The Vinyl Reacquisition Project (December 2018)

The Vinyl Reacquisition Project (December 2018)

August 25, 2019 2 By Kailee Schamberger


Damien Thorne, you think these guys like
The Omen movies a bit much. Chicago ‘s Damien Thorne really put out one album
during the classic era… this one. But it is a known quantity among serious metal
fans at the time and should have been the start of something longer-lasting. I
mean, this band is still around to the best of my knowledge but only after many
years of inactivity, which is kind of the case with bands like Nasty Savage
and Piledriver. We’ve seen this before — bands go away forever and they finally
come back out of nowhere. Now, the sound of the record has elements of speed
metal, thrash, and traditional metal but all of that seems to be really
contrasted by this incredibly glammy image they had at the time. There are
other bands of the era that had that look — that whole “we look like this but we
don’t sound like this” kind of thing. I’m looking at you, first-album
Cinderella! Suffice it to say, don’t let the back
cover of this album fool you. It’s definitely metal. Favorite tracks would be
the title track as well as “Escape or Die.” On the downside, the production isn’t
really all that good but the songs do make up for it.
Kind of a similar situation to KISS and their Hotter Than Hell album, which
really also suffered from really bad production but with otherwise good songs.
Then again, more modern listeners are sometimes pretty tolerant of those severely low-fi black metal efforts so, compared to those, production really isn’t that bad.
The debut album from Tygers of Pan Tang is a hallmark release in the New Wave of
British Heavy Metal scene. Like their contemporaries, they’re definitely hard
rock but with a severe metal edge. And when I hear them, I hear a sort of
strange combination of AC/DC meets Motorhead. And what’s not to love about
the album cover. I mean, that cat is wild! I discovered this band a little later on
in my metal fandom. I was going to an alternative school in Reno, Nevada during
the first half of 1986, about three nights a week. And a dozen other kids I was
with could have easily stepped off the set of the movie, Summer School. One
kid’s name was Jesse and he used to call himself a “Death Punk” which is kind of
exciting I guess for him, but he did listen to some metal and he was at that
point in time particularly excited about this very band — very vocal about it,
couldn’t wait to show me the band and let me hear them. Weirdly enough, I’d
never heard them at all until this point and I’m pretty sure of that since they have
a band name that isn’t exactly forgettable. I expected little because of
the name but I was really surprised once I heard a tape that Jesse had lent me.
Although their second album, Spellbound is often the fan favorite, Wildcat is
where things begin and it has some really strong material in its own right.
My favorite track is definitely “Killers.” While the vocals are serviceable, they’re
kind of the weakest link in the chain on this album. This is also right before
they got John Sykes on guitar ,too. You might recognize the name. Sykes was in
Thin Lizzy for their final album as well as in Blue Murder later in the decade.
But he’s best known for his time in Whitesnake playing on Slide It In as
well as that ridiculously successful 1987 album. If you want to hear Sykes in
his early stages, Spellbound is where you start. Again, Wildcat is a decent album
but they markedly improved with later releases. The third album from the German
power metal band, Running Wild was an abrupt change, to put it mildly. From
satanically-inspired lyrics and image to… a pirate theme. Yes, pirates. As in pegleg,
eyepatch, and aye, me buckos! The stranger part is that the whole
pirate shtick didn’t just go for one album and tour… it continues to this very
day. In fact, an entire genre of metal is named after it, simply known as “pirate
metal” — which includes such bands as Lagerstein, Alestorm, and Swashbuckle. Go ahead.
Google them. See if I’m kidding. Since the descriptive, “pirate metal” really tells
you… well, really nothing, it’s better to say that they’re pure power metal and
that they were highly influential on a whole lot of bands after them for
decades to come. Favorite tracks are the title track, “Raw
Ride” and especially “Diamonds of the Black Chest.” This was actually one of the last three
albums I bought before my family threw away my collection in 1987. You know that
story because it’s pretty much the premise of this whole show.
