ANGELIC UPSTARTS: The Albums 1983-91

After having pretty good success on their early releases, the band started to lose some traction and after the failure of the Still From The Heart album, EMI said bye-bye and they were back to the indie scene. This was a great wake up for them since Reason Why? was a terrific album that brought them back to the punk rock glory that people loved them for. “Geordies Wife” and “Dollars And Pounds” are both politically charged poetry that adds something interesting to the album. The cool part is that you get ten bonus tracks added to the original album. CD2 which again comes with ten bonus tracks, mainly rare studio demos that show the bands raw edge. Along with politically charged punk rock, you get a cool cover of Martha Reeve & the Vandellas’ “Nowhere To Run.” Next up is Live In Yugoslavia, which is basically a greatest hits collection of the band’s songs and played with vim and vigor. Disc 4 is 1985’s Power Of The Press album which now comes with the bonus single “Brighton Bomb.” The album is a little more into the new wave sound of the time but still is a great listen. Next up is the even more new wave sounding Blood On The Terraces album with an included extra seven bonus tracks. The band still has some punk, but there is a lot of sound of the times going on and some controversial titles like “Heroin is Good For You,” and a cover of Kenny Rogers and The First Edition’s “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town.” Ending with Bombed Out which saw original guitarist Mond reunited with vocalist Mensi for the first time in nearly a decade. This seemed to invigorate the band and they came back to the punk rock sound again, and the box set ends on a high note.

Although not as mandatory as the first box set, this is still a great collection of songs that sound better on this release than on the originals and will bring back memories to us old guys. The booklet features pictures of all relevant sleeves, liner notes, news clippings, and many previously unpublished photos.

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999: The Albums 1987-2007

 

Jumping from the previous box set that covered 1977-1980, this one skips a few albums and goes right to their most up-to-date album currently. Maybe there will be another collection of the missing albums…we’ll see.

With just four albums over a twenty-year span, the band slowed their releases down a whole lot, but what we have is a great collection all the same. Starting off with the band’s first official full-length live album Lust Power And Money, recorded at the legendary Klub Foot in London, it has a track listing that reads like a Greatest Hits Live with classics such as “Emergency,” and “Homicide” played with energy and power. Disc 2 contains 1993’s You Us It!, their first studio album in eight years which saw the addition of new member Arturo Bassick, formerly of The Lurkers. The band got right back to the harder-edged sound of their younger days and it was a great return to form. Disc 3 is the Takeover album which was originally released in 1997 and is even better than their last album. A classic from start to finish with tracks that stand up to their older gems. The final disc is 2007’s Death In Soho, which keeps up the high standard of punk rock with catchy choruses and great playing that bands more than half their age would be and should be jealous of. This is a great ending to the box set but makes you yearn for more from them.

The 20-page booklet contains in-depth liner notes, pictures of all relevant sleeves plus memorabilia and clippings from the era. The sound is so good and improves on the original releases by a long shot. Although the classic period was in the previous box set, this is still a terrific collection to get and will definitely be something that you will come back to, time and time again.

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KILLER: Volume One, The Mausoleum Years 1981-1990

Whilst the “New Wave Of British Heavy Metal” movement of the late 1970s and early 1980s was raging just across the English Channel, Belgium was fomenting its own highly influential rock and metal scene, at the forefront was Killer. The power trio was founded in 1980 around lead guitarist and vocalist Paul Van Camp, Fat Leo on drums and Spooky on bass guitar and vocals, they released their debut album Ready For Hell on WEA Records. At the end of 1981, Fat Leo was replaced on drums by Double Bear for 1982’s Wall Of Sound album, which saw Killer making a greater impact beyond Belgium. Killer’s management formed the metal label Mausoleum Records, and Killer recorded the Shockwaves LP. The band disbanded in early 1987, with Paul Van Camp releasing his self-titled solo debut the same year. Spooky and Shorty decided to start Killer again in 1989, but with new drummer Rudy Simmons and a second guitar player, Jan Van Springel. Their fourth album, Fatal Attraction, was recorded in Germany and released by Mausoleum Records in 1990. Partly due to the growing popularity of grunge, Killer decided to call it a day in 1991. Killer would reform later in the decade, and were proud to release their seventh album, Monsters Of Rock in 2015, in time to commemorate the band’s 35th Anniversary. With great sound, bonus tracks and a great booklet telling the band’s story, this is a great release that shows the reach and influence NWOBHM had.

A band that only hardcore metal fans really know about, these guys, that are influenced by Motorhead, have left a legacy of great music that can now be enjoyed by more people. With their albums long deleted and going for some crazy prices, this is the perfect time to jump in and take a listen to what you may have not had a chance to hear before. Lots of great tracks, catchy choruses, and tight playing, this is the real deal metal. You get bonus tracks that are definitely a bonus, not just extra tracks that they tacked on because they found some crap sitting in the vaults. The bonus tracks on CD1 are “From Nine To Five,” “Too Wild To Tame,” “Crazy Circus” and “Chinese Woman.” The bonus track on CD2 is “Walls Of Hell.” The bonus tracks on CD3 are blistering live versions of “Shock Waves,” “Scarecrow,” “In The Name Of The Law” and “Kleptomania.”

I put this on, turned up the volume and this just blew me away with the raw power, the raging tunes and the actual enjoyment that came through. This is an essential purchase that will add some old-school metal to your collection and make you a believer that not only the UK had some great bands back in the early 80s.

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