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Interesting mainly for its foreign background - 75%

Gutterscream, September 19th, 2013
Written based on this version: 1985, VHS, Castle Music Video

“…fuck your blessed trinity…”

Since I’ve never seen it, this video is a mild mystery to me. Conversely, I’ve had the compact disc compilation for some time and I find its only mystery to be its affiliation with Prism Records, a label noted for its ear for music of the way more classical kind.

For reasons beyond our understanding and for lack of any other explanation (not that anyone asked, I’m bettin’), one presumably strange day in the mid-‘80s, it seems Prism, a purveyor of such series as Great Composers, America’s Favorite…, and New Horizons (geared toward more eclectic styles of rock), grew a few wild hairs up its ass that would convince it to explore other areas of the musical union it hadn’t previously conceived, but in our reality we’d call it something like style slummin’, and is an expedition that eventually led it to Metal City, where dwells the sanctum of the Babylon Whore that is heavy metal.

Imagine top-hatted and coattailed suits in the comfort of a Shubert-spiffy limo creeping through all the alleys leading to all the seedy dives in musicdom’s underbelly that for years they sought to avoid like the plague, and it’s in these neighborhoods that they’d easily contract diseases from the shit Poison, Cinderella, Faster Pussycat, Tesla, and The Vinnie Vincent Invasion were smearing like rouge by ’87. Don’t need a Wall St. wizard advising the label on the logistics of success by getting into bed with these kinds of acts, and its vaccination is profitably-proven, easy for the masses to swallow, and bless their ‘lil hearts, is even safe for the kiddies.

Improbably enough, it wasn’t the Babylon Whore of heavy metal that got pelted with Prism’s pick-up lines, but her less friendly, more cantankerous, and all-around skankier sister of heavy metal, the one that crawled outta the underground who relishes the dirt in her teeth and the stench of her crotch. The shiny black stretch impresses (or maybe it was its mini-bar, which if they were smart would be overflowing), so who jumps aboard but Venom, Warfare, Avenger, and Saracen, and last but not least, their pimp – Neat Records. Free drinks, more exposure – hell, only Prism has anything to lose.

Mild research will tell ya there’s not a band here that doesn’t have at least a pair of full-length waxers keeping some sorta reputation afloat, so if compilations brimming with (or having at least one) limbo-trapped bands is yer butter n’ bread, allow me to steer your personal limo elsewhere, but feel free to rubberneck as you cruise on by.

With the lightest fanfare in popularity (I guess) and sound (by a landslide), compared to the others Saracen is the prissy ride-along of the bunch with the quintet rolling down windows to announce “We Have Arrived”, “Love on Sight”, and “Cheatin’”’s creamy keyboard-slathered hard rock, all from their ’84 Change of Heart lp. In their audible presence, all’s clean, affirmative, and fairly cheery – the last to spread ‘em and the first to curtsy - and aside from Neat’s leather leash, don’t ask me how they came to be found in the same dirt hole as the others. However, due to their out-of-towner style on this disc, they’ll be remembered better than probably two of the others.

The next tallest is Avenger, a mid-level band as far as the company they keep here, whose oldest inclusion is “Too Wild To Tame”, a non-lp single from ’83 (and an ’82 demo) that with its up-beat briskness break out thick, traditional running shoes to be worn by “Revenge Attack”, “Under the Hammer”, and “Run For Your Life”, a trio that earn a living on their sophomore Killer Elite lp of ‘85. Not bad, but not the life of the back seat.

Warfare, now and forever a poor man’s Venom, are only granted two battlements worth of space here with “Burning Up” and “Metal Anarchy”, with either being found in ’85; the first on their Total Death ep and the other on a same-named full-lengther. Can’t say I was ever much of a fan of these guys, finding their crudely-patched leather to be kinda generic in a one-dimensional perspective and less inventive than Tank as well as the other trio here punching holes in seat cushions.

To no surprise the big heavy of this four act disc is dastardly Venom, early evokers of metal evil that need not relive any timeline here since too many of us know it by heart. Scoring high with five tracks, Venom break more stuff in a studio than live on stage here and is a fairly bright two-fold stratagem on Prism’s part (guided by Neat, perhaps), two-fold in that the studio stuff is oddball singles’ craft (“Nightmare”, “Manitou”, and “Bursting Out”, a feature on a range of ’85 Assault discs) than regular lp tales, while the live input that normally doesn’t interest me much jumbles eras of the band that can’t possibly be too far apart to begin with (this “Witching Hour” renown as an Ultimate Revenge video staple that formerly lives on their ‘82 Live E.P. and a “7 Gates of Hell” possibly from the ’85 Japanese Assault mix).

Not a bad little get-together from a label that should’ve flew right by our disgusting little layer of the world at 110mph. Not to be confused with the similar jacket art of Metal Minded, another Prism v/a assemblage impressively (all things considered) uncovering some of Neat’s more found-in-a-storm-drain acts.

“…pure filth was just the start…”