Album review: VARIOUS – NWOBHM Thunder 1978-86

VARIOUS - NWOBHM Thunder 1978-86

Cherry Red Records [Release date 31.07.20] (3 CD set)

1978 to 1986. Those 9 years were the Golden Age of NWOBHM. They were the years that spanned the birth, working life and eventual demise of a significant sub genre in the history of UK popular music.

In the mid seventies, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and others were off conquering the world, one stadium at a time. Punk rushed into the gap, and ironically, its amateur hour energy created the spark for dozens of DIY metal band to fire up into life. Some burned out quickly, but a surprising number endured.

This 44 track, 3 CD release celebrates that moment in time. The bands who made it (ish), Saxon, Praying Mantis, Paul Di’Anno’s Battlezone, Tygers Of Pan Tang, are all here. Indeed, Saxon’s ‘Heavy Metal Thunder’ opens up the set, a song title in itself giving a huge nod of recognition to Steppenwolf’s ‘Born To Be Wild’.

But this collection is probably best served by the inclusion of so many “also rans”. Bands who were part of the first wave, bands who were sacrificed on the altar of an unimpressed public and an impossible to please music press. Blitzkrieg’s ‘Inferno’, Tarot’s ‘Feel The Power’ and Jaguar’s ‘Another Lost Weekend’ are here. But, in honesty there are many more.

Also good to see a generous sprinkling of tracks from those bands who shuffled off to Europe to gain some decent traction comercially, like Demon and Tokyo Blade; and those who crossed the Atlantic to make it, Raven, Grim Reaper and Girschool, without being rewarded with the breakthrough they slogged for.

Even those bands who took early 80s MTV on board and recalibrated their sound accordingly (without much success) get a showing… Diamond Head’s ‘In The Heat Of The Night’ and Samson’s ‘Earth Mother’ light up Disc 3.

And of course, no NWOBHM compilation would be complete without those bands whose tracks are consistently named by genre fans as enduring favourites. Most notably Heavy Pettin’s ‘Love Times Lost’, Rock Goddess’s ‘Satisfied Then Crucified’ and perhaps too, the relatively unknown but impossibly wonderful Chrome Molly, and ‘Nuclear Attack’.  ****

For full track list

Review by Brian McGowan

David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 20 September 2020.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 22 September 2020.

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Featured Albums w/c 12 October (Mon-Fri)

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12:00-13:00 BLUE OYSTER CULT The Symbol Remains (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 SHEMEKIA COPELAND Uncivil War (Alligator)

Power Plays w/c 12 October (Mon-Fri)

HELLZ We Want Rock (indie)
WHEN RIVERS MEET Battleground (indie)
UNCUT Family Blues (indie)
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CORY MARKS Blame It On The Double (indie)
MASON HILL Against The Wall (indie)
CATS IN SPACE Revolution (Harmony Factory)

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