T.N.T.

METAL FORCES ISSUE 37 MARCH 1989

T.N.T. are one of those groups that most people have heard something by, but know little about. The band’s third album “Tell No Tales” released in 1987 caused something of a stir as guitarist Ronnie Le Tekro did some extraordinary things with his Kramer guitar and vocalist Tony Harnell pitched himself almost as high as an early ‘70’s Geddy Lee.

Prior to that attention grabbing album T.N.T. had already released two albums which saw them struggling to find a style and an image that they could expand on, and live with. Formed in 1982 by Le Tekro and three other Norwegians the band recorded a self-titled debut album in their first year, before the line-up began to change and gradually resemble that of today. Bassist Morty Black joined in 1983 and the band took the bold and necessary step of recruiting an American vocalist Tony Harnell arrived in Norway just in time to contribute to the band’s second album “Knights Of The New Thunder” – which was largely instrumental in forcing T.N.T. to the very front of the Scandinavian music scene. This was their first album for Polygram, doing well not only in Norway (where it went Silver) but, also in the States.

As mentioned earlier it was the band’s third album “Tell No Tales” which really put T.N.T. on the proverbial map. Gone, by this time was the Norse Viking look that had characterised the band in their early days and in was a stylish, clear as a bell sound and look. The album spawned two hit singles “Ten Thousand Lovers (In One)” and “Everyone’s A Star” with the help of their videos introduced many new MTV fans to the band.

T.N.T’s line up was consolidated in 1988 with the addition of drummer Ken Odiin, who apart from being a long-time friend of Blacks also engineered some of the band’s earlier demos.

Now, in early 1989 T.N.T are back with an excellent new album, a settled line-up, and a desire to adopt a much higher profile. Vocalist Tony Harnell spoke to me from Phonogram’s U.S. office on a day where rain was pouring outside both our windows. “Ah, it’s real ugly outside Dave, I’m glad I’m indoors.”

Me too, So tell me about the new album. How do you think you’ve progressed from “Tell No Tales”? “Well, I think that this album is another change in the band’s career, I would even say that it is as significant a step forward as “Tell…” was from “Knights of The New Thunder”. We’ve grown in every way, musically, lyrically, and socially. Perhaps the most noticeable improvement is with the vocal melodies and with the contribution that Ken has made. We’ve become much tighter now, I’m really happy about it all”

“Intuition” continues the trend that you set on your last album, that of being very positive and optimistic – which would presumably appeal to the many Christian fans out there, have you tried to cultivate that appeal? “Not really, but if we appeal to them then that’s fine. Our message is one with a general humanitarian outlook – it’s not driven at any particular religion, it’s just a basic feeling that we have about the way we like to live. We have had a lot of feedback on it though I must admit. There are a lot of subliminal messages in there, and I’m not sure how much they would be into the band if they were to study it in depth, although there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be. We aren’t trying to please any particular group of people, we just feel there is enough negativity around, so if we can be positive then that’s a plus for us.”

In one sense you seem to have gone for a more ‘mainstream’ approach on this album in that there aren’t any instrumentals (there were three on the last album) yet you have included something as ‘off the wall’ as “Ordinary Lover” why? “Ha! WeII, Ronni wrote the song about a year ago and we keep joking around with it, playing it at parties and stuff. Everyone seemed to think it was a kind of novelty so we tried to reproduce that in the studio, we got Ronnie really drunk and made him sing it – it’s his lead vocal debut. We had everyone singing the backing vocals on it Me, Ken, Joe Lynn Turner, Morty, and all the crew and our friends, so you can imagine it was pretty funny.”

The Introduction “A Nation Free” is a little strange. What can you tell me about that? “It’s about the whole World. Basically what it’s saying is say your prayers tonight, which is not so much religious as just hope for the best y’know? Chase your dreams, hold your head high, it’s personal but it’s also about wanting World peace and stuff like that”.