It’s why it’s the “reacquisition” project, the last 30 years, being that. The other
two were King Diamond’s Abigail and Helloween’s Keeper of the Seven Keys Part
One… as you can see. Yep, that’s me at 18, looking rather content with my finds
outside the long since closed down Strawberries Records and Tapes store in
Shrewsbury, Mass. Under Jolly Roger is a fantastic album. There is really a sign of
real musical maturity here from the previous two albums. I mean, I love those
two albums. I think a lot of you might as well. But they really came into their own
on Under Jolly Roger and you could tell they’re firing on all guns at this point
forward. And along with bands like Manowar and Helloween, really gave a big
boost to power metal and the genre that built later on decades later. And of
course we should also give credit to Judas Priest and Rainbow. I mean, they
pretty much built the foundation of power metal and without those two bands,
we wouldn’t have Running Wild and all the other power metal bands, so, cheers
to them! The sixth album from Accept really came on the heels of a highly
successful album known as Balls To The Wall, but it just didn’t get the same reception. it spawned a music video for
the track, “Midnight Mover,” a video guaranteed to make you utterly dizzy and
probably should be avoided by epileptics. Coincidentally enough, this is also my
favorite track on the album. And again, fans often cite Balls To The Wall
or the previous album Restless and Wild as their favorites but Metal Heart
shouldn’t be counted out, despite its rare attempts at mainstream
music writings, such as the somewhat pandering, “Screaming For a Love Bite” and
the utterly odd, “Teach Us to Survive.” Bigger fans of the more established
sound will enjoy “Wrong is Right”, “Living for Tonite”, “Bound to Fail” and even the
title track. A little aside: Accept is the very first metal band I ever saw live. A
guy in my Social Studies class sold me an extra ticket and then we went to the
show together and after that we became best friends and we’re still friends
this day. So… metal makes you friends, kids! The show itself was back in 1984
during the support of, again, Balls To The Wall, but opening for Ozzy who was on his
Bark at the Moon tour. I’d already seen the music video for Balls To The Walls and
was definitely pretty psyched about Accept. Needless to say, I was definitely
not disappointed with their live performance, though I really did want to
see Udo come out on a swinging wrecking ball. But, alas, it was not to be.
it should be fair to state too that Accept at this point is kind of flirting
with mainstream music sounds like a lot of other bands at the time.
Judas Priest is certainly on that list, Motley Crue did it… even Twisted Sister
did it. All of those bands had more accessible albums at the time: Turbo,
Theatre of Pain, Come Out and Play… the difference with Accept is that the
flirtation is only slight and there’s still plenty of actual metal to be had.
If you brushed off Metal Heart in the past, give it another spin. It’s worth it.
Certainly most of you have heard of Anthrax. New York thrash metal band. One
of the Big Four. Named themselves after a disease in a textbook. Blah, blah, blah. But,
I mean, let’s face it. The band’s a legend at this point and with classic vocalist
Joey Belladonna back in the band, they’re really better than ever.
But before Belladonna and even Frank Bello, there was an earlier lineup and an
earlier album — their first to be exact. And that album was Fistful of Metal.
Anthrax’s fledgling effort really reflects where the band was at the time.
They were a little less technical, it was certainly less production value, and had a
different singer — namely, Neil Turbin. Turbin’s more aggressive style is miles
apart from the falsetto reliant pipes of Belladonna… and parallels here could be made in this respect to Iron Maiden, Faith No More, and
Deep Purple, whose replacement singers ultimately improved the band’s overall
standings. Regardless, Fistful of Metal remains a
real contender and it might be that its raw energy is actually a feature and not
a bug. Like Metallica, Anthrax was also influenced by the New Wave of British
Heavy Metal and also like their Big Four compadres, they took that influence and
turned up the speed, aggression, and power even more. Imagine Diamond Head on crack, Blitzkrieg on amphetamines, Sweet Savage on… well, you get the point. Although the
next two albums — Spreading the Disease and Among The Living — did get considerably more attention and are the likely fan favorites, there
are many solid tracks on Fistful of Metal. I mean, barring the lackluster
Alice Cooper cover of “I’m Eighteen,” which really does not belong on this album at
all, it’s a near-perfect record with a consistency of great riffs as well as
hints to Benante’s drumming abilities on future albums. My favorite track is, of
course, “Metal Thrashing Mad.” I bought this album when it was brand new and
it was definitely the cover art that did it for me. But after spending some time
with it and really looking at it, it was clear to me there were some real logical
errors in the illustration. Not just perspective issues but the awkward
stretching one would have to do to position those hands that way. Seriously,
try it out just like the cover shows. You’d have to be a contortionist of the
highest degree to do that. Decades later, I’d run into interviews with band
members who had the same observations, notably Charlie and Scott. Maybe it’s two
right hands and there are two assailants? Beats me. Or, you know, maybe I should just
enjoy the album, huh, right? I first saw Anthrax live a bit later on. I saw them
on the State of Euphoria tour in support of Ozzy. I wasn’t the biggest fan of THAT
album but it was great hearing the other tracks in concert… except for those jams!
