[Release date 28.07.17]
There are few musicians as iconic in image as Barry Graham Perkis, aka Thunderstick, who originally found fame as the masked and caged drummer for NWoBHM band Samson. Previously a short lived drummer for Iron Maiden, he also recorded solo post Samson and returns with this new album. And it’s damn good.
Thunderstick replaced original Samson drummer Clive Burr, to appear on the albums Survivors, Head On and Shock Tactics, and his mask and cage (and stage slot of breaking from the cage to terrorise the audience) became fan favourites. Thunders, with Paul, was instrumental in the discovery of vocalist Bruce Dickinson.
His solo band had a more theatrical presentation, with two guitarists and a female vocalist. They recorded the EP ‘Feel like Rock ‘n’ Roll?’ in 1983 and a full-length album ‘Beauty and the Beasts’ in 1984. The original vinyl is hard to find but well worth searching out, and have since been remastered for the 2011 anthology, Echoes from the Analogue Asylum. The band disbanded in 1986 after recording their yet-to-be-released final album ‘Don’t Touch, I’ll Scream’.
Barry has continued writing music as well as working on production for other artists and his drumming has continued to receive critical acclaim. In April 2009 he played the ‘Keep It True’ festival in Germany with a reunion of various NWOBHM artists, marking the return of his Thunderstick persona. On the 22 April 2016, former lead vocalist Jodee Valentine died aged 55. Following Jodee’s passing, Barry decided to bring back Thunderstick once more, recording this album, which was originally pledge/crowd funded.
I first met Thunderstick backstage at the 2000 Samson reformation at the London Astoria, where his mask, cage and antics resurfaced in fine (and scary as ever) form. In keeping with the original Thunderstick band’s sound, this is as reminiscent of Feels Like Rock’n’Roll as it is solid and relevant to the present day. Alongside drummer Thunderstick are guitarists Martin Shellaerd and Dave Kandy, bassist Rex Thunderbolt and vocalist Lucy V.
From the opening track Dark Night, Thunderstick’s style remains reminiscent of both Samson and his original band, striking up a solid partnership with Thunderbolt as he did with Chris Aylmer or Ben K Reeve. Lucy V’s vocals are wonderful, the phrasing nods back to the early Samson days, and the guitars have an excellent modern touch (much like the production) while still nodding to the NWoBHM roots.
Don’t Touch Don’t Scream is thoroughly engrossing and enjoyable, and Go Sleep With The Enemy has a hint of punk energy mixed with a catchy 80′s chorus. I love the riff on Encumbrance, it’s a classic rock’n’roll number, and there are some touches to the drumming that remind you how good Thunderstick is.
The final track I Close My Eyes starts acoustically and builds to a power ballad, it is a fine track, wonderful even, if not in keeping with the rest of the album. The vocals are beautiful, and it’s a good closer.
A wonderful reminder of how good a drummer Thunderstick is and how much more there is to him than just the image.
Well worth checking out. ****1/2
Review by Joe Geesin
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