I wondered if it was about Norway for example because other bands like STAGE DOLLS and even FATE felt that there was a close knit community there among the musicians, would you agree? “yeah, I guess there is. I know that it seems to be a bit more between the Norwegian bands because there is a bit of rivalry between bands from Sweden and those from Norway at the moment – it’s something we all try and laugh off though. I mean I know that Ronni was partying with Yngwie the other week and they have become good friends. I’d like to play some more in Sweden because they are a great untapped audience, it’s just a case of getting over there but, we will do soon.”

Talking of the band’s homeland, you excepted, did you have any intentions when you joined of continuing that Norse Viking theme? “You know that was just something that when I joined I just went along with because that was pretty much where the songs were at then. What they did was they took me up into the mountains and showed me some castles and stuff to get me into the mood! After that album though I thought it had run its course and I wanted to move towards writing about more real life issues. When I say that I must add that I don’t like bands that write about reality, but dwell on the negative stuff, to me that’s harmful – whether you’re singing or just living out that kind of attitude. So what I’ve bled to focus on is a mixture of reality and fantasy, but with an emphasis on the positive side of things…”

Having said that though, Tony, does that mean that you don’t sympathise with bands like OZZY OSBOURNE and JUDAS PRIEST who, after writing about the negative side of things have been accused of causing suicides etc? “No. My feeling is that everybody has a good head on their shoulders (with a few exceptions), and I think we all agree on this, that whether they were listening to PRIEST or to God, then I think those people would have done what they did irrespective of what they were listening to – maybe those people just needed an excuse to snap, and that was a convenient one.”

We mentioned image before, in terms of the band’s old look, so what are you trying to emphasise nowadays? “I think we’re just trying to be ourselves – I think that is the most important thing. We’re trying to let our fans see that we’re a real band who write about real issues. We still feel that we’re a new rock n’ roll band because although we have had some success there’s still a lot of people that haven’t seen or even heard of us.

“At our shows we seem to attract a good cross-section of fans – women, rockers, you know the sort. Sometimes I think that the real heavy fans shy away from us – but to do that they have obviously never seen us live. I mean when people like that do take the time to listen to us I know that they get turned onto it ‘cos it is heavy, and it’s intense.”

What was it like working with Joe Lynn Turner then? “It was unbelievable. I mean I’ve admired him for years – when I was in a band playing cover versions in Philly and New York I used to sing all his RAINBOW stuff, I’ve just been a fan of his since I was about nineteen years old I guess. Just to stand next to him and sing all the harmonies with him it was amazing. He taught me so much about how to best do the backing vocals. I’d done them all on the previous two albums, and I thought they were O.K. but I really wanted some more. He showed me a lot of new harmonies, and how to do them a lot quicker. He’s just like a machine, he’ll find the melody then he’ll just do it, he is brilliant. He has such a rich voice, and I think that the bottom end harmonies this time are much fuller thanks to him.”

What made you choose to work with Bjorn Nessjoe again? “Erm, ‘cos he’s good! Ha! Seriously though he just seems to get a sound that just fits us – we’re not looking to sound like all the other bands out there. We don’t sit back and say let’s sell eight million records next time, go get Bruce Fairbairn and Desmond Child y’know? It’s O.K. if one or two bands do it but now that everyone’s having a go there’s soon not gonna be a lot of difference between them all. As a band we all felt that we wanted to keep our own identity, and I think with Bjorn we can do that”

Would you agree that your live profile has been pretty low, and are you going to change that? “Yeah, we are gonna try and change that with this album. We’ve had some real bad luck with some of the tours that we were gonna do, or were doing y’know. Our goal now is to play as much as possible – on the last two albums we were taken off the road before we really wanted to come off. We are a good live band, but that is something that people will just have to accept for now, until they get chance to see us. We’re looking at three options right now as to when and where we’ll be touring. One of the options is to open for a big band in the States, which is the record Company’s intention with this album. But, the band are mostly European and so we all want to do another European tour, and I especially want to do more British dates than the Marquee slot we did last time.”

O.K. then Tony, does your “Intuition” tell you that this is going to be the album that’s gonna ‘make It’ for you, or do you foresee another one first? “My intuition tells me that this is the one, I’m not gonna jinx it though, so I have to say that it feels very good, that the record company are giving one hundred percent – it’s kinda frustrating because In the past we’ve always done what was expected of us, then fallen foul to outside forces or something. This time though I think we’ll be able to see it through, we’ll play all the shows we need to play, and really give it all we’ve got. We’ve some great plans to do some ‘proper’ videos this time and we’re all really excited about it all.”

