Album Reviews (Jan 2, 2014)

Happy New Year!  Here’s a few short reviews to kick off 2014…

Medieval Steel – Medieval Steel (1984)

Medieval SteelThis is somewhat of a ballyhooed American power metal rarity.  Tennessee’s Medieval Steel’s four track EP (Sur Records) was limited to about 9000 vinyl copies.  Consisting of three cuts of mid-paced sword metal and one laid-back tune called Echoes, Medieval Steel delivered competently and honestly like many a U.S. power metal indie that I’ve come across in my day.  Oh, how we love to saunter down those roads less traveled, don’t we?  And the list of endearing and enjoyable bands worth our time just keeps adding up!  Valhalla, Xcel, X-Caliber, Dark Age… and on and on we go.  Too much metal, too little time!  My score: B

Samson – Don’t Get Mad, Get Even (1984)

SamsonI am disappointed with this Samson release.  I thought the album that preceded it, Before The Storm, was a fine bit of blue-collar hard rock.  I can’t exactly put my finger on what is missing with Don’t Get Mad, Get Even, as the Samson lineup is the same as Before The Storm.  With the husky voice of Nick Moore, the sturdy drumming of Pete Jupp, and the inventive but understated guitar playing of Paul Samson returning for another album, I’m left wondering why the overall final product is a bit lackluster.  My score: C+

Zen Venom – From Another Planet (1988)

Zen VenomUnfortunately this Australian rarity isn’t as good as its cool-ass cover.  From Another Planet is most certainly not from another planet, but maybe it’s from another year — if that year is 1981.  That is to say, this four song EP is a little too crusty and NWOBHM-like to have a time-stamp as late as 1988.  My biggest complaint here is that the singer isn’t very good at all!  My score: C


Apocrypha – The Eyes Of Time (1988)

ApocryphaThis was album was released by Shrapnel Records — the hit and miss, guitar-centric American indie record label.  Apocrypha was a power metal band built around a young shredder by the name of Tony Fredianelli.  The Eyes Of Time was the second album from this forgotten band.  Talent-wise, Apocrypha were not lacking in the least.  Fredianelli was a guitar wiz, and vocalist Steve Plocica was a powerful vocalist.  Yet, the band seemed to lack chemistry.  Apocrypha’s songwriting was just a bit behind the curve.  The band seemed to exist solely as a platform to Fredianelli’s shred work.  ‘Twas a different era indeed.  For a better example of shred WITH great songs, check out Shrapnel’s 1988 release Go Off! by Cacophony.  My score: C+

Faster Pussycat – Faster Pussycat (1987)

Faster PussycatSkin n’ bones guys with bad tats and even worse hats.  Here’s an album I considered for my Top 10 Hair Metal Albums of 1987, but it ended up missing the cut.  This is your basic bar band boogie passed through a Hollyweird sleaze filter.  Nothing special, but pretty catchy at times.  Taime Downe possessed the archetype sleaze voice.  My faves are Don’t Change That Song and No Room For Emotion.  For an even better take on the same formula, check out Cocked & Loaded by L.A. Guns (1989) or Junkyard by Junkyard (1989).  My score: B-

War Machine – Unknown Soldier (1986)

War MachineThis one is dead on arrival thanks to some really ill-fitting female vocals.  It would be interesting to hear what War Machine would have sounded like with a better vocalist.  Perhaps one who could sing in tune?  Instead Unknown Soldier (Neat Records) has been unceremoniously shoveled upon the dung heap.  Long gone and long forgotten.  Cool band name though.  Nice cover too.  My score: D


Razor – Violent Restitution (1988)

RazorThe calendar may have said 1988, but Razor were still kicking it old school like it was 1985.  With one foot in the mid-eighties and the other foot in a puddle of puke, Canada’s Razor continued to pour on the thrash at a prodigious clip.  Violent Restitution was Razor’s sixth record since 1984.  This was the same Razor as always — cut-throat and violent, with shoddy production and rough vocals.  My score: C


2 thoughts on “Album Reviews (Jan 2, 2014)

  1. This Faster Pussycat debut is a classic for sure and one that I feel they never came close to again!
    The same ol for a lot of 80s bands..u have all your life to write your debut and 6 months to write the followup.

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