Metal Blade Records 1986
As requested, here's SOUND BARRIER's take on the THIN LIZZY classic "Hollywood (Down On Your Luck)" from the latter's 1981 Renegade album. Renegade was by no means the highlight of LIZZY's career, there's a couple of decent songs ("Angel Of Death", "The Pressure Will Blow"), but the Gorham/White guitar duo was uninspiring and the weakest of LIZZY's legendary guitar combos. Much the same can be said about SOUND BARRIER's pairing with Metal Blade Records. After their stellar debut on MCA, and the raucous Born To Rock EP, the mighty SOUND BARRIER found themselves on a label whose roster was generally populated by one-off Metal bands of varying and questionable quality... certainly not the most illustrious company for a band of SOUND BARRIER's caliber. They delivered the Speed Of Light record which included "Hollywood (Down On Your Luck)", a tribute to Phil Lynott who passed away earlier the same year. As they did with "Born To Be Wild", SOUND BARRIER are able to make the song their own by adding interesting, tasty flourishes, but unfortunately the production is weak, flat, and sounds little better than a demo. This woulda kicked mucho ass if it sounded even half as good as their earlier records, but still, it's a great song, and any THIN LIZZY cover is OK in my books.
DOWNLOAD: SoundBarrier-HollywoodSingle.rar (13.79 MB)
Metal Blade Records 1986
Boner Records 1986
VERBAL ABUSE's "Ratt Pakk" got me to thinkin' about another song of the era and genre that I love equally as much: "I'm A Skater", which you can hear on this righteous slab by Bay Area skaterock mofo's THE BONELESS ONES. Much like V.A., THE BONELESS ONES dealt in a Metal/Punk crossover, but while the former pontificated on everything from killer rats to chicks who piss themselves, THE BONELESS ONES' lyrics deal almost exclusively with skating; from skating in the name of Satan, to longing for skate Betty's, to losing friends to spills, and just generally getting rad. I don't personally give a shit about skating, but you gotta admire their dedication! All the dudes in THE BONELESS ONES are adept musicians, but Luke Skeels' guitar playing is the most outstanding - the metallic riffs, and his searing leads steal the show. The bass and guitar trade off on "I'm a Skater" is simple, but extremely effective, and stokes me out every time! Get it.
DOWNLOAD: BonelessOnes-SkateForTheDevil.rar (58.08 MB)
Boner Records 1986
Yeah yeah I know... I've heard it a hundred times: "Their first record is better", "It's not the same band", "They went Metal", blah blah blah and boo-fucking-hoo. You know what, that first record ain't got "Ratt Pakk" on it, and for that sole reason this record is superior. I first heard the track in question on CKLN's Aargh Rock back when this came out, and since then it has remained one of my all time favourites. Rocks Your Liver is Crossover. Kinda like THE ACCUSED without the extreme throat torture. Yeah there's Metal riffs, rockin' solos, some ridiculous lyrics, etc. but to me this still has a definite hardcore feel to it: ultra high energy, the band delivers every track with reckless abandon, and the sound is more akin to an 80s hardcore record than anything Metal. There's loads cool songs and killer riffs on VARYL, but it's Scotty Wilkins' vocals that really do it for me. This record rules, and if yer skeptical, just download it and check out "Ratt Pakk", it'll kick yer balls off!
DOWNLOAD: VerbalAbuse-RocksYourLiver.rar (64.38 MB)
Skeller Records 1987
Best album cover ever? OK maybe not, but you gotta admit that it's pretty great, and if cover art is supposed to be intriguing and memorable (and it is) then Heaven Or Hollywood is an undeniable success. Unfortunately I think more people are familiar with the cover than they are with the rawk laid down by these four Rochester reprobates. For instance: I was under the mistaken impression that UNCLE SAM were a questionable Southern Rock/Metal mash-up, but this is pure and simple Garage Rock in the smacked out vein of JOHNNY THUNDERS and THE JONESES. The vocals are snotty, the guitars reverb drenched, and the attitude is pure Punk Rock... really not what I expected based on the group shot, and all the press they received from Metal journos back-in-the-day. Gotta say that I'm pleasantly surprised. This is rough and tumble cock rock the way it oughta sound - no big budget West Coast sheen here, just bare bone Rock stripped down to it's core.