Well, there you have it, if you’ve never heard T.N.T. do yourself a favour and grab a copy of “Intuition” – it can’t be wrong after all.

NO EXCUSE

METAL FORCES ISSUE 37 MARCH 1989

NO EXCUSE


Out of all the female fronted rock bands populating this Earth, and there’s ahealthy plethora of ‘em, Britain hasn’t really managed to make much of a mark. Following the aggressive and totally unjustified vilification of once proud acts such as GIRLSCHOOL and ROCK GODDESS (and don’t forget both of these bands reached their peak by headlining Hammersmith Odeon) Britain has been totally unable to respond to a market thoroughly ignored. Seems to be that if your band just so happens to be led by a member of the fairer sex then kiss goodbye to success, the obvious preoccupation press-wise for the singer becoming doubly exaggerated and thus doubly lethal for the band in question. The rock press has never truly taken female fronted acts seriously.
NO EXCUSE are a London based band with a female singer – one Sue Hunt. The remainder comprising of drummer Andy Lloyd, bassist Alex Poray and lead guitarist Richard Scott.

NO EXCUSE came my way via an impressively packaged demo, far superior to the run of the mill shoddy efforts I generally receive from British acts. No sellotape encrusted second hand brown envelope, no photocopy or Polaroid out of focus snap either. Truth be told, it made a pleasant change to obtain something that had had a bit of thought and care put into it.

For a band with only a handful of club dates to their credit NO EXCUSE have achieved a great deal. They feature on two New Renaissance compilation albums, namely “Guitar Mania” and “Ladykillers 2”.

The band’s sound is difficult to define, there are marked VAN HALEN leanings which I pointed out in the demo review, but this doesn’t distract in any way from the remarkable power and maturity of their material. Guitarist Richard Scott is an extremely accomplished and adept player who utilizes Jazz chops and even a dash of Hendrix, anything to make that NO EXCUSE sound ‘different’.

It wasn’t too long ago that NO EXCUSE nearly lost their guitarist when SABBAT ‘borrowed’ Richard for their UK tour, and were subsequently so impressed they tried to half-inch the man. I asked Sue how that situation developed.

“SABBAT’s producer Roy Roland had worked with Richard for quite some time,” she told me. “And when SABBAT decided they needed another guitarist for live work to reproduce the album properly onstage, Roy immediately suggested Richard to them. NO EXCUSE weren’t really doing much at that particular time, so we had a band meeting and decided It would be OK. Richard had a great time on tour and SABBAT made it obvious they were very impressed with his playing. In fact, they were so impressed that at the end of the tour they asked him to join on a full time basis.”

Were the band worried about losing Richard at that juncture? “Not really,” Sue admits with confidence. “Richard felt he had to decline the offer immediately opting to stick with NO EXCUSE. Joining SABBAT would obviously have been a big boost to Richard’s career in the short term, but we’re all convinced NO EXCUSE will make it, so in the long run it’s better to stick with this band. We’re all totally committed to NO EXCUSE. Everyone has put so much hard work into this band it would be just silly to waste it. Also, when the SABBAT offer came, NO EXCUSE were starting to generate some interest Obviously it was very flattering for Richard, but he said ‘No thanks’ straight away.”

The band’s biography claims Sue only recently discovered she could sing. Listening to the tape makes that rather hard to believe, as Sue is in possession of a rich and magnificently powerful voice which belies the biogs assertion that it is only a newly found talent. Is it true? “Well, I have had a few vocal training lessons,” Sue admits a bit sheepishly before adding that, “they were only because people had pointed out that I wasn’t using my voice properly. I thought about it and realised it would be stupid to ruin my voice even before I’d started sol got a few lessons in which were invaluable. I’d advise elf budding vocalists to sort some lessons or some kind of training out, you’ll save yourself a lot of pain later on! It’s really basic stuff like breathing control and posture, but it’s so important”

When did Sue find out she could sing? “When I lived up North I would go along to see a local band rehearse and they asked me to have a go at singing for them. I’d never really sang before, but after one song I really got into it. ft didn’t take too long for me to decide that I’d like to make a profession out of it.”

