KERRANG! ISSUE 79 October 1984

ARMORED SAINT: March Of The Saint (Chrysalis CHR 1479)

ARE ARMORED SAINT heavy? Armored Saint are heavyyy, and I don’t just mean that all that armour and chain mail and broadswords they wear makes them a mite tough to bench press either.

No indeed! Their debut album amply defends those ardent HMers back west who dubbed them the ‘headbangingest band in Los Angeles’, and stands firm as a relentlessly scorching slice of vinyl. Armored Saint sound like mighty earth giants banging ten tons of cutlery on the cosmic table – pumping riffs, pounding beat – impatient for flesh and blood. Mean and magnificent stuff. Yup, you’d better not mess with the US (chain) mail, my friend…

Ah, when you think of all the plastic out there that’s been used to make egg-slicers and Frisbees and artificial limbs that could far better have been put to making albums like this one; albums with more balls than a snooker marathon, more drive than Sterling Moss!

Hardly a millimeter of vinyl goes to waste on this fine debut; indeed, the only track that doesn’t stand up quite so well to my hardened earholes is opener, ‘March Of The Saint’ – four and a bit minutes of warm-up theme tune and a little like what ‘Hey, Hey, We’re The Monkees is to ‘Daydream Believer’, if you want to stretch the point a bit. But that’s only when compared to the gooder-than-good stuff to follow. Like ‘Can You Deliver’ – they certainly can! – or the anthemy ‘Seducer’ to name but two, all solid as Gibraltar and nowhere near as wet!

Yes, in spite of freaks (I use the term advisedly!) like Motley Crue, W.A.S.P. and Van Halen, the new wave of LA Heavy Metal getting snapped up by the major labels still featured too big a proportion of Def Leppard-influenced, safe AORockers; so it warms the blood to see another fine hard working pro heavy HM bunch heading for success. Because that’s where I reckon they’re going with this opus.

Which isn’t to say that it’s all thrash – the ballad on Side One, for example, ‘Take A Turn’, is great sending shivers down the old spine, while ‘Glory Hunter’ on Side Two represents over five minutes of marvellousness, with some absolutely killer vocals on both. Hmm, looks like I quite like this bunch…

The production of Michael James Jackson (no relation) could be a tad butch-er, more of a stadium than a large-hall performance, but otherwise I’ve
no reason to cross swords with the band about this album.



Kerrang! Issue No. 79 October 1984 – The Lyceum, London – Review by Derek Oliver

W.A.S.P/ Thor / Wrathchild

Thor, on the other hand, seems to be suffering from exactly the opposite problem to Wrathchild, Visually his image is perfect; obviously, a real-life comic book super hero. But musically his flimsy material lacks the splendour of his gigantic stature, Simply, Thor is in dire need of some decent and colourful songs before a career upgrade can be fully justified.

Devoid of the luscious Pantera, hot water bottle and rusty iron bar, the performance was stripped back to basics, featuring the Mighty One on his own bellowing out a succession of primal rumbles that culminated with the monstrous ‘Thunder On The Tundra’, atediously rudimentary song that contained more banality than an evening spent in the company of Gloria Hunniford and microphone.

Crawling from the wreckage, my mind flicked back to Ozzy’s recent Donington extravaganza in which, although artistically a shambles, his personal warmth and believable character shone through brighter than any other star on the bill. The same can be said of Thor; this man is honest and truly likeable. I just hope those minor problems can be quickly overridden.


W.A.S.P. Live

Kerrang Issue No. 79 – October 1984 – Review by Geoff Barton

W.A.S.P. / Thor / Wrathchild – Lyceum Ballroom, London

Monday nite at a sold-out Lyceum, and the tingle is creeping up my spine again. The tingle that I felt when I first glimpsed Kiss at Manchester Free Trade Hall back in ‘76. When I saw Van Halen support Black Sabbath at Lewisham Odeon. When I came across Def Leppard at scuzzy Crookes Working Men’s Club. When I was bowled over by Rush, clad in satin and supporting Aerosmith in Toronto. The tingle that tells me lam witnessing TRUE GREATNESS.

Monday nite at a sold-out Lyceum, and WASP, prove beyond doubt that they are serious contenders. Not a horrendous hype, not a concussive collection of jerk-off jokers, not a pornographic pandemonium of bloodlustin’ bozos, but serious contenders. OK, so they’re ugly, so they’re maybe a little too old, so they’ve only played around a half-dozen gigs thus far this year but, hell, so-bloody-what?!

Monday nite at a sold-out Lyceum, and W.A.S.P. sure as s**t deliver the Sleaze Metal gonzo-goods.

Blackie’s boys take to the boards in a pall of smoke that hangs around pretty much for the whole evening. With giant skulls disguising the backline (also doubling as doors, automatically sliding back Star Trek-style to allow band members backstage access) and a tacky TORMENTOR cabin looking like a ramshackle outside toilet and positioned tantalisingly to one side of the stage, Lawless’ lotharios tear through a set that beneath the visual excess, is an immensely musical commercial Metal delight.

Monday nite at a sold-out Lyceum, and WASP. compensate for their lack of true vocal ability (when Backie sings alone it’s horrible) by adopting a scintillating simultaneous singing style. All four members belt out the words in unison; a full ‘n’ rich voice amalgam that soars majestically to the peak of a narcotic noise mountain.

Monday nite at a sold-out Lyceum, and Blackie Lawless’ stage stunts work sensationally well. He drinks blood from a skull. He tears open a pillowcase and covers the crowd in feathers. He chucks raw meat at the audience, cheekily trimming the chunks with the semi-circular saw blade strapped betWeen his legs — a master butcher, you don’t get this sorta behaviour at your local Dewhurstl And (potentially) most grotesque of all: he whips open the doors to the TORMENTOR shack to reveal a BIG woman, strung up and semi-naked, her body slick with perspiration, her breasts heaving, a bag placed sensitively over her head. The crowd’s necks crane for a better view and Blackie’s blade draws blood.., but that’s about all. In my voyeuristic view it’s all rather disappointingly subdued;

Monday nite at a sold-out Lyceum, and much of W.A.S.P.’s show is obviously Kiss derived. Blackie in particular has the ol’ Simmons crotch-thrust off pat, and he often skims ‘n’ scuffles back from his mike stand in the manner of a stackheeled Paul Stanley. Plus the habit of forever pointing high in the air at nothing in particular is an action lifted straight from the Destroyers in their stadium struttin’ heyday. A cunningly calculated gesture to make that fan 64 tiers up and half a mile away think he’s been singled out for special attention, Blackie’s forefinger was, I’ll admit a little overworked tonite. I mean, why keep on drawing attention to pieces of ornate plaster on a small auditorium wall?!

WASP quite obviously want to be Kiss, but (puffing on my critic’s firehat for a moment) I must admit I have one or two reservations about their ambitions.

As I mentioned earlier, the band could do with being a few years younger, plus their material begins to sound somewhat samey after a while. In their earliest dqys Kiss may not have been able to play too well, but they still came up with songs of the calibre of ‘She’ and ‘Slack Diamond’. That’sthe kinda standard WASP, have to strive to achieve. . at the moment ‘Animal (**** Like A Beast)’ is the only cast iron classic in their repertoire.