Armed and Ready by Dave Dickson 1982

“Black Rose comprise Chris Watson (lead guitar), Steve Bardsley (vocals and guitar), Mal Smith (drums) and Mick Thompson (bass).

After numerous personnel changes since the band’s initiation in 1978 they have settled into a reasonably stable format and released a single on an independent label, a double-a side entitled “No Point Runnin”/”Sucker For Your Love” which is nothing short of blistering and a remarkable achievement for lads whose average age is only 20. The single came out as a direct result of a change of management, the band thus finding suitable financial backing from someone who believed in their ability.

Their music credentials are similarly impressive including a support slot at the Gateshead festival which billed such luminaries as trust, budgie and limelight, and the production of a video the Tyne tees TV programme “Check It Out” with “No Point Runnin”. Unfortunately the show is not networked, so the rest of us are unlikely to ever get the chance to see it. They have also appeared with Vardis and Raven as well as getting two tracks on a northern heavy metal compilation album called Roxcalibur.

The band cites Iron Maiden, Van Halen and Pat Travers as major influences, which should give you a reasonable idea as to their musical direction and sound. Fast and dynamic are not inappropriate descriptions. The immediate future entails a mini tour during august as a break from their regular outings in front of a strong local following. And although none of the major record companies have shown much interest, of the smaller labels neat have displayed the most enthusiasm. A deal would not only benefit them but the entire HM listening public.”

Live review Sep 1982. Kensington Ad Lib, London

“Head on block time, stick your neck out, put yer money where yer mouth is.

Black rose are a very tight, very organised and, most important of all, very exciting heavy metal four-piece who ventured south to play their debut London date in the wake of their “armed and ready” slot and left one disorientated hack vainly scrabbling superlatives.

The prestigious Slverwing had pulled out of this gig (run out of flash-bombs, financial backing or something) and black rose had trundled down from the north east to face a largely indifferent (read ‘typical’) London audience. “To hell with em”, they thought and proceeded to figuratively rock their balls off. If the rag-tag punters were too fey to get off on it then that was their misfortune.

At the moment black rose are still apprentices to the trade of mayhem – the lyrics are pretty standard fare, the music with the exception of the single “No Point Runnin”, as yet lacks memorable hooks, and there’s maybe a tendency to over -pose the part of guitar hero by vocalist/rhythm guitarist Steve Bardsley – but these are minor quibbles that experience will iron out. The simple fact remains that the attitude is right the desire to get on stage and entertain an audience and sweat blood for them! Even the obligatory guitar solo from Chris Watson was a welcome show-case for ability rather than ego-indulgence.”

Live review dec. 1982 Marquee, London (supporting Thunderstick)

“The support band, Black Rose, also might well have a bright future ahead of them. Hailing from Middlesborough they play a hard fast Rock’n’Roll style with plenty of cliched HM guitar hero posing and all that! Quite amusing as I counted 15 people in front of the stage at the time. But that’s all in their favour. The songs are good, and if the band have the guts to get up and pose in an almost empty hall, god knows how they’ll behave in front of a couple of thousand punters!”

Single review Feb 1983

“Black Rose – Sucker For Your Love/No Point Runnin”

“Ah this is more like it. Good ol’ Brit. rock. This isn’t new but it’s worth mentioning anyway. Thunders along like a rabid whippet; this is the sort of stuff that could still convince you the future of HM is safe’n’sound. Buy it, play it loud, but only under medical supervision.”

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