Category Archives: NWOBHM

Iron Maiden – Iron Maiden (Review)

Iron Maiden – Iron Maiden (1980)

He was the lurking, shadowy menace on the cover of Iron Maiden’s first single Running Free and now wwoooaarghh… here’s Eddie! The band’s undying, murderous mascot was finally revealed in his full glory on the front of their self-titled debut album. His ghoulish presence amidst London’s grubby bins, doorways and streetlights perfectly evoking the rough, dangerous music on this NWOBHM classic. Iron Maiden sounds like it wants to jump you in an alleyway and cut your face. Gritty and aggressive tunes like Prowler, Transylvania and Iron Maiden taking the metal pioneered by Priest and Rainbow to a new level of raw intensity. And guided by bassist/songwriter/Genesis fan Steve Harris, there’s also plenty of ambition and excitement in the extended structures of tracks like the lucozade-powered Phantom Of The Opera. These days I gravitate to the Hendrix-y mellowness of Remember Tomorrow and Strange World but all the songs on this album have been a favourite at one point or another. The whole band impress but Paul Di’Anno’s raucous vocals and Harris’ forceful basslines deserve special mentions. The band members still whinge about the gnarly production but nobody else gives a flying fuck. Iron Maiden wants you for dead and if this album doesn’t get your blood flowing, you might as well be.

HMO Rating: 5 Out Of 5

Motörhead – Motörhead (Review)

Motörhead – Motörhead (1977)

The legendary Lemmy/Philthy/Fast Eddie lineup of Motörhead roars into life on their 1977 self-titled debut, sounding every bit the skint, pissed off, ne’er-do-wells they were. Over 40 years later Motörhead is still an impressively belligerent noise. It captures the band at the point where they were dubbed “the worst band in the world” (and couldn’t have cared less). The title track is a thunderous biker anthem and Iron Horse/Born To Lose, White Line Fever and Keep Us On The Road are low-down and mean rackets. The band’s everything-louder-than-everything-else chemistry is already thrillingly volatile but the hurried recording sessions didn’t allow much time for writing. So there’s a reliance on old songs from Lemmy’s stint in Hawkwind and songs from a formative and short-lived earlier lineup of the band. Which means Motörhead ends up more trippy, dated and ponderous than later albums where the band would truly gel: mixing their wide range of influences into a seamless Motörmusic. But it’s a great and important debut: an obnoxious, warts-and-all album that set a new standard in loud, dirty, fuck off rock n’ roll.

HMO Rating: 4 Out Of 5

[Motörhead – Keep Us On The Road]

My copy – 40th Anniversary Edition CD…
…loads of bonus tracks and great liner notes

Samson – Survivors (Review)

Samson – Survivors (1979)

Samson’s 1979 debut was one of the first albums to come from the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. But the hasty Londoners weren’t quite studio ready yet and Survivors was a half-decent effort at best. Bassist Chris Aylmer and vocalist Bruce Bruce are pictured on the cover but weren’t actually in the band when Survivors was recorded so guitarist Paul Samson handled vocals and Gillan’s John McCoy added some heavy help: playing bass as well as co-writing and producing. And the album is at its strongest when it picks up some of that gonzo Gillan-esque edge. It’s Not As Easy As It Seems, Big Brother, Koz and Six Foot Under are all boisterous highlights. But the rest of the album is dated and forgettable and Samson and McCoy both fall short in their vocal and production roles. Still, for all its faults, it has an ordinary Joe charm that captures the spirit of the emerging movement. Later, with Aylmer and Bruce onboard, Samson would power up and hit the NWOBHM head on. With biceps of steel.

HMO Rating: 3 Out Of 5

(Buyer note: Most reissues add alternative versions with improved sound and Bruce Bruce on vocals. Essential!)

My copy – 2001 reissue on Sanctuary Records

New Releases – 7th September 2018

A shitload of new stuff out today so enough of my yakkin’, whaddya say? Let’s boogie!

Allfather – And All Will Be Desolation

You can’t call your album And All Will Be Desolation unless you’re going to reduce everything to rubble. And Allfather’s second album is precisely the kind of bruising, burly, bearded, fuck off racket that will do precisely that. Blackened sludgy goodness for fans of High On Fire, The King Is Blind, old Mastodon.

The Skull – The Endless Road Turns Dark

The ex-Trouble outfit returns with their second album of psychedelic doom. I’ve not kept up with all the Trouble and ex-Trouble activity but I found The Skull’s new track Breathing Underwater pretty compelling. So I’d like to check this out. Not to be confused with the much-loved Bob Kulick band Skull.

Satan – Cruel Magic

Returning NWOBHMers Satan are back with their third post-reformation album. Not too sure about the new song The Doomsday Clock. Hope the album will be a bit better… they get extra points for the brill album cover though. And for being called Satan.

Saxon – Thunderbolt (Tour Edition)

Saxon reissue their latest album with a couple of bonus live tracks of Thunderbolt and Nosferatu (The Vampire’s Waltz). Not quite enough of a bonus to make me want to buy it again. I imagine there will be another live album before long anyway. There always is with Saxon.

