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And Hell turned, yawned, and said 'who cares?' - 60%

Gutterscream, September 8th, 2006
Written based on this version: 1981, 12" vinyl, WEA

" is a secret, it's a dangerous game..."

To better understand the almost undetectably celebrated advance of one of the earliest Belgium metal acts, one may have to listen to their first three lps in succession. You’ll witness a sound that’s a few years before the knife logo, initially biker-kicked hard rock/rough lite metal that gains questionable ramming speed yet still manages to wander a bit like sheep, identity looking for its reflection in watery Motorhead, not-so-skinny Thin Lizzy, a divulged Kiss template, slim pickins’ AC/DC blues, and a half dozen or so second shelf ‘70s hard rock groups that dried up due to a sound that failed to stumble upon life. Fast forward two years/albums and behold a band that has basically skidded in place, evolving past its heavy rock n’ roll image only by hardening its tough love persona that sucks blocky shards of life from the debut. Sure, Motorhead hadn’t really changed in an even longer stretch, but hey, it’s friggin’ Motorhead. Lemmy’s warts are more popular than these guys.

Ready for Hell, a hopeful but exaggerated title for this, is the victim of early ‘80s psychology. It’s confident when its all leathered up, teeth bare and revving downhill with “I Know”, “Laws Are Made to Break” and Kilmister-voiced “Dressed to Kill”, but is comparatively wobbly and wavering when in lingerie and sashaying broken-heeled across the balcony with “Secret Love” and quick-stepping “Killer”. Yep, it’s the now renown turn of the decade indecision that hampered many a band back then. Do we want to be metal or rock? Hey, let’s be both. Motorhead does it. We look like them…kinda, and all three of us have that cheesy ‘70s mustache thing that makes us look ten years older than we really are, so sure. We’ll rock, er, metalize the world (exclamation point). Sigh.

It’s like Anvil’s next year Hard n' Heavy lp, except it's working on a flat head motor in oil-covered jeans and a flannel (and is no where near as heavy as those Canadians’ weightier moments).

The greasy threesome sport two vocalists. Spooky is grimy and hoarse while Shorty is fairly clean-shaven and apologetic, seesawing with a Gene Simmons/Paul Stanley methodology that is a validation for the album’s obvious split personality. It is disheartening to charge neurons with the title cut’s unambiguous “Ace of Spades” propellant; cool, likeably acidic, and fairly no holds barred for the time, then be forced to stay awake during the unstifled blues yawn of “It’s Too Late”, then top it off with the ‘79 Billboard Top 100-ish, Thin Lizzy-meets-Bob Seger “Rock And Roll Fan”. It’s just not happening.

Ready For Hell is about half as heavy as follow-up Wall of Sound and only about one fifth as threatening, and if you want to framework this into same-year releases, you’ll find it to be somewhere adrift Ace of Spades and Riot’s Fire Down Under with Helix’s White Lace & Black Leather thrown in for a quota of underside limp wristedness.

The A side of my album never had a label and I don’t know why.