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Avenger - Blood Sports (Reissue)

Blood Sports (Reissue)
by Dave Nowels at 26 June 2018, 7:10 AM

From Newcastle, England, AVENGER is a band that should always be mentioned in any conversation regarding the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal or, NWOBHM. Formed in late 1982 by original frontman Brian Ross, and bassist Mick Moore after their former band, BLITZKRIEG split. Joined by Gary Young on drums, the band began recording material, with “Hot ‘n’ Heavy Express”, included here in its original demo glory as a bonus track, being their first recorded appearance.  Nearly immediately, the band experienced personnel changes. Original vocalist Brian Ross left to join SATAN, while now former SATAN vocalist Ian Swift promptly joined AVENGER. The band added guitarist Les Cheetham and released “Blood Sports” in 1984.

“Blood Sports” is classic NWOBHB. With essential elements of Metal, Classic Metal and even early elements of Thrash, AVENGER was a force to be reckoned with in 1984. I actually had “Blood Sports” on vinyl back in the day. Listening to this new edition released from Dissonance Productions brought back a lot of memories. Opening with “Enforcer”, the band puts forth one of their strongest tracks right away. A thundering drum intro combined with a classic metal guitar riff is a sure way to make a good impression, and this is exactly that. “Enforcer” is about as perfect an example of NWOBHM as there is. Followed by “You Never Take (Me Alive”, and “Matriarch” and AVENGER have already established a memorable album. But it gets even better. “Warfare” is the fourth track, and is easily my favorite song on the album. A timeless tale of country, battle, loss and victory. All of which are great themes for metal of any genre, “Warfare” should be right there with other similarly themed songs such as MAIDEN’s “The Trooper”.

“On The Rocks” is up next , and it’s an in your face straight out rocker! AVENGER must have been truly a band that would have been incredible to see live during this time. Closing out the original album running order is “N.O.T.J” and it’s another favorite track for me. It’s easily right up there with “Warfare”. Closing out this re-issue from Dissonance Productions, we have three bonus tracks. The sound quality on these leave a lot to be desired, but for the historical aspect, they’re very welcome.  Indeed, if I was pressed to name an issue with “Blood Sports”, it would be the re-mastering, or perhaps the lack of. Most noticeable in the vocals, it’s a minor complaint, but for all the effort put into the overall re-release, it’s somewhat disappointing. Still, if you’re a diehard fan of NWOBHM as I am, I do highly recommend picking up a copy of “Blood Sports”. Cheers!

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 6

4 Star Rating

1. Enforcer
2. You’ll Never Take Me (Alive)
3. Matriarch
4. Warfare
5. On The Rocks
6. Rough Ride
7. Victims of Force
8. Death Race 2000
9. N.O.T.J.
10. Hot ‘n’ Heavy Express (radio jingle 1982) Bonus Track
11. Enforcer (demo 1983) Bonus Track
12. Love’s Too Late (demo 1982) Bonus Track
Ian Swift – Vocals
Les Cheetham – Guitars
Mick Moore – Bass
Gary Young - Drums
Record Label: Dissonance Productions


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