As regular listeners to the BRS will know, I love to uncover hidden gems, but this one is a bit different, as it wasn't hidden from me- in fact I owned the original vinyl back in the day. And back then I wasn't impressed. I don't know why that was, though I guess at the time (1983), being fully immersed in Dio-era Black Sabbath, Diamond Head, Rainbow, ELOY, UFO and more, I simply didn't think it cut the grade.
So I passed it on.
Fast forward to last year, and Dee's Gemsong on the TWS was going to be "Cry From A Hill" by Rage, from their follow up album Run For The Night, a song that I loved at the time, and one that I remember the great Tommy Vance saying that he was "surprised by the musicianship on that track as nothing they have done before would suggest it was something they were capable of."
Anyway whilst I was searching Amazon for a digital copy (I will not use iTunes) I naturally had "suggested" tracks from this album, one of which I decided to play in their preview player, and I thought, 'hey, this is a lot better than I remember.'
So I checked out a few other tracks and thought, sod it, "just buy the CD!" (which was on offer).
And I am glad that I did!
Don't get me wrong, this is not a multi-faceted, many-layered, cleverly nuanced album. It's not UFO (plus the cover clearly says it's not lol). But for sheer energy and futz-pah it's hard to beat. Every track is in your face NWOBHM with an American edge to the sound (the first track and single, American Radio Stations, kinda gives away what they were aiming to do). But how they (or rather Peter Hinton, the producer) did it is beyond me- how do you catch the rawness sound from NWOBHM but still make it sound like you are an American band???
To my amazement, there isn't actually a duff track on the album, with highlights including the aforementioned single, the commercial beat of Blame it on the Night, Heartbreaker, Long Way From Home and Only Child.
However king of the hill goes to the song "Silver & Gold". It's worth buying the album for this track alone. Starts off with a deceptively simple riff, but really grows into a powerhouse of a track that you just wanna loop again in case you missed anything the first 3 or 4 times.
The band is not to be confused with several symphonic and metal bands that followed in the 90s and today, but if you fancy some old fashioned NWOBHM that sounds fresh even today, this is the album for you.