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What's wrong with this picture? - 77%

Gutterscream, April 24th, 2014
Written based on this version: 1988, 7" vinyl, Sounds Magazine (Promo)

“…what will the wind bring these days?”

What Tom Fischer didn’t know when he let that lyric sail is that in this instance the wind brings an ideal case-in-point for the old ‘which one doesn’t belong’ game, for this 7” falls easily into contention for that trophy. You’re gonna run into a slap if I have to explain further.

Beyond that obviousness, this is a curious little four-track sampler made more curious as it exhumes a few rarer-than-standard picks that newer archaeologist labels like Old Metal or Sentinel Steel wouldn't have to excavate to serve to us on silver trays and that, my friends, is due to an unassuming little outlet like this, yet the disc’s sleeve doesn’t seem to have a clue what’s bubbling inside it nor who it’s poised to impress. Yep, with its warm blue, decade-familiar, yet metal-unfamiliar pop ‘80s ‘hey you, put down Rod Stewart and l00k at my big 1, dammit!’ cover, it implies to, um, someone that this has the #1 metal goods you’re searching low and high for. Well, around 60% of the civilized world population was under the impression that Def Leppard’s Hysteria was the latest heavy metal champion, so while this is tattooed with rather ignoble band names such as these, it’s only natural Sounds Waves was gonna be a hard sell to such an audience. Looking for a contrary horizon, the disc squints at the .001% - the bedraggled who are aware of and actually give a swig about underground metal – and doesn’t see a parking lot full of even semi-expensive rides or adults with semi-bulging wallets exiting them in the bigger picture. Who’s gonna buy this thing?

Then what makes this all the more of a curious curio yet actually forms the solution to the last haunting question - as a promo release it’ll be issued free with Sounds Magazine, an even-then long-running, well-respected rock rag that lead early cheers for metal when NWOBHM was an acronym that meant very little to just about everybody. Gone are any complaints of wasted money, and the publicity…ah, you can figure the rest out.

Since “Visual Aggression” was already a warrior made fierce on Frost’s '85 ep The Emperor’s Return, there was a minor chance it was already recklessly speed racing somewhere in your collection, and if it wasn’t…well, then it should be. Much obliged. Meanwhile more hidden from view was Kreator’s “After the Attack”, a song armed for slaughter along with the rest of the dreadnoughts on ‘86’s Pleasure to Kill, yet was to be found only on that release’s picture disc version, making this arguably the scarcest thing to find shelter here.

I say arguably because, really, how often were/are The Stupids on the tips of anyone’s tongues? I mean, even in the poorly dug ditch of underground metal The Stupids were a hardcore band far underfoot and covered in indiscernible mud if they were in the ditch at all, and even today I never hear a syllable uttered about these guys. So basically if “Live to Rock”, actually an almost halfway decent h.c. specimen, wasn’t the unicorn of the disc in ’88, it probably is now.

Then there’s…yawn...ever-present Motorhead traipsing through “Killed by Death”, to me one of their stolidly standard and ultimately slow lane snoozers that could never spark even a moment’s interest in me, and the so-called dazzle that comes from it being live from The Birthday Party at the Hammersmith Odeon video/album is only a big fizzle to someone who could care less about most live albums. Enter the last reason I throw a smile at this thing (yes, The Stupids beat out Motorhead. I’ve lived with this truth for a few decades and still hold my head high. Now you can, too).

Should be slightly more collectible than it is.

“…everywhere starts the search for water and groceries…”