RAVEN - All For One('83)

01 - Take Control
02 - Mind Over Metal
03 - Sledgehammer Rock
04 - All For One
05 - Run Silent Run Deep
06 - Hung, Drawn & Quartered
07 - Break The Chain
08 - Take It Away
09 - Seek And Destroy
10 - Athletic Rock
11 - Born To Be Wild(STEPPENWOLF cover)
12 - The Ballad Of Marshall Stack
13 - Inquisitor(with UDO DIRKSCHNEIDER)

NWOBHM vanguard nutters RAVEN were one of the shining lights of that movement, charging forth with an early barrage of high octane speed madness. While never able to sustain their initial momentum, they left an undeniable mark on the metal landscape, especially with the Double Trouble produced sledge "All For One".

A raw pulsating crank of uber-wattage, RAVEN ride a histrionic fire trail of built to destroy riffs unto metal glory. Punk inflected, multiple velocities, berating, and forceful, "All For One" is a must have cornerstone for any true metal head's core collection.

TANK-ified, MOTORHEAD-ed, and totally a force unto themselves, RAVEN hit pay dirt with this monolithic Pantheon of metal aggression. There are some bands that you just know have metal on the brain. This is one of them.

Appetite for Metal done right? Feast heartily.

QUEENSRYCHE - Rage For Order

01 - Walk in the Shadows
02 - I Dream in Infrared
03 - The Whisper
04 - Gonna Get Close to You
05 - The Killing Words
06 - Surgical Strike
07 - Neue Regel
08 - Chemical Youth (We Are Rebellion)
09 - London
10 - Screaming in Digital
11 - I Will Remember

After the huge promise of their self titled, the 'Ryche came back with a wet noodle full length. I mean, face it, "The Warning' is a major disappointment after the glory and power of the e.p.. But the band was well before their "Floydian" sell out, and the "delusions of grandeur" bloated epics with "Operation: Mindcrime" and the pop-tastic "Empire". They had an ace up their proverbial sleeves.

"Rage For Order" is a cyborg-ian nightmare, rife with riff, and determined to assault the most base of human instinct. Song after song of pounding, clinical displays of aseptic prog, the album works in spite of it's inherent handicaps. Neil Kernon's(plague of '80's production) modern digital mix is a bewildering display of how not to make a metal album( Rockenfield's drum sound!!!! Arghh!!!!!), but the album rises above due to it's futuristic drive to move the metal genre forward.

A true metal classic, it's the power of song and arrangement that lifts this above the annoying mix. A jewel case of blistering Euro-crunch, the Queensryche band had yet to forget the main tenements of purist metal. One more stab at creative and commercial notoriety would spell the end of relevance for this band, but an everlasting impact is achieved.

KROKUS - Headhunter

01 - Headhunter
02 - Eat The Rich
03 - Screaming In The Night
04 - Ready To Burn
05 - Night Wolf
06 - Stayed Awake All Night
07 - Stand And Be Counted
08 - White Din
09 - Russian Winter

Always slagged as AC/DC clones(rightly so), KROKUS were generally frowned upon as cut rate lower tier hacks. Most of their earlier material never progressed beyond hard rock boogie thump, and it appeared as if the band didn't have an original thought in their collective heads.

Then, with the release of One Vice At A Time, KROKUS showed that there was actually untapped potential within their ranks. This potential was fulfilled with the release of their Headhunter opus. From the speed metal thrust of the title track, to the memorable chorus of closer "Russian Winter", Headhunter was indeed state of the art metal for the new era. A lusty, cutting edge injection of high octane crunch was incorporated into the bands attack, and KROKUS inserted themselves into the metal communities consciousness. Unfortunately, thus began the long painful slide into corporate pandering, and the band lost any good will they had built with the fans of the genre.

However, Headhunter is a classic of the era, and a worthy spin capable of heating up amplifiers with it's butt shaking wallop. Worthy and worthwhile.

