Tales From The Jugular - Reissue The Metal: 25 Albums That Need CD Releases
Well it looks like we are right smack dab in the middle of the reissue movement. With labels such as Cult Metal Classics, Molten Metal, Sentinel Steel, and Mausoleum among others, reissue mania is in full swing. We've seen everthing get the re-release treatment, from cult New Wave acts like Elixir and Chariot to bigger name mainstays like Megadeth, Priest, and Savatage. Some of these reissues have been for albums that have only been available on vinyl, or in some cases for bands that saw very little production of their CDs. I am an avid supporter of reissues, as a number of these include bonus tracks, additional artwork, and demos.
Currently there are still hundreds of great albums merely sitting in some label dungeon, collecting dust while the adoring fans are left hunting the trade groups online, paying full price for a simple CD burn or getting ripped off by pirated bootleggers pawning their version of the real thing for hundreds of dollars. I for one use a collector in the area that does wondeful work transferring vinyl and limited CD releases onto disc for me (www.metalchamber.com). He's given me stacks of excellent metal that has never seen a proper CD release.
With this issue of Tales From The Jugular, I will show you 25 releases that I feel deserve a full reissue treatment. My opinion is not based on collector's value, fancy artwork, or guest appearances, just simply based off of what I perceive as an excellent work, a genuine metal masterpiece that deserves so much more. Here are the goods, the quality material that needs to be retrieved, unearthed, cleaned up, and released for the legions of fans.
ANGEL WITCH - FRONTAL ASSAULT
Released on vinyl in 1986 via Killerwatt Records, "Frontal Assault" proved to be the ulitmate gothic sensation, showing a darker, sadistic look at New Wave with horror tunes like "Somthing Wrong" and "She Don't Lie". This was released briefly through Enigma on disc, but that is long out of print now. This is a lost gem that begs to be found.
BANG TANGO - LOVE AFTER DEATH
Euro mainstay Music For Nations didn't give this album much circulation. Released on disc in 1994 among a horde of grunge and alternative acts, "Love After Death" went against the grain, hard rocking in the older style of 'Tango, but adding in a huge dose of heavy to the mix. You will find vocalist Joe Leste completely over the top here, belting out kick-ass jams like "New Generation" and "Don't Count Me Out", while swooning the ladies with classic ballads like "Live On The Moon". "Love After Death" is completely out of print, and a long sought after title by hard rock fans worldwide.
BLADE RUNNER - HUNTED
Released on the best New Wave label in my opinion, Ebony Records, 1985's "Hunted" is the debut album from England's Blade Runner. "Hunted" showcased a world-class look at down and dirty new wave metal, mixing in the stylings of Priest, Savage, and Saxon. "Hunted" didn't go far however, like many of the Ebony acts the group managed one sophomore effort, "Warriors Of Rock" before calling it a career. "Hunted" is only available on vinyl, and those are very limited and of course out of print.
BLOODSTONE - VALLEY OF THE MACHINES
Released on disc by the doomed Long Island Records. The label went bust, but not before releasing some great albums from bands like Rated-X, Skitzotik, and this great German act, Bloodstone. "Valley Of The Machines" was the only full-length album from the band, but what an album it was! Bloodstone combined the hard rock elements of White Lion and Ratt, with the heavy metal overtones of Dio and Sabbath. The end result was a monumental modern metal album that was refreshing, innovative, and energetic, three qualities that bands in 1995 simply didn't have. This one is extremely hard to find, as Long Island didn't make many.
BLOODLUST - GUILTY AS SIN
In 1986, Blood Lust released "Guilty As Sin" on Metal Blade records. The album was monumental in its unprecedented fury and determination to rule the airwaves with sonic annihilation. One could compare the band's dark speed sound to bands like Nasty Savage, early Anthrax, Dark Angel, and even Omen. Classic tracks like the speedy Manowarish number "Ride To Death", shout it out loud "Chainsaw", and haunting wall smasher "Too Scared To Run" were classic examples of the quality American metal this band created. Vocalist Guy Lord sounded similar to Neil Turbin with his high vocal range, but brought it down a notch to belt out thrash speed numbers ala Bobby "The Blitz". This is available only on vinyl, and like so many other Metal Blade treasures, Brian Slagel refuses to reissue this on disc.
