Gotham City – “The Unknown” (1984)

Gotham City!  Yet another fine example of mid-eighties Scandinavian steel!  I tell ya this; the Swedes knew a thing or two about melodic heavy metal.  1984 was a particularly great year for Swedish metal.  There were kick-ass albums by 220 Volt, Wizz, Europe, Glory Bells, and Axe Witch (to name a few).  Gotham City?  They also belong on that illustrious list.  Their 1984 album The Unknown (Fingerprint Records) was a glorious triumph.

If I had tons of money to play with, one of the things that I would do is start my own record label specializing in remastering and re-releasing forgotten 80’s metal.  Here’s a perfect example of one of the albums I would like to see remastered and given a proper CD re-issue.  Who would buy it?  Who cares?  I’m excessively wealthy in this dream, remember?  This is just how I personally would leave my own little stamp on the world.  Some people dream of cars, yachts, mansions, and hobnobbing with the social elite.  Me?  I just wanna give ’em old school METAL!

The Unknown starts off with Swords And Chains; a tune with a strong main riff and a fair amount of Thin Lizzy style dual guitar harmonies.  Vocalist Anders Zackrisson establishes himself as a capable, but not spectacular, mid-range vocalist.  Frankly, these battle hymns would be well served with a more dynamic vocalist; one who could do a little more justice to the soaring ambitions of the glory bound metal at hand.  A minor quibble.  See How It Flyes (yes, that’s how they spelled it on the album) may be the most epic number on The Unknown; the lyrics speak of celestial voyage and other space-y stuff.  This speedy cut is one of my favorites on the LP.  The Beast Will Burn calls to mind Diamond Head’s It’s Electric during the verses before dropping off to a half-time, head banging chorus.  Going Insane is probably The Unknown‘s most immediate, catchy track.  This is the tune that initially caught my ear when I first started listening to The Unknown.  The album’s resident hard rock entry is Ravage In Time.  This is a party rocker with a cool bass intro.  I should also mention the quasi-epic Learn From Your Leaders; a nice light and shade piece that stretches beyond seven minutes but never overstays its welcome.  Here’s a tip: If you ever see an album on Sweden’s Fingerprint Records label, get it.  They released top quality Euro-metal.  If you’re interested in hearing The Unknown, check it out here.  My score: A

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