Grim Reaper - See You in Hell (1983)Release ID: 7548

Grim Reaper - See You in Hell (1983) Cover
Daniel Daniel / May 19, 2019 / Comments 0 / 0

Grim Reaper were a four-piece NWOBHM outfit from Worcestershire, England that formed in 1979 & just managed to slip this debut studio album in on the tail end of the New Wave movement. Those of you that are familiar with Chateaux’s 1983 debut album “Chained & Desperate” would already be acquainted with the enormous talent of front man Steve Grimmett due to his having taken the mike on that particular record in a purely guest capacity. Steve ended up being the best thing about that album which is one that I regard as being a pretty strong debut but despite the high quality of Chateaux’s first-up effort, Steve didn’t want to commit to a full-time role with the band as his heart lay primarily with his main band. Whether you agree that this was the best decision or not is open for debate however there is little doubt that both records showcase some pretty high quality NWOBHM material.

The first thing you’ll notice about Grim Reaper’s debut “See You In Hell” is the striking artwork which depicts the Reaper himself riding high atop a mighty steed & wielding a huge death scythe. It’s a particularly metal image & one that I strongly suspect was plagiarized from some famous artist that I'm completely ignorant of. Well it’s not a bad representation of what you’re about to hear because “See You In Hell” is undoubtedly a very metal release. In fact, so much so that it’s perhaps the album’s major weakness because it can come across as pretty basic & meat & potatoes.

The production does the job OK but you could certainly argue that the rhythm guitar sound is a bit muddy. I don’t think it detracts from the listening experience though. Steve’s vocals are a touch loud in the mix too but I’m not really surprised because he’s the clear drawcard here. I absolutely loved his performance on the Chateaux record & he once again shows why I’m such a big fan although possibly not to quite the same extent. His voice is very powerful & he can really scream with David Coverdale from Deep Purple & Whitesnake being the obvious reference point.

The song structures are generally pretty simple with the traditional verse/chorus arrangement being the order of the day. This isn’t the riffiest of metal bands either. They favour simple power chord progressions as often as not with a higher emphasis placed on accompaniment in order to maximize the song-writing. And that’s where the strength of “See You In Hell” becomes obvious. The anthemic singalong vocal hooks are there on most songs & when you’ve got a singer that’s as strong as Grimmett you’d be crazy not to try to milk them for all they’re worth.

The guitar solos don’t tend to be too flashy & they go for a more melodic approach for the most part. I would guess this is as much out of necessity than it is a conscious decision because I’m not sure guitarist Nick Bowcott is the most talented shredder out there. Drummer Lee Harris is definitely the weaker link in the band though. Particularly his kick drum work which is pretty dodgy it has to be said but none of that matters too much. This record is all about the vocal hooks though & with the exception of a couple of dud tracks (including the long & boring ballad “The Show Must Go On”) I’d be surprised if you aren’t singing along with at least a couple of these anthemic songs after a few of listens.

If you like Deep Purple, Judas Priest & Dio-era Black Sabbath then you’ll definitely find a lot to like about “See You In Hell” & that’s never more obvious than on the closing title track which was the breakthrough song for the band. Much like the rest of the album, "See You In Hell" consists of some good solid meat-&-potatoes heavy metal that doesn’t try to over complicate things & works to its strengths.


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See You in Hell
The Guardians
Heavy Metal

Heavy Metal (conventional)

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