CITIES - ANNIHILATION ABSOLUTE
Another quality US power/thrash act, Cities delivered fast paced metal mayhem in the same fashion as Nasty Savage, Bloodlust, Jag Panzer, and Exciter. Released by Metal Blade records in 1986, "Annihilation Absolute" is considered a classic by metal fans, a classic that unfortunately cannot be purchased or heard by a majority of today's listeners. King Fowley released a limited edition of this album on disc through Old Metal Records years ago, but those quickly went and are very hard to track down. This one really needs to be looked at again by the Metal Blade brass.
DAMIEN - STOP THIS WAR
Ohio power metal band Damien released this masterpiece on disc in 1989 through Select Records. "Stop This War" is a furious scorcher, bringing to mind early Ozzy, KISS, Anthrax, and Metallica. With blazing thrashers like "The Priests Are Coming" and "Warlord", Damien proved that the 80s were over, but the metal mania would continue. This is out of print and a rare find at best.
DANTON - WAY OF DESTINY
German hard rockers Danton managed one album before calling it quits, the effective vinyl "Way Of Destiny" in 1988 through Mega Volt Records. Featuring Accept frontman Udo Dirkschneider's younger brother Peter, Danton steamrolled through rock and roll numbers like "Stalingrad", "Knock Knock", and "Straight In Your Heart". Mega Volt released a very small number of these albums, so the only bet now is to get this through a trader.
DIGGER - STRONGER THAN EVER
Okay folks, Grave Digger released three CLASSIC albums in the 80s, "Witch Hunter", "Wargames", and "Heavy Metal Breakdown" before breaking up. In 1986 the band was contacted by Noise Records, and "duped" into reforming under the name Digger, and making an album of commercial hard rock, with songwriting geared radio friendly. From what I understand, vocalist Chris Boltendahl was told Digger would be the next Bon Jovi. The band changed their name, changed their logo, dressed funny, and put a mechanical duck on their album cover. Stupid idea, BUT the bottom line is this. This album isn't bad at all, in fact I treasure it just as much as my Grave Digger albums. Sure the song titles are generic (Wanna Get Close, Don't Leave Me Lonely, Stay Till The Morning), but the music is still somewhat aggressive, and no matter how hard Boltendahl tried to mellow it out, his voice is simply made for German Power. So, for all these years this album has stayed out of print, available only on vinyl. Noise Records needs to just go ahead and stick Grave Digger on the spine, and throw this one out on disc. Its the right thing to do for the 'Digger fans.
FORTNOX - ST
This was a great hard rock band from the US that played southern styled metal like April Wine and Axe, while layering twin guitar harmony throughout the mix like early Boston. This one was released on vinyl in 1982 courtesy of Epic Records, and as of right now there has been no additional pressings in any format. It really makes me wonder why a band like Fortnox never made it, with a debut as impressive as their self-title, while other flashy, commercial bands like this climbed high on the charts. I guess its all who you know, but regardless, this is a great one to search for.
HEXX - UNDER THE SPELL
Hexx showed off a number of different styles in their career, from straight forward metal with their debut, to the death metal assault of 1991's "Morbid Reality". No style paid off more than the thrash/power outing of Shrapnel's release "Under The Spell" in 1986. Combining the velocity of Anthrax with the gothic heaviness of Savatage, Hexx slashed and dashed through ten tracks of molten metal, raging through the album with speedracers like "Hellraiders" and "Out Of Control", while dishing out raw US power with classics like "Edge Of Death". This saw a very limited run on disc through the bootleg company Reborn Classics, which basically transferred the vinyl to disc on a 2 on 1 with Nightcrawler's "Soldiers In Time" album.
JAG PANZER - CHAIN OF COMMAND
Colorado metal superstars Jag Panzer released the greatest metal album of all time in 1984, a little known record called "Ample Destruction". The group went through some lineup changed, most notable being the replacement of lead vocalist Harry "The Tyrant" Conklin with little known front man Bob Parduba. The album was released as a bootleg disc in 1991 (Reborn Classics), but the album was actually recorded in the mid-80s, with the band basically putting it on the back burner because vocalist Parduba had left the group. What is the album like? Well I wish I could tell you, but unfortunately I have never heard it. The band's bio says it was very thrash-like, and a different take on "Ample Destruction". Of course the band later reformed with their original lineup, and are still active today, but the release of "Chain Of Command" has still never officially developed.
