Bullet Records 1983
I think pretty much everybody remembers that "Stakk Attakk" record that WRATHCHILD put out... if the music was forgettable, the cover was not - it's prolly the only reason they sold any records. I think I've heard that album once maybe, and I remember it being a low rent Metal affair - this single on the other hand, is heavily rooted in 70's Glam Rock. "Do Ya Want My Love" blatantly borrows from BROWNSVILLE STATION's "Smokin' In The Boys Room", and there's a definite nod to KISS' "Do You Love Me" in there too. The B-side "Twist Of The Knife" opens with a knock-off of the handclaps and "Hey! Hey! Hey!" from T REX's "Solid Gold Easy Action". I'm no Glam expert, but I'm willing to bet there's bits stolen from GARY GLITTER and SLADE too. The coolest thing about this record is that in 1983, while the NWOBHM was in full swing, WRATHCHILD bucked the trend by pumping out pure and simple Glam Rock. So even if this isn't a fantastic record, it's respectable none the less.
DOWNLOAD: Wrathchild - Do Ya Want My Love.rar (15.17 MB)
Bullet Records 1983
SST Records 1985
That DiANNO record was so godawful that I have to cleanse my palette with something good, and it don't get much better than this! "The Walking Dead" was a stop-gap EP between the first two VITUS LPs, and it contains 3 of my all time favourite SAINT VITUS tracks. "Darkness" starts things off with vocalist Scott Reagers' unmistakable howl "Welcome to darkneeeessssss" and is a quick reminder of why he was the only VITUS singer. I loved Wino, but I couldn't fully appreciate him 'til I heard THE OBSESSED years later... Reagers was the man for SAINT VITUS (really cool that they got back together with him for their swan song "Die Healing"). Next up is the classic "White Stallions", and I'm relatively sure that it's a different version than the one on "Hallow's Victim", but I've never taken the time to compare the two. "The Walking Dead" might be my all-time favourite VITUS track... it's one of their slowest, longest, and most memorable early songs. The lyrics are spectacular ("The 13th of November/A haunted Friday night/The graveyard gates swing open/Crypts all spring to life") and I absolutely love the chick-chick-chick part in the main riff. Apparently people blamed SAINT VITUS for "ruining" BLACK FLAG when they put out "My War", and their influence is undeniable cuz I'm pretty sure there's a chick-chick-chick riff just like the one in "The Walking Dead" somewhere on the second side of "My War"... but seriously, who wants to listen to it to make sure? Not me. If you've never heard SAINT VITUS (shame on you!) this is a great place to start, cuz these 3 songs encapsulate everything that is great about the band. "Hold your breath baby, we're roamin' here tonight!"
DOWNLOAD: Saint Vitus - The Walking Dead.rar (37.83 MB)
FM Records 1984
This album fucking sucks! Not just the music... everything about it is awful! Let's start with the cover shot of these geezers. Nothing about this picture is appealing. They don't look like a Metal band (prolly cuz this isn't much of a Metal record), they look more like a gang of Cold War-era Russians who wanna sell you some black market goods... bread, or denim, or whatever it was they sold - just complete lowlifes. Di'Anno (the man) went from being one of the most bad-ass frontmen of all time, to wearing parachute pants and associating with these losers. Hahaha - just read that their clothes were donated to them by Wrangler, I had no idea that corporate sponsors were in the habit of supporting such second rate tripe. OK, now for the music... I hope you appreciate the torture I had to endure in order to rip this album - it's 45+ minutes of my life that I'll never get back. In fact, this record is soooo bad that my cat jumped on the turntable, causing a huge scratch, while I was in the middle of ripping it - she must have seen the distress it was causing me, and tried to help in the only way she could. The entire album is rife with crappy keyboards, and piano, and AOR bullshit, and it reminds me of BRYAN ADAMS more than anything resembling Metal. "Road Rat" actually sounds like "Summer Of '69". "Razor Edge" has a bit that's a blatant rip-off of ALDO NOVA's "Fantasy"... and by comparing the two I'm doing ALDO NOVA a great disservice, because I actually like "Fantasy". Do yourself a favour and don't bother downloading this, unless you're curious about what Di'Anno was up to after IRON MAIDEN, or if you're wondering what effect alcoholism can have on someone's judgement... and career. This record now holds the distinction of being the worst album in my collection... and I own some real stinkers!
