Exumer – Rising From The Sea (1987)
This bit of cantankerous thrash comes to you by way of Germany. With Rising From The Sea (Disaster Records), Exumer set out to make their very own Reign In Blood — making them one of a hundred or so bands that attempted to do so. But frankly, we really only needed one Reign In Blood, and even Slayer knew that. Slayer didn’t try to recreate Reign In Blood, and neither should have Exumer. Cool mascot though. Use once and destroy. My score: C-
Spartan Warrior – Spartan Warrior (1984)
Roadrunner Records scooped up this U.K. band for their second LP. Spartan Warrior played nuts n’ bolts metal with simple riffs. They remind me of a discount Saxon. In fact, Dave Wilkinson’s voice sounded a bit like Biff Byford’s. A glaring hole in this album is the absence of backing vocals — the choruses really could use some beefing up. All the songs kind of run together because they are similarly paced and lack the memorable hooks that would otherwise differentiate them. Re-released in 2009 by Metal Mind Productions. My score: C+
Blackfoot – Marauder (1981)
Marauder opens up with the scorching Good Morning — a fast and heavy number sure to get your lazy ass out of bed. With this bristling first track, it is immediately clear that Blackfoot were continuing to rock proud and rock hard — as they did on 1980’s Tomcattin’ release. This premium blend of southern rock and hard rock continues with strong cuts like the randy Dry County, the poignant Searchin’, and the soul-crushing Diary Of A Workingman. Marauder was co-written by Rick “Rattlesnake” Medlocke (vocals and guitar) and Jakson “Thunderfoot” Spires (drums). Medlocke is something to behold — a truly great singer and storyteller. If this guy sang the phone book, I would probably listen. My score: B+
Rose Tattoo – Rock ‘N’ Roll Outlaw (1980)
Aussie ruffians Rose Tattoo debuted back in 1978 with the Rose Tattoo LP. At first, Rose Tattoo was only available in Australia on the Albert Productions label. It wasn’t until two years later, in 1980, that the album found its way to the U.S.A. market, re-titled as Rock ‘N’ Roll Outlaw (Mirage Records).
Rose Tattoo’s sound was a cogent mix of AC/DC high voltage blues, southern rock, and punk. The slide guitar, played by Peter Wells, was an integral and unique part of Rose Tattoo’s sonic blueprint. Fronting the band was the bald dome of one Gary Stephen “Angry” Anderson — who regaled us with tales of hard knocks lived and learned on the rough streets of working-class Australia. Best tracks: Rock ‘N’ Roll Outlaw and Nice Boys (later covered by Guns ‘N Roses). My score: B
Rose Tattoo – Scarred For Life (1982)
Rose Tattoo appear on the cover of Scarred For Life in a rather peculiar group embrace. I’ll just let you soak in that pic for a moment. (Feel free to make your own jokes.) Finished? Okay, carrying on… You’ll also notice that the boys are proudly showing off their signature ink. And there’s lots of it. Ya know… once upon a time, tattoos were only for sailors, bikers, and prisoners. Somewhere along the way, rockers started getting all tatted up. Then athletes. Now we’ve got friggin’ baristas with full sleeves and bank tellers with neck tattoos. Everyone’s got ’em. I’m sorry to say this guys, but tattoos are less about rebellion and more about conformity these days. Woman, it seems, are getting covered in tats almost as much as guys. Seems like every girl at my gym who is under the age of thirty is inked all over. I’m not sure what those chest and neck tattoos are going to look like in thirty years when that neck looks like a turkey wattle and those tits look like two egg yokes hanging from a nail. But hey, it’s all good!
As for the Scarred For Life album… its not as good as its predecessor Assault & Battery (1981), but it is another quality album by Rose Tattoo. The boys were at their best when they delivered upbeat mini-anthems about scratching and clawing their way to the top. This particular LP has three such tracks in Scarred For Life, We Can’t Be Beaten, and Branded. My score: B