Evil were a Danish metal band from the mid 1980s often held up as yet another “lost gem” by record collectors as their sole studio release, the Evil’s Message EP, has never been reissued except for a hard to find, bargain basement compilation with French heavy metal band Sortilège’s self-titled EP in the late 90s. Evil’s Message is far from actually being good though; it is nothing special, bog standard Motorhead and Metallica style speed metal.
Midnight are the definition of beer metal. Midnight sound like Motorhead if Motorhead accidentally took tranquilizers and forgot to write chord progressions and progressive minor-key heavy metal leads in their songs. Midnight are Motorhead if when Lemmy got arrested for drug possession in Canada in the early seventies while touring with Hawkwind, Lemmy did not merely get kicked out of Hawkwind and deported back to the United Kingdom; Midnight are Motorhead if the Canadians were really the Soviets who institutionalized and lobotomized Lemmy while forcing him at gunpoint to cart around a potent IV drip of anti-psychotics and sedatives for the rest of his life.
Century Media has reissued third rate Gothenburg melodeaf band Gates of Ishtar’s first two studio albums, The Dawn of Flames and At Dusk and Forever, remastered by Dugout Studios (vinyl mastering by Patrick W. Engel) and with new artwork from Juanjo Castellano as the original artwork was “really ugly” according to the band. The band should have been more concerned with writing worthwhile material than artwork for lame, cash-in releases on the popularity of In Flames and other competitors with VH1’s adult contemporary lite rock. Gates of Ishtar were not “melodic death metal masters” but warmed-over bouncy speed and power metal for a late 90s mallrat and Wacken audiences just like the most of their contemporary bands from Gothenburg, Sweden when they weren’t making outright pop music.
Satan‘s Court in the Act exists in a unique space between the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and speed metal. As a wholly metal album that attempts no pandering to mainstream radio rock unlike seemingly every other NWOBHM band, Court in the Act is by far the strongest studio album of that sub-genre/movement and incredibly influential to American speed metal bands Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer.
Article contributed to Death Metal Underground by George Psalmanazar, continuing his series of Judas Priest reviews.
Painkiller is Judas Priest‘s most consistent studio album coming out right after the band spent the entire decade of the 80s pandering to mainstream arena and glam rock fans. Slayer were a tremendous influence this time around; Judas Priest toured toured with them in the late 80s and subsequently listened to most of Slayer’s studio catalog. Painkiller there is a heavy metal album heavily influenced by the heaviest speed metal bordering on early death metal. Early power metal took a similar approach but in much more limp-wristed way.
Article contributed to Death Metal Underground by George Psalmanazer.
Judas Priest started life as just another Led Zeppelin influenced band in the early 1970s. Quickly they became massively influenced by Black Sabbath and especially Thin Lizzy. Priest adapting the counterpointed riffing and harmonzied melodic guitar leads of Thin Lizzy into a mixture of progressive rock and the then new heavy metal of Black Sabbath but with operatic vocals instead of Ozzy “singing” the riff through his nose kicked off the New Wave of British Heavy Metal in the late 1970s.
Metal Blade Records is reissuing Cirith Ungol’s King of the Dead in an “Ultimate Edition”. The “Ultimate Edition” of King of the Dead is being remastered by Patrick W. Engel and Metal Blade is including a DVD of a 1983 Cirith Ungol live show too for bored time wasters. The original CD release from the late 90s sounded fine.
Grand Belial’s Key’s two demos, Goat of a Thousand Young and Triumph of the Hordes, are being reissued on LP and CD by Worldwide Terror Committee Productions next month:
Death metal had been well established for years by the early 90s. The genre was rapidly becoming an arms race of technicality with many bands attempting to use studio trickery to make records far beyond their musical ability in attempt to compete with their best contemporaries, e.g. Morbid Angel. Many brought in hired shredder studio musicians like James Murphy with drum tracks copy and pasted together onto tape from drum samples and “played” live with triggers activating those same pre-recorded samples at the slightest touch. At the same time, good grindcore bands were turning into second-rate death metal ones or worse, lame “melodic hardcore” which turned hardcore punk aesthetics into slit your wrists whine pop.
Lee Dorrian, vocalist of Napalm Death on the b-side of Scum and From Enslavement to Obliteration, was disgusted by Napalm Death writing material incorporating the worst, bouncy hit people aspects of death metal in an attempt to reach a wider audience and quit the band in 1989. He soon formed Cathedral with Gaz Jennings and Mark Griffiths over a shared love of older heavy metal bands such as Black Sabbath, Candlemass, and Witchfinder General. Demos and an album on Dorrian’s old label Earache quickly followed.