domingo, 11 de janeiro de 2015

CHALLENGER (UK) - So Sure of Yourself (7'', CMC, 1981)


This little NWOBHM artifact, though not horrendously obscure, is far from being widely acknowledged as a worthy inclusion to the ranks of the movement. Still, I must say I like it quite a lot, and it's too bad these lads from Yorkshire (UK) - whoever they were, as I'm not really enlightened about that at present -  didn't manage to release further singles, as "So Sure of Yourself" (b/w "Out to Kill") presents many promising features.

Seemingly the main focus of attention, "So Sure of Yourself" is a classic rock number with reasonably catchy vocal lines (delivered with a very healthy level of finesse BTW) and a drive not dissimilar to Uriah Heep's "Look at Yourself" (a huge influence here, by the look of things), though the keyboards remind me more of The Doors to be frank. Not the most skull-crushingly metallic song you'll ever listen to in your life, but it's a very pleasant tune with decent instrumentation that will sure appeal to those who have nothing against some classic heavy/rock from time to time. Flipside "Out to Kill" is the most metallic of the pair, with atmospheric arrangements and slightly more prominent guitar work, not to mention far more thoughtful lyrics. Norman Lee Ward seems to have been quite a gifted singer, and the keyboards from Peter Whitford are very creative, going from the gloomy to the almost enthusiastic with interesting results. The production doesn't help matters though, as it takes all heaviness out of the compositions - such a shame really, as I'm sure that specially "Out to Kill" would benefit from a more metal-oriented outlook.

It has been hinted for a while that Challenger would be something of an offshot band, the musicians involved using soubriquets so to conceal their actual identities, supposedly due to their not-remotely-metal musical origins or something. I would not rule out such a possibility, but I don't think it's a very convincing one, though there's precisely zero tangible information regarding any of the musicians involved. Maybe they were just a youthful bunch who never took things that seriously and retreated to the 9-to-5 world not long after their sole vinyl release hit the shops. Whatever the story, I would surely love to know more, as I happen to enjoy the scarce musical legacy from Challenger. If you have any first-person accounts to offer, please kindly get in touch, will you?

Norman Lee Ward (V), John Wakefield (G), Martin Keighley (B),
Alistair Wiseman (D), Peter Whitford (K).

01. So Sure of Yourself
02. Out to Kill

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!

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