Armed And Ready – Kerrang! 1982
WRATHCHILD have a long and complicated history. Their four members – Rocky Shades (vocals), Phil Wrathchild (guitar), Marc Angel (bass) and Brian Thunderburst (drums) – have in the past played in a multitude of obscure Midlands bands; Night Creatures, Titan, Dummies, Dead Men and Sweet Acid to name but five.
But I think it’s fair to say that the Evesham-based group basically grew up out of the ashes of an outfit called Sinner. This lot had an erratic career, forming in 1978, splitting in ’80, coming back together after entering ‘Battle Of The Bands’ and winning the regional competition, then breaking up again after losing the grand final.
Wrathchild have been in existence for six months. They play American influenced British metal – ‘Big rock, big guitars, big drums, big sound’.
A recent Sounds live review didn’t exactly see it that way. Whilst it’s true that the band utilise ear-piercing sirens, blinding strobe lights, plenty of flashbombs and even (local Italian community permitting) a couple of flaming guitars, the overall effect is apparently akin to TV’s Goodies performing a hard rock pastiche.
WRATHCHILD – Pennyfarthing Oxford
MY INTEREST in Wrathchild was first aroused around July last year when the band were featured in the hallowed pages of our own ‘Armed and Ready’ section, looking like the best thing to come out of Birmingham since Ozzy.
However, seeing as they were just beginning to get their act together. I thought it might be quite a while before Southern England could experience the band first hand.
To find out that they’d managed to get within 40 miles of London was all the booster this old rooster needed to get out of the capital and down into ye old town of Oxford.
“Are you ready for some first class shock’n’roll,” was the cry from Rocky Shades (vocals and burning hatchet !?!) as the band donned the 2ft x 2ft stage. Frankly, it didn’t matter if we were or not, we sure as hell got it.
The opener ‘Believe In Us’ seemed pretty tame all things considered and I began to wonder if the music was going to let the image down. Boy, if only I’d known. By the time they’d steamlined through such titles as Machostrutt’, ‘Lipstick Killers’ and a cover of Glitters ‘Alright With The Boys’, the whole thing had turned into an onslaught. ‘Cock Rock Shock’ featured everything from Shades doing obscene movements with his mike to Eddy Star coming out from behind his drums to urge the Crowd on with drumsticks the size of broom handles. During the encore, ‘Rock The City Down’, we were once again treated to more flashes and bangs as well as a solo from axe man Lance Wrath.
Wrathchild played a set with the power of Nugent, the pyros of KISS and the humour of Halen. They’re probably going to take a lot of stick for being a little cocky, but that’ll pass with time, after all, what must KISS have gone through in the early days.
If the signs are true, and Glam-Metal is coming back in a big way, then these blokes are gonna be up there with the best of ’em.
BREAK OUT yer stack-heels, and dab on the make-up, ‘cos the glamsters have escaped once more from their cage! Yes folks, the long-mooted revival seems once more to have been given the green light. A gala night is in prospect on Friday, March 18, when Salford College Of Technology hosts what they claim to be the worlds first ever glam rock festival.
Although the bill for this orgy of mascara ‘n’ mayhem hasn’t yet been completed, CHINA ROGUES, WRATHCHILD, SILVERWING, CLOVEN HOOF and SACRED ALIEN have confirmed their participation. The organisers are hoping to persuade a “major name” to headline the affair, but just who they have in mind isn’t at all certain. Aside from the live n’ pretty boyzz on-stage, the festival will also feature a glam-rock and a host of guest stars. On the latter point, the mega-likes of Suzi Quatro, Gary Glitter, Noddy Holder, Twisted Sister, David Bowie, Sweet and Kiss have all been invited to stick their platform boots round the door.
Live: Kensington Ad Lib, London HOWARD JOHNSON
WHEN DOES Glam-orous become ridiculous? An interesting point for conjecture and one, which has a good deal of relevance to the most recent Wrathchild, battle plans. Currently embarked on the ‘Sit On My Face’ tour, there has been no relenting on the part of Rocky Shades, Lance Rocket, Eddie Starr and Marc Angel in their quest to become the rudest, grossest Glam Rock purveyors on our i1r isle-a thoroughly laudable aim you will agree!
Their latest hair-brained scheme of including certain quantities of edible knickers (strawberry flavour) in their four track, 12″ debut EP which the band promise to eat off the parson of anyone who turns up to a Wrathchild gig wearing them is a courageous blow for Wrathdom and a tack not to be trifled with when we consider the monstrosities who could arrive sporting the wretched things)
Don’t get the criticisms out of proportion -Wrathchild have lots to offer with their bubblegum brand of Rock, but by cleaning up on one or two points they will be doing themselves plenty of favours. Point number one is ‘boots’. Yes, ‘boots’! Rather large ones to be precise and dangling from the feet of Mr. Shades. Making Paul Stanley’s starry foot clobber look like a pair of ‘Start Rites’, Rocky put so much into building his veritable stack heels that when he actually got to perform in them, he couldn’t move) It was comical and ridiculous indeed to view the frontman attempting to command the stage by jumping up and down on the spot like some undernourished gorilla.
