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Black Knight - Black Knight (CD)

Black Knight
Black Knight
by Grigoris Chronis at 04 February 2006, 1:15 PM

The wind of Heavy fuckin' Metal music blows this way! Lost in the endless cyclone of 'fake' releases by 'wanna-be' Metal bands (not to mention albums related less than 1% to the average Heavy Metal ideology, as if two 'aggressive' chords and black clothes are enough to enter this realm), there are re-releases like this one that: I) recover the archetype/ideals of Heavy Metal music as 'served' 20+ years ago, in the platinum 80's decade, II) bring sufficient distress for the current status of the Heavy Metal kingdom, in an era when virtually anyone can score a middling CD release, III) ensures the thesaurus of the Heavy Metal coffer, eager to be shared with anyone willing to 'dig' deep enough to partake in the dateless delight.
Black Knight, a luxurious release by Sonic Age Records, features the uniqueness of Metal supremacy itself. In details (for the vast majority of this review's readers): Canada-based 80's Heavy Metal act Black Knight was formed in Vancouver in 1981. Initially with Chris Hopkinson as the lead vocalist, the band started putting out its own ideas, influenced by the likes of the British Metal's magical music (Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and the whole NWOBHM movement). Giving countless shows in the greater Vancouver area, Black Knight became widely known for their immense performances supported by a unique visual show (pyrotechnics, stage antics etc). Still, it was in the voice of 'princess' Lori Wilde that the band reached the highest level of 'spiritual healing'. Powerful yet calm, warm but mystique. And all this, in a period when Metal was 100% a guy's thing…In early negotiations with labels such as Attic Records and Warner Bros (with then Savatage manager Robert Zemsky as the go-between), no luck was found. Thus, the self-financed Master Of Disaster EP (1985) couldn't score mainstream success (only 500 copies were pressed, anyway) and (even if it was praised wherever 'dispatched') it was soon enough that Black Knight disbanded, while e.g. contemporaries (and sound alikes, those days) Queensryche found their path to victory.
'Jumping' to the present 'compilation' album, the first five tracks are the ones featured in the original 1985 EP. Simply divine, all of them are straight aces of classic Heavy Metal music! With an obvious influence from British Metal of the time (remember: Dio-era Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, NWOBHM etc), the Master Of Disaster EP also leans on the sound of U.S./Canadian Metal bands of those days such as Queensryche (EP era ), Riot, The Rods. The Van Halen-ish technique of Quaye 'cross fired' with the 'classic' skill of DiAnno Adrian. Hence, terrific harmonies supported by ample hooks and fantasy riffs was the main 'dish'. Add Wilde's sensational vocals and…nothing can bring more nostalgia from those days, 20 years ago. Warlord's Wrath sees a huge riff storming out, while Metal Screams applies to your familiar Metal Club mid-tempo headbanging tune. Born To Rock features an excellent Rainbow/Scorpions up-tempo groove while Aaraigathor (Metal Anthem) turns back the tide, proving itself to be a Doom Metal anthem (sung by Hoffman himself). Master Of Disaster, a straightforward driving tune is a song of equal quality to the track listing of Black Sabbath's Heaven And Hell or Mob Rules. Simply splendid!
Fire In Your Eyes, Day Of The Wizard and Dead Of Knight come off the recording sessions before the 1985's EP. All three in typical Black Knight mode, didn't make it on any official release back then. To the remaining of the track listing now: Master Of Disaster II is the initial Black Knight version with Chris Hopkinson on vocals. A nice throat, but the Lori Wilde version definitely stands on a level higher! Battlefield is filled with Schenker-ish dual harmony parts, an ideal U.F.O.-influenced tune while Black Knight (one of the band's earliest songs) is a classic early 80's Metal ballad with immense atmosphere and orgy solo work! Just think of cuts like Children Of The Sea (Black Sabbath), Remember Tomorrow (Iron Maiden) or Lovers To The Grave (Praying Mantis). Last but not least, One More Night is a newly (?) recorded track, as I read on the album's back cover. Featuring original members Mick DiAnno Adrian, Glenn The Hammer Hoffman and (I guess) Lori The Screaming Queen Wilde (the vocalist is credited as 'Tracy Wilde Masson'…), this tune's a fine ballad with outstanding vocal leads and fine guitar harmonies.
In a fair world with honest musicians, apt labels and fair fans, Black Knight would definitely achieve way more credit for their splendid songwriting/ideals. I know many bands of that 'elusive' 80's North American Metal 'dungeon' get much praise better for their hard-to-find $100 worth vinyl EP, but Black Knight is not this case. For all the devotees to the early 80's Heavy Metal music, this album is a MUST BUY! Nothing more.
P.S. An extra bonus comes with a rare as hell video footage of the unreleased Hurricane track. See for yourself…

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
Warlord's Wrath
Metal Screams
Born To Rock
Aaraigathor (Metal Anthem)
Master Of Disaster
Fire In Your Eyes
Day Of The Wizard
Dead Of Knight
Master Of Disaster II
Battlefield
Black Knight
One More Night
Lineup:
Lori The Screaming Queen Wilde - Vocals
Gary Quaye - Guitar
Mick DiAnno Adrian - Guitar
Glenn The Hammer Hoffman - Bass
Glen Richards - Drums
Chris Hopkinson - Vocals
Ken Beckhold - Drums
Stu Duffie - Drums
Record Label: Cult Metal Classics
     


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