quarta-feira, 10 de abril de 2013

One Take No Dubs (Compilation, UK, Neat, 1982)

RATING: ****

Although the NWOBHM period had quite a lot of vinyl compilations to call their own, EP releases were far less common than full album selections - something understandable, I guess, as it didn't make much sense to assume the expenses of such an endeavour and not putting out an LP in the first place. One of the few EP compilations of those days (and one of the most well-regarded amongst collectors), however, comes in the form of Neat's "One Take No Dubs" EP from 1982, a pretty functionally-presented release with an interesting (not to say money-saving) concept: four promising new groups, a song for each band, all recorded in a single  live-in-the-studio take with (yeah, you guessed it) no overdubs. Fortunately, there's no shortage in talent or enthusiasm here, this 12'' being an excellent choice if you are a NWOBHM fanatic who had enough of mp3 files and just started to form a proper collection to call your own (yeah, me too).

The record kicks off in major fashion, with Alien delivering an awesome heavy rocker in the shape of "Could Have Done Better". The drive of this tune is overwhelming, and the simple-and-catchy vocal lines just stick to your mind for days. It's a total disgrace that this combo never released any vinyl artefact of their own, as they were an undeniably capable group of musicians with nice songs to their credit (their other vinyl appearance, "Absolute Zero" in the "60 Minute Plus" compilation, also kicks ass). Next comes the more well-known Avenger and their "Hot 'n' Heavy Express" - featuring the unmistakable vocals of Mr. Brian Ross, a few months before joining forces with Satan for the ultra-classic "Court in the Act" LP. It's a good enough track, admitedly - a heavy mid-paced tune with ever-present riffing and the usual strong vocals from the Blitzkrieg stalwart - but it doesn't show Avenger at their best, to be honest, being a bit too raw and unpolished for its own good. They would fare undeniably better on later releases, with Ian Davison Swift on vocal duties (I'm not saying Ross has anything to do with the not-too-impressive results here, mind you). Still, it's an exclusive number (later included on Avenger's "Too Wild To Tame" 2-CD compilation from 2002), so it's not a dispendable track at all.

The B-side of this 12'' starts with Black Rose delivering an extremely energetic and enjoyable take of "Knocked Out", later to be included (in a different form, of course) in their "Boys Will Be Boys" LP. I suppose they never sounded that heavy and intense in any other moment of their career (OK, maybe on "Sucker for Your Love"), and this hard-hitting rendition is easily the stand-out track of the compilation - along with Alien's cut, of course. Even the wrong bass note at the end of it sounds awesome! To close proceedings, the talented guys from Hellanbach laid down "All Systems Go (Full Scale Emergency)", another fast-paced tune with creative, heavy guitars and tons of energy on display. It's not a memorable song like the Alien and Black Rose offerings, but there's nothing wrong with it neither, this particular version being far heavier than the one they would include in their "Now Hear This" LP. It worths more than a listen, and the EP as a whole surely worth a safe place in any serious NWOBHM collection.

All bands here featured, apart from the wronged Alien, went to release full albums on Neat, so it's fair to say that it was a very successful release when it comes to help new bands to move a step further in the business. Of those, Black Rose and Avenger are still going strong to this day, with revitalized line-ups and new albums recently out and/or due to be released soon. Hellanbach is no longer active and there's no prospects for a reunion in the days to come, but they released two LPs of their own back in the day, so they sure fit in to the "sucessful NWOBHM bands" file. Give me a CD with unreleased Alien material and I guess justice will be done at last!

See picture scan of the back cover for personnel details

01. ALIEN - Could Have Done Better 2:32
02. AVENGER - Hot 'n' Heavy Express 4:10
03. BLACK ROSE - Knocked Out 3:13
04. HELLANBACH - All Systems Go (Full Scale Emergency) 3:09

Extra thanks to The Corroseum for picture scans!

Have you been involved with any of the bands mentioned here? Have any extra info and/or corrections? Please e-mail me at drequon@gmail.com and let me know!

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