Dissonance [Release date 28.04.17]
If you don’t know the name, you should. Part of a second new wave of British Heavy Metal, Marshall Law formed in the West Midlands in the late 80s and had much acclaim at the time.
Their early material has been likened to Judas Priest, which is no bad thing, and this their 1989 eponymous debut finally gets expanded with the 12” EP released two years later, not long before their second album. And it’s on a label I’ve not heard of before, they seem a new set up and have been recently issuing albums by Girlschool, Hanoi Rocks and Samson (no bonuses), as well as Jaguar and other less common albums long overdue on CD.
Over the space of 4 years I saw this band live 8 times, including twice at a pub in East Sussex (RIP The Shelley Arms) and twice again at Birmingham University, and on two occasions a co-headline with Excalibur (a Bradford band of the same genre that the label could do well to investigate).
After the building intro, ‘Under The Hammer’ is a full and blistering on sonic assault with anthemic chorus, a sound that typifies the band’s early years well. ‘Rock The Nation’ is a little chunkier, but then one of THE standout tracks is ‘Marshall Law’. Andy Pyke’s clean and cutting vocals and the memorable twin work make for earache of the most pleasurable kind.
Between solos and riffs, there’s some good guitar harmony throughout the album but most notable on this track and, like the vocal harmony work in the chorus, it’s just British heavy metal at its best.
Tracks like ‘System X’ are at the heavier end, and ‘Future Shock’ combines the heavier element with the anthemic and catchy moments.
If it is to be likened to Judas Priest, then imagine the heaviness of Painkiller but not necessarily as fast, but add in moments of finesse that nod to Turbo and Ram It Down.
Previous reissue(s) have not included the rare 12” EP (I feel lucky to have got mine at a gig and autographed by the whole band). Having it here really make this fantastic metal reissue all the more worthwhile.
Marshall Law went on to produce a number of quality albums, getting heavier in the 90s, and are well worth checking out. ****
Review by Ed Stone
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