Various Artists - 1984 US Metal IV

geoviangeovian Earth Orbit


ARTIST: Various Artists
LABEL: Shrapnel
YEAR: 1984


TRACK LISTING: 01 Keel - Speed Demon * 02 Scanner - Dark Sun * 03 St Michael - The Beauty The Beast * 04 Vicious Rumors - One Way Ticket * 05 Wild Dogs - Burning Rain * 06 T.K.O - End Of The Line * 07 Shawn Lane - Stratosphere II * 08 Aggressor - Predator * 09 Guilt - Down To The City * 10 Ramos Frigo Firing Squad - Death By Guitar


On the review for 'US Metal III', I made a point of not bothering to acquire 'US Metal IV'. Well, as part of an exercise of backfilling gaps among the many artists reviewed on this website, I decided to do the honorable thing and complete the 'US Metal' set by finishing off this one.

The last of the 4, this LP was released in 1984; and my point raised on that 'US Metal III' about artist regurgitation is repeated here. I'm not quite sure what Mike Varney was thinking.

The original intent to showcase new and upcoming metal artists was an admirable one, but by albums 3 and 4, it all became a bit of a parody, with some acts back for repeat visits; namely Wild Dogs, Vicious Rumors and Josh Ramos/Derek Frigo. Let's see what's here..

The Songs

Keel - Speed Demon
From an era where Keel actually sounded decent, but a few decades later it all sounds predictable and dated. However in saying that, this is ok for m 1984. The track appeared on their 'Lay Down The Law' that year.

Scanner - Dark Sun
This is pretty cool, good singer, some galloping riffs and solos flying in from all over the place. In the vein of early Wild Dogs and Savatage.

St Michael - The Beauty, The Power
Very Judas Priest in approach (admittedly during the early 80's who wasn't?), but with a style all of their own. I like the guitar solo here, neo-classical a la Marty Friedman.Another likeable track, traditional in style, and less about wizz-bang divebombing a la Derek Frigo.

Vicious Rumors - One Way Ticket
This band would go to a major label ticket further on in the 80's decade. This song features the Mark III lineup of this band, and on the strength of local shows in the Bay Area and exposure through these releases, the band scored a 2 album deal with Shrapnel.

Wild Dogs - Burning Rain
Portland OR band who became well known during the 80's period. Good band overall with some stellar players in their line-up. A groovy track with some tight playing; 'Burning Rain' apparently never made it to a future WD album.

TKO - End Of The Line
I don't think this track needs any further highlighting. An excellent tune which featured on their Music For Nations release 'In Your Face' also during 1984. Wickedly good track, and album.

Shawn Lane - Stratosphere II
A guitar solo with a Michael Batio like tone and style. Lots of tapping.. you get the picture.

Aggressor - Predator
Probably the odd-man out on this LP, but not too bad as it turns out. From the early 80's American HM style that featured shrill vocals and fiery divebombing guitars. Should've been on a Metal Blade compilation me thinks..

Guilt - Down To The City
I quite liked this too. Very typical of the underground bands blazing through California during this timeframe. Think Violation, Keel and Wild Dogs.

Ramos Frigo Firing Squad
Over the top guitar soloing by the Le Mans pairing of Josh Ramos and Derek Frigo. Derek still sounds as if he's trying to strangle a horse. And what's with the Monster vocals in the background? (think of the monster voice on Warrior's 'Fighting For The Earth').

In Summary

Gotta say, I liked this compilation far better than the 'US Metal III', but as it turned out, this was the last of the series. The US Metal series had finally run its course, what a relief!

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