Fart jokes ahoy! as members of Asphyx, Autopsy and Hail Of Bullets team up in Siege Of Power and release their death/doom debut Warning Blast. Exciting on paper but not too fussed by what I’ve heard. And there are also new albums from Clutch, Cauldron, Krisiun, Suicidal Tendencies and on and on and on. What were all these bands thinking bringing their albums out on the same day as Allfather? Stupid tossers.

Happy hunting everyone! See you next week for more new release shenanigans.

New Releases – 10th August 2018

Finally, some good new releases! It’s been quite a while since we’ve had as fun-filled a week as this. And it’s mostly all new stuff too, none of your deluxe box thingies and vinyl reissue “remastered” gubbins. Just NEW METAL.

Haunt – Burst Into Flame

Retro-styled true metal has become quite the rage in the last few years but I’m usually unconvinced. The bands always have the sound down but the songwriting often falls short. Having listened to the title track from this album, I reckon this US band might have the goods though. It’s strident, catchy stuff. Definitely worth checking out.

Night Demon – Live Darkness

Speaking of retro metal… Night Demon have become quite the rage in the last few years but they haven’t caught on with the HMOverlord yet. Always feel like I just haven’t given them a fair shake of the stick though so maybe this new live album will finally win me over. Athenar from HMO-favourites Midnight makes an appearance so that’s a promising sign.

The Spirit – Sounds From The Vortex

Here’s some intriguing sounding black/death shenanigans from Nuclear Blast. The tracks I’ve heard remind me of Tribulation stuff or the Vampire record from last year… quite a bit like Dissection too. Got that waltzy thing going on. And with a list of comparisons like that, this has to be a must-hear.

Ill Omen – The Grande Usurper EP

Don’t know much about this band, I believe it’s an Australian one-man black metal act of the murky and cavernous variety. I’m a bit of a hard sell with that kind of stuff but I listened to a track from this at work and got right into it. I’ll grab this one on Bandcamp.

Gloam/Obscure Evil – Split EP

New to me but the cover caught my eye. Only one track from each band but I bet it’s quality over quantity. I heard the Gloam track Black Swords Of Desecration and it thrashed about all over the place. Brilliant. And the other band is called Obscure Evil which means they must be good. Surely?! Another one for Bandcamp.

And that’s about it for me. Anything else you’re looking for today? Anything you’re avoiding like the plague? Let me know in the comments. Happy hunting.

New Releases – 1st June 2018

Haw! Check oot aw the new releases!

Continuing their theme of re-imagining famous movie posters, this one is based on Chevy Chase’s Funny Farm.

Ghost – Prequelle

One of 2018’s biggies and it’s been getting hyped out the arse for a while now, mainly because they replaced lead vocalist Tobias Forge with new vocalist Tobias Forge. I think they might have replaced a bunch of nameless ghouls too, which is fine by me as long as Dave bloody Grohl isn’t hiding in there anymore. I loved their last album Meloria so I’m excited about this one. Want to hear it fresh so I’ve avoided listening to any of it so far.

Def Leppard – Volume One

This is the first of four career-spanning box sets covering the period from Lep’s debut EP to the gazillion-selling Hysteria. There’s not much in here that serious fans won’t have already but I want the remasters of the first two albums, the 3” EP looks cute and the bonus disc of rarities has some stuff I’d like on CD too. Of course there’s a much more expensive vinyl version too if you are that way inclined.

Gruesome – Twisted Prayers

This US band has been releasing albums that follow the musical progression of the mighty Death. They’re on their third album now so this is in the vein of Death’s third album Spiritual Healing. I was particularly excited about their last EP Fragments Of Psyche but then I couldn’t bloody find it anywhere! I think I’m still in too much of a huff to buy this one.

And that’s the lot. Not a lot but some exciting stuff. Let me know what you’re after today and I hope you all have an awesome metaltastic weekend!

New Releases – 18th May 2018

It’s time to turn ze shpotlight on ze new releases! Hello new releasAAHHSSS!!

Amorphis – Queen Of Time

At The Gates – To Drink From The Night Itself

Both of these bands are from the files of “Really Popular Bands I Never Got Into”. I’ve heard wee bits here and there but I’ve just never felt a compulsion towards either. If I ever feel inclined I’d probably rather start at the beginning and work my way from there. I’ve already got the early Amorphis demos on vinyl so that’s a start, and At The Gates debut was reissued recently too. Call me an old out-of-touch poohead if you like.

Coroner – R.I.P., Punishment For Decadence and No More Color

Wasn’t expecting this. These have been long out-of-print (unless you caught the brief CD reissue run on the band’s own webshop) but now they are reissued and remastered on CD, vinyl and download. If you don’t have these buy them right now, they’re totally essential albums from the Rush of thrash! I’ve got them on CD already but would like the new versions so the vinyl editions are quite tempting. Reissues of Mental Vortex and Grin will follow in June.

Avenger – Blood Sports and Killer Elite

Don’t know much about this band but I’ve been on a right NWOBHM kick lately and buying a lot of the Dissonance Production reissues. This band was relatively late to the NWOBHM party though so I’m not sure if I’m as excited about them as, say, Raven. But ones for the wishlist anyway. Also, there’s a cool looking NWOBHM box set coming out soon so I might dip my toes into that first.

That’s it for me but there’s an Overkill live set too, the Burn The Priest/Lamb Of God covers thing and a new FFDP for anyone that likes that kind of thing. And that’s about it for another week. Happy hunting!