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Harder than their namesake, but not by much - 78%

Gutterscream, May 16th, 2005

I've noticed sometimes pre-’81/’82 metal releases can get younger metal fans shuffling in an ancy little dance, especially those lost to the NWOBHM sound. Mainly they’re unsure if what they’re going to hear/buy will mirror Foreigner, weak Krokus, a piece of history like Screaming for Vengeance or Maiden’s Killers and probably about a dozen uncertainties in-between. Much of this stems from the fear of the rocking ‘70s where only Sabbath, Priest and one or two others aren’t shunned like marauding lepers (and I know this isn't everyone, but a strong portion). Sure, Quartz are a product of the ‘70s, but by ’80 are found worming their way to the yet unheralded euro-sound many will be going nuts over shortly, possibly a natural progression, possibly going with the flow that was emerging from their homeland.

The Quartz sound found on this ep can rattle many a fans’ cut-off point between rock and metal, that intangible dividing line that most bands were scrutinzied with at this time. For Quartz, somewhat driving, yet controlled rhythms and Krokus/Accept Siamese twin vocal approach are the easy culprits…and the name Quartz…almost as controversial as Cheetah, Buccaneer, and Rough Diamond. But the title’s on the racy side, therefore the mystery remains raveled. Granted, two songs (side b’s live guitar solo from “Roll Over Beethoven” is a seven minute serving of plunge-a-fork-in-my-eye boredom as far as I’m concerned) aren’t commandments to their sound, but aren’t all that dissimilar either.

The title cut has a pastel flare for the dramatic, mid-paced yet up-tempo with a conspicuous chorus. After a few dozen spins where my dogs were practically whimpering, it dawned on me some of this, the songwriting in particular and even miniscule habits of the vox, sounds like a pubescent W.A.S.P. missing its adrenal gland. Truthfully, I almost didn’t even mention it here, thinking I was just coming down with a fever or something, but subliminally it still clawed at me. Harmonized backing vocals bring the song home just in time for “Bloody Fool”, another upbeat tune with a sturdy rhythm and a chorus that has me seeing black(ie).

Quartz was on the right track with this little opus, but not quite there, much like Saracen and Hollow Ground, and I failed to follow up on them even only to ’83. Angel Witch, Praying Mantis and Diamondhead who were also barely out of the box were a bit harder. This came in blue, red, and black wax.

Edit: Praying Mantis? Sorry, I must've been thinking of a different band.