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Loanshark – The Gangland Tapes

The Gangland Tapes
by Neil Beardsley at 09 January 2022, 6:57 AM

Welcome to the ‘new wave’ of New Wave Of British (Spanish) Heavy Metal When Geoff Barton first used the term NWOBHM in May 1979’s edition of Sounds magazine, who knew that 33 years later we’d still be discussing new bands within the realms of this sub-genre. And blasting from the streets of Barcelona we have, in Loanshark, a young vibrant band reminding us all of this past exciting time.

The trio were formed in 2017 and released their debut EP in 2018, a four track recording titled ‘The Warning Sessions’. Then 2 double singles were released in 2019 and 2020. Truth be known ‘The Gangland Tapes’ is a compilation of all 8 of these previous released songs and as such, has to a certain extent, influenced my overall rating. That said, it’s pretty bloody good. What this ‘album’ does have is remastering from Bart Gabriel of Cirith Ungol fame which definitely sharpens up the sound and killer artwork from Roberto Toderico who, ironically, has also done artwork for Tygers Of Pan Tang. So, the overall package is completely desirable.

From start to finish, in just the 8 tracks, Loanshark take us through the whole gannet of NWOBHM bands from Angel Witch to Witchfinder General (I’m aware the alphabet goes to Z but…um). The opening track ‘Sinner Rider’ could be taken directly from the songbook of Di’Anno era Maiden. Its sets a relentless pace and tells the listener exactly where we are heading. The frantic tempo is maintained on the second track ‘Fast, Heavy, Loud N Proud’ and would definitely have been an anthemic crowd pleaser at the now demolished Ruskin Arms in East Ham (Maiden’s home ground).

As we progress through the album we’re met with balls out metal anthems that definitely stir the memories of those heady days. But am I enjoying this because of the melancholia or because the song writing and musicianship are fantastic? Honestly, I’m unsure, but if I’m enjoying it what does it matter? And more importantly the Loanshark guys are clearly having a blast.

Tracks such as ‘Turn It Louder’ and ‘Midnight Shooter’ could be easily mistaken for Nightwing or Praying Mantis and the track ‘Black Leather Queen’ is as Saxonian as much as ‘Heavy Metal Addicts’ is Motorheadian. I’m beaming as we sprint headlong through this, almost tribute, of an album. Perhaps that’s where it loses its potential to be 10 out of 10 album. There’s just not much originality here, and for the most part that’s fine but if the Loanshark boys want to go to that next level then they will need to find something to make them stand out from the crowd.

I thoroughly enjoyed this album, no doubt. I will listen to it again, no doubt. But will it ever be on as much of a high rotation as ‘Killers’ or ‘Lightning To The Nations’? Unfortunately not and if I’m looking for a NWOBHM fix I shall be reaching for ‘Wheels Of Steel’. This was loads of fucking fun though.

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

4 Star Rating

1. Sinner Rider
2. Fast, Heavy, Loud N Proud
3. Turn It Louder
4. Black Leather Queen
5. Heavy Metal Addicts
6. Machine Gunner
7. Midnight Shooter
8. Red Light Blues
Logan Head – Vocals/Guitars
Aless Oppossed – Bass
Angel Smolski – Drums
Record Label: Iron Oxide Records


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