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Empire Of Thunder - A NWOBHM Collection (CD)

Empire Of Thunder
A NWOBHM Collection
by Grigoris Chronis at 25 May 2005, 3:13 PM

Ok, I'll try to keep this review down to a normal level. On the other hand, how can you shorten a quarter of a century into 4-5 paragraphs? Hell, we're talkin' 'bout the driving force, the genesis, the mother of Heavy Metal music, the movement that gave ALL the basic ingredients for ANY band everyone is (or was) fond of from 1980 'till now! Celebrating the 25 years of the New Wave of the British Heavy Metal association, but also paying tribute to the loss of Tommy Vance - maybe the most passionate NWOBHM fan around all these years, host of the legendary Friday Rock Show in Britain - another marvelous release from Majestic Rock reminds us of heroes from the past that pushed the reputation of Metal music to a higher scale, contributing the most to what we're all feasting now!
A selection of 12 songs from some of the best second-fame bands (most of them from the second - chronologically - NWOBHM storm) of the time needs a one-by-one analysis, so move your asses and bang your heads to:
Cold Bitch: One of the most unlucky bands of all time, Tytan featured the magnificent voice of Kal Swan (later to join multi-national Lion and Bad Moon Rising with guitar legend Doug Aldrich) along with ex-Angelwitch men Dave Dufort and Kevin Riddles. This marvelous song is taken from their one and only release, the classic Rough Justice (1985) album.
Too Far Too Soon: The first band of the extraordinary Steve Grimmet (later of  Grim Reaper/Onslaught/Lionsheart fame), hailing from Worcestershire, UK, didn't manage to come out with some release in the early 80's. An average track, musically, yet featuring the magnificent voice of Grimmet, whose passion is incomparable in ANY work he's been involved with. Note: Lance Perkins (Lance Rocket) and drummer Eddie Smith (Eddie Starr) joined glamsters Wrathchild in the late 80's…
Vigilante: A great sharp-riffed tune, a killer tempo and another ill-fated band. London metalheads Chariot put out two great pure Metal albums in the 80's - The Warrior (1984) and Burning Ambition (1986) - but also remained completely unknown to the wide circle of Metal music. Yes, you MUST bang your head to this tune.
Strangers On The Shore: I'm in tears… The originators - along with Motorhead, Chateaux, Jaguar and Raven - of the term Speed Metal. From their legendary Predator (1982) debut anthem, just tease Mr. Lars ex-Metal Ulrich with this one next time you see him…
Ring Of Fire: Shiva is not the average NWOBHM band. With various elements from 70's Prog Rock, this Bristol gang released the excellent Firedance album in 1982, described back then as the crossing path of Rush and Marillion. 22 years later, the band returned with their follow-up Continuance (2004) effort through Majestic Rock; a notable release featuring this good tune.
Roll The Dice: Scotch men Heavy Pettin' released this incredible track back in 1981, before any full-length album (a usual NWOBHM action at that time). Straightforward Metal music, extremely wilder than their following three LP releases. A must hear, definitely. Behind the scenes: the band turned so much into Melodic Rock in the late 80's, that they entered the contest for the representative of Britain in the 1989 Eurovision contest…
Wild On The Run: Excellent Hard/Melodic Rock, in the vain of Shy (both from the ultimate Rock/Metal city of Birmingham). Tobruk also released two albums in the 80's but failed to gain the recognition they deserved. Still, the title track of their 1985's debut is a killer, 20 years before what half of the Frontiers roster is now playin'.
Can You Feel It?: Sabre never came up with a full-length release (like 30% of the NWOBHM bands, anyway) but this song is a clear demo of what the band was up to years ago. A great guitar hook, backed up by beautiful vocals. This song was never officialy released, so it's a good change for the NWOBHM fans to grab this compilation. A Sabre CD collection is rumored to be released in the near future with the band's legendary three track 1980's demo and various other sound archives.
Do It Loud: If you are familiar with the legends of Satan and Blitzkrieg (both featuring the holy ghost of Brian Ross - half of the NWOBHM story himself), Newcastle's quintet is none other than Satan themselves, with Lou Taylor replacing Ross on the vocal duties. From their only one (and) great release, 1985's Out Of Reach, the opening track combines the classic British sound with fast and wild elements that made Bay Area a nice place to be a metalhead in the US. Respect!
Circles: Quartz released their first album in 1977, produced by Tony Iommi himself. As you can see, the band pre-existed NWOBHM's birth. What can I say on this one? Heavy/Doom Metal from a band that you cannot worship enough. This Stocking Up The Fires Of Hell b-side track offers a first-class chance to see what Quartz delivered 25 years ago. Simply, one of the best British Metal bands ever.
So Blind: A second addition by Chariot, this track proves why Metal ballads were unique in the 80's. It's passionate, it's loud, it's great!
Heart Attack: Another good track from an average (not that average) Metal band in Britain those days.
New Wave Of British Heavy Metal's dignity was the bands themselves! Raw, sincere, with a street attitude. I need an extra webzine to chat over my beliefs concerning how different things would be in today's Metal music if those bands were as successful as they ought to have been. Just judge by Iron Maiden, Saxon and Def Leppard; also judge by every Metal style - be it Hard, Heavy, Epic, Power, Doom, Thrash, Prog, Black, Death or anything you want - you're enjoying today. The spark was set 25 years ago for the fire that now keeps us warm. Just get this one, you have to…

4 Star Rating

Cold Bitch (Tytan)
Too Fast To Soon (Medusa)
Vigilante (Chariot)
Strangers On The Shore (Bitches Sin)
Ring Of Fire (Shiva)
Roll The Dice (Heavy Pettin')
Wild On The Run (Tobruk)
Can You Feel It? (Sabre)
Do It Loud (Blind Fury)
Circles (Quartz)
So Blind (Chariot)
Heart Attack (Heavy Pettin')
Record Label: Majestic Rock


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