MORE - Warhead

01 - Warhead
02 - Fire
03 - Soldier
04 - Depression
05 - Road Rocket
06 - Lord of Twilight
07 - Way of the World
08 - We Are the Band
09 - I Have No Answers

Notoriety for this album usually concentrates on two facts that have little or nothing to do with the music enclosed. First of all, MORE were known to include one PAUL MARIO DAY on lead vox for this debut, DAY of course being IRON MAIDEN's original front man(1976). MORE were also one of the first NWOBHM bands to attain a major label release.

Outside of the interesting trivia however, Warhead is a fairly accomplished album, fueled by the oh-so-metal riff tonnage of main guy KENNY COX. And that is what makes this album such a pleasing encounter for fans of the genre. Riffs and solos are plentiful, executed with bite and aplomb. Somewhat hampered by the mix, and a stiff drum performance, Warhead never-the-less succeeds on sheer will to rock out.

For those in the know, Warhead will always be overshadowed by it's successor Blood and Thunder(in my opinion, one of the top 5 albums of the era), but it stands proudly on it's own. A forgotten band in dire need of rediscovery, a must for fans of axe mechanics.

KEEL - The Right To Rock

01 The Right To Rock
02 Back To The City
03 Let's Spend The Night Together
04 Easier Said Than Done
05 So Many Girls So Little Time
06 Electric Love
07 Speed Demon
08 Get Down
09 You're The Victim (I'm The Crime)
10 Easier Said Than Done (Remix)

Once courted as the front man for BLACK SABBATH, RON KEEL first made his mark with the flawed but fabulous STEELER project, recorded with a then relatively unknown YNGWIE MALMSTEEN.When that band fell through, he then decided to strike out on his own as KEEL.

After an independently released debut(Lay Down The Law), the band hooked up with a major label, and used GENE SIMMONS as producer for their sophomore effort, The Right To Rock.

A fairly heavy effort, the album is a perfect example of California metal, upbeat and easy going. Full of riff driven car deck tunes, one can easily imagine oneself cruising around town with the sun roof down while this album blares from the stereo. My chief complaint about The Right To Rock is the boxy, squared off production in which - and this is no coincidence - SIMMONS pretty much makes KEEL sound like heavy KISS. Ronnie's bleat can be a distraction for some too. Other than this, plus a couple of filler tunes, The Right To Rock is quite probably KEEL's strongest release during the halcyon period of metal in which it was released.

Looking for some summertime soundtrack music, then this album fits the bill.
RATING: 2.5/5

Mind Funk - Mind Funk

01 - Sugar Ain't So Sweet
02 - Ride & Drive
03 - Bring It On
04 - Big House Burning
05 - Fire
06 - Blood Runs Red
07 - Sister Blue
08 - Woke Up This Morning
09 - Innocence
10 - Touch You

Underground, subversive and pounding, MIND FUNK's debut is a soul destroying surge into the filth and despair of street life. Funkified, doom ridden, and crushing, one's enjoyment of this album hinges entirely on the mood of the listener. If one wishes to delve into the dark underbelly of the mind twisted and corrupted to the core, this crunch classic is a fine elixir indeed. Others beware.

Heroin informed, jacked up and driven, MIND FUNK burrows into the soul, leaving the listener hollow and parched for an uplifting respite. If it weren't for the rise of grunge, and the subsequent metal holocaust, this album may have gotten much more hype as an artistic triumph, if not a true classic.

Listen with a wary ear. This album is insidious in it's dark mission, but an effective look into waste and the wasted.

ACCEPT - Death Row

01_Death Row
02_Sodom & Gomorra
03_The Beast Inside
04_Dead On!
05_Guns 'R' Us
06_Like A Loaded Gun
07_What Else
08_Stone Evil
11_Bad Religion
12_Generation Clash II
13_Writing On The Wall
14_Drifting Apart (Instrumental)
15_Pomp And Circumstance (Instrumental)
Bad Habits Die Hard

After a meager comeback with Objection: Overruled, the mighty ACCEPT storm forth with the head crushing stomp of Death Row.

Billed as the first ACCEPT written for one guitar, I was skeptical about what exactly the end product would sound like. Never fear metal heads, a devastating and stirring pound is accomplished, Death Row being every bit the Teutonic pride fest all punters strive for. UDO harangues and points fingers, all the while WOLF HOFFMAN strings together the most exciting and ripping set of guitar pieces I can truly remember.

