Following in the footsteps of Gordonomicons "History of Thrash" and vikingbitches "Evolution of Death Metal" threads, I'm hopping on the themed review thread bandwagon. I was originally going to track the lineage of Doom but it's just too overwhelming. Proto-Doom, Traditional Doom, Epic Doom, Stoner Doom, Funeral, Death Doom, blah blah blah. Maybe one day I'll do a Proto-Doom themed thread but for now, here's the idea...
I'll be reviewing albums that came out in 1983 and I'll try as hard as I can to do them in the order they were released. 30 year old albums, the Pearl Anniversary. I already have a list made up and goddamn what a year it was. Lots of legitimate classics. As I go along, if I miss an album on my timeline let me know and maybe I'll squeeze it in. If this goes well I'll probably do the same for 1993 (20 years) and 2003 (10 years).
Also, I'm no writer so don't go in expecting Last Rites staff quality. Anyway, lets get down to the good stuff.
First I'll be covering a few albums that I couldn't find an exact release date for. The first one being...
OZ Fire In The Brain (1983)
A true gem of an album right here. If it had not been released in 1983 amongst so many legendary albums this may have made more of a dent than it did. OZ is a band that really never came close to capturing the spirit found here (although III Warning is by no means bad) but at least they have a classic under their belt. Well, at least in my opinion.
Opener "Search Lights" is the best track on an album full of great tracks. A simple main riff and a dynamic hook is sometimes all you need. The vocals here are absolutely perfect. This song is absolutely perfect. I review in hyperbole form, deal with it.
"Fortune" slows it down just a tad compared to the frenetics of the opener. Yet another catchy main riff, a catchy hook and a nice little solo. Business picks up again with a maniacal guitar solo when "Megalomaniac" begins. As I'm listening to this I'm wondering where these guys went wrong because this would be rollicking radio metal for the time. This is radio anthem material.
They slow it down again with "Black Candles" and I love the opening a ton. The vocals come across a little awkward at the start which is a shame because I'm loving the instrumentation. It doesn't ruin the song though, not one bit. They get less awkward as the song goes on and I'm not sure if I just got used to them or he changed it up a bit. I guess maybe they weren't on the radio because this is a song about black magic and satanic rituals? Maybe. This builds in heaviness as the song goes on and closes with a nice little show of speed. Bravo!
"Gambler" is probably the least memorable song here but it's still quality. This isn't weak by any means but if I was forced to pick a weak spot it would be this. Not much to say here as it's competant yet forgettable.
OZ kicks it up again with "Stop Believin'". I love the main riff here, so simple, so catchy and so effective. If you haven't noticed, I like simple. A couple nice little solo sections also. I know I mentioned it earlier but these vocals are perfect for this music. The best thing a vocalist can do in my opinion is to know their limits and work within them and frontman Ape De Martini understands this in spades.
"Free Me, Leave Me" sounds similar to something that I can't seem to place. This might be the catchiest song on the album. I almost forgot to mention the RAVEN influence on these guys. You could have a lot worse influence in my opinion. RAVEN released some classic material, one of which happened to be in 1983 so keep an eye out for that one.
"Fire In The Brain" brings us right back to that RAVEN influence. Here's another one of those trademark catchy choruses, "Fire in the brain, driving me insane, fire in the brain, driving me insane..."
This is an essential piece of metal history and if you haven't heard it you owe it to yourself. There is nothing weak here. A somewhat unheralded classic. OZ never went on to do anything else of consequence, they didn't change metal and they are only a footnote in metal history but a mighty footnote it is.
Two Random factoids. OZ appears on the "Scandinavian Metal Attack" compilation that features the first recordings of BATHORY. And that awesome cover art? The hand of the venerable Quorthon.