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Some People Disbelieve They Come From The Sky - 96%

CHAIRTHROWER, June 11th, 2022
Written based on this version: 2022, CD, Hear No Evil Recordings

Quartz is an old time NWOBHM quintet and member of late 10's/early 20s comeback fringe which, much like fellow "Benjamin Button" evolved Satan, appears to improve its sound with every new release since 1977 self-titled debut (in pre Iron Lady era).

Following 1980's top early day seller "Stand Up And Fight" and 1983's less rocking "Against All Odds', 2016 saw advent of a compendious Fear No Evil, essentially the one which made me sit up and take notice, even if I'd already gleaned random oldie tracks through various compilations. This year's superior and considerably longer, in track number, time and title, On The Edge Of No Tomorrow, features fifteen mid-tempo, radio conducive boppers, albeit rest easy knowing they flood nostalgic yearnings.

Let's put it thus: contemporary Quartz is spot-on the type of music I'd dig had I toed the line and not rocked the boat over course of turbulent adolescence and became a successful family man working some stiff but lucrative career as an actuary or if I'd never discovered heavy metal or rock, whatsoever, before my own hypothetical, musically wise teenage son or daughter presented me with On The Edge Of No Tomorrow, a great title in its own prophetic right. I'd then go "Wow! What I have been missing out on?!". Not quite "Dad rock", but just the right stuff to convert skeptics. Crazily, the record gets a mite heavier and tougher with each passing song after a grungy, shuffling toe-tapper in "Freak Of Nature" pulls out all the Dio-esque stops with its bumpy retro groove. Ditto for "Death Or Glory", an as swell if not better rendition of Holocaust version.

A jingly, drum beaten "They Do Magic" invokes the Quartz vein I'd known, alongside likes of Gaskin and Trespass, whilst "Master Of The Rainbow" plays out precisely as caption implies, with David Garner's warm and homey vocals also bringing to mind Paul Gaskin's accented charm. A couple of the best, closer to "metal" songs are "Night Of The Living Dead" - its ripped title belies freshness - and preferred of provincial bunch, "Angels At The Crossroads", thanks to revved main riff and wild, tempestuous verses. The opening line, alone, suffices to get blood pumping: "We're driving in the darkness down another lonely road, looking for the man who bought my soul!" It also feels like Heaven And Hell Black Sabbath, though with Ozzy at the helm.

Another way of describing how Quartz's recent third wind retains constant attention and surprise is to compare this hour lot of modern and now timeless genre classics to a four-to-five pm, traffic jammed commute with only the radio as companion as it strictly plays non-stop hits without interruption. Even cleaner or fluffier "Evil Lives" And "Keep Up The Fight" classily emerge within general, unwavering congruity. Mick Hopkins and Geoff Nicholl's many leads are also on point, akin to Tokyo Blade's Dark Revelation from 2020. For his sadly departed, peacefully resting part, Nicholls's keyboard is conservative and inconspicuous, solely materializing on few timely occasions, hence further cause for rock n' roll reverence and respect.

Further, "Brainwashed", with its thicker tone, faster tempo and shard sharp guitar riff, skirts newly dropped Blitzkrieg vibes, whilst finger-snapped, bar beaten "Babylon Is Burning" displays Southern US, ZZ Top gumption, as Derek Arnold and Malcom Cope's bass/drum combo holds this marbled fort down for the count, rarely straying from the status quo, yet always a step ahead of their stringed companions. By this point, after close to a dozen songs, you'd expect a steam shortage. Nope! Once latter goes nuclear, brace yourselves for additional Top 40 clincher in "What Love Is" (with its fiery refrain and descending "Big Gun" AC/DC riff), as well as three more worth extended commitment.

A ruefully swinging "Dirty Disease" and "World Of Illusion", an epic 5.5 minute token doom ode shockingly in line, both lyrically and instrumentally, with golden age Black Sabbath, ensue, while re-booted stopper "Highway To Madness" gives "Highway To Hell" a major run for its loot - I'd venture so far as to proclaim it exceeds in prowess and skill.

I was about to rate Quartz' On The Edge Of No Tomorrow gem lower, between 89-91 or so, but thankfully, came to my senses.

Fans of the NWOBHM and rock n' roll, heed the quall!