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Commercial, Yet Sorta Fun AOR - 57%

DeathRiderDoom, December 20th, 2009

NWOBHM Rarities Review #1

Thunderstick himself gained popularity and success as the eccentric, flamboyant drummer of Samson (one time London tri-fecta dominators along with Angel Witch and Iron Maiden). Dressing up in gimp gear, leather, and performing in cages, with the popular act must have been an enjoyable experience for him, as it is rumored he turned down an offer to play in Iron Maiden to replace the often underrated Clive Burr, as he was enjoying his persona, and moderate success in the bands. I’m not sure if this rumor is true, or if it is, if he is kicking himself for not taking the opportunity to play with what became arguably the most successful British metal band to grow out the London scene. Either way, playing in Samson itself wasn’t enough, and he opted to form this act, fronted by female vocalist Jodee Valentine. Thunderstick here has a melodic, poppy, yet energetic sound. Interestingly, they do have the upbeat, party kinda vibe that Girlschool and Runestaff had, while fellow female-fronters Satanic Rites (who are better –at least in their ‘Which Way the Wind Blows’ period) sound a bit darker, and deeper. This stuff is poppy, and perhaps not the most advisable stuff out there.

The title track ‘Feel like Rock ‘N’ Roll’ is pure pop-rock; an attempt at radio-friendly, non-threatening rock to have a go at commercial ambitions. It revolves, in true pop-rock fashion around an over-repeated simplistic vocal melody of the title lyric. It’s a bit saccharin, to be honest, and offers little in the way of riffs or pounding ‘thunderous’ drums. Plus the vocal is repeated just too many times. ‘Alecia’ carries on the incredibly pop sound, but does a better job. Less repetition of the same lyrics, and nice verse vocal melodies by Jodee, couple with the male vocal backup chorus to a good effect. Nice touch here, and the little guitar licks and lead by Chris Martin, though simplistic, work well. Riffs in this one are again pretty much lacking though, and the guitars throughout the debut EP don’t have the punch or flare of bands like Buffalo, Rhabstallion, or Saxon. The rest of the EP carries on the poppy feel, as that’s what this bands philosophy is all about really. It doesn’t really have that dirty, hard rockin vibe that one commonly associates with the NWOBHM movement, but more of a mid-80s AOR/pop kinda feel. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with that – if it’s done well. While ‘Alecia’ is enjoyable, the follow up ‘Runaround’ is a bit soft, and sounds more like a new-wave B-52’s track than a NWOBHM cut. It’s still kinda fun, and actually features some of the better guitar work though. ‘Buried Alive’ is actually probably the best – having strong similarity to early/mid 80s LA Glam; just listen to the guitar tones, subject matter, leads and of course, the guitar harmonic – quite good actually. Comparing it to its competition, this one probably sounds most like Runestaff, and perhaps better than Rock Goddess. Better female fronted stuff with more balls (?) can be found by Girlschool and of course, Satanic Rites.