GRIM REAPER – Armed And Ready, October 1981 – Geoff Barton

Grim Reaper were formed about two years ago by guitarist Nick Bowcott and vocalist Paul deMercado. Phil Matthews (bass) and Angel Jacques (drums) complete the present line up – the seventh but, I’m assured, finally settled one.

A dense, Black Sabbath-like sound permeates the bands eight song cassette ‘Bled ‘Em Dry’, a four-track recording made around a year ago in a horse stable in an amazingly prolific seven hour period. Songs like ‘Maggy’ (a lengthy, showstopping epic with an outstanding vocal performance form deMercado) and the eponymous ‘Reaper (shades of the Sabs’ ‘Warning’ especially during the intro) make for an immensely entertaining package, although Bowcott’s guitar work is a little self-indulgent and samey at times.

The tape, featured in Sounds HM charts and on local radio stations, has sold over 200 copies.

GR appear on the special offer ‘Heavy Metal Heroes’ compilation (their track was laid down in a garage this time!) and hope to follow this up with a single in September, ‘Can’t Take Any More’.

Although based in the Midlands, Grim Reaper claim their strongest following can be found further north, mainly due to airplay and successful gigs in the cities of Manchester and Bradford. A review of the latter show said: ‘Live, this lot band have got more balls than Jack Nicklaus’.


Live Nags Head, Malven WAYNE PERKINS

AFTER A successful year, which has seen the band rise rapidly in status and pack’em in wherever they’ve played, it was obvious that tonight’s Christmas party was going to be special.
‘Dead On Arrival’ has fast become a classic set opener with its instantly memorable chorus and chugging bass line, and it’s clear that the rhythm section of drummer Lee Harris and bassist Dave Wanklin has clicked into place. Two more crowd faves follow, ‘All Hell Let Loose’ and ‘Wrath Of The Ripper’, the latter causing a frenzy of air-guitaring and head-shaking with its supercharged riff.

Singer Steve Grimmett’s voice leaps out of the speakers, grabs you by the scruff of the neck and drags you into the songs, involving you completely. He’s got one hell of a powerful voice, which couples perfectly with the dexterous guitar playing of Nick Bowcott who has e certain empathy for his instrument, feeling and shaping its sounds at will. Random feedback is molded into a sustained note, and his skill at improvisation means fills, squeals and bursts of lead surface in songs already dripping with axework.

Mid-set, they deliver their old classic `The Reaper’ and, later, close the show with the great soccer-style chant of ‘See You In Hell’. Two encores follow – the band (and audience) are bathed in sweat, condensation runs in rivers down the walls and then it’s over, You feel as though you’ve been run over by a steam-roller and raped by 10 Amazonian women. Reaper leave you satisfied – enuff said?

Well nearly, but after all this superfluous praise a couple of niggles. Live, they have two problems; firstly, they tend to be lazy on the visual side and secondly, the set still includes several cover versions, I hope they drop these in the New Year – they simply are not needed.

Finally, they now need to go further afield. They’ve got the music, the following and the debut album behind them. . . now it’s time to take the power to the people.

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