DOWNLOAD: UncleSam-HeavenOrHollywood.rar (65.53 MB)
Giant Records 1987
Found this one buried deep within the nether regions of my LP collection. Don't remember where, when, or why I bought this, but at some point I felt compelled to part with some hard earned cash in order to walk away with this slab. I do recall a pretty big stink about how great these guys were supposed to be when this, their debut, was released, but I can't say I understand why. By '87 the market was flooded with johnny-come-lately Thrash bands, and every new record was touted as the greatest thing since Bonded By Blood, but trust me, this ain't even close. Musically Razorback is typical Thrash, but the vocals are weak and uninspired, and the production leaves a lot to be desired. It's not terrible, it's standard and predictable, and as far I'm concerned that's worse than being crap... at least you remember crap. This is very reminiscent of the majority of stuff churned out by British thrashers in the mid/late 80s... yeah it's that bland, and life is just too short for generic Metal.
DOWNLOAD: INC-Razorback.rar (91.75 MB)
Steamhammer Records 1986
Not to be confused with Yngwie's early outfit, this STEELER hailed from Germany and were first called SINNER (evidently they had a tough time finding an original name). I think guitarist Axel Rudi Pell is considered some kinda guitar wank hero... maybe not on par with Yngwie, but of course according to Yngwie no one is. Strike Back is standard fare for mid-80s German Metal: the quality is high, the band tight, it's aggressive yet commercial, and there's the mandatory nods to ACCEPT. Dunno what else to say really... this is a totally solid record - exactly what you expect from der Vaterland. If you dug CRACK JAW and SPELLBOUND you'll prolly dig this one too.
DOWNLOAD: Steeler-StrikeBack.rar (70.15 MB)
Roadrunner Records 1985
This is a surprisingly decent record from a band that had the deck stacked against them: a) they're Canadian b) female vocalist (when combined with point a) generally results in dismal middle-of-the-road Rock a'la TORONTO, or HEADPINS, or even LEE AARON) and c) the production combines not only a drum machine, but one'a those abhorrent Rockman direct guitar pieces of shit that were so overused in the 80s. So with all that as a starting point, If You're Man Enough isn't as terrible as you might expect. OK, so it's not exceedingly heavy and it leans towards the Hard Rock end of the spectrum, but the songs are well written and catchy, there's some decent riffs here and there, and Sweet Marie Black's got a great voice. If the production wasn't so thoroughly second rate this'd be a damn good record.
DOWNLOAD: Jade-IfYoureManEnough.rar (72.36 MB)
Roadrunner Records 1986
I distinctly remember this record being released, there was a bit of hype and favourable reviews, and I always wanted to hear it... but was it worth a 23 year wait? Highly doubtful. These mustachioed mutherfuckers certainly weren't breaking any new ground, sounding very much like yer standard second generation American Thrash band. In fact, they're deadringers for Cleveland's DESTRUCTOR... 'cept a bit sloppier maybe. The vocals are uncannily similar to Dave Overkill's, and I was waiting for every next song to be "Iron Curtain" or "Pounding Evil"... but no. Brutal Destruction might not be the most appropriate title, but CYCLONE do deliver 8 decent, if generic, tracks of American come Belgian Thrash. I seemed to enjoy this record more by the time the second side was underway, so maybe it's a bit of a creeper. Forget retro-Thrash and get some of the real deal... or an old Belgian facsimile of the real deal... or something like that.
DOWNLOAD: Cyclone-BrutalDestruction.rar (59.18 MB)