A masterwerk of Germanic perfection, like a top end BMW, this album must be learned and tamed. Every bit as heavy as much "extreme metal", ACCEPT have forged an iron monument of undying love of the genre. A devastating kicker not like most current music fans have ever heard, Death Row steams and hisses with the very stuff that comprise Heavy Metal. Prepare for some butthurtz.
RATING: 4.5/5


01 - C'mon Let's Go
02 - The Hunter
03 - I'm Your Victim
04 - Kick It Down
05 - Following The Crowd
06 - Tush
07 - Hit And Run
08 - Watch Your Step
09 - Back To Start
10 - Yeah Right
11 - Future Flash

Arguably the best all-female metal band, GIRLSCHOOL joined the fray as NWOBHM hopefuls, guitars set to stun, liquored up and ready to do battle with the big guns.

Punky, kindred spirits to MOTORHEAD, the 'SCHOOL mount an excellent display of heads down, no nonsense garage rock. Guitars are recorded loudly and the girls are a warehouse of tasty riffs and licks. The chirpy vocals only add to the overall bash factor of the music. Hit & Run is an album that demands repeated listens, hopefully all at the loudest volumes possible.

One of the first all-female units to actually seem to compete within the male dominated genre, GIRLSCHOOL made their definitive statement with this album. Raunchy, rowdy, and in your face rude, Hit & Run is a solid display of typical NWOBHM "can-do" ethic. Great stuff.
RATING 3.5/5

GRAVE DIGGER - Heavy Metal Breakdown

01 Headbanging man
02 Heavy metal breakdown
03 Back from the war
04 Yesterday
05 We wanna rock you
06 Legion of the lost
07 Tyrant
08 2000 lightyears from home
09 Heart attack

Like a caustic, unstoppable force, GRAVE DIGGER stormed onto the metal scene with this slamming collection of blackheart-ed fireworks. A more over-the-top gathering of songs rarely seen, Heavy Metal Breakdown bashes and thrashes the listener firmly about the ear, Bolthendahl's scarred vocal perfectly matching Masson's impassioned guitar pyro.

Stirring and absolute, GRAVE DIGGER's debut is a rousing call to war. Various velocities propel the band and listener alike into a maelstrom of metal perfection. Advanced and pre-cognizant, Heavy Metal Breakdown is metallic corker sure to excite the most jaded of metal fan. SCORPIONS shmorpions, give me my GRAVE DIGGER any day!!!!

CIRITH UNGOL - Frost & Fire

01 - Frost And Fire
02 - I'm Alive
03 - A Little Fire
04 - What Does it Take
05 - Edge of a Knife
06 - Better Off Dead
07 - Maybe That's Why
08 - Cirith Ungol [Live]

Wigged out nut cases, CIRITH UNGOL forged a series of way out, indescribable hot blades into the metal heads psyche. An anomaly, even to this day, CIRITH UNGOL wove a series of waste case barrages, forever searching for the perfect blend of punk,trad. metal, and prog..

Trippy and triumphant, Frost & Fire is yet another foundation piece to the story of heavy metal. A collective of burned out minds, pushed over the edge of creativity with the addition of Tim Baker on vox, the band henceforth proceeded to formulate some of the best left field metal out there. And Baker is really the key. His pissed off pronouncements push the band into a realm far beyond the boundaries of traditional metal, and into a space entirely of their own creation.

RUNNING WILD - Gates To Purgatory

1. Victim of States Power
2. Black Demon
3. Preacher
4. Soldiers of Hell
5. Diabolic Force
6. Adrian S.O.S.
7. Genghis Kahn
8. Prisoner of Our Time
9. Walpurgis Night
10. Satan

Forging a presence since as early as '76, these German dummkoph's finally stumbled onto the scene with this single minded yet virulent slab of junky garage metal. Dunder-headed, lacking in variety and critically slammed at the time, amazingly, the album works some kind of crazy mojo and has actually gained a sizable fan base. Justifiably so I say!! It's a wonderfully simplistic headbang, much in the vein of MOTORHEAD or VENOM, and works it's undeniable magic more and more upon repeat visits.

