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