourself","Fuck the Middle East", the title track,and "United Forces" combined Hardcores` speed and political posturing w/ Metals`chunky riffing, topped off by Milanos` somewhat xenophobic lyrical content. The album received great reviews, sold well,the band played a few shows, had a good laugh, and called it a day. Milano tried to carry on with his own band,M.O.D., with mixed results. S.O.D. have reunited from time to time, even putting out a live album,"Live at Budokan" [recorded in NY!?}in `92.
Guitarist/vocalist Kevin Heybourne is the master -mind behind this legendary British Metal outfit. Formed in the late `70s, this London-based trio [later incarnations included a second guitarist, thus becoming a quartet] were among the NWOBHM`s brightest stars, and were reknowned for their powerhouse live performances, as well as having a unique bond w/ the rabid Metal Maniacs that followed the bands`every move. After appearing on the infamous "Metal for Muthas" compilation, the Witches signed to Bronze Records and soon released their self-titled debut in late`80. This solidified the bands` position in the British Metal scene, and tracks like "White Witch", "Angel of Death", "Gorgon", and the anthemic title track became battle cries for this brief-but-prolific musical movement. Great song-writing, catchy, hook-filled riffs, and the bands steadfast refusal to bow to any & all prevailing trends, are the key elements to their enduring legacy. Later albums, however, didn`t quite measure up to the 1st, and Angel Witch spent most of the `80s [like so many of their contemporaries] adrift amid endless line-up changes and shifting musical tastes. In 1989,the band hooked up with Metal Blade and released a very cool live album that had been recorded on their 1st ever tour of the states [in Los Angeles,I believe] in `90. After that they fell apart AGAIN,but in `97, Heybourne & another AW incarnation released a 3-song demo on their own, and was met with great enthusiasum by critics & fans alike. It can truly be said that if any ONE person embodies the spirit of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, it would have to be Kevin Heybourne! [*Update* As of August 2000,the band has re-formed yet AGAIN! Stay tuned.......]
Not to be confused with Witchfinder General, this band [like so many others] put out about four albums during their time in the sun, and to be honest, I don`t know a heck of a lot about `em! The only things I`ve heard are a couple of tracks from the above disc,and `83s "Lords of Sin", which I own. But I CAN tell you that they were not as Satanic/Black Metal oriented as one would be led to believe. They were kinda the oddballs of the NWOBHM scene, so the music is hard to pin down; theirs` was a sound that sort of bridged the gap between mid `70s Metal and the more straight forward, energy-laden approach that typified most of their fellow Brits.But Witchfynde were just quirky enough to fit in, and released [I think] 4 albums."Give `em Hell" was the first and, arguably, the best; the last, "Lords..." was more standard British Metal fare, and like most of the bands of that bygone era, Witchfynde faded into memory soon after. These albums are tough to get, but well worth checking out! [Update!! As of August 21st, 2000, the band is back together,and even now are recording new material! I`ll keep you posted]
"Fistful of Metal"-1984
"Armed and Dangerous"EP-1985
"Spreadng the Disease"-1985
"Among the Living"-1987
At the same time that the "Bay Area Sound" was taking hold of the Metal Underground, here on the East Coast things were also starting to heat up. Formed in 1981, Anthrax combined their love of the NWOBHM w/ the Hardcore sound that was beggining to blossom locally, plus a definite New Yawk attitude. Their first single, "Soldiers of Metal "b/w "Howling Furies", was produced by Manowars `Ross the Boss, and the 1st LP,"Fistful..", had The Rods drummer Carl Cannadey at the production helm. Though some compared this to Metallicas`"Kill`em All", and felt there were too many similarities, the album was still a good, solid chunk of Metal mayhem and sold well enough; Vocalist Neil Turban left soon after and was replaced by Oswego, NY native Joey Belladonna. Anthrax expanded their sound on the "Armed and Dangerous" EP, and then put out one of the finest Metal discs ever [in my opinion] "Spreading the Disease", an all-time CLASSIC! "Among the Living" is probably the groups best effort; produced by living legend Eddie Kramer [Hendrix,Zeppelin,Kiss to name a few!] this put the band on top,for a little while at least.They began to lose themselves in a sea of Bermuda shorts,cartoon T-shirts, the "NOT" man, etc. and I kinda gave up on `em! [Remember,it`s just MY opinion...]
Only recently did I find out that one of my favorite Metal bands of the `80s` wasn`t a band at all!! You coulda fooled me;'Metal Inquisition" was [and still is,in my book] one of THE classic Metal albums of all time. I heard this the first time it came out,and at the time,I felt it matched Slayer [pre-"Reign in Blood"] note for note in terms of sheer heaviness! But,believe it or not,this was basically a one man show! I could give you all the sordid details,but better you hear it straight from the source!