Metallers, welcome to 2019’s best LP*!
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but there I was in Probe Records at lunchtime, by mistake obviously and I saw the elixir of youth; a means of instantly zapping myself back into my early adolescence. Ladies and gentleman, please give a warm hand to … Blade Killer High Risk.
In an entirely complimentary way I simply cannot believe that High Risk is not a dusty relic from 1980. From the how-metal-do-you-want-it cover**, to the track titles, to the unpolished feel of the final vinyl, we have been delivered an artefact from another age here. Another far more clunky human age.
So far, so historical, so what you might say; wrongly. High Risk is no historical battle re-enactment. There’s simply far too much commitment and attack in this here platter for that. The way Blade Killer come flying out the traps on opener ‘Lost Angels’ just brooks absolutely no arguing at all, all sweat and electricity, it’s just gloriously energizing.
I have only owned High Risk for a week but I have barely listened to anything else at all since then. Like all my favourite NWOBHM releases there is still something endearingly keen and naive in these grooves too, just witness the odd slightly over-telegraphed chord change and the wonderfully slightly off-key scream on ‘Let’s Go’ , just before the best guitar harmonies on the whole album. Even the cardboard they use for the inner sleeve seems to be not quite the right gauge, just like it used to be sometimes back in the day – now that’s attention to detail.
Make no bones about it this LA mob are a talented bunch of bunnies. Jonathan Rubio and Jay Vazquez have put together some great riffs here, the rhythm section of Peter Lemieux and Kelsey Wilson are as tight as you could possibly want them to be and Carlos Gutierrez certainly has the tonsils you need to rock this, self-styled, ‘traditional metal’.
As both the stickers on my copy of High Risk trumpet, this is music for fans of the original Maiden sound. The stickers aren’t bluffing, man. If, like me, you think they peaked with ‘Wrathchild’ then you’re in for maximum treatage here, digging the vibe, melodies and structure of the likes of ‘In The Arms Of The Devil’ and ‘Rush Of Thunder’.
I haven’t been as juiced, goosed and sluiced by an LP in an age as High Risk. It’s just such a ridiculous amount of FUN!^. Did I say fun? I actually meant air-guitaring, fist-pumping, writing-the-logo-on-your-school-bag, buying-a-T-shirt-with-the-tour-dates-on-the-back FUN!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to practice the guitar solo from ‘Endangered Dreams’ again on my tennis racket.
PS: Buy this LP, buy this LP, buy this LP, buy this LP!!!
PPS: Buy this LP, buy this LP, buy this LP, buy this LP!!!*^
PPPS: Some live footage.
*Okay, so technically this may actually be the best LP of 2018 as it was released on a small run late last year, but morally and spiritually this is a 2019 release.
**note the Eddie-esque reflection in the dagger.
^remember that? I think a lot of folks thought Alice in Chains had paid to have it shot back in the Spring of ’92.
*^buy this LP.