Considered an early example of Black metal( humorously, RUNNING WILD were also included on the infamous "Death Metal" compilation for Noise, along with HELLHAMMER, HELLOWEEN and DARK AVENGER), this album is catchy as hell - pardon the pun - and a righteous neck snapping example of early years speed.

Michael Schenker Group - Michael Schenker Group('80)

1. Armed and Ready
2. Cry for the Nations
3. Victim of Illusion
4. Bijou Pleasurette
5. Feels Like a Good Thing
6. Into the Arena
7. Looking Out from Nowhere
8. Tales of Mystery
9. Lost Horizons

MSG's debut is a prime example of synergy at work with superior musicianship. An outstanding display of European sophistication from one of the guitar worlds true aristocrats, this album is an exciting and legendary showcase for the prodigious talents of Schenker.

Backed largely by studio session men - most importantly Don Airey/keys and the mind blowing chops of drum phenom Simon Phillips(the man behind the kit on Judas Priest's "Sin After Sin" masterpiece) - and putting forth a stunning display of creative axe-man-ship, Schenker proved to the world that he could venture out and create involving and dramatic hard rock/metal of his own.

After turning down positions with Ozzy, Whitesnake, and Aerosmith, the world became a better place, for Schenker has created a worthy recommendation for one of the greatest hard rock albums of all time.

Michael Schenker Group - MSG '81

1. Are You Ready to Rock
2. Attack of the Mad Axeman
3. On and On
4. Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
5. But I Want More
6. Never Trust a Stranger
7. Looking for Love
8. Secondary Motion

After years of toiling masterfully away in the key position of lead guitarist for seminal classic rock outfits SCORPIONS and UFO, Schenker finally struck out on his own with his self named group in 1980. The debut was a masterpiece of '70's rock melodies super-charged by the main man's superb styling, with the added bonus of having a seasoned cast of rock dog veterans providing a tremendous foundation in which to lay his trademark axe( as an interesting side note, the original MSG line up was to consist of Schenker and Canadian maestros RUSH!! Also of note, bass demon Billy Sheehan played on the '79 demos).

Well, the second release is absolutely no slouch either, and my personal favorite from the catalog. Comprising the definitive line-up of Gary Barden/vox, Chris Glen/bass, Paul Raymond/keys, and the immortal Cozy Powell/pounding drums, this album just oozes smooth cool, as Mr. Schenker just rips with classic riff after high minded solo. And this , as always, is the case with all of the work the man has ever done. It's a guitar fans dream. The tones, textures, technicality, and creativeness just blow the listener away, as Schenker creates sonic battalions of cutting edge metallic wonderment. The epitome of "guitar hero". Attack of the mad axeman indeed.

TANK - Power of the Hunter

1. Walking Barefoot Over Glass
2. Pure Hatred
3. Biting and Scratching
4. Some Came Running
5. T.A.N.K.
6. Used Leather (Hanging Loose)
7. Crazy Horses (Osmonds cover)
8. Set Your Back on Fire
9. Red Skull Rock
10. Power of the Hunter

Algy Ward(ex- The Damned) and his biker metal stormtroopers TANK lit up the NWOBHM like the war machine that they were named after. Rightfully compared to MOTORHEAD, they were never to attain the heights of their doppelganger, but left a lasting legacy of swaggering ultra heavy(for it's time) albums that have stood the test of time with class.

Bombastic and punk infused, the band loved to bash the listener about the ears, all the while courting laughs with wickedly funny lyrics about a range of topics. This second release by them is no different. While many consider their debut, Filth Hounds of Hades, to be their best, I feel that they really hit their stride with this sophomore effort, being stronger of song and musicianship. Just listen to classic cuts like "Walking Barefoot Over Glass","Set Your Back On Fire", or wacky Osmonds cover "Crazy Horses", and I think you'll agree.

Never bashful, always bashing, Power of the Hunter is a must have release for the serious metal loving fan.