Armed And Ready – Kerrang! 1981 GEOFF BARTON

GASKIN: While the band called Gaskin are undoubtedly ‘new’ and ‘young’ enough to merit inclusion in this section, they are nonetheless the first out of the 20 or so frenzied fledglings covered so far to put a damper on my ‘Armed And Ready’ enthusiasms.

Hailing from Scunthorpe of all places, Gaskin take their misplaced moniker from the surname of the groups leader Paul, who plays lead guitar and handles vocals. A self-proclaimed ‘powerhouse trio’, the roster also includes bassist Steff Prokopczuk and drummer Dave Norman. The members are aged 23, 24 and 22 respectively.

Talking to an affable sounding Paul Gaskin on the phone the other day, he was anxious to dispel any notion that his outfit are HM bandwagon jumpers.

“The present line-up has been together for 18 months, ” he said “and moreover I’ve had the material together for the past three years.”

‘End Of The World’ is the title of the group’s recently released debut on Rondolet Records. It’s an enticingly plush, gatefold sleeved project, with ‘epic’ pretensions – as evidenced by such songtitles as ‘Victim Of The City’, ‘Sweet Dream Maker’ and, would you believe, ‘The Day Thou Gavest Lord Has Ended’.

Certainly the band are ambitious – but that’s as far as it goes. To these ears at least, the LP sounds stuck in an overwhelmingly old-fashioned early Seventies Wishbone Ash time warp and bears little relation to the nuclear NWOBHM of today.

However, Gaskin himself I unrepentant: “I’ve never really heard that much Wishbone Ash, and what’s more I don’t really want us to be labelled an HM band. We’re into Heavy Rock and we want to expand and develop the medium. We’re anxious to avoid any of the classic clichés and pave the way with an eighties-style stage presentation.”

Admirable sentiments, to be sure. But when the band’s slogan goes ‘Remember – if someone comes askin’, tell them it’s Gaskin!’ you can’t help but have doubts.

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