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Admirable 70's Hard Rock - 75%

DeathRiderDoom, November 5th, 2008

Certainly early starting as far as bands that can be considered NWOBHM (along with Saxon, Iron Maiden and the likes), Quartz get stuck in early on with this United Artists release. Featuring an array of talent from members who have played in such well-known acts as Copperfield and Black Sabbath, the abilities of the band are showcased in this classic 70’s heavy metal offering. The sound is not particularly similar to any one contemporary act, but one could draw the fairly “stretchy” comparison to elements of Thin Lizzy, Rainbow, and other hard-rockers, if pressed. Quartz is a fairly unknown act, outside of those old enough to be around, and head-banging at the time.

Kick-starting with a fairly good effort in “Mainline Riders” the band shows it has something to prove, and sets a heavy and fairly original sound from the outset. The song has some heightened intensity and strong guitar sound, along with some very 70’s Bonham-esque drum stuff that arguably continues in other tracks, such as “Hustler”. “Sugar Rain” (track two) is a somewhat dated slower number at times, but offers glimpses of the bands originality. Definitely not a likely favourite, however. Our third track “Street Fighting Lady” kicks us back into dirty 70’s heavy metal territory, with hard hitting “woman centred” subjectivity, and some impressive and enjoyable “rock” guitar work, including especially around the 2:08 mark. Superb number that would well-suit a hot day and a case of your favourite beer, preferably in holiday-time. “Hustler” keeps that strong 70’s rock feel happening, offering some more emotive guitar, including some acoustic verse work, layered with nice licks. Another slow one, but with a bit more creativity, and “oomph” this time round. “Devil’s Brew” starts off continuing the slow pace, but with some synth-y atmosphere created. It then kicks into classic hard rock kingdom, with some epic, well crafted lyric work, with synth continuing here and there.

The album was produced by none other than lord of the axe, Tony Iommi, and is a supremely well crafted collection of numbers. If you like harder 70’s rock, you should look no further than Quartz. It’s easy to forget this is a debut album, as the band has a profound air of professionalism, even authority, on this offering. Plenty of top-notch numbers, with few weak moments, I would be happy to have had bands like this, Rainbow and Sabbath around in 1977. Definitely pretty hard music for the time. Anyone seeking to expand their NWOBHM collection should seek it out, as should avid 70’s hard rock fans. If you like the sound of Priest’s earlier works, such as “Rocka Rolla” and “Sad Wings” as well as Rainbows Dio era stuff, and later Deep Purple, also highly recommended. An excellent debut. A bit more of a rock release than their thunderous follow-up though, and less refined and complex than their 3rd album - this one is still very enjoyable underappreciated stuff. Interestingly the original cover art, featured a naked child in a crystal (read Quartz) like landscape. This was subsequently altered, and eventually changed. - meaning there are at least 3 versions of the LP. a great collectors item.

“We Are the Pleasures – Get Yourself a Good Time!!!!”

DeathRiderDoom