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“…you’ve got your Saturdays to play…”
As the first band found rummaging through Brian Slagel’s garage without being surrounded by compilation crowds, Bitch’s debut ep, released in Dec. ’82 (along with Demon Flight’s ep later that month), marks Metal Blade’s initial jaunt out of fruitful Metal Massacre territory. Yeah, Bitch took side one, song two with “Live for the Whip”, a track that’s reincarnated with a slightly different face (and w/o bassist Richard Zusman) on the ep, a strong though somewhat repetitive tune, but did it prove Bitch was an act that had distanced itself from its compilation competition? Well, there were two future major label enlisters in Black n’ Blue and Malice (the latter of which has two tracks that I’m assuming was to take up the slack Steeler (US) and Ratt left when they were ousted from the lp’s original first pressing). There’s the already battle-proven Cirith Ungol scorching the start of side two. Then two soon-to-be-Metal Bladers Demon Flight and Pandemonium and an Avatar that would disappear in a flash of octane. Oh yeah, and Metallica. Some pretty tough challengers considering all but Avatar made a dent somewhere however small, but Bitch wasn’t the most weak-kneed of the bunch. Basically, this leathery quintet was right on target with the times, and that was just fine with most fans.
Betsy and her fundamentally-capable entourage of future crappy Killen guitarist David Carruth and drummer Rob Settles and west coast Overkill bassist Ron Cordy motor along with a dog collared, mild bruiser image that at this time hadn’t felt the full cat-o-nines of their S&M motif, punky in its simplistic arrangements and attitude but at the same time threw hints of intricacy around for that nwobhm bit o’ confusion. With one of those throaty, big girl voices, Betsy comes across like a slightly chunkier Pat Benatar who’s unwilling to haul off with high notes and the chick that dueted with Meatloaf on his Bat Out of Hell lp; basically a meaty would-be heartbreaker with her cleavage in your face.
Really, there’s only one song here that lives up to the band’s now-known pleasure n’ pain reputation. “Live for the Whip” starts more like Mythra’s “Killer” for that British touch, but is also actively integrated into the appealing fast/slow display of disparity that see-saws the main rhythm where Settles’s cymbals crash from all angles, minting up the stylishly bluesy and boring bad taste “He’s Gone”, the song before this, can leave in one’s mouth; if she subjected me to this snoozer more than two and a half times I’d be gone too. The rest of the disc is acceptable without being exceptional as catchy, half-caste “Never Come Home” is sandwiched between energetic and somewhat corny-lyriced opener “Saturdays” and the dirtier, stone-ground rumbler of a title tune.
Be My Slave, the group’s follow-up full-lengther, is slapped around by more of the famed Bitch notoriety that would also kick their live shows around.
Enjoyable, though less memorable musically than as a Metal Blade personal landmark. Hell, I’d consider that novelty an honor.
Heh, now this would be what I call a fun band.
Bitch doesn't rely on amazing instrumental virtuosity, or clever compositions, nor should they rely on the vocal skills of Betsy (heck she sings false half the time). However they went strong largely on image.
Tong-in-cheeck of course, and considering our day and age they were hardly shocking at all, and far from extreme.
Actually I shouldn't bagatelize their musical abilities. The opener 'Saturdays' is a pretty solid (rock & roll) song (with metal-riffs). The refrain is pretty catchy, just like the rest of the song actually, only they could've cut out 15 seconds from the middle IMO.
The second track 'Never Come Home' even could've scored a top-hit if you ask me (I don't know if it actually did or any of the other songs did..), with the decent vocals.
Damnation Alley is solid metal, although some of the limits of Betsy's voice come a bit to the foreground here. On the other hand she adds a unique feel to the song this way. Can't say I dislike the song!
'He's Gone' really is the only lesser track on this EP, a bit non-interesting, country-ish rock.
'Live For The Whip', the closing track, is just simply funny, although this would be the most shocking part of the whole EP, including the improvised whipping-sounds and Betsy's moaning.
Bitch never was one of the greats, but if you see this EP lying around in a store near, buy it.