segunda-feira, 14 de julho de 2014

SIDEWINDER (UK) - Basil Herd (7'', SRT, 1983)


The rise of the NWOBHM collecting scene in the 90s (a ressurgence in interest that is pretty much active to this day) surely had a few side effects, as I'm sure most of you are aware. Some records (even though very good in much cases) were passed out as undiscovered classics of the era while actually being nothing of the sort. In some cases they came out too late (or too early) to fit the NWOBHM timeline, sometimes the bands were not British, and there's a number of cases when the groups in question weren't even trying to be Heavy Metal at all. The immensely obscure Sidewinder, from which precious little is known at present, seems to fit like a glove into the third category. Their one and only vinyl release, a self-financed 7'' from 1983, may be included in many NWOBHM wishlists, but I really don't think any of the musicians involved (whoever they were) ever wore leather jackets and bullet belts, as "Basil Herd" and "The Game" have almost nothing to do with Heavy Metal.

As this is a double A-sided single, I randomly decided to consider "Basil Herd" the main focus of attention around here. It's powerpop with some slightly heavier guitar parts, although the song structure and lyrical subject actually reminds me of some Oi! bands like Cock Sparrer at their "Running Riot in '84" days. The basslines are quite prominent and the song as a whole is reasonably well-crafted and catchy, so it's not like we're being submitted to any sort of atrocity here - I actually kinda like it, to make things clear. But I'm afraid this tune won't appeal to the vast majority of headbangers, being more indicated for those who happen to enjoy the powerpop and indie scenes as well. "The Game" is a tiny bit more intense, with some guitar interplay and a reasonably nice chorus, but still it's firmly rooted in indie/new wave soil, being miles away from anything remotely close to Heavy Metal. If you're desperately looking for NWOBHM comparisons, I would say that Sidewinder reminds me slightly of Blazer Blazer and Urchin - but it's a very tenuous connection really, as they were much closer to Buzzcocks and The Jam than anything more forceful or metallic. Not bad anyway - maybe they could have achieved better things if given some encouragement, as their music doesn't leave that much to be desired for indie rock enthusiasts.

I must admit I have no idea who were involved with Sidewinder - there's precisely zero usable info on the label, no writing credits, no mentions to any recording facility, nothing. I once read somewhere that this particular band came from Yorkshire, but I have no corroboratory info on this, so the lads could be from pretty much anywhere else in the UK. Therefore I'm left with no choice but to ask the kind reader to help me fill the blanks. If you have any reliable info on Sidewinder, even the slightest, please don't be shy and use the e-mail address below to get in touch. I would love to know more about Sidewinder, really.

Musicians unknown

01. Basil Herd 3:00
02. The Game 2:59

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

quarta-feira, 2 de julho de 2014

TROTYL (BUL) - Lunatic (7'', Balkanton, 1988)


There's a lot of Heavy Metal waiting to be found in Eastern Europe, you know. Once hidden behind the Iron Curtain, many bands from the 80s tried their luck with loud guitars, high-pitched vocals and heroic lyrical themes, all with different levels of sucess of course. The fact that they were submited to a considerable degree of isolation from the Western increasingly-globalized culture rendered many Heavy Metal contributions from Eastern countries to sound quite unique - and I'm always very interested to learn more about this geographical area, as there's a fair bit of interesting music waiting to be heard. I must confess I knew nothing about Trotyl from Bulgaria until a few weeks ago, when I managed to obtain mp3 files from their "Lunatic" single - I had no clue they actually released a few full albums of their own and were active, in a way or another, until 2010 or thereabouts. I still didn't put that much effort into grabbing the rest of their discography, but I suppose their debut single (released sometime in 1988) is a good introduction to their musical legacy.

"Lunatic" is Heavy Metal as traditional as it gets, with simple-yet-effective riffing and undeniable influence of Accept in the vocal department. Curiously, each song has a different singer, this one being delivered by Vasil Kalpachki. Not sure if they were changing vocalists at the time or if having two singers was the idea all along (there's five musicians pictured, you know), so any enlightenment will be greatly appreciated of course. Whatever the story, Vasil's vocal register is adequate for the True Metal feel of the song and it's fair to say he does a commendable job here. Perhaps "Lunatic" won't be the most staggeringly original display of Heavy Metal you'll ever hear, but it's a pleasant song with a good instrumental section and a reasonably catchy chorus, so I guess most long-haired, big-bellied metalheads will have a good time listening to it.

B-side "Warrior" evokes a different and much darker feel, although the Doom Metal suggestions from some quarters are considerably out of the mark, at least when it comes to this particular track. The idea seems to be more epic than gloomy, with lyrics depicting a fighter who's afraid to die - not an unusual subject for Heavy Metal bands, that's for sure. The song reminds me a little of "Black Candles" from Oz (a healthy comparision, I would add) before changing things around with an intense interlude packed with guitar leads. The vocals (from Julian Konstantinov this time) are deeper and more forceful, and it really adds to the overall atmosphere. Nice track indeed, and you are well advised to give it a listen when you have the chance.

Trotyl (which translates as "trinitrotoluene", or TNT if you like) were already doing the rounds for a while when this 7'' was issued, being formed in 1981 or thereabouts - and it took another while until these Bulgarians would release another record, the "Nosht" LP from 1995. They were never the most prolific of acts though, and I'm sure the difficulties inherent in being a Heavy Metal band under a communist regime took a major role in Trotyl's shortage of vinyl releases. It's a good find if you're want to expand your 80's European Metal collection, although only a minority of us will be willing to pay the considerable ammounts of shekel required to buy such an item.

Vasil Kalpachki (V in "Lunatic"), Julian Konstantinov (V in "Warrior"), Alexander Dinev (G), Ivaylo Dinev (B), Kiril Georgiev (D).

01. Lunatic 4:35
02. Warrior 5:13

Many thanks to Strappado Metal Blog for audio files and 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 and let me know!