35. Krokus – Metal Rendez-vous
This was the beginning of the best period of Krokus’ career. It was after the prog rock 70’s and before the debacle that ensues after Headhunter. While the inevitable comparisons to AC/DC are valid, I wouldn’t go as far as saying they were cloning Angus and the gang. There are plenty of good sounds here and I think experience counts. With so many debuts in 1980, it is refreshing to hear a more cohesive band and the production and song structures are ahead of much of the 1980 competition.Yes, there are some duds here for sure, but there are several rockers here (Heatstrokes, Come On, No Way, among others) that make this a good record.
Sarcofagus is one of three bands with two releases in 1980. This was the first of the two, and the lesser as well. While poorly produced and uneven, Sarcofagus clearly had some great doom elements here. Other than the poor production, the worst part about this album was the vocalist. I do not recall his name, but he was bad.This is a concept album and while I will not bore you with the details, I will say that it actually works. Sure the songwriting is amateurish, but there is a good flow. Also, like many albums of this era, the guitar sound (while murky due to the production) is nice and heavy.
This is where I drew the line. This is really impossible to classify as metal, and if the song Chevy were not included on Metal for Muthas, Volume II, I may have never even heard of this band. Even though it is more Bad Company than Black Sabbath, this record is still a good listen.I really do not have much more to say, there is nothing really special here, the songs are good and the players are all competent and the vocals are strong. As a side note, I never realized how many bad singers there were in the NWOBHM until I really listened to so many of these records.
Another contributor to Metal for Muthas, Volume II, White Spirit is most famous as the launch point for Jannick Gers of Gillan and Iron Maiden. Their only album was their self-titled 1980 release. This album, like many from this year is raw and under produced. There are plenty of keyboards here and the Deep Purple influence is clear.While Red Skies is one of my favorite tracks of the year, I really do not love any of the other songs here. Way of the Kings is weird, and Fool for the Gods is a snooze fest. The other 4 are quality songs (if you like Deep Purple) but nothing really stands out.
This is the second of two albums Witchfynde released in 1980 and it is clearly a step in the wrong direction. An unfortunate prelude to so many good and heavy NWOBHM bands listening to the wrong managers and the wrong record executives and trying to change their sound to capture a wider audience.This is still a good album, but the attempt at accessibility and a commercial sound is overwhelming. Quite frankly, Steve Bridges was just not good enough a singer to lead a commercially successful metal band. Even with the watered down sound, I like many of the tracks here like Would Not be Seen Dead in Heaven, In the Stars and Stagefright. Even the “joke” song Bid Deal is very entertaining. The ballad at the end, Madeline is a total waste, but despite the many things wrong here, there are also mant things right, so overall, this is pretty sold.