Friday, 20 March 2015

Tipsy Wit - Songs & Dreams (1991)

1991 was such a confusing time for metal. The genre had branched out into funk, jazz, and just about every other style - metal had become tepid in some instances and 'hair metal' was very much dying on its feet with grunge just around the corner. However, there were also a great number of hugely talented bands slipping under the radar and one such posse was Tipsy Wit. They weren't exactly alternative metal; just good solid heavy rock featuring classy, powerful vocals and well-crafted songs; especially in ballad 'For Your Love'. The trouble is, if these guys had been American they might just have broken big - but hailing from France meant that they remained relatively unknown in spite of the talent. For those of you who enjoyed early '90s rock such as Heaven's Edge and certainly Kik Tracee would have loved Tipsy Wit; they had everything - a cool funky strut ('They Need You'), and above all cool driving anthems such as with 'Ice Cream Lickin' Party'. I guess the main issue was that this sort of party metal just wasn't in vogue and so they slipped away without so much as a whimper...but this is still a rollicking opus. 8/10

Slander - Careless Talk Costs Lives (1991)

Packaged like it's from the early '80s, UK band Slander didn't really get their just rewards for their stripped back yet more than adequate brand of Brit metal. Simple melodies; no thrills casual vocals and yet fleeting examples of class with the likes of 'Lonely Nights' and the speedier chug of 'On The Run'.

Very much back to basics metal which would surely have suffered having been released seemingly out of time; and yet all those years later and 'Careless Talk...' is sounding like a forgotten gem of a record. Killer cover and twelve more than solid rockers; another brace of favourites being the plodding 'No Road Back' and the flailing 'Lay Down the Law'.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Sacrosanct - Recesses for the Depraved (1991)

Featuring ex Pestilence axe-man Randy Meinhard; Sacrosanct was a short-lived technical thrash metal act that released three records in the early '90s then sadly dissolved. for me; 'Recesses...' (which is sandwiched between 'Truth Is - What Is' and 'Tragic Intense') is for me their best record, a chugging act of menace steeped in weighty riffs, excellent leads and mid-paced technicality. Michael "Mike" Lucarelli's vocal style is simple and masculine; and wold have suited any mid '90s metal act and there's also that nice fusing of technicality with a Bay Area sense of grooveness and although the drums are rather understated the guitar wins out here especially as it worms its way with formidable fashion on the opener 'Like Preached Directions'. Indeed, for such a progressive record this is quite easy on the ears and one worth looking into.

Hammer - Terror (1991)

This is some killer brash thrash from Poland even if it should've emerged half a decade previous. Hammer is a quintet that went on to release a batch of albums; but for me this is their best effort - a speedy Overkill/Exodus-styled workmanlike performance of blazing guitars; clear vocal snaps and plenty of chunkiness and speed. Indeed it does have a very Americanised feel also bringing to mind the superb Vio-lence and so as a first attempt at explosive thrash this is an album that really grows on you because of its ability to remain catchy - the title track is a brilliant thrash workout featuring an accessible melody; flailing leads and that archetype '80s U.S. thrash sound but for an utterly rancid blitzkrieg bop check out 'Stul pysk'. Although there is an overall lack of variety this pretty much annihilates a majority of modern day thrash acts; so forget the new kids on the block and instead dive into this lump of Polish extremity.

Megace - Human Errors (1991)

It's always nice to throw in a bit of German techno-thrash every now and then and one can't go wrong with the often bewildering strains of 'Human Errors' which was released on Magic Records. It's a bit of an obscurity but one worth tracking down if you like thrash metal full of time shifts and intriguing patterns. Okay so it is a tad self-indulgent and the female vocals almost don't work; they come across like some neo-Gothic wailing which add a haunting effect but are preferable as scratchy, choppy raps of angst. Even so, the melodies showcased behind the voice are most impressive; offering for the most part a mid-paced rambling and doodling where bass and drum jar the senses and the guitar offers an ashen swirl but the pros and cons of this record are pretty much summed up in the track 'Repetitions of Human Errors' where the schizophrenic vocals range from those weird, ascending moans to spitting raps but musically it's a quizzical affair of jazzed up dehydration and innovative grooves but it certainly takes a while for the likes of 'Save Your Dignity' to grab hold. Very belonging in some sort of blessed cauldron once served with the likes of Cynic, Mekong Delta, Voivod and then onto Dream Theater only this time Megace are less punchy and a tad more confused.

Lunacy - Face No More (1991)

Bit of a strange one for its time; Lunacy come complete with like it/hate it cover art and a peculiar hardcore, comedic tone based around occasional juddering bass-lines and a confusion of general direction. One moment we have a half-decent thrashing groove; the next there's an air of impressive progression but as of this era there's an all too much sickening tendency to drift into that alternative stance where the vocals become irritating raps boasting comedy sighs and tinged with buffoonery. Oddly, at its most positive angles Lunacy becomes more akin to Coroner but sadly this is all too sporadic and so they spend most of their time cavorting with that tepid variation. It still deserves its place; it's just a shame the title track and a few others are so darn bubble-gum; same goes for 'Up In Smoke' yawn!

Friday, 2 January 2015

Hittman - Hittman (1988)

A gloriously metallic debut opus comes from this New York quintet who play pure, steely power metal fuelled by joyous solos; a smooth vocal delivery and weighty percussion and yet oddly there's something so sheen about this; Hittman preferring not to revel in the pic but instead border upon a glossy technical thrash outpouring. The likes of 'Dead on Arrival' blind the eyes with glistening charm; the vocal prowess of Dirk Kennedy are just so metal in their deft, almost fleeting high-pitched nature. With cutting riffs which rely on being more fleet of foot rather than chunky; Hittman's debut drifts along on tip-toes and exhibits its versatility - Metal Church's excellent 'Blessing in Disguise' appears as a classier older brother even though Hittman's debut shows defter touches. But one can only admire the flexible majesty of 'Metal Sport' and 'Breakout'; each track with a Gothic-hue particularly the latter with the overall result being a rather blinding slab of silvery power metal that is easy on the ears and yet in contrast almost cutting and cold in its seriousness.