DOWNLOAD (if you're a masochist): DiAnno - DiAnno.rar (80.43 MB)
Bad Reputation Records 2002
Is it lame to post your own band's record? It probably is, but I don't care because so few people own a copy of this (I know because I've got hundreds of extras in my spare room) that if even 4 or 5 people download it, it'll have doubled it's listening audience... and what's wrong with a little shameless self promotion anyways? THE FANGS was a band that went through many many incarnations, and members, with Mat (vox/guitar) being the only constant. These songs were recorded by the final line-up, which was comprised of Mat, myself (drums) and Sarah (bass/vox), between 1999 and 2001 maybe (I don't remember exactly). This is more of a compilation than a proper album, cuz there's songs from at least 5 different recording sessions on here. We seemed to record constantly, but never did anything with the finished product 'til Mat and I decided to release this posthumously. Why put out a record after the band's broken up? Fucking good question! I guess we wanted to have something to show for all the hard work, energy, time, money, and creativity that was put into the band. The sound is a mix of Punk, Rock'n'Roll, Garage, and maybe just a hint of Metal here and there. I didn't even know if I'd like this record when I ripped it, cuz it'd been such a long time since I'd heard it, but I'm happy to say that I still love this band and these songs. We played tirelessly around the Toronto area for a couple of years to no avail, and in the end it all got to be a bit much, so we called it a day. If you dig this record, I'll send you a copy for free, I'd just need some $ to cover the cost of postage and it's yours!
DOWNLOAD: The Fangs - Metal Garage.rar (46.54 MB)
From Beyond Productions 2004
Aaahhhh... there's nothing like Death Metal in the morning. I woke up, brewed a pot of coffee, and instead of sitting down with the morning paper, I sat down with this CIANIDE record... to each his own I guess. I've got to preface this review by telling you that I don't like much Death Metal. Sure back in 1991, like every other dipshit Metal fan, I thought Death Metal was where it was at, but with age comes wisdom, and I now know that most of those bands were crap. That's not a revelation that's exclusive to Death Metal... it's basically Sturgeon's Law, which states that 90% of everything is crap - unfortunate but true. So.... CIANIDE. From reading the liner notes, it seems that this album was recorded live in the studio, and contains songs that appeared on some of the band's previous releases. I dig the fact that it's truly live, no overdubs (that I can hear), and it's raw! None of this pristine, modern, quantized robotic bullshit that passes as Metal these days. The liner notes are great, as one of the dudes breaks down the inspiration for each track... it makes trying to figure out what a song reminds you of a lot easier when he says "This one is like such-and-such BATHORY song" or "I ripped this one off from SLAUGHTER". I appreciate the honesty, and the fact that these guys love metal is clear! CIANIDE remind me of ASPHYX maybe, or AUTOPSY a bit... as their's is a blend of Doom and Death Metal. "Envy And Hatred" is my favourite track, and there's a cover of a SLAUGHTER demo track called "Death Dealer" which is also very cool. Here's what I love about vinyl: if I had downloaded this, or bought it on CD, I woulda listened to about 10 seconds, turned it off, and filed it under generic Death Metal. But since I had to actually sit here and listen to the entire record in order to rip it, I quite enjoyed it. That doesn't mean that it's not generic Death Metal, but at least I was able to enjoy it.
DOWNLOAD: Cianide - Dead & Rotting.rar (77.61 MB)
XYZ Metal 1984
Alright, so here's another Aussie band who, along with TAIPAN, are considered to be amongst the first Metal bands from Down Under... or at least that's what I've read on the interweb. This EP has 5 tracks that've been culled from 3 different recording sessions over a span of 3 years. On the record the songs are in reverse chronological order, and as a result the production quality worsens as the record goes on... fortunately the songs are consistently good. Opening tracks "Break And Bend" and "Heavin'" have a real party anthem vibe to 'em and both get stuck in my head. Actually, at different times I've had every song on this EP running through my head for days at a time... that says a lot about how catchy their material is. "Got To Deliver" is next and would have benefited greatly from the beefed-up, commercial production of the first two tracks, instead it seems like it's not fully realized. The B side has 2 tracks that are more straight ahead Metal, and the slightly rawer production suits them just fine. BENGAL TIGERS really remind me of another band, but I can't put my finger on it... it's been driving me crazy for a couple of days now. I wanna say early KILLER DWARFS, but that's not quite it. It doesn't matter anyways, cuz they were a fine band in their own right... download and enjoy!
