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I'm Quick As A Rattler And Deadlier Than Any Snake - 91%

CHAIRTHROWER, August 7th, 2017
Written based on this version: 1987, Cassette, RCA

Although it's now Steve Grimmett's Grim Reaper, the abridged version of the NWOBHM "bigwigs" (dig those hairdos!) came out with a real beast of a release under RCA in 1987, the iconic Rock You To Hell, yet another riveting rock fest on par with See You And Hell and Fear No Evil. Thanks to its gratifying production quality and nine infernal tracks varying from arse kicking glee, such as the opening title track, "Night Of The Vampire", "Rock Me 'Till I Die" and "You'll Wish You Were Never Born" to shockingly fun placaters in the likes of "Lust For Freedom", "Waysted Love" and "I Want More", Rock You To Hell does just that and then some. Let's take a peek at the Droitwich/ Worcestershire natives' compelling and edacious pre-millenial swan song.

Through and through Rock You To Hell is imbued with a fluid crunchiness - even the lighter fare rocks with verve, easily topping out at the weigh station. With signature ardor and flair front man Steve Grimmett kicks things off with sardonic laughter and a heartfelt "Yeeeaaaaah! - Rock you to Hell!" before launching into:

"What's wrong with our society, is it fear or apathy,
Don't let other people run your life
So those with power don't use it, they simply abuse it,
And believe me that cuts me like a knife!"

The chorus rocks with a capital R, enhanced by its background "Rock You To Hell!" which engages the listener to a tee. A certain element of cheekiness and pomp is present as well, what with Grimmett's : "Did you always do what momma said/ Brush your teeth and go to bed/ 'Cause that way never worked for me/ Now they wanna censor music/ And if we don't fight we'll lose it/ It's only entertainment, can't they see?" This verse gets a chuckle out of me every time.

The production on Rock You To Hell is tremendous, far superior than that of See You In Hell while balancing the vocals, guitar, bass and drums equally - the bass lines and drumming is super prominent and definitely one of the reasons this release is so great, not withstanding Nick Bowcott's usual freedom inspiring riffing and epic soloing. Expect many well-placed natural harmonics throughout this affair as well as congenial lead fills peppering the songs beautifully.

"Night Of The Vampire" is bookended with a grisly growl/ hoof stomp and a liberating howl at the moon. Again, the chorus slays whilst its drum beat/ ride is (un) godly in its execution. Many of the riffs and solos instil a sense of freedom and abject resistance to authority, notably on the harder rocking tracks. On "Night Of The Vampire" for example, I can't help feel propelled along to Grimmett's dire warnings and Bowcott's stop & go overtures. I remember digging this album back in the day but I'm totally enthralled by it now decades later. Dig this chorus: "Night of the vampire/ He's only looking for your life!!/ Night of the vampire!".

Like I said, even the more toned down fare makes me want to pump my fist and gleefully shout along, oblivious to passers-by. "Lust For Freedom" is a kick ass anthem sure to impinge on your psyche while revelling in Bowcott's well-timed lead fills. "When Heaven Comes Down" is too good as well as a rip-roaring romp through chthonic fields of pure rock revelry. I can't get enough of : "'Cause that's when heaven comes down/ And all who stand in front of me will regret it!". Bowcott's medieval sounding licks and hard rockin' high wire leads make this one for the ages.

"Suck It And See" is a humble, swinging waltz-like number nicely splitting things up - consider it a brief reprieve before the quintessential "Rock Me 'Till I Die" storms through the gate with the full force of a battering ram. Bowcott's Megadeth-y (So Far So Good What!) shuffle and natural harmonics, along with Dave Wanklin's commanding bass line rip things up before an unexpected and unabated introductory solo peels the paint of the walls, soon giving way to another sky-high and edacious chorus:

"Rock me, rock you, It's all we have to do
Rock me until I die
Rock you, rock me, that's the way it has to be,
Rock me until I die!"

Some might call all this "rocking" about (i.e. all the Grim Reaper titles with "rock" in the title) overkill; personally I think it's great! The latter half of this track reverts back to some Dave Mustaine style riffing along with Mark Simon's hard-hitting drum fills before Bowcott explodes into a hallucinatory and highly festive, scalping lead break. Awesome stuff! And that's not all: up next is the killer "You'll Wish You Were Never Born", an arresting, razor sharp lambasting if there ever was one! (Canada's Striker does a killer cover of this on its 2009 Road Warrior EP). Even the pseudo ballad, "Waysted Love" does justice to the other tracks, easily supplanting Iron Maiden's similarly titled cut thanks to some swift gate-crushing solos and undeniable "feel good" chutzpah. For some reason this track always makes me think of Slade's Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply, as it retains a compelling Spinal Tap vibe sure to put a smile on your face. Closer "I Want More" - imbued with female back-up vocals and kid-like glee - is quite apropos considering how much of a gripping romp & stomper this album is. Good times!

As if Rock You To Hell wasn't good enough, get a load of its beautiful, in-your-face cover art. I'm with the Grim Reaper on this one! If you've never given Rock You To Hell a spin, I strongly advise you do so!