How would Sue describe NO EXCUSE’s music? “Well, we didn’t have thoughts about how it would turn out, although it was obvious that with Richard’s style of playing it wouldn’t be regular rock music, I can see what you mean about the VAN HALEN comparison. It’s more in that mould of experimental rock. We just try to write good songs with a good catchy chorus. Having said that though we’ve no intentions of sounding American in anyway. I’m glad that we’ve got a musical identity, everyone who’s heard us says that we’re not a regular rock band.”

What about the age old maxim that a female fronted rock band just isn’t
going to make it big time? “Well, this is a band first and foremost” Sue states resolutely. “NO EXCUSE is not ‘The Sue Hunt Band’. I think there have been a few bands recently who have used a girl singer to get them some press, but it always backfired. Having said that there have been some good bands like NIKKI BROOKS and WILD! That’s one of the reasons I asked you to use a band shot as opposed to a single shot of me for this interview. NO EXCUSE is a band with equal members.”

How’s it going on the gig scene? “We’re getting our hands on as many gigs as we can in London and we hope to branch out further into the country as soon as we can. The London club scene is pretty tight to get into unfortunately. We’ve been booked alongside pop hands and all sorts, but as long as we get the opportunity to play in front of people it doesn’t matter. We’re starting to pick up interest from record companies and we’ve had a few people down to our gigs – including KeIv Hellrazer!”

WITCH MASTER GENERAL

METAL FORCES ISSUE 37 MARCH 1989

WITCHMASTER GENERAL

Formed in 1986 by Mark Beaudoin (lead guitar) and Tom Kavanagh (drums), WITCH MASTER GENERAL are a power metal band based in Ottawa, Canada.

The band’s current demo was recorded in October last year and features five songs “October Frost”, “Scarlet Fever”, “Reduced To Ashes”, “On The Warpath” and the title track “Winds Of Salem”.

Musically, the band, whose line-up is completed by Randy Chase (vocals), Dan McNamara (rhythm guitars) and Bryant Dale (bass), mix early METALLICA and SABBATH influences with injections of thrash and enhanced with a strong sense of melody. Vocalist Randy Chase reminds me a lot of Ozzy Osbourne with a touch of CANDLEMASS’ Messiah Marcolin thrown in, which suits the complex story structures perfectly.

On the evidence of this tape, WITCH MASTER GENERAL have some strong material especially “October First” and the pacey “On The Warpath”, which displays excellent musicianship and a desire to be creative and original, and hopefully they shouldn’t have too many problems in securing a record deal in the near future.

BERNARD DOE

FIFTEEN MINUTES

METAL FORCES ISSUE 37 MARCH 1989

FIFTEEN MINUTES

FIFTEEN MINUTES are a new L.A. based band featuring David Walker (lead vocals/guitars), Darby (drums), Joe Ferrario (bass) and Mark O’Connell (lead guitar). The band took their name from an Andy Warhol statement and have their roots deeply embedded in the post-punk era. Basically, FIFTEEN MINUTES play straightforward rock with a psychedelic tint.

“Hurry Up Man” is my favourite cut, being both bluesy and commercial, whilst “Closet Man” is a weird kinda psychedelic sounding number, one minute DOORS sounding and the next getting real heavy.

“Impossible To Talk To You” is blues of the highest order and David Walker’s bizarre vocals make it totally original sounding. There is no doubt in my mind that FIFTEEN MINUTES will get signed and they’ve already picked up a publishing/artist development deal with Chrysalis, so big news is surely just round the corner.
KELV HELLRAZER

 

 

ADDICTIVE

METAL FORCES ISSUE 37 MARCH 1989

ADDICTIVE


With the expected interest in MORTAL SIN in the coming months, there’s sure to be a sudden interest in Australian thrash metal. And there’s no doubt dozens of bands are waiting in the wings for the door to open.

