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Lost Diamonds Prt. 4

Ein Artikel von gargantouas vom 28.09.2004 (6171 mal gelesen)

Compilation albums... Can't help but feeling mixed feelings about this phenomenon.
After all, for what reason should one buy an album with various artists on ? To get disappointed by more than half of the bands ? Argument noted. However there are exceptions, few in number, I admit, but this album "Metal Massacre volume 2 is perhaps one of the best compilation albums of the 80's.
The year is 1982, heavy metal is about to conquer one of the largest countries in the world : USA. Brian Slagel already made an attempt to convince the Americans of the beauty of our beloved music with Volume 1 but the quality of this second addition is way better...
Come to think of it, the reason I got intrigued by this album was probably - hey, it has been a looooooooong time - the fact that it had such a nice drawing of the grim reaper on the back with the words Heavy Metal will never die and Play Extremely loud underneath. Things like that made an album sell back in those days, believe or not.
So what is the deal with this album ? Well first of all : it launched the career of quite a few superbands. Armored Saint, Savage Grace, Warlord, Aloha (with Marty Friedman, yes indeed) (Note : Aloha later changed their name in Hawaii.) But above all : it features hardly one lousy band. Well, can't say I would buy an album of Hyksos or Molten Leather but these songs are still way above average !
One of the best songs on this edition, and not in the least because of the amazing vocal work of David Drury is Mind Invader from 3rd Stage Alert. This band even managed to get Yngwie Malmsteen to produce their debut (and only) album later on.
In conclusion : if you want to get into the roots of American metal no better way than to start with Metal Massacre volume 1 and especially 2.
Metal Blade went on with the series up to volume 9 and thus launched the careers of bands like Ratt, Slayer, Metallica, Virgin Steele, Voivod, Fates Warning, Dark Angel, Flotsam and Jetsam and many, many others.

JAGUAR - "Power Games"

Wohoooow ! This beauty brings back memories. Jaguar seemed a very promising hardrock/heavy metal band in the autumn of '82. Not in the least because of their killer debut Power Games. Take my word for it : Power Games was an unbelievable fast and hard album for that time ! Raw, aggressive and energetic ! The underground metalheads didn't excpect more from a band back then. The production may sound a bit messy nowadays but the songs were and still are impressive !
Examples ? What about ALL the compositions ? Ok, want an example nevertheless ? What about the opener on side two (yep, vinyl era...) : The Prisoner. The way Paul Merrell screams out his lungs on this one makes you truly believe he'd been locked away behind bars for years. The album was distributed by Neat records, one of metal's leading labels back then who on the other hand wasn't afraid to sign unknown bands in the early 80's. Hail to such a magnificent "neat" attitude ! The strange thing about Jaguar's bandmembers ; they could be your normal hard working neighbours : no leather, no spikes, but instead jeans and T-shirts your old man could have worn... However, don't get fooled : this is heavy stuff ! If you ever could lay your hands on this album don't hesitate ! One warning however : be sure you are dealing with their debut Power Games, the albums that were to follow just can't be compared and that, dear reader, was one of my greatest metal disappointments...

Tracklist :

- Dutch Connection
- Out of Luck
- The Fox
- Master Game
- No Lies
- Run for your life
- Prisoner
- Ain't no Fantasy
- Rawdeal
- Coldheart

WILD DOGS - same

"Wild Dogs provide the ultimate metal for those who like it hot, fast , and hard !"
Not my words this time, this is what can be read on the back of the debut album of this superb American band Wild Dogs. A thing that was quite common in the 80's, printing this kind of stuff, or "evil" quotes for that matter, on the back of vinyls. But back to business, when you look at the picture of these guys on the cover you may expect some kind of early Black Metal. After all, the bandmembers being covered in chains, leather and spikes ?? But no Sir ! You couldn' have been more mislead, Wild Dogs play this very musical clean classic heavy metal. Guitars sound as sharp as swiss knifes and fewer singers have a cleaner voice than Matthew T. McCourt, the guy with the ridiculous leather cap on the front. Should this therefore be a disappointment ? Hell no ! Just listen to tracks as 'Take another prison' (with an intro that can easily stand the comparison with Van Halen's 'Eruption'), 'Life is just a game', 'Born to rock' or 'Two wrongs'... Songs if being made by the NWOBHM bands would have been called classics by generations of metalheads to come.
Important thing to add here is that this band was under the high protection of Mike Varney himself, the guy who together with Metal Blade's Brian Slagel was responsible of introducing Heavy Metal in the States and therefore should get a statue in every metal club throughout the land. Amen.

