Tag Archives: 1981

Holocaust – The Nightcomers (Review)

Holocaust – The Nightcomers + 9 Reissue (Metal Nation)

It’s immediately evident from the Chuck Berry double-stops that kick off Holocaust’s 1981 debut album that this isn’t going to be as totally dark and metallic as the spooky cover and jagged band logo suggests. Only four songs on The Nightcomers fully live up to the nefarious promise of the front sleeve. Second track Death Or Glory has a chunky, stomping riff of evil, gurning magnificence. The title-track and Mavrock are excellent sludgy, doomy affairs with creepy, reverb-laden vocals and guitar lines. And the fourth is the album’s standout track, the metal-worshipping anthem Heavy Metal Mania. If you like metal at all then this song is simply impossible to resist.

Excluding those songs and the lively Nuge/UFO-style heavy boogie of opener Smokin’ Valves, what you’re left with isn’t quite as good… but it doesn’t matter. The riffs and solos are excellent throughout and the Edinburgh band has a knack with a catchy chorus so potentially uneventful tracks like Cryin’ Shame and Push It Around just manage to avoid being total filler (even if they are strangely feel-good next to the album’s heavier tracks). Even the often wobbly vocals of Gary Lettice have a naive charm and intriguingly pre-Hetfield tone and phrasing.

If you’re new to these guys you’re in luck as Metal Nation have just reissued the album on CD with the songs from three 12″ singles as bonus tracks. It’s a great package and superb example of the promising talent, youthful energy and total lack of contrivance that keeps people going back to the NWOBHM bands. Even if it’s not quite a top-tier entry from the genre, it’s not far off. An enjoyable and memorable hard rocker with a batch of tracks that are nothing less than stone-cold metal classics.

HMO Rating: 4 out of 5

[Holocaust – Heavy Metal Mania]

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Song of the Week: Savage – Let it Loose

Savage’s relatively late debut album (1983’s Loose N’ Lethal) might make them seem like one of the few New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands that couldn’t lay a claim to being an influence on the mighty Metallica. But, far from being Johnny-Come-Latelies, Savage had already been around for a while. By 1981 they had already released a demo, a single and made two appearances on a compilation album Scene of the Crime. One of those compilation tracks was the classic Let it Loose and it soon made its way into the hands of, you guessed it, Lars Ulrich. Only appearing in early Metallica live sets and on a demo tape, it’s not one of the more famous or celebrated Metallica NWOBHM covers but there’s a strong whiff of the thrash giants’ early style here. And although ‘tallica didn’t exactly pass it off as one of their own they weren’t in a hurry to draw attention to the fact that it was a cover either. And, if any listeners thought it was one of their own original songs, that was fine by them too. Have a listen to the 1981 Scene of the Crime version of the track here to hear why.

[Savage – Let it Loose]

Cirith Ungol – Frost and Fire

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Could take someone’s eye out with that

Cirith Ungol’s debut is 35 years old now but it’s new to me. After just a couple of listens, though, I can safely say… it sounds a bit like Rush. Mainly due to the piercing vocals of Tim Baker but the music reminds me of Fly By Night/Caress of Steel era Rush in feel, if not in compositional or instrumental niftiness. It rocks more straightforwardly, more garage-y like an American entry in the NWOBHM canon. With the exception of Jerry Fogle’s handy guitar soloing, it’s all pretty meat and potatoes but I find the simplicity inspiring. As I listen I’ve instantly got an idea what they’re doing. If I ended up in the rehearsal room I reckon I’d have a good crack at joining in. It makes me want to play and I can’t give it much more praise than that. Time has proven that the albums that give me the guitar-playing itch tend to be keepers. Oh… and how awesome is that cover?

[Cirith Ungol – I’m Alive]