Roadrunner Records 1986
I was super stoked to find this, the last missing piece for my TKO collection, last weekend. Now, it seems to me that TKO was a band that never had it's stars align, because they released some top-notch records, but were largely ignored by the record buying public. 1979's Let It Roll was chock fulla slick, fantastically written and executed 70s Rock and 1984's In Your Face is hands down my favourite "commercial" Metal record ever. Having loved those records so much, I was worried that Below The Belt wouldn't live up, and in some ways that concern was justified. Album opener "Beware The Hunter" is overly commercial and sounds painfully dated (Simmons drums do not belong on Metal record folks), but thankfully things take an upturn thereafter. That big 80s production unfortunately remains, but the songs improve greatly, and all the hallmarks of a great TKO record are present: Brad Sinsel's gritty streetweary vocals and memorable, catchy, well written tunes. For the most part Below The Belt sounds like an overproduced version In Your Face, which does dull the immediacy of the music, but hey, I'll take what I can get. The only other slight drawback is that Adam Bomb's ultra-flash guitar playing is conspicuously absent, but again, beggars can't be choosers.
DOWNLOAD: TKO-BelowTheBelt.rar (77.34 MB)
Roadrunner Records 1986
Megaforce Records 1984
Don't let that piece of shit cover fool you... Born To Metalize is a completely kick-ass comp featuring four NJ/NY Metal bands, all of which, with HADES being the only exception, should have gone on to bigger and better things. Oddly enough, HADES is the only band that actually did manage some modicum of success, but more on them later. After a cornball intro, THE BEAST get the ball rolling with 3 straight ahead high energy tracks. I love the vocal delivery! Really excellent stuff, and a tough act to follow for Bayonne's SNEAK ATTACK... fortunately they're able to hold their own with a slightly more typical sound for the era replete with screeching vocals, soaring whammy-bar leads, and laughable lyrics ("Sneak Attack" is so homoerotic it's ridiculous!). Simplistic and direct in their approach, TORTURED DOG keep the quality high in spite of tracks filled with the most generic riffs you can imagine... and somehow it's endearing. Thankfully HADES wrap things up quickly with only 2 tracks (all others contribute 3) of overwrought, melodramatic Metal. These guys clearly took themselves way too seriously, and are a bit of a buzz-kill considering the other 3 bands came to party with lunkheaded, good time tunes. Not a bad band, but they are definitely the weakest link on Born To Metalize, and the singer's Paul Di'Anno impersonation is a bit too blatant on "Rogues March". On the whole, highly recommended listening.
DOWNLOAD: BornToMetalize.rar (78.69 MB)
Thunderbolt Records 1984
Heretic. Burnt at the stake. Sounds pretty heavy right? Well don't get your hopes up, cuz like the majority of NWOBHM acts, HERETIC's presentation was much more sinister than their actual sound. Opener "Water Of Vice" starts things off in fine form with a riff similar to WITCHFINDER GENERAL's "Requiem For Death", but things quickly become more lightweight with each passing track. Solid guitar work and solos reminiscent of early 80s, Snowy White-era, THIN LIZZY are the saving grace here, and weak vocals are the major stumbling block. Still, it's a fun light hearted romp if yer up for it.
DOWNLOAD: Heretic BurntAtTheStake.rar (33.1 MB)
The three years between THE OBSESSED's Church Within record and Wino's return with this here SHINE demo seemed interminably and painfully long. The resurrected and revived OBSESSED held so much promise, only to fall apart yet again, and I feared the worst after their premature demise. Crazy rumours about Wino abounded... he was a destitute drug addict, even that he was on the lam (!?!). Whether or not any of them were true was of no consequence when the ad for Powertime popped up in the back of Metal Maniacs. I hastily sent my money away to the address provided, but ended up waiting over a year for the demo to arrive. There was some sort of shady snafu with the guy who was handling their distribution, but all was forgiven when it finally arrived. OK, on to the music... Wino fans will recognize these 3 songs from the first SPIRIT CARAVAN record (SHINE were forced to change their name to SC due to another band with the same moniker), but I have yet to confirm whether or not these are the same versions on Jug Fulla Sun. They're very similar, and maybe were just remixed, or rerecorded... who knows. Powertime sees Wino at the top of his game, and everything we loved about the OBSESSED is present: Wino's powerful trademark vocals, his fantastically twisted leads, and riffs and vocal melodies that bore their way into your subconscious. Anyways, it seems that pretty much everyone loves Wino, so that description served no purpose as you likely already know what you're in store for... just download and enjoy.
DOWNLOAD: Shine Powertime.rar (27.44 MB)
Private/Osmosis Records 1989
Some decent late 80's Québécois Thrash on offer here from Montreal's LANKHMAR... who would later drop the H for the much catchier LANKMAR. Don't ask. Musically Prejudiced is fairly typical of the time: a blend of Bay Area and mildly technical Thrash, sounding a lot like TESTAMENT and at times fellow Canucks M.A.D.. Lyrically LANKHMAR did not have the goods, but their musical chops more than make up for it, and the production is outstanding to boot. All in all a very cool download.
DOWNLOAD: Lankhmar Prejudiced.rar (46.59 MB)
Metal Blade Records 1988
This slab, just one amongst many of Metal Blade's long forgotten one-off releases, is actually pretty dece. BANSHEE dealt melodic Metal that covers a lot of varied bases, from OZZY's riffy early solo outings, to RUSH ("I Believe" sports a blatant rip-off of "In The End" from Fly By Night), to MAIDEN and EXCITER on the title track. Totally solid band, great vocals and guitar playing, and heavy yet catchy tracks - you can't really go wrong.
DOWNLOAD: Banshee-CryInTheNight.rar (45.58 MB)