Essentially a one-off project, Blackthorne`s "Afterlife" harkens back to Metals` better days, with crunching guitars, rousing choruses, pounding drums and fist-pumping anthems. Sounds like a can`t-miss formula for success, right? Well, it SHOULD have been, and had this been released 5 years before its` time, "Afterlife" would have raced up the charts. But this as released in 1993, a time when the industry was awash in bands of ugly college dropouts in flannel shirts and bell bottoms whining about their bad childhoods and half-heartedly strumming the only 2 chords they knew on downtuned Fender Jaguars. `Twas the year when REAL Rock died, kids. So there was no way in HELL that this album was gonna get noticed, and that`s a shame! Check out THIS lineup: Graham Bonnet on vox [this guy could sing on a MacDonalds` commercial and make it sound good!], mastermind Bob Kulick on guitars [he also produced], Jimmy Waldo [Alcatrazz] on keys, and Quiet Riots` Frankie Banali and Chuck Wright on drums and bass, respectively. And Kulick made the most of this incredible talent, believe me! These guys pulled out all the stops, making it tough for me to single any one track, although "We Won`t Be Forgotten", "Afterlife", "Baby You`re The Blood", and "Sex Crimes" stand out. Low point; a lifeless version of "All Night Long", the one big hit Graham had with Rainbow. This one should`ve been left on the cutting room floor! Other than that, "Afterlife" is a kick ass Hard Rock/Metal classic, an album that definitely deserved more attention than it got. Well worth seeking out!
Onslaught-"In Search Of Sanity"-1989
England`s Onslaught were, more or less, Metallica wannabes`, putting out 2 mediocre albums in the mid 1980s` ["Power From Hell" and "The Force"] before they managed to release a half-way decent one! "In Search Of Sanity" is the bands best known album, probably due to the presence of Steve Grimmet [yes, from Grim Reaper!] on vocals. If I sound half hearted in my efforts to describe this band, it`s because, although they weren`t bad, they weren`t that much, either! Oh, they had their moments. Strong musicianship, neat, precise rhythms and solos, and production that was a little TOO pristine for my taste. Grimmet`s singing here is considered some of his best though, and there ARE some diamonds in the rough; the cruching "Power Play", "ShellShock", "Lightning War", "Blood Upon The Ice" and one of THE great Metal epics, "Welcome To Dying". Clocking in at almost 13 minutes [!], this sucker shows the band at their best! But in the end, it was all for naught. Grimmet was dissapointed that ".....Sanity" failed to set the world in a tailspin and left. The rest of the band folded, as well. Another lost Metal classic that, despite its` faults [and a couple of crappy covers; a dreadful remake of AC/DCs` "Let There Be Rock", and Angel Witch`s "Confused". Yuck!], is still worth a listen!