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A monumental peak in NWOBHM - 99%

Xeogred, February 9th, 2008

As a band throughout all of their different forms, whether it's when they were Blind Fury, Pariah, or their main entity Satan - these guys released some of the most innovative and influential albums I've ever come across. Release after release the experiments and idea's that emerged were always fresh and creative, while the quality and consistency in the music was never lost. I can easily give every release these guys put out up to Pariah's second album Blaze of Obscurity a solid two thumbs up, or perhaps each a 90% rating and above (as I have with my Blind Fury review). As fantastic as they all are I firmly believe that Court in the Act is quite possibly their greatest moment, for 1983 the material here was years ahead of its time and was an undeniable stepping stone for many bands to follow.

The previous reviews all nailed a lot of aspects about this one that I can fully agree with. For its time Court in the Act was one of the most aggressive and technical releases in the realm of NWOBHM. It's more than arguable that this album could be seen as a blueprint for both speed and power metal bands that would follow in the next coming years from here. The emphasis on up front vocals and crazy guitar work is definitely there, which have both always been strong elements to speed the power genres.

Vocalist Brian Ross whom is no stranger to the scene truly makes this album stand above and beyond many others. The best part about his vocals is that there's really not a lot of people out there that have a voice quite like him. He has one of those thicker more masculine voices that gives off an incredibly believable and commanding performance while he's completely full of charisma. There's pretty much no limit to his range as you can expect some insane shrieks and wails throughout as well. Ross is a one of a kind, the vocals delivered here are extremely classy with no set of rules in sight. After this release Ross would carry out his legacy over to Blitzkrieg, ~25 years later it's as if he hasn't aged a bit!

Now there's Steve Ramsey and Russ Tippins on guitars. Phew, where do I start with these guys!? I can't stress enough how technical, fast, and over the top the guitars are on this album, for 1983 and even compared to bands of today. Again, as the previous reviewers have firmly stated both guitarists have always had a style of their own, while always backing each other up this is an album where it's completely obvious there's two different guitarists, almost constantly fighting for the spotlight while managing to be perfectly balanced with one another. When you've heard Satan, Blind Fury, and Pariah, I think it's safe to say these two deserve an uncountable amount of credit for their skill and diversity among styles. They could play anything. I think to sum up their virtuosity, all you have to do is hear Break Free and it's over. Of course, the rest of the band deserves more than enough merit themselves. After all it is the songwriting here that truly counts and every song just feels perfect, you couldn't imagine them being any different.

Unlike some out there I honestly have never had a problem with the production on this one. Yeah, it's aged and has flaws, but I personally cannot find a real complaint for it at all. The mix is entirely consistent all the way through and everything else is pretty clear. For someone taking an unknown dive into 80's territory I guess it might be hard to get used to, but if you've heard a lot of older and classic stuff and don't mind the aged flaws you probably won't have much of an issue here.

Well, as my title for the review suggests I firmly believe this is a peak in classic, near flawless NWOBHM. When I think of that term, this is one of those albums that instantly comes to mind along with some of Cloven Hoof's stuff and some other acts that didn't get as much recognition as the big names. I could probably easily go on and on about this one and cover every track but it's nothing but a hit left and right, so there seriously aren't any low points here at all (bonus tracks are excellent as well). It'd be impossible to pick a favorite stand alone track. For those interested in seeing where a lot of speed and power metal bands got their notes from, this is it. Court in the Act, completely ahead of its time and innovating the future - truly a timeless relic.