DOWNLOAD: Bengal Tigers - Metal Fetish.rar (34.88 MB)
Bullet Records 1981
It kinda bugs me when people call bands that aren't English NWOBHM... but I don't know what else to call TAIPAN cuz I'm pretty sure there was never a NWOAHM (New Wave Of Australian Heavy Metal). There's that, and the fact that they sound just like yer typical NWOBHM band, and they were around during the NWOBHM surge. However... as sacreligious as it might be, I find most NWOBHM to be utterly forgettable, and TAIPAN are anything but. Like many of the early (good) bands of the movement, they combine hard rock with the rawness and energy of Punk Rock... unlike the glut of shitty bands that flooded the market in later years. Opener "Breakout" is a prime example of this winning combo: it's simplistic and kinda sloppy, with an absolutely infectious chorus, and phenomenal vocals. The next 2 tracks are similarly upbeat and totally memorable, while "The Cellar" finishes things off on a slightly different note. It's a mid-paced pounder, that's dark and menacing and is the stand-out amongst all the great songs on this record. This is a must download for NWOAHM fans.
DOWNLOAD: Taipan - Taipan.rar (26.59 MB)
512 Bloor Street West
Sonic Boom's been around for years, but I'd never been there 'til a couple of months ago cuz I hadn't heard much good about it. My wife hates the incessant clackity-clack of CDs being rummaged through, but thankfully the vinyl is in the basement away from the racket. As I mentioned in a previous post, there's lots of new Black Metal and Stoner Rock LPs, but those don't interest me in the slightest. The used vinyl ranges from terribly abused GIUFFRIA and HELIX records to pristine but common MOTORHEAD records. Real rarities are hard to come by at Sonic Boom, cuz I have a feeling that the bins are regularly picked over by downtown hipster douchebags, unlike the stores that're in the middle of nowhere (Ric's Collectibles, Discovery Records, etc.)... but that doesn't mean you can't get lucky every now and then. I've found some decent records, that are in great shape, and they're reasonably priced ($10-$15), but more often than not I leave empty handed. The store is HUGE, and if you're looking for Metal CDs the selection is enormous, the Punk vinyl section is pretty big too but it looks like it's 95% new and re-issues. Sonic Boom is OK, but I've never flipped out over how many awesome records they have like I do every time I'm at Ric's.
MCA Records 1983
I'm completely floored by this record right now, and that comes as a complete shock. My only previous exposure to SOUND BARRIER was some song on a Metal Blade comp, and I remember thinking it was the worst thing I'd ever heard. Oh wait... KRANK were on that record too, so it mighta been a toss up, but regardless, I didn't have high hopes for "Total Control" when I picked it up a few weeks ago. To say that I'm surprised by how much I like this record is a vast understatement. SOUND BARRIER play the most unoffensive brand of Metal I've ever heard, due in large part to their heightened melodic sense, vocal harmonies, big 80's choruses, and their superlative musicianship. The first 2 tracks on this record are so 80's it hurts... I can't get the image of someone doing that awful 80's dance (the one from the "Dancing In The Dark" video) out of my head when I hear album opener "Other Side", and the title track sounds like something from a Michael Anthony Hall movie. You know the scene, the one where he wanders to the wrong side of the tracks, and into a scary biker bar where there's a cheeseball band playing some kinda Hollywoodized pseudo-Metal. There's a buncha songs that really remind me of MONTROSE and/or Y&T... and there ain't nuthin' wrong with those comparisons! The RUSH influence on the mini instrumental track "Mayday" is painfully obvious, especially in the Geddy Lee-ish bass playing. Actually, the bass playing is phenomenal throughout - Stanley E. incorporates all kindsa tricks (popping, slapping, and loads of harmonics) not normally present in Metal. "Total Control" is anything but predictable: there's lots of odd time signatures, interesting guitar interludes, non-standard arrangements, and it all adds up to a thoroughly engaging and entertaining listen. Don't be discouraged by the first 2 tracks, cuz it's all up hill after that. Love it!
