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#30 In My NWOBHM Rarities Review Series
Released in promotion of ‘On Through the Night’ this single featured two songs taken straight from said album – and both are stunners. Like they would attempt formally later in their career with ‘Hysteria’, what they produced with ‘On Through the Night’ was essentially an album of number one singles. Every song basically follows somewhat of a single format, with massive hooks being at the centre point constantly, and an incredible talent for soothing, vocal and guitar melody being displayed. This brilliant piece of AOR spawned 3 singles, and this time round, it was time to parade the polished, yet rebellious pop-rock anthem ‘Rock Brigade’ with the incredible, more complex heavy metal track ‘When the Walls Came Tumbling Down’ a somewhat epic, dramatic number with more of a metal subject matter than the bands regular subjects which are more light-hearted. A great choice of two phenomenal stunners that should have been highly critically acclaimed at the time.
Though not as epic, moody and drawn out as the brilliant ‘Overture’, which clocks in at 7: 45, ‘When the Walls Came Tumbling Down’ is the next most epic track on an album of what is almost entirely number one hit type material. The somber, passionate intro section draws the band closer to bands like Omega or Cyrka for the first time, rather than their usual contemporaries Praying Mantis et al while the spoken word section is an excellent touch, setting the plot for what is a brilliant heavy metal epic with an overall sound that’s similar to Angel Witch; soothing and poppy vocal melodies, with a dark, metal feel. Def Leppard’s take on the ‘epic metal’ track will of course not relent on soothing, AORish vocal hooks in it’s choruses, and it’s frequent use gives the song a catchy edge, like pretty much every song they ever wrote.
‘Rock Brigade’ is a ruckus anthem, somewhat reminiscent of ‘Witchfynde’ who were also well-adept at smooth anthem crafting. Lyrics are cool, with the line “We might even try and steal your sister” being a favourite – I love sleaze. The jackboot marching samples add a lot too; very cool idea put to good use to reinforce the title. Elliot is one form as always, his young, almost pubescent melodic voice is excellent, and his pitch change emphasis at the end of lines is awesome. AORish backup vocals in the choruses are utilized, this time so well you might even get goosebumps. Stunning. These are two favourite tracks of mine, and went a long way towards making the full-length one of the greatest NWOBHM records ever made. Do yourself a favour and get it, if you don’t own it already.