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An enjoyable crack of the whip - 80%

Gutterscream, April 18th, 2007

“…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.