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.



This Chicago band has released three previous albums, but their first was really only a demos release, so this counts as album number three. They play a mix of hard rock and NWOBHM, and do it with finesse.

This album is just so damn catchy! Song after song makes you bob your head along to it and has a chorus that grabs your ears. There are tons of riffs that will make the air guitarist quite happy, the drums and bass flow together perfectly and the smooth, but strong vocals are sure to please your ears. This has the feel of a lost album from the early ’80s when people playing rock without fluff and ridiculous makeup. Yes kids….this is real rock’n’roll. “Do You Wanna Be Famous” is just a huge song that will get you singing along to and have you hitting replay. Don’t think that this was the only good song, no sir, “Haunted By Love” is fantastic as well. It has stop start parts, gang vocals and was a highlight on this album of great tracks. The production id just right, nothing mixed too loud or buried, clear and with just a tough of edginess.

This is one of the better hard rock albums that I’ve heard in a long time and I can’t get enough of it. If you want rock that actually knows how to rock and sounds like the classic it should become….this is your band!

SAVAGE: 7/Live ‘N’ Lethal: Download












Since their formation, they have released classic and solid demos and singles, as well as seven full length albums. The first disc here is a new studio record fittingly called 7 and the second disc, Live ‘n’ Lethal, is a live album containing all songs from their debut album Loose ‘n’ Lethal as well as a few tracks from Sons Of Malice, Xtreme Machine and Hyperactive.

“I Am The Law” sets the wheels in motion making the driving rocker a perfect start to the record and gets the fists pumping immediately. “Lock n’ Load” is a total riff fest, and you can just rock out to the inspired solos. The band slows things down a notch for “Empire Of Hate,”then they ramp things up again with thick groove of “Super Spy.” The aggressive metal of “Speed Freak” keeps things going nice and heavy. The acoustic ballad “The Road To Avalon (Sins of the Fathers)” slows things down a bit.  The band gears up for the album’s final stretch with the awesome “Payback’s A Bitch,” then they keep on going with the last two killers, “Shake The Tree,” and “Heads Will Roll.” Don’t stop there, you get a whole album of devastating live tracks that will keep you listening long after mediocre bands give only one album. The live album will make you jealous of people that get to see them live because I’m jealous.

A definite keeper that will please the new and the older fans and will keep you coming back for more. Play often and play loud.

SANKTUARY: Something Fierce: CD

Something Fierce cover art

After releasing two previous EPs, and a move from Whitehorse, Yukon to Halifax, Nova Scotia, we finally get their debut album. Eight songs of epic, old school thrash that has a hint of MEGADETH, but still retains its own sound, power metal and NWOBHM.

Starting off with “Deadly Prey” an instrumental track, it has a NWOBHM feel to it and then jumping into “Heat Lightning” with some high-pitched vocals and a galloping beat giving the song a power metal feel. The songs are a head banger’s dream, lots of riffing, solos that kick ass, varied vocals, from growling to mid range to high-pitched, thundering drums and thick bass, plus choruses you can shout along with and melody. “Beyond The Wall” comes in near the end of the album to give us a nice mellow, instrumental track with showcases their ability to play more than straight ahead metal, it has a trippy, ’70s feel to it, then right back for the kick ass last song “Midnite Mass”. My favorite tracks were “Heat Lightning”, “Thrill of the Kill”, “Screeching for Vengeance” (nice nod towards JUDAS PRIEST in the title), and “Fire in the Sky”.

With the quality of the songs on here, the musical ability and the range of styles, there is something for almost every metal head out there. A great debut full length and a band that really stands out from the crowd. If this was released in metal’s glory days back in the early ’80s, this would be huge and all over the radio.


Head On was released in 1980 and is the second album by NWOBHM band SAMSON. The cover art features the band’s masked drummer Thunderstick who disguised his identity by wearing S&M masks and played live in a steel cage. This is the first album with future IRON MAIDEN vocalist Bruce Dickinson singing, but going by the name Bruce Bruce at the time. The rest of the band was made up of Chris Aylmer on bass and guitarist and namesake of the band Paul Samson.

This remaster includes two bonus songs “Angel with a Machine Gun” and “Kingsway Jam”, has greatly improved sound and a sixteen page booklet with story of the album, sleeve-notes and rare photos and images from the period.

The sixth track on the album is an instrumental called “Thunderburst,” which was co-written by SAMSON and Steve Harris. With the close connection between both bands, IRON MAIDEN called the song “Ides of March” which is the first song on Killers, but when SAMSON recorded it in 1980, they called it “Thunderburst” and gave Harris credit.

There are a lot of late ’70s hard rock sounds emanating from this album than you might think from a band hyped as heavy metal, but the do a great job of playing and getting their love of music out there that it just pulls you in and you don’t want to let go. Opener “Hard Times” is a great hard rocking opener with Dickinson having more of a straight forward vocal on it than later on in Maiden, the guitar is fluid and there are great leads, very strong drumming and a chorus that will get you singing along to. “Take It Like a Man” has a faster and heavier sound, but still retains that hard rock vibe and another great chorus, plus a great air raid siren yell that Dickinson will be using later in his career. “Vice Versa” a nice slow-paced song that showcases the strong Dickinson vocals, the drumming and bass sounds strong and well-rounded, the guitar playing will get you rocking out and then bring you back down nice and mellow, and the recording quality really shines through on this head-nodding track. “Manwatcher” is a tasty and rugged sounding hard rock song that has a nice gritty sound and feel, and “Too Close to Rock” is a heavy track that really brings the metal out of the band and really gets your blood pumping with the fast paced drumming and deft guitar playing. “Thunderburst” is a great instrumental, but would have been better suited as an introduction to the album, rather than an interlude, but it’s still cool to hear how they did their version of this song. “Hammerhead” could very easily have been an early MAIDEN track, Dickinson’s wailing vocals, the driving drums, the inspired solo and leads and thick bass all give this song a classic power metal sound. “Hunted” uses a lot of echo on the vocals and has a nice sleazy sound that you just can’t get enough of, “Take Me to Your Leader” has classic Dickinson vocals all over it, but it really is a bit disjointed, going from metal to hard rock, back and forth, that it just doesn’t mesh together as well as the other songs on the album. “Walking Out on You” is what would now be classified as a doom track, heavy, a bit on the progressive side, but played with heart and soul and some fire in the guitar playing as well. “Angel with a Machine Gun” has nice gritty guitar playing, fat bass, punchy drumming and a great vocal from Dickinson, that made this a nice addition to the original album, and last track on the reissue and second of the bonus tracks “Kingsway Jam” is a great long jam track with the air raid vocals and great playing from the band that brings a smile to your face because you can hear just how much fun they were having in the studio.

A great early piece of NWOBHM and IRON MAIDEN history, plus the real debut of Bruce Dickinson, how can you go wrong? It’s great that albums like this are getting reissued and being made available to fans so you can get a chance to hear music that might be left in the bins of history. Go out and grab this, not just for the MAIDEN connections, but because it’s a great album that deserves to be in your collection, and play this mutha loud!