Various Artists - 1982 US Metal II

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ARTIST: Various Artists
LABEL: Shrapnel
YEAR: 1982



TRACK LISTING: 01 The Tonight Show - Wild Dogs * 02 Rockin' The U.S - Cinema * 03 World War III - Exciter * 04 Players - Culprit * 05 Waiting - Le Mans * 06 Wings Of Fire - The Rods * 07 The Haunted House - Mike Batio * 08 Angels From The Dust - Vixen (Hawaii) * 09 Children Of The Storm - Virgin Steele * 10 Just Passin' Thru - Failsafe


1982 saw the release of the second installment of the Shrapnel US Metal series. New talent had been unearthed since 1981, and many of these acts went onto bigger things later on as a result of appearing here.

Again, the emphasis was on 'widdly diddly' guitar shred, and though a few bands who appear here are strong on their overall package, the guitar is still 'king' according to Shrapnel head Mike Varney.

The Songs

Wild Dogs - The Tonight Show
From Portland Oregon, these guys are more of a band than anything, though Jeff Marks still knows how to belt out a manic shred or two. The Dogs are more famous for their ex band members than anything.. AOR hero Michael Furlong and current Journey drummer Deen Castronovo.

Cinema - Rockin' The U.S'
Good workmanlike hard rock from Mike Varney's own band Cinema. I suppose this is a good way of sponsoring the labels product? Despite that, pretty good actually.

Exciter - World War III
Canadian power trio who went on to do death/power metal via Music For Nations. At this point of their career (infancy), they were more metal than anything else. This ain't bad either, though it does drone a bit on the chorus. Considering it's a war song, that's not surprising.

Culprit - Players
Seattle band featuring future TKO member Kjartan Kristoffersen. Didn't really like this one actually.

LeMans - Waiting
These boys rock! What an introduction to guitar wizards Derek Frigo and Josh Ramos. Recorded while they were still in Chicago, and at very tender ages too! Varney invited them out to San Fransisco, and since then, the members of the band have moved onto better things. This is the album highlight.. strangled guitar solos and all!

The Rods - Wings Of Fire
Recorded around the time of their 1982 sophomore set for Arista 'Wild Dogs' though it never appeared on the album. Powerful stuff indeed!

Mike Batio - The Haunted House
Chicago guitarist better known for his work with Holland, Nitro and Michael Angelo. A technical instrumental piece. Interesting, but non-essential.

Vixen - Angels From The Dust
hawaiian band featuring female singer Kim LaChance and Marty Friedman (featured elsewhere on GDM). a good earthy HM effort, not so reliant on flashy guitar techniques as we've heard so far.

Virgin Steele - Children Of the Storm
This track was also featured on Virgin Steele's debut album for MFN (as it turns out, the inaugural release for that label!). Steele would later go on to pioneer the technical prog metal scene during the late 80's and into the 90's.

Failsafe - 'Just Passin' Thru'
Colorado outfit featuring Steve Richards. Some good moments, but the vocal/guitar minuette through the middle is annoying to say the least. Good guitarwork though!

In Summary

As mentioned, many of these acts went on to bigger things. So in terms of the US Metal series providing a launchpad for these acts, it definitely did from a historical viewpoint.

In amongst the sonic rubble, some great HM dabbles can be found. Highlights: Le Mans, The Rods, Cinema.

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