LION - DANGEROUS ATTRACTION
Lion's debut, "Dangerous Attraction", is widely considered the best melodic AOR album of all time. Released by Jap import label Pony Canyon in 1987, Lion displayed the talent and raw power that other groups like Poison and Bon Jovi were lacking. With soaring clean vocals from one Kal Swan, Lion stormed through melodic tracks like "Armed And Dangerous" and "Fatal Attraction", incorporating the heaviness of groups like Malice and Shok Paris with the commercial songwriting of a Bon Jovi or Boston. This one is absolutely incredible, and one that DEMANDS a world-wide release.
LION - TROUBLE IN ANGEL CITY
How rare it is to follow-up a masterpiece with another masterpiece, but that is exactly what American act Lion did with 1989's "Trouble In Angel City", the fantastic sophomore effort that is the true follow-up to "Dangerous Attraction", the group's awe-inspiring debut from '87. Once again vocalist Kal Swan leads his squad to the front, taking over the commercial reigns and running for the gold, delivering ten classic tracks of melodic hard rock. This one was released on Grand Slamm and is a very rare find. What a disgrace that the only thing Lion will ever be know for is the theme song for a children's cartoon-Transformers. Yep, they did the theme, and its not a bad song really, but Lion had so much more to give.
LONDON - NON-STOP ROCK
Released on Shrapnel in 1985, London were basically a who's who of hard rock at the time. Despite the name, London was formed in American in 1978, and recruited future superstars like Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue) and Nadir D'Priest (D'Priest, Steel Prophet) before finalizing their lineup with D'Priest on vocals, Lizzie Grey (guitar), Brian West (bass), and Jennings Morgan on drums. Their debut release, "Non-Stop Rock" is exactly what the title suggests, nine tracks of ultimate hard rock. This debut is extremely rare, and only available on vinyl.
NOTE-London went on to release another album, "Don't Cry Wolf" before disbanding. D'Priest went on to release "Playa Del Rock" in 1990, and some pressings have the title London on the cover.
MALTESE FALCON - METAL RUSH
Released by Roadrunner in 1984 (THE year of heavy metal), US metal band Maltese Falcon play lean and mean power-thrash in the same vein as Hexx, Bloodlust, and the occasional Exciter. The band takes to the streets with plenty of thrills, including the fast pacers "Heavy 'N Loud", "Headbanger", and "Rebellion". "Metal Rush" was a down and dirty rock machine, with fast riffs, over the top wails, and a decent production job. Unfortunately "Metal Rush" was the only Maltese Falcon album, making the record even harder to find.
NOISEHUNTER - TOO YOUNG TO DIE
UDO and the Accept boys would be proud of Noisehunter, with "Too Young To Die" the third and most mature offering from the German band. Released on ZYX in 1989, Noisehunter showcased a classy, polished hard rock vision, with classic numbers like the title track bringing to mind Accept, Scorpions, and even Van Halen at times. The album also saw a limited run on disc in the early 90s before being shelved for good. I've been on the lookout for this one for years.
OZ - III WARNING
I have never seen this one on disc, so I am assuming that this is only available on vinyl. Finland's Oz play ultra-riffic new wave in the vein of Tokyo Blade, Ostrogoth, and Savage. "III Warning" marks the band's third release (pretty clever title eh?), and in my opinion their best album. Released by Combat in '84, "III Warning" is a fist flinging, no holds barred metal rush of epic proportions, with frontman Ape De Martini throwing for the sidelines, swinging his low rumbled "high" through eight polished tracks, with band in tow to deliver the fuel injected spark needed to take this band over the top and into the category of the elite. Indy label Black Mark released the group's second album, "Fire In The Brain" on disc, as well as their worst album in "Roll The Dice". Not sure why this one is getting passed up, but do yourself a favor and hunt this vinyl down.
