Blitzkrieg’s three song demo, released during the height of the NWOBHM era and showing a harder side to the genre slowly edging towards full on Speed metal. Though known mainly due to Metallica’s cover and its influence on the American Speed metal bands. Blitzkrieg offer a combination of the triumphant riffing found on Stained Class and the theatrics of Focus’ Moving Waves.
The treble heavy production which is particularly dirty for this style and more commonly found on Second wave Black metal records adds grit while still allowing the virtuous playing of Steve English to be heard as he plays around the domineering rhythm guitar without distracting from the music. A young raw Brian Ross sounding like a more sombre and agressive Robert Plant and on the path to the more developed singing seen on Satan’s works. Guitars still show their rock heritage through some of the passages on “Armageddon” and the use of the pentatonic scale on some of the riffs. Mostly playing with chromatic notes that occur naturally within the natural minor scale with brief excursions into the harmonic minor. chugging power chord riffs alternate with rapid string skipped riffs for the most part while the solos play simple melodies that emphasize the underlying dark nature of these riffs.
All three songs start out with the standard verse/chorus format before each of them expanding out in different ways. “Inferno” cycles through a riff twisting and turning before returning to the main melody in a smooth cadenced manner. From there it feels compelled to end on its chorus as is standard for the genre and while not the most famous song, it surely is the most influential as to the way which Speed metal would progress. “Armageddon” ventures off into the more adventurous and emotional Hard Rock stylings of their idols while showing a technique that would later be used extensively in Black metal. Arpeggios play against a strummed chord progression while obeying its movements.
Blitzkrieg had the fast riffs that pushed towards darker ideas but were unable of maintaining the constant agression long enough without falling into basic Rock ideas like the chorus of “Inferno”. Their ability to develop their riffs by transposing them and modifying the motifs was rare for a metal band at the time but suffers from a lack of direction that eventually leads to a chorus. A necessary listen for those curious about the NWOBHM with some great ideas on how to make punishing Heavy metal without resorting towards more extreme styles. Had the band better exploited their ideas, this would be a classic but for now remains a good demo for occasional listens.