Tracklist :

- Life is just a game
- The tonight show
- The evil in me
- Born to rock
- Never gonna stop
- Two wrongs
- Take another prisoner
- I need a love
- You can't escape your lies

PICTURE - "Heavy Metal Ears"

Stampei... Probably this word means nothing at all for 99.9 percent of the metalheads of 2004. Now if I had written this word in the beginning of the 80's almost every metalfan in Western Europe would read on with the greatest attention.
Let me fill you in: Stampei was one of the leading Heavy Metal radio shows in the Netherlands over two decades ago.
If your music was played by Haneka (the female presentator) you were settled. Bands stood in line to have an interview with her or have their music played. Guess every metal/hardrock band send their demo to the Dutch metal Queen. It was on Stampei that I heard Metallica's demo for the very first time, just to give you an idea of the impact of this excellent radio show. Of a lot of attention was spent to the beginning of the Dutch heavy metal scene. Something wrong with that ? No of course not! The Dutch scene was quite impressive at that time, bands like Vengeance, Sad Iron, Bodine, Vandale... One of the very best however - and this finishes my long intro - was Picture. Picture was raised in the late 70's and influenced by, how could it be otherwise, the NWOBHM. Picture was a very productive band, making a new album every year from 1980 to 1985. They toured with Saxon, Nugent, even with ACDC.
The promising things that could be heard in their debut album Picture lead to this beauty: Heavy Metal Ears. Admit it: how could one go wrong with such a title ? So, if you are into early honest hardrock, catchy riffs, nice refrains, songs that stick to you, typical early 80 lyrics ("we gonna lock up the disco fools" ...) you might find this album enjoyable all the way.


- Heavy Metal Ears
- Spend the night with you
- Unemployed
- I'm just a simple man
- Funky town
- Out of time
- Nighttiger
- No no no
- Rock & Roll/Under your spell

RIOT - "Thundersteel"

It must have been somewhere around 1994, on a very rainy day in school. Those were the days that I begun to realize what heavy metal was about. Or so I thought. HELLOWEEN, SAVATAGE, RAGE , MANOWAR were my listening mostly at this time. A very close friend (a bit older than me) while talking and exchanging tapes tells me: "Man, I really have something here that you are going to love".
I got the tape and saw the title. RIOT-THUNDERSTEEL was written on the front side of the tape. I was curious of the very strange cover (at least I found it strange...) so when I got back home and finally got time, I entered the tape on the stereo. When the first notes of 'Thundersteel' hit me I was left with my mouth open for three minutes. The thundering of the riffs, the amazing vocals and the solid rhythm section hit me in the stomach straight away. But the shock had just started. The epic 'Fight Or Fall' took the sceptre with its sharp riffs and once again the creative and wonderful melodies. Still, that wasn't enough.
The triplet 'Sign Of The Crimson Storm', 'Flight Of The Warrior' and 'On The Wings Of Eagles' made me dream of distant and far places. The melodies were so dreamy while the music so breathtaking that I felt chills running all over my body. Whoever will try to describe what these three songs are about will completely fail. Many years later I understood why the European Metal sounds so much like Riot's "Thundersteel".
From the constant powering, the relief came with two more songs that were a bit more rockin'. 'Johny's Back' and the breathtaking once more 'Bloodstreets' didn't leave me with any other choice than putting them all over again. The powering 'Run For Your Life' as well as the 9 minute epic '' would be the cornerstone of an experience I will never forget.
I will say it again. Records like "Thundersteel" will never be released again, not even from RIOT. I searched the past, together with the present of the band, but nothing gave me the chills as this album, not to say that the hard rock past of RIOT didn't satisfy me that much.
Up to now, only few albums made me feel like "Thundersteel" did. And still whenever the intro of 'Bloodstreets' plays from the speakers, I can do nothing more than sit back and bring back memories and images. If you haven't heard this album and you consider yourselves a power metal head, then you must reconsider. Or just the first thing you will do tomorrow is go out and buy this album. Let RIOT handle the rest for you.

- Thundersteel
- Fight Or Fall
- Sign Of The Crimson Storm
- Flight Of The Warrior
- On The Wings Of Eagles
- Johny's Back
- Bloodstreets
- Run For Your Life
- Buried Alive (Tell Tale Heart)


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