PANTERA - POWER METAL
Okay you Texas bastards, give up the goods! Yeah we all know that Pantera calls 1990's "Cowboys From Hell" their first release, but lets face it, Pantera was throwing down some serious glam metal in the late 80s before settling down to the metal sound. In 1988, Pantera were caught between hard rock and scorching metal, and as a result the band created "Power Metal", a bonafide US assault featuring influences from Sabbath to Priest, all rolled up tightly with NEW singer Phil Anselmo on vocals. With spandex pink tights and teased up hair, Pantera took the party up a notch with blistering power fury, a great collection of solid tracks that don't forget to rock as they heavy it up. Smokers like "Death Trap", "Rock The World", and "Hard Ride" show Anselmo in full Halford mode, lighting it up with some classic falsetto styled vocals. "Power Metal" was nothing like "Cowboys...", instead settling for a rich emphasis on Euro power as opposed to rumbling, downtuned groove made popular by these Texans. The album came out on cassette and vinyl, and was released briefly by Reborn Classics on disc. Pantera should come clean and release this one.
RAT ATTACK - ST
Okay, this one is included simply because I loved what I heard ONCE. King Fowley (October 31, Deceased) put this tape on one day for me and I absolutely loved it. I have no information on it other than the fact that it reminded me of Exciter, Jag Panzer, and early Omen. Its never seen an official release on disc, and I think now is a good a time as any.
SALEM'S WYCH - BETRAYER OF KINGS
Salem's Wych is the ultimate long lost treasure. Having released one album in their shortened career, an extremely rare vinyl entitled "Betrayer Of Kings", released on Metal War Records in 1986, US cult metal act Salem's Wych mastered a haunting power metal sound in the same vein as the legendary Savatage. One may even suggest that "Betrayer Of Kings" is the long lost Savatage album, with the band playing up to 'Tage standards with nine slabs of classy heavy metal. Available only on vinyl, there is talk of this one coming out soon on disc.
SHOK PARIS - STEEL & STARLIGHT
This record is a must have. Its CLASSIC metal at its very best. If you love bands like Savatage, Judas Priest, Dio, Maiden, Vicious Rumors, Chateaux, Lion, and Crimson Glory, then Shok Paris is the band for you. This band was signed to IRS Records, and in 1987 released "Steel & Starlight", an absolute masterpiece that should be held in high esteem by metal fans worldwide. With the release, Shok Paris proved they were a heavy metal force in America. With masterful songs, great writing, and one superior vocalist in Vic Hix, Shok Paris created the perfect melodic metal album. Only a few of these saw a CD pressing, and now with the band's recent appearances in Europe, its possible that this will once again be released on disc.
UNDERDOG - RABIES IN TOWN
Much like other German bands like Accept, Victory, and Scorpions, Underdog play hard rocking teutonic metal, and 1984's Mausoleum release "Rabies In Town" showed the band playing a mature, highly polished set of tracks that are far better than the band's debut, "Underdog" in 1983. Complete with an album cover featuring, well...a dog, Underdog go at it full swing, delivering quality rockers like "Under My Wheels" and "We Like To Rock 'N Roll". This one came out on vinyl only and as of now no other interest has been shown in it. Its a real shame too.
VENGEANCE - ST
The ultimate in European hard rock, Vengeance are the true masters of their domain. Hailing from Denmark, the band put out their self titled debut record in 1984 with some small success. Led by the flamboyant David Lee Roth styled Leon Goewie, Vengeance showed off with flashy guitar, killer hooks, and a bombastic hard rock feel that rivaled Halen, Def Leppard, and Krokus in pure rock and roll strength. Their debut album was simply mammoth, outweighing EVERYTHING hard rocking at the time. The band went on to release four more albums, ALL being reissued by High Vaultage except the debut. I don't understand it, and for the life of me, I feel the ST is just as good as the other titles. For whatever reason, the debut remains unreleased.
VICIOUS RUMORS - SOLDIERS OF THE NIGHT
Before the late Carl Albert took this band to new heights, vocalist Gary St. Pierre and guitar virtuoso Vinnie Moore created a fine debut for this soon-to-be Floridian power metal machine. Released in 1985 by Shrapnel, "Soldiers Of The Night" sailed the high seas with the likes of Jag Panzer, Anthrax, and even early Maiden. Killer tracks like "Medusa" and "March Or Die" helped solidify an already booming fan base, with the band's debut album an instant classic from the word go. For whatever reason the group changed lineups, dropping St. Pierre and Moore from the group and picking up VOCAL GOD Carl Albert. The band went on to create some of the most memorable power metal ever exported from these American shores. This album came out briefly on disc as a Price-Killer, and then completely vanished. Underground Generation are selling bootlegs of this one. I got duped into paying $18 for a burn.