Not a winning fashion choice there, fellas. Neil Turbin
really was their Paul Di’Anno in a whole lot of ways and… that’s okay.
I loved the first couple of Maiden albums and I love this album too.
Listen to it again sometime and let it punch through your skull with all the
crunch and heaviness it’s got. Testament is another one of those bands that,
although not a part of the Big Four, is really worthy of high praise — not the
least of which for the glaring musical acumen of Alex Skolnick. I think most of
us can pretty much admit that. Take him out of the picture and it simply isn’t
Testament. Thankfully, he’s all over this debut album as are all of the other
talented gents with matching Legacy tattoos. it’s well known that the fan
favorite from Testament is the second album, The New Order. The songs were
even better on that one and somehow Alex Perialas got some mixing lessons
because the production is far superior to that of The Legacy. Speaking of which,
that’s the only real downside of this first album — great songs but mediocre
production. Standout tracks are “Over The Wall”, “Alone in the Dark” and “Apocalyptic
City” but, for me, the favorite track, hands-down, is “Burnt Offerings.” Didn’t get to see Testament live until
the Practice What You Preach tour with Annihilator and Wrathchild America…
except my pal and I didn’t get to see Annihilator at all because the line
going into the club… it was moving too slowly and by the time we were in, the
set was over. Incredible show, truly lucky to see them in a relatively small club
setting… all three bands, actually but especially Testament. You know, if there
was a Big Five, and I know people have gone through this before but why not
here… Testament would certainly stand
alongside Slayer, Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax.
I think that’s an assertion that few would refute. The Legacy was certainly an
omen of things to come for this band and rest assured a very good omen…
just not the Damien Thorne kind. Make sure to listen to the Vintage Vinyl
Vivisection podcast as a guest and I focus on a different album every episode —
band facts, production, personal stories, you name it. V3 is one of the three
public podcasts I produce, all of which can be found at accusationnetwork.com.
And now our Classic Pick of the Month. Venom’s box set, Here Lies Venom, was
released in 1985 by Combat Records and with artwork throughout by Ed Repka, an
artist who’s done an obscene number of metal album covers for such bands as Death,
Vio-lence, Evil Dead, Massacre, Possessed, Nuclear Assault and many others. The main
interior piece is called “The Earthly Remains of Abaddon, Cronos and Mantas.” It
could probably be safely assumed that they were… ahem… buried alive. It’s a four-record
set including the first three albums — that is, Welcome to Hell, Black Metal, and
At War With Satan, plus a picture disc version of their American Assault
EP. The set is limited edition of five thousand copies and numbered… mine is
number 1432, in case anyone gives a crap. The LP records have a total
of seven bonus tracks… well, bonus tracks at the time… they’re on CDs all over the
place now. The songs are “In Nomine Satanas”, “Bursting Out”, “Manitou”, “Woman”, “Acid
Queen”, “Bloodlust” and “Die Hard.” I love that the epitaph on the cover
reads “Died: 1985” because this collection really does end a specific era of the
band with the original trio. A great collection of tracks from this band in
their heyday. Get it… if you can. There is a dark corner where secrets hide. Whether
forgotten or seldom noticed, these offbeat details of the past remain, to be found
by the curious and the receptive. Strange Moments in Cultural History is the class
you never took in high school. Grab a seat up front and turn off your brain as
we fill your head with tales of oddballs, villains, outcasts, flops, and other
lesser-known events in this thing we call human existence. Find this and other
podcasts at accusationnetwork.com. In more recent releases… well, old material
in a newer release, rather… Seventies Tapes, the collection of demo tracks by Angel Witch
from 1978 and 1979 from various reel-to-reel recording devices recorded
in their native South London. Seven tracks in total, including classics such
as “Extermination Day”, “Sorceress” and “White Witch.” This collection was originally
released in a digital format in June of 2017 but then committed to vinyl six
months later. The vinyl color variants are clear purple, metallic silver, and
silver with black splatter, which is the one you see here. Another great band from
the New Wave of British Heavy Metal scene — most notably, on their self-titled
debut album. This early material from Angel Witch well represents the best
lineup of the band, even in their raw versions and it’s really great to hear
this influential band at the beginning of their career. This first episode of The
Vinyl Reacquisition Project has been made available to all audiences. If you
wish to see future episodes of this program, be a patron of The Accusation
Network by going to patreon.com/ theaccusationNetwork. There, we also
have a wealth of audio podcasts exclusive to our patrons. Hope to see you
all next month!