I was always on the lookout for bands that were not part of the mainstream magazine press when it came to metal and rock music.
Waysted – The Good The Bad The Waysted
It’s Pete Way from UFO but Paul Chapman on guitars steals the show. His riffs and leads are excellent. Fin Muir on vocals has a bit of UDO in his style and the grit he brings, works.
“Hang Em High” brings the heavy blues rock to the 80’s with a bit of a George Lynch style inspired verses. The vocals bludgeon their way and it’s the perfect anti-hero to the MTV stars of the day.
“Hi Ho My Baby” delivers the classic rock sound of the 70’s, more Free like, but people would say it’s more like AC/DC.
“Heaven Tonight” takes a bit of Journey from the piano department to deliver the songs foundation, but the song rocks away for a ballad, with a Rod Stewart like vocal and Chapman on guitar delivers the riffs and the melodic leads.
Check out the arpeggio intro to “Manuel” and when it kicks into overdrive, its melodic rock heaven and the last 90 seconds is a section which reminds me of the piano riff in “Love To Love” and the guitar solo. It’s perfect, allowing UFO to influence the new.
“Rolling Out The Dice” sounds like a song The Cult would write in a few years’ time.
“Land That’s Lost The Love” could be one of the best UFO songs that didn’t appear on an UFO album. Chapman delivers a verse riff straight from the gutters of the Sunset Strip, but the Chorus, is classic UFO, a vocal melody which is catchy over a guitar melody. Make sure you check out the lead break from Chapman.
Overkill – Feel The Fire
I liked the logo as it was a tweak on the Iron Maiden font. But I never got any of their stuff in the 80’s because my budget was limited, they virtually got no promotional push in Australia, which meant their albums wouldn’t be in stores and they had a lot of competition.
“Raise The Dead” is pure speed metal. The band is labelled as one of the earlier thrash pioneers, but thrash is a generic term.
Check out the main verse riff and see if you can name the song that inspired it?
“Rotten To The Core” blasts out of the gate like “The Four Horsemen”. A classic and still part of their live show today.
Check out the lead break to “There’s No Tomorrow”. Its guitar hero worthy from Bobby Gustafson.
“Hammerhead” has a riff in it, that Metallica would use on “Disposable Heroes”. And the lead break again from Gustafson is shred’a’licious. The title track “Feel The Fire” is another favourite. It’s got riffs and leads and it will get you playing air guitar. There is a section which is almost “Over The Mountain” like.
Nasty Savage – Nasty Savage
It’s funny how metal musicians got labelled as drunks, drug takers, anti-social and what not. But everyone seems to forget that most of the musicians of bands who had deals but never made it big were serious players.
Nasty Savage live in some weird world of speed metal, hard rock and technicality.
1985 was probably the last year when genres didn’t matter and artists incorporated so many different musical elements into their music. Afterwards, labels would hear bands like Nasty Savage and tell them to change their style to suit a genre which they created and could market.
On Metal Blade, signed by Brian Slagel after their 1984 demo “Wage Of Mayhem”, started doing the rounds on the underground circuit.
“No Sympathy” has this dramatic ominous symphonic music for 50 seconds, before the intro riff kicks in. It’s more technical than the speed metal of early thrash metal. Mercyful Fate comes to mind immediately.
“Gladiator” is more of a hard rock tempo, with a head banging riff. Vocally, Nasty Ronnie is more theatre like, mixing, King Diamond falsetto’s with baritone chainsaw barks. If you like polished hard rock style vocals, then this isn’t for you.
I read a live review in which Nasty Ronnie even smashed a TV set on his head.
At 2 minute the song changes feel before it moves into the solo.
Other tracks are “Fear Beyond the Vision” (listen to the ball busting falsetto’s in the Chorus) and the garage sounds of “Metal Knights”. Check out the lead break in this one. Guitarists Ben Meyer and David Austin have shown, four songs in that they are ambitious and progressive in their song writing.
“Dungeon Of Pleasure” has a great intro riff. “Psycopath” has an intro which is just bass and drums before the harmony melody of the guitars comes in. And then it goes into this demented and chromatic riff.
Lizzy Borden – Love You To Pieces
I judged Lizzy Borden on their logo that they would be like Venom. I know it’s a terrible comparison. So when I pressed play and I heard the hard rock and heavy metal riffs with a vocal style which was more hard rock than anything, I was like goddamn, I’m never judging things by their cover again.
Lizzy Borden is maybe the pre-cursor for Ghost.
Check out tracks like “Council For The Cauldron” for the Iron Maiden like riffs and the melodic lead breaks.
“Psycopath” has this “Friday On My Mind” style feel, just a bit more metal like and some extra additions to make it different. “Love You To Pieces” is a heartfelt ballad about you know, ripping up your loved one into pieces.
And the piece d’resistance is “American Metal”. It more or less sums up the different types of guitar riffs from the metal bands. There are riffs influenced by EVH, Rhoads/Lee, Crosby/DeMartini and Tipton/Downing.
220 Volt – Mind Over Muscle
I heard these guys well into the first 2000’s decade. I really like their merge of early Scorpions, NWOBHM and acts like UFO, Deep Purple and Rainbow. Think of how Europe sounded on their first two albums before “The Final Countdown” merged with Malmsteen’s metal opus “Marching Out”. It’s melodic, its metal, its rock and it works.
This album continues the great work set up on their self-titled debut in 83 and its follow up, “Power Games” in 84 and the song “Power Games” appears on this album and its one of my favourite tracks on this album.
Stand out tracks apart from “Power Games” are “Electric Messengers”, “Secret Dance (Xymania)”, “Blessed By The Night”, “Halloween” and “Mind Over Muscle”.
Crank it and check out the guitar playing.
Faith No More – We Care A Lot
How good is that bass and drum groove from Billy Gould and Mike Bordin to kick off “We Care A Lot”?
Then the keys from Roddy Bottum come in and Mr Jim Martin brings in riffs, here and there to decorate. Vocalist Chuck Mosley does his street rap and street singing style which works for me, over the progressive song structures created by the rest of the band.
Then Mr Martin wrote a nice acoustic classical/flamenco piece called “Jim”.
“Why Do You Bother” also has those drum and bass grooves with the keys over it, which makes the unique Faith No More sound.
“Pills For Breakfast” has a metal like riff and groove which gets me to pick up the guitar and learn it. They didn’t have time to write lyrics. So the music takes it away. And tracks like “As The Worm Turns” and “New Beginnings” have some great musical moments.
And this brings to end the 1985 series after 12 posts. I am off to the year 2000, for the thirteenth and last post of that series.