Wallop – Metallic Alps – 4/5
If there was an album more overdue for posting here then...well I probably forgot about a long time ago. My point is this was shown to me nearly a year ago, has quickly become a welcome addition to my collection and for the longest time I thought it was already here, but it wasn't. It never was. This classic gem of forgotten German Heavy Metal – with only the drummer going on to greater things with Grave Digger – seems to be shrouded in obscurity and with a name as lame as “Wallop” and a cover that cheesy its not hard to see why nobody picked it up from the shelf. And yet despite this lousy name the music is anything but; it may not be anything more revolutionary than simple hard-hitting heavy metal but it's surely amongst the best of them.
The most striking feature to hit you like a tonne of bricks is probably going to be the vocals. The front man here isn't exactly the most conventional sounding vocalist you'll have come across, snarling in a nasal high pitched manner, but before you'll have time to fully make up your mind as to whether it suits the music the rest of the band will be in full swing. It may take a couple of tracks for them fully warm up but by the time the guitarist gets his chance to prove he can shred with the best, performing to the calibre of “David T. Chastain” or “Herman Frank” in creating fast paced pieces complete with all the tapping and sweeping the music could demand – and that's just the riffs! - and when the drummer starts wailing on the tom-tom's like he's determined to break every drum in his kit by the end of the night, such questions quickly disappear.
It's not all good news though, it does come with a fairly large flaw (and certainly the one that I find hardest to overcome): the production on the release. It was oddly 'raw' which whilst lending an energetic viscerality to the proceedings whilst still retaining its clarity, it had an unfortunate grating quality that saw me struggle between the desire to play it loudly and not get a headache from all the loud background noise. Certainly here with the re-release the issue is far less noticeable, having been given a much needed re-mastering at the minor cost at pushing the frantic drumming just perhaps a little further back, but by no means out of the picture entirely. There should be little else that needs to be said; like Heavy Metal? You'll love this.
Note: Interestingly, this comes with both the demo's that the band released, one prior and one following this album. During the recording of the album, the original vocalist left and so the one on display here is a cover vocalist and not present on either demo. It's intriguing to me to flick between the two versions and wonder how it would have panned out with the original line-up.
Highlights: Monsters, Idols Die Too
Over the years this has grown into my own personal project, reviewing the artists that I discover and interest me. If you wish to see more of my work, particularly my more metal-orientated material, you can find me as a regular contributor for the online magazine
Posted by T. Bawden Thursday, 16 September 2010