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“…won’t you get outta my life, please leave me alone…”
In the spirit of the few choices many early metal bands had, U.K.’s Black Rose (not to be confused with the darker Danish flower a pre-Mercyful Fate King Diamond was watering around the same time) found its first bloom of vinyl on either some compilation or its own single. In this case, I’m not sure if this ’82 disc is the band’s first foray or if a claim can be made by either v/a appearance on Neat Records’ One Take No Dubs or Guardian’s Roxcalibur, both also of ’82. Just so happens the single’s top-billed title cut also sets the stage for Roxcalibur (saved by a side two back-up cut, “Riding High”, that’s fast working and far from boring) as well. What I do know is that No Point Runnin’ is Black Rose’s debut single, set free by the Teesbeat label, a small invisible ‘company’ that, as we look back at its future, never really seemed to exist in the first place. The sleeve’s a minimal black n’ whiter whose two-toned simplicity is reminiscent of Jaguar’s later Axe Crazy single, however when comparisons eventually travel to the music, towels are quickly thrown in.
In all truthfulness, the title cut’s slow lane of living is almost certainly all wrong for what should’ve been a cool job delivering Roxcalibur’s first 4+ minutes of life, and there’s no hiding on any two-song 45. Steve Bardsley’s mildly coarse and capable vocals spray some average-strength, yet relatively benign testosterone on some hinted-at rebellion which is mostly peripheral and sorta drafty at best. Woefully wed to these pipes is an everyband version of a non-descript, tepid, recycled rock rhythm held together by generic AC/DC bass filler, leading to a place where I feel any tolerance would have to come from the Aussies’ most clueless or most loyal fans, and I’m afraid even guitar trappings rivaling genuine Blackmorian sorcery may for only for a short time keep the outer borders of interest from crumbling.
Dare ya to flip this thing. Its fading first flounder easily gives rise to a wakeful realization that there is a point in running from this supposed A-side, however this reality is slower to dawn than the one reminding us “No Point Runnin’” holds hostage a flip side that could very well be healthy and in need of saving…maybe…or so could another unappetizing trap spring on already weary ears.
And it’s no secret its name is “Sucker for Your Love”.
Wonderful, how can anyone go wrong with an asslick handle like this? Alas, y’know what they say about men and boys, however fate could prove we’re all equally stupid. It takes only seconds for formerly dead air to come live in the presence of dual-guitarred Maiden-y madness, a thankful unmasking of Black Rose’s other identity, and over a sigh of relief (doubly so if this single is your first encounter with the group) flies an A-level b-side, a hungry-for-leather disciple of metal’s hotter, meaner, base rock-demoting, blues-suppressing, peeled-out, inbred aggression whose lack of fear allows it to stand toe-to-toe with its sampler-scorching brothers “Knocked Out” and “Riding High”. Bardsley sounds more at home here, now without the layer of shady innuendo fraying his naturally confident mid-range that is proud enough to plug up holes in the lungs of many other bands should this flower wither.
Now I’m gonna ask a question that isn’t a new one. How is it possible a band like Black Rose can write a song that sucks alpaca shit, then four minutes later turn Hyde and write one that captures a cloud’s silver lining that a jet just blew through? My money’s on damned above ground media attention forcing to the surface all things sappy in a proven, assertively impressive metal band and is a curse for any act that believes its (alleged) fiscally-creative mind will guide them through this particularly narrow scope of songwriting moxy. It’s a curse they kept feeding for quite awhile, eh? How’d that work out for you guys?
Since the existing review for this 7” already stitched it with monograms that are quite straight and on the money, I almost didn’t see the point of throwing another under it that could’ve ended up reading embarrassingly like a cheap paraphrase. But I figured what the hell. Oftentimes one good review deserves some agreeable ones supporting it to help pound out the popular opinion.
Black Rose are a frustrating band. Though apparently named after the 1979 Thin Lizzy album, they have little in common with that band, falling instead on the lighter side of the NWOBHM spectrum. They are capable of writing gripping, balls-out metal, yet they seem dead-set on writing sappy shit at the same time, and then mixing the two together. This single is a perfect example of that tendency, though going by the song titles you'd guess the quality falls the other way around.
A-side "No Point Runnin'" is sappy, crappy, and overlong; not the worst NWOBHM I've ever heard, and the solo is pretty rocking, but it's absolutely a skipper. It rides the same weak riff throughout, and it sounds as if it should be in the introduction to a real song that never starts. Otherwise it relies on crap chord progressions and a phaser pedal under the verses. The chorus is totally forgettable, quite literally. The song ended a few minutes ago and I seriously can't even remember how the chorus went. TERRIBLE
B-side "Sucker for Your Love" however is just a monster. Opening with a nice dual-lead, it sets a good tone and then switches into high gear for the verse with an actual bouncy riff underneath for the first part, and some proto-speed metal for the second part. Then the chorus catches you like it should, the lead guitar grabbing you with well-placed hooks between the lines. Steve Bardsley is a decent metal tenor, not terribly memorable but with some power behind him and more skill than most of his contemporaries. He does throw some cool screams in, and his enthusiasm is hard to argue with. FUCK YES, LISTEN TO THIS ON REPEAT
Fuck does this single bug me. Two songs like the B-side, and it would've been at the top of the stack of NWOBHM singles, along with Virtue and Reincarnate. As it is, I'm deleting the A-side and throwing the B-side together with the handful other good Black Rose songs. Yeah, I downloaded the single. Wanna fight about it?