DOWNLOAD: Sound Barrier - Total Control.rar (70.95 MB)
Bacillus Records 1985
Why are Germans so goddamn good at the Metal? They seem to have the innate ability to write catchy riffs, and craft memorable songs that never stray into overly commercial territory. There must be something in their drinking water, cuz even a second rate band like HUNTER kicks serious ass. HUNTER have gathered a collection of distinctly Teutonic riffs, and served 'em up in a simple, straight forward package of twin guitars, heavily accented vocals, and ultra-solid drumming that is light on originality but heavy on... well, heaviness I suppose. The first coupla tracks are real barnstormers (don't mind me... I just returned from the 1930's) and they set up the mid-tempo "Crusaders Of Hell" perfectly. Ballady album closer "Words Can Hurt" is the only time that the pace is slowed down for any extended period.To make a comparison, HUNTER remind me of a less speed metal, and slightly subdued WARRANT (the German guys of course). I also really really dig the eerie album cover... not really sure exactly what's going on, but it looks spooky and sinister enough. "Sign Of The Hunter" isn't anything groundbreaking, but it is an awesome straight up Metal record.
DOWNLOAD: Hunter - Sign Of The Hunter.rar (76.19 MB)
Ebony Records 1986
What a shock... another Ebony Records release mired in shitty production. This one may not be as bad as the FAST KUTZ record, but it still sounds like it was recorded by an earless halfwit. If the guitars were more up front and bit more cutting, this record would be a real killer - instead I find it difficult to listen to more than 3 or 4 songs at a time... it actually makes my ears tired. Really a shame, cuz COBRA were a more than capable band serving up some seriously riff heavy NWOBHM, full of memorable vocal lines and ripping guitar solos. If "Curse Of Eden" and "Devil's Daughter" are two of the highlights on "Back From The Dead", then "Life's Door" is without a doubt the album's low point. For whatever reason they opted to forgo the guitars in favour of keyboards, and the results are abysmally bad - maybe in '86 it sounded kinda modern, but today it's just horribly dated. All in all a good record when taken in small doses... and the cover art is really cool too.
DOWNLOAD: Cobra - Back From The Dead.rar (74.76 MB)
Listen Records 1988
I dunno when the NWOBHM was finally laid to rest, but I have a feeling that releases like IRON HEART's "Running Away" helped hammer the final nail in it's coffin. This is 3 tracks of overly commercial, melodic Metal that is just not up my alley. The keyboard/piano intro sets things off on the wrong foot, and the band is barely able to recover by the time the record is over. Album closer "Last Chance" is the only somewhat enjoyable track here, as it's the heaviest of the three, and isn't mucked up by unnecessary keyboards. I really hate to say this, but at times this record reminds me of latter day THIN LIZZY... "Renegade" era maybe - sorry Phil, but your legacy has spawned a lot of shitty bands, and IRON HEART is undoubtedly one of 'em. I can't say for sure, but I think they may have used a drum machine on these tracks (which is never acceptable... at least not when you're trying to pass it off as a real drummer), and if they didn't, they most definitely used some shitty 80's drum samples that make his playing sound stiff and mechanical. I really thought this was gonna be a good one... I guess I got sucked in by the scary cover art, and band name - too bad they're more heart than iron.
DOWNLOAD: Iron Heart - Running Away.rar (23.54 MB)
Steamhammer Records 1986
I forget exactly what the story is behind this record, but 2 versions of it were recorded and both of 'em were released. Maybe they lost the masters or something, and had to redo it... I dunno, it doesn't make any sense to me, that a record is actually pressed, and then lost!?! They woulda had to lose the masters, the mixes, and the pressing plates... OK, so I'm the hugest skeptic you'll ever meet, but that all seems like a bit much doesn't it? I don't know for sure, but I'm relatively positive that this is the rarer, first version of "Obsessed By Cruelty" cuz every time I hear this record, see it posted online, and have rebought it on CD, it's been the "other", inferior version. I prefer this one for a bunch of reasons: the production is better (though maybe not as heavy), it features "After The Deluge" which is listed on the "other" version, but isn't actually on the record, and Witchhunter's playing is over the top - sounds like he's barely keeping it together, but it's some of the most memorable drumming of all time... plus every song is killer. "After The Deluge" was always my favourite, so it really sucks that it's missing from the more common version - for that reason alone you need to download this. "OBC" was the first SODOM record I bought, and it has remained my favourite (and one of my all time faves too). Leave a comment and let me know which version you prefer, or fill me in on the details re: the different versions. Whatever you do, download it and enjoy!
DOWNLOAD: Sodom - Obsessed By Cruelty.rar (74.17 MB)