Metal Inquisition /
Stay Ugly
[Full Moon]

What we have here is a fine example of early 80s power/thrash metal (not really heavy or powerful enough to be power metal, but not exactly thrashy enough to be thrash metal either...just somewhere in between the two). Piledriver were never anything more than average, and at moments the cheese factor on these 2 albums can be a bit hard to bear, but if you can get past the OTT approach, you'll find some really great tracks here. Of course, the two that most black metal fans will recognize right away will be "Sex with Satan" and "Sodomize the Dead" (both made infamous by Marduk on their "Glorification" EP), and truth be known, those probably ARE the two best songs Piledriver ever managed to pull off, but that's not to say the rest of the material on these albums isn't without it's charm. Musically, the closest possible comparison I can make would be to early Overkill, or perhaps to early Exciter or Anvil (Canada certainly had their own approach to metal in the old days)...just good old fashion traditional heavy metal cranked up a few notches to the point where the power/thrash tag starts to come into play. I would be very hesitant to recommend this to anyone who was brought up on the second wave of black metal, and who's only concept of the past is what all the retro bands are pulling off these days, as this is just a tad too 80s for those folks...but for all of us who can still remember when bands like Accept and Saxon were considered "heavy", and when Venom was mind blowing, this will do just fine. Oh, and no - I'm NOT going to get into the "controversy" surrounding the band and whether or not they were just a marketing scheme by a certain unscrupulous label to cash in on the metal fad of the eighties, just as I'm not going to get into allegations made by the vocalist of this band that he hasn't received any royalties from either the original label or the two labels who have re-released this - both issues have been done to death in fanzine articles and the official Piledriver webpage, so if you're really interested, look around...

One last thing. Full Moon Productions really dropped the ball as far as packaging on this sucker goes (I emailed them about this when I picked this up about 2 weeks after it was released, but never got a response back). Now, I'm not expecting them (FMP) to compete with a certain German label (who will go unnamed) who have also re-released these albums (with deluxe booklets and "interview" tracks on the CDs), but would it really have been too much to ask that the cover reproductions didn't look like they had Veronika Moser take one of her trademark anal spewings on them ? We're talking fucking HORRIBLE grainy and pixelized album covers - I've seen bootlegs that were of a higher quality than this. Also, for the audio anally retentive, this sounds suspiciously like it was mastered off a vinyl copy (although a very good vinyl copy I must admit). I personally have no problem with this, as I find the very subliminal surface noise brings back memories of listening to this in my youth, but others might be a bit irked. Still, with all this said, I'd still recommend this version over the German pressings - here, you can get both albums for a reasonable price on 1 CD, while with the others you could expect to shell out about three times as much to get the same material scattered over two CDs...

1999 chorazaim