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Excalibur – The Bitter End (Reissue)

The Bitter End (Reissue)
by Paul LaPlaca at 18 October 2021, 3:57 PM

My first reaction to this is that if this is a new recording, they really nailed recreating the early 80’s cheap metal production style of the day. If it’s a re-release, and it is- they really nailed recreating the early 80’s cheap metal production of the day. Look, I totally get trying to be “true” and all that but there’s a reason this type of sound was left in the past. Awash in a sea of reverb, tubby snare drum, and cheesy lines like, “LET ME HEAR THAT GEETAR!” - this album, “The Bitter End” will be loved and hated for the same reasons.

This was made long before Auto-tune and Pro Tools so there are timing and pitch issues that make it decidedly unpolished and organic. There is a youthful defiance about all of it. It smells like cheap beer and cigarettes and teenage sex in a lemon behind the skating rink. I can hear the clack of the plastic cassette as you put it in the car stereo and hear the hiss of the tape as the first song begins to play. It’s a time machine.

The first comparison that comes to mind is early MSG. The songs are straight-forward with a slight classical vibe in the instrumental sections. I also imagine this could be a prequel to KING KOBRA’S debut. Guitarist, PAUL SOLYNSKYJ does an admirable job of guitar slinging in the age of EVH, RHODES, and SCHENKER and even throws in some really nice dynamics and textures with clean and acoustic guitars that show a clear RUSH influence. Bassist MARTIN HAWTHORN channels a combination of GEEZER BUTLER and BOB DAISLY and drums and vocals are solid as well.

The reason this album is being re-released is that their label at the time re-mixed the band’s recording without their knowledge and they were not happy with that production. This is a chance to present this early work exactly as they intended and I have a lot of respect for that. Overall, this is a great album for anyone who loves early 80’s metal like DIO, PRIEST, or KROKUS.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. I’m Telling You
2. Devil In Disguise
3. The Bitter End
4. Only Time Can Tell
5. Come On and Rock
6. Haunted By The Shadows
Paul McBride - Vocals
Paul Solynskyj - Guitar
Martin Hawthorn - Bass
Mick Dodson - Drums
Record Label: No Remorse Records


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