The NWOBHM Thread
Mythra - "The Death & Destiny E.P." (1979)
I first came across this underground gem of the NWOBHM scene while conducting research for the Metal Academy podcast many years ago but I didn't give it anywhere near enough time because this is a damn fine example of what the movement was all about. It's heavy, it's raucous, it's energetic & it's as fun as a drunken bar fight between bikers. These four short songs have a punky edge to them that would have Lemmy spillin' his Jack down his leather vest. In fact, I have to say that the chorus to "U.F.O." sounds uncannily similar to Motorhead's "Iron Fist" only it was released three years prior. Coincidence? Hmmm.... I'm not sure as it's so fucking obvious. Anyway... if you dig ol' NWOBHM records from lesser known bands then you owe it to yourself to check this out. In fact, I'm gonna go so far as to say that this is one of the top ten NWOBHM releases I've heard & I've researched pretty much every noteworthy release in detail so that's gotta be worth somethin'.
For fans of Motorhead, Holocaust & early Tygers of Pan Tang.
Ethel The Frog - "Ethel The Frog" (1980)
This obscure NWOBHM release is another one that I first discovered while conducting research for the Metal Academy podcast around many years ago now but I chose not to include it on the show as I didn't consider it to be genuine metal. This revisit has seen me giving the album a more focused review but my position has remained the same. Of the ten tracks on offer there are only three that I'd suggest should qualify for the NWOBHM tag. The other seven tracks see the unusually titled band (a Monty Python reference by all reports) traversing hard rock, pub rock, blues rock & rock 'n' roll. The production & performances are pretty primitive but it's the song-writing that has impacted my score here as I just can't get into the more lightweight bluesy pub rock stuff much. The vocals aren't terribly accomplished either. The cover version of the Beatles classic "Eleanor Rigby" is a great way to kick the album off though & is probably the best track included while the energetic Motorhead inspired "Fight Back" is also very solid. At the end of the day though I only find around 40% of the tracklisting to be enjoyable so I can't see myself returning to this album for a third helping.
For fans of Vardis, Dark Star & Status Quo.
Chevy - "The Taker" (1980)
This one-off album is another one whose NWOBHM credentials are extremely flimsy. There's actually not a single track of the nine included that I regard as being metal. What we get here is a classic hard rock sound with strong southern rock influences & a touch of AOR here & there. The vocalist is the spitting image of Montrose/Van Halen front man Sammy Hagar & he does a very good job at driving the material which is admittedly pretty inconsistent in its quality. It's really pretty hard to believe the this isn't an American band as the southern rock influence in the guitar harmonies & vocal twang as so easily associated with the USA that it's almost impossible for Chevy to have hailed from anywhere else, even more so when you consider the band name. How they've become associated with the NWOBHM is baffling & is a clear sign of just how loose the boundaries were at the time. Anyway... at the end of the day "The Taker" is a fairly professionally put together hard rock record but the song-writing quality isn't strong enough to keep my interest with any level of consistency.
For fans of Sammy Hagar, UFO & The Black Crowes.