Ever wondered how many people in the world are playing the same music as you are at the same time?* I played a fairly well-known prism-adorned LP from last night and idly wondered how many other folks were listening to it in the dark simultaneously across the globe, before wondering if there was a neat-o literary sci-fi plot idea in being able to travel in time and space between all the instances of it being played at random; zapping all over from Oregon through to Oz, Oxford, Ostrava, Okinawa, Oyo and Oberhausen^, solving crimes, selflessly righting wrongs, zapping baddies with lasers and de-clothing chicks.
Which is all well and good if you suddenly gain the power to travel via the auspices of the third best-selling album of all time, but what if, due to an interdimensional admin error, the Titans of Ra only granted you the power to travel using the 1980 compilation Metal For Muthas, Volume II: Cut Loud? I rather suspect you might have been waiting around in the vortices of time and space for a while. In fact I was a little concerned that some straggly bearded skinny dude clad in cock-throttling jeans, Hi-Tec baseball boots and a Praying Mantis T-shirt would somehow come tumbling into the room through my turntable as I cued it up tonight.
MFM II, as I shall henceforth call it, was EMI’s rushed through sequel to the influential NWOBHM compilation Metal For Muthas, which helped launch the careers of Nutz and the E.F Band into the stratosphere as well as providing double loser ballast in the shape of callow no-hopers Iron Maiden. Both LPs came out in 1980 and all was metallic and groovy, the first volume even had a badly drawn mounted warrior/guitarist with diamond tits on the cover*^, they couldn’t be arsed even giving MFM II that much care, just a bit of a blue cover. Who cares though because we’re going snuffling for NWOBHM truffles tonight!
The compilers of MFM II, having given Maiden two tracks on the first volume, clearly wanted to kickstart the career of the Suffolk-based band Trespass this time out, book ending the LP with ‘One Of These days’ and ‘Storm Child’ respectively. History shows us this was not to be, but the band give it a damned good go anyway. ‘One of These Days’ is an absolute stonker too, a grandiose feel, great playing and some really biting guitars – it has classic just written all over it, proper rock. ‘Storm Child’ has a certain Hawkwind-meets-Deep-Purple quality to it, slightly disassociated vocals teamed with some proper guitar crunch going on behind the scenes. You would think after this showing Trespass would at least get a chance, but no, they imploded and didn’t release an LP until they reformed twelve years later in 1992.
Eazy Money ‘Telephone Man’ is about as weird as it gets in these circles, Marc Storace (later of Krokus fame) sings in the most bizarre strangulated yelp^* and the song is drenched in precisely the sort of keyboards that were against the NWOBHM credo, some very nice twin guitars and a very odd rhythm. It is apparently their only recording and perhaps that was for the best, once a decade is fine for me. Xero were an equally obscure London band, who briefly worked with a young Bruce Dickinson and their offering here ‘Cutting Loose’ has a well sung vocal and yet more melodic twin guitars – this crew beat Trespass even, their first album being released in 2015 – 32 years on from their debut single.
I like Janick Gers far too much to tell you what I think of White Spirit ‘High Upon High’ but Dark Star bring side 1 to a rollicking, swashbuckling end with ‘Lady of Mars’, which sounds a bit like Wishbone Ash in a very bad mood. Highly recommended.
High energy US infiltrators Horsepower contribute ‘You Give Me Candy’, which steals some licks and attitude from Montrose to great effect and, as far as the internet is concerned, totally mysterious dudes Red Alert give us the workmanlike ‘Open Heart’. Early 70’s survivors Chevy give us ‘Chevy’ which is all very competent, but a bit lacking in bite, bollocks and The Raid ‘Hard Lines’ which is the exact opposite.
I enjoyed playing MFM II a lot tonight, there was more good on here than I remembered and I do have a bit of a thing for odds and sods metal compilations. I always find that the enthusiasm of the NWOBHM bands is always infectious. Plus I hope I may have inadvertently managed to speed any number of intradimensional vortex travellers along their merry way.
*this is one of those rhetorrrywhatsitical questions, even I the almighty and all-powerful 1537 don’t know the answer**.
**Cambridge Analytica probably do though.
^and that’s just the O’s.
*^Diamond Tits, from Partick, being one of the least successful NWOBHM bands ever.
^*I’m guessing it might have been a problem with his jeans cutting off the blood supply to his vocal chords, or something.