Various Artists - 1983 US Metal III

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ARTIST: Various Artists
LABEL: Shrapnel
YEAR: 1983



TRACK LISTING: 01 Gonna Get To You - Violation * 02 Never Gonna Stop - Wild Dogs * 03 Kill Or Be Killed - Mixed Blessing * 04 Secret Of The Stars - Vixen (Hawaii) * 05 Saved For The Fight - Steve Richards Band * 06 Hot City - The Rods * 07 Powerplay - Derek Frigo * 08 Ultimate Death - Vicious Rumors * 09 Flaming Metal Systems - Manilla Road * 10 We Live For Rock - Gillies Marrino Assault


This time it's Year Three of the Shrapnel US Metal series.

By now, the rot had truly set in. Without doubt, this is the weakest of the series. Ironically, established bands already heard on previous outings give the album some credibility.

But what is the point of using this Series to showcase new metal artists when all you're doing is regurgitating acts that have been heard before?

For instance, Wild Dogs are here a second time. The Rods are back for contribution #3, Derek Frigo turns up again, as does guitarist Bob Gilles (previously with the Gilles Meblin Assault now with a renamed outfit Gilles Marrino Assault). Steve Richards from Failsafe is here again, as is Marty Friedman from Vixen, now conveniently renamed as Hawaii.

The Songs

Violation - Gonna Get To You
This band had wraps going way back to about 1979/80. From San Francisco, they never quite fashioned a deal together, and only four years later turn up (belatedly) on this compilation. Good gritty hard rock/metal played in the same mould as UK band Praying Mantis.

Wild Dogs - Never Gonna Stop
This band got better as time went on. Perhaps the best track onboard here. Jeff Marks guitarwork as cutting as ever, the sound veering down a Judas Priest/Malice path.

Mixed Blessing - Kill Or Be Killed
From the East Coast of the US, a band who have an AC/DC streak in their amplifier setup. Not very inspiring, the whole sound coming across as an HM mishmash.

Hawaii - Secret Of The Stars
Well, if Marty Friedman could tell me what the secret of the stars are, I probably wouldn't be here writing this! Gone is Kim LaChance, replaced by a guy this time. The whole thing sounding very similar to Texan metallers Helstar. Not bad.

Steve Richards Band - Saved For The Fight
An upbeat metallic anthem which is ultimately unfulfilling!

The Rods - Hot City
As always, the reliable trio from The Rods deliver once again, but by now, they've probably overstayed their welcome as a 'newcomer' on this series. Still a worthy listen from a 'signed' band.

Derek Frigo - Powerplay
A tedious guitar instrumental. Sorry Derek.. it's a pity no-one told you what guitar-wank means!

Vicious Rumors - Ultimate Death
Another of my fave pure HM bands, who at this stage of their career were just starting out. Again, not bad, but they got better as time wore on.

Manilla Road - Flaming Metal Systems
Despite the silly 'sped up recording' at the start of the tune and the naff vocals of Mark Shelton, musically this is good. Manilla Road ended up releasing a barrel-load of albums during the 80's as a result, mainly on their own label.

Gilles Marrino Assault - We Live For Rock
Atypical early 80's HM from budding US hopefuls. Admirable title, but nothing here to stand out from the pack. Through this association, singer Peter Marrino hooked up with Derek Frigo and Josh Ramos to become the mainstays of the band LeMans.

In Summary

Yes, a bit of a mishmash overall, standouts include: Wild Dogs, The Rods, Violation and Hawaii.

Shrapnel released a fourth installment the following year, but after this one, I didn't bother to acquire it, so put off was I.

If I see it selling cheap, I might buy it under the clause: 'completists perrogative'. But until then..

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