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Banshee - Cry In The Night, Race Against Time (Reissue)

Banshee
Cry In The Night, Race Against Time (Reissue)
by Paul Carr at 29 October 2016, 10:44 AM

BANSHEE sprang up from the mid-western rock scene of the mid-80s with a winning blend of Classic Heavy Metal and Glam Metal. Their story is something of a tale of missed opportunities and plain old bad luck. Their 1986 debut EP “Cry In The Night” was self-released by the band and soon earned enough of a following to earn them a contract with Atlantic Records for the release of their full length debut “Race Against Time.” Sadly, internal strife and behind the scenes issues meant the band were destined to release only one more album before finally disbanding in 1993. Now, 30 years later, Divebomb Records have given these two releases some much needed spit and polish and repackaged them together. In doing so Divebomb have allowed listeners a chance to reappraise a band who promised so much but fell tantalizingly short.

The “Cry In The Night” EP provides an excellent introduction to the band. The remastering is first rate and it sounds as professional as any of other mid 80s Metal releases. The sound of the band sits somewhere between New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands and the Power Metal of DIO. The band drew inspiration from bands like DIAMOND HEAD, SAXON and MOTORHEAD in the same way that those bands were influences on early METALLICA. Therefore, it is unsurprising that opener “We Want You” shares similarities with METALLICA’S classic “Kill ‘Em All.” Like METALLICA, the song adds more melody to the crushing heaviness with hooks allowed to linger and take hold. There is also more than a hint of James Hetfield’s higher pitched early 80s singing style from vocalist Tommy Lee Flood. “Back Your Way” contains a classic NWOBHM stomping riff that could have graced any early DIAMOND HEAD release. Even for a band in their infancy, it is surprising to hear that they had such an understanding of dynamics. “I Believe” begins as a slower paced number with a driving rhythm before giving way to a fist pumping, anthemic chorus. It’s a tautly constructed song with an impressively tight guitar solo that impresses as much with its fluidity as speed. The band was clearly not afraid to take risks. “The Stranger” features a shower of beautifully picked acoustic notes with a folky, almost medieval feel. There are echoes of LED ZEPPELIN before the band launches full throttle into another maelstrom of heavy guitars and pounding drums. It highlights the band’s ability to connect with the heart as well as the gut.  “Cry In the Night” is probably the most MAIDEN sounding song on the EP. It also contains probably the best solo with guitarist Terry Dunn given time and space to soar with a free-flowing flurry of notes.

The “Cry In The Night” EP saw the band garner some critical praise and gained them a solid following. After being signed by Atlantic records they recorded and released their debut album “Race Against Time” in 1989. By then the band might have looked like one of any number of Glam Metal that clogged up the late 80s but they retained their NWOBHM sound. Although, the band did add elements of the glam metal that was so dominate in the late 80s. That opener “Shoot Through The Night” didn’t make more of a splash is something of a mystery. All the elements for success were in place. The song is built on a classic Metal riff, backed up by some nimble bass work from Bill Westfall. The incessant chorus is solid enough to lodge itself firmly in your brain and the solo demonstrates Dunn’s full and impressive range. “All Alone” rides a wave of rhythmic, military percussion with all parties giving their all. While Tommy Lee Flood’s vocal performance never quite reaches Bruce Dickinson levels of jaw dropping power his vocals always serve the song, never going over the top. “Race Against Time” is more JUDAS PRIEST than MOTLEY CRUE. It flies with the precision of an eagle searching for its prey. Again there are hints of “Kill ‘em All” era METALLICA with slightly more hairspray and a little less denim.

The band uses the full length format to fully exhibit what they can do. “Circular Flight Of The One Winged Sparrow” is an almost classical movement rather than a traditional song. “Call of the Wild” verges on thrash with a typically high octane solo from Dunn. The bass work on “Desire” is typically agile while “Get It On The Run” contains more of a groove, not dissimilar to GUNS N ROSES’ “Mr Brownstone.” Nonetheless, this wouldn't be an 80s Metal album without the obligatory power ballad. The suitably melodramatic “Missing You” manages to avoid sounding cloyingly overwrought. The appropriately titled “Drive like Hell” would sound perfect blared out of an open top sports car whilst speeding down the highway.

From the image of the band it would be easy to mock them but they clearly had real talent. How far they could have taken it with Grunge just around the corner ready to pop the Glam Metal bubble, is anyone's guess. Why they didn't make it is something of a mystery. Maybe they were too heavy to be Glam metallers and not heavy enough for straight Metal fans. The tragedy is that many of the songs on both the EP and the album sound ready-made for the arenas they sadly never got to play.  If you are nostalgic for the good old days of late 80s Metal, then you could do a lot worse than checking out this reissue.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
Cry In The Night EP

1. We Want You
2. Back Your Way
3. I Believe
4. The Stranger
5. Cry In The Night

Race Against Time

1. Shoot Down The Night
2. All Alone
3. Race Against Time
4. Circular Flight Of The One Winged Sparrow
5. Call Of The Wild
6. Precious Metal
7. Desire
8. Get It On The Run
9. Missing You
10. Drive Like Hell
11. Desert Moon
Lineup:
Tommy Lee Flood – Vocals
Terry Dunn – Guitars, Vocals
Kent Burnham – Drums
Bill Westfall – Bass, Keyboards, Vocals
Record Label: Divebomb Records
     


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Edited 28 January 2020
 

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