‘Comical’ pops up in criticism number two, or rather the lack of a comical element in Wrathchild’s performance. Smiles were few and far between during songs such as ‘Cock Rock Shock’ and Teenage Revolution’ and Rocky’s intros were corny rather
than convincing. Glam Rock demands an element of self-parody and while Wrathchild have a generally sound image (boots aside and some instant songs, they need to present themselves rather more as a tongue–in-cheek tease. They have plenty of time to develop, so stay tuned!
ASSAULT ATTACK April 1984
WRATHCHILD (pictured above with mystery gal) have just finished recording their debut album. ‘Stakk Attakk’. at DJM Studios in London Produced by Robin George, it’s expected to be issued on the Heavy Metal label in June. The full track listing is:
Side One. ‘Stakk Attakk’. ‘Too Wild To Tame’, ‘Trash Queen’, ‘Sweet Surrender; ‘Kick Down The Walls’.
Side Two: ‘Do Ya Want My Love’, ‘Law Abuzer’, ‘Shokker’, ‘Alright With The Boyz’, ‘Wreckless’
The LP is likely to contain an inner sleeve cartoon of the Wrathchild story. And the glamsters are likely to be touring the UK during June/July.
GEOFF BARTON – Album Review
WRATHCHILD – STAKK ATTAKK (1984)
THE SURPRISE of the season- if not the century!
Not only have ‘Worcestershire Glam wallies’ Wrathchild come up with an excellent album; they’ve also made one of the records of ’84. Even though the year’s barely half over, that statement is not in the least premature-because Shades’ brigade have pulled out all the stops and set made-up and mascara’d eyes firmly on stackheel (stakkheel?) studded success.
Make no mistake, this is no feeble, barely competent comedy LP; rather, strength, commitment and awesome ability spurt from its grooves like yogurt from Rocky’s gob during a lascivious live rendition of ‘Cock Rock Shock’.
Wrathchild have always been something of a ‘joke’ band and I know how hard it must be for you to believe that they’ve come up with a good, never mind great, album. What can I say to convince you, what can I do to persuade you that, yes, this is reality and not just a figment of my fevered imagination? I dunno, but I will do my best . . .
In the simplest terms, ‘Stakk Attakk’ is a pure pop-Metal delight. Producer Robin George has tarted up the band (if such a thing is possible!) by concocting a chintzy Chinnichap sound and adding wacky studio FX, inventive backing vocal arrangements, guitar synthesisers and the like. The band seem to have been inspired and motivated by George’s studio expertise; they grit their teeth and go for it on every one of the ten trax, singing and playing with astounding enthusiasm and maturity.
Singer Shades’ taunting, tongue–in-cheek vocals sneer excitedly above delightfully tinny-but-glossy 70s sounds, less ‘Ballroom Blitz’ and more ‘Little Willy’ (no Rocky, that’s not meant to be an anatomical insult) with ample doses of Mud, ‘Love Gun’ period Kiss and (yes!) even the Rollers thrown in for good measure.
‘Trash Queen’ has all the above elements with the added bonus of some of the sleaziest lyrics in town: There’s a lady out on the street / So hungry, looking for meat / For a price shell spread her legs / Concrete slab for a bed. . .’
‘Too Wild To Tame’ separates the men from the Boyzz with its gloriously infectious chorus and immensely tacky guitar solo.
‘Shokker’ is so startlingly superb I had to double-check to make sure the names Simmons and Stanley weren’t mentioned in the composer credits.
Album closer and standout track ‘Wreckless’ hits hard with DI’Anno-esque squeals of ‘N-N-N-N-N-N-NO!’ and killer sound effects, industrial steam hammering during the chorus recalling the glories of Einsturzende Neubaten . . Really, ‘Stakk Attakk’ is an absolute must for the headphones.
I could go on, but looking back on what I’ve written I can’t help but feel that my best hasn’t been good enough, that the more I rave about this album the more unbelievable it all becomes.
It’s a shame, but I can just see you now, holding this kopy of Kerrang! in your grubby mitts, muttering: ‘Kiss meets Mud meets the Sweet meets the Bay City Rollers? A Wrathchild rave review? Barton’s off his rocker!’
What more can I say other than – -so what else is new?
Kerrang! Issue No. 79 October 1984 – Review by Derek Oliver
W.A.S.P/ Thor / Wrathchild – The Lyceum, London
Now I’m not a man opposed to the ridiculous (early Kiss, Angel and Starz are compulsive investigation as far as I’m concerned), but somehow Wrathchild seem to have taken a distressing nose-dive for the worse. Their original visual impact has been lost; now the band are simply over-indulgent, relying on slapstick gimmicks and mascara madness. Frankly, it’s all becoming too clichéd.
Musically, however, matters are improving rapidly; although this particular performance was hindered, terminally, by one of the worst sound mixes my ears have ever been subjected to. Vocals and bass were the two main factors most affected by the ill-functioning sound equipment, with only Lance Rocket’s power guitarwork relieving the near- cacophonous monotony, A shame, as I think Wrathchild needed this date to cease doubts about their ability to impress. I hope they get another chance.