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DIsappointing Debut Full-Length - 40%

DeathRiderDoom, January 11th, 2014

I became familiar with Bitches Sin in the early 2000s when I heard them on a compilation someone had piled together of fairly obscure NWOBHM acts like Demon Pact and China Doll, and was instantly attracted to their songs - which were taken from their early demos - 1980’s ‘Your Place or Mine’ and the infamously titled ‘Twelve Pounds and No Kinks’, from the band's formative years. The sound exhibited therein is a gritty, roughly recorded, imperfect, fast paced style of youthful NWOBHM energy, and I had been a fan of the band ever since. Those early demos are very much that typical, dirty-style, hard rockin, powerful style that typifies early NWOBHM, akin to the sound of EF Band or Tranzzam. It wasn’t until a good few years later i finally got round to hearing their full length LPs, and I gotta say, i wasn’t instantly impressed. I did feel initially that perhaps the bands early demos were better than the LPs ‘Predator’ and ‘Invaders’, and revisiting their material now I do somewhat feel those same leanings. There is something lacking in this record that holds it back from being worthy of the same company as full-lengths by Saracen, White Spirit, Quartz, Raven or even Gaskin. At least one issue here seems to be the unsure direction in the band and somewhat of a lack of maturity.

The major flaws here are the weak production job, patchiness overall, some slightly weaker songwriting with somewhat of a fuzzy direction in sound approach, and a lack of maturity in the sound. In my opinion the opener ‘April Fool’ is a fairly boring, toothless cut lacking the snarl a strong opener should possess - no matter what your preferred NWOBHM sub-category is. While Bitches Sin never became one of the harder edged bands of the scene, their early demos proffered up some raucous, dirty numbers like ‘Up for Grabs’ ‘What the Hell’ and the banger ‘Down the Road’, and while the band always showed clear affinity for hard rock and almost boogie-rock leanings, here they appear to mucking about with some songs that while having some of the same allegiances, still lack a real ballsy feel or solid direction. ‘Down the Road’ was a banger of an opener track on their ‘No Kinks’ demo, in comparison. Elsewhere tracks like ‘Dirty Women’ show the band's bluesy, boogie rock influences: hardly a very venomous number. I do like rock n roll influence, but a few of these cuts, such as ‘Riding High’ are just a bit too much on the rock influence and not nearly ballsy enough - especially given the contemporary efforts of bands like Saxon, Battleaxe, Raven, Girlschool or Spartan Warrior. Even if the band were interested in pursuing a 70s style bluesy hard rock vibe, a few cuts here are just not very good well done regardless. ‘Riding High’ is a weak number, while cuts like ‘Aardshock’ come out passable.

The best cuts on this thing include ‘Runaway’, ‘Strangers on the Shore’ ‘Aardshock’, the re-recorded ‘Down the Road’, with wee glimpses coming through elsewhere. ‘Runaway’ seems to share the same outlook and approach of the earlier demos - feelin’ a lot of similarity to that dirty 70s rock vibe at high pace - raucous, raw, and energetic. However, it does feel a bit over simplistic and lacking in maturity and polish for a full length cut - perhaps this is mostly due to the weak production, which keeps the guitars way back, too quiet in the mix - apparently from the solos. ‘Strangers on the Shore’ is another high point - with this song ripping into a high paced intro with dirty guitar leads, before switching up into the more mid paced body of the track. This one has better lyrics, and more of a catchy, memorable overall vibe, but again is hindered somewhat from the production. Cool guitar leads. The coolest song is the dirty-faced ‘Down the Road’ - the pacey cut ripped from an early demo, that was my reason for getting into the band in the first place. While the production job here bests the predictably messy demo version, it’s not much of an improvement here as the recording quality on this LP is pretty low. ‘Loser’ has some decent vibes at times but is nothing memorable. All in all a handful of decent cuts, but nothing overly amazing.

All in all this isn’t a strong effort by Bitches Sin. After some promising early demos, the band managed to scrap it out and get something out on vinyl (a feat unaccomplished by many decent bands), but it really didn’t come off too well. Hindered by a production job which doesn’t bring out the guitars, the band also includes some weaker cuts which not only aren’t hard edged enough, don’t have anywhere near the songwriting vision or originality of bands like Quartz, White Spirit, or Def Leppard. For those opting for a straightforward, rough and tumble style, there are plenty of better NWOBHM full lengths from the period. Raven, Spartan Warrior and Tokyo Blade do a better job of things around this time, exhibiting a stronger sense of direction in their songwriting. While I do enjoy some 70s rock influence in my NWOBHM - see Quartz - here it comes off as a bit amateurish and lacking in drive and maturity. If you’re interested in hearing the band, i do recommend checking out the early demo stuff for a taste, specifically the neat little cut ‘Down the Road’.