Well, one such band that could well be making their own headlines in the near future are ADDICTIVE, a Sydney based quartet who’ve recently released a highly promising five song demo entitled “Ward 74”.

Formed in November1987, and with a line-up of Greg (vocals/bass), Joe and Mick (guitars) and Matt (drums), ADDICTIVE are obviously influenced by the likes of METALLICA and especially TESTAMENT, and although the material isn’t mind blowing or particularly original, it is delivered with plenty of power, precision and conviction to suggest that they could well develop into a class thrash unit in time.
BERNARD DOE



BILLIONAIRE BOYS CLUB

METAL FORCES ISSUE 37 MARCH 1989

BILLIONAIRE BOYS CLUB

 
BILLIONAIRE BOYS CLUB is none other than my old buddy Nigel Itson (ex-LONDON/RUBY SLIPPERS). “After the demise of RUBY SLIPPERS, it was pretty obvious that l wasn’t going to make it doing the OTT glamour thing,” explains Nigel, “so I decided that l would do the thing by myself.

I found four scum buckets that were already in a band and we formed MILLIONAIRE BOYS CLUB, but due to inflation we changed it to BILLIONAIRE!”

Being a big tan of Nigel I couldn’t wait to get my lugholes around his latest affair.

“Sealed With A Kiss” hits off the demo, and is Nigel at his trashiest yet, being backed up by the weirdest bunch of junkie punks I’ve seen in a long time – in the form of Robert Tracy (guitars), Billy (guitars), James Frey (bass) and Tony Purvis (drums). It’s not surprising the band sound trashy.

“Twinkle Twinkle” is the glamiest anthem around, Nigel turning in his finest vocal performance to date. “You Girl” is another glamour anthem of the finest order, showing Nigel’s MOTT influences.

I think Nigel stands a better chance than ever before with B.B.C., the image Is more streetwise, which will help ‘cos a lot of people were offended by RUBY SUPPERS – sometimes they were just too OTT.
KELV HELLRAZER

RUBY SLIPPERS MYSPACE

http://www.myspace.com/rubyslippersrock/music

NO DIRECTION

METAL FORCES ISSUE 37 MARCH 1989

NO DIRECTION

Originally based in Knoxville, Tennessee but now residing in Seattle, Washington, NO DIRECTION are a five-piece outfit whose mixture of speed metal and hardcore reminds me a lot of Chicago’s underrated AFTERMATH who appeared on the MF “Scream Your Brains Out” compilation album last year.

NO DlRECTlON have been together in some shape or form since ’87 and their current line-up reads: Tim Allen (vocals), Hank Bate (lead guitar), Lenny Burnett (guitar), James Atkins (bass) and David Knight (drums).

The bands four song demo is well produced and the material is fairly strong, ranging from the thrashcore frenzied “Circle Of Fear” to the more metalized “Brain Daze” with brutal METALLICA-like rifling. “Blind Reproach” is a punchy plodder with some blatant SLAYER “Reign In Blood” era riffs, whilst the more pacey “Gestures Of Faith” ends a promising enough tape.
BERNARD DOE

NIAGARA

METAL FORCES ISSUE 37 MARCH 1989

 NIAGARA – The Marquee, London


Whether it was just curiosity or actual interest in the band I couldn’t say, but the Marquee had a large crowd for Spain’s hottest new export: (just edging ahead at San Miguel lager!) NIAGARA.
From the offset they were out to impress – their stagecraft, learnt on stages far larger than this one tonight, was fluid, projective and perfectly executed – culminating in a SCORPIONS style synchronised set-piece (note the alliteration!) which served as an introduction to “Now Or Never” one of the band’s most potent cuts.

Vocalist Tony Cuevas has the voice and the look of a star – his English is virtually flawless and his mike-spinning acrobatics make him the centre of attention, a compliment indeed bearing in mind the quality of the band beside him.

Although touted as a ‘melodic rock’ band NIAGARA really crank it up live. Guitarist VIM. has the ability to caress your ears one minute, then hit you in the guts the next! – which makes for an interesting show I can tell you!
Clearly NIAGARA have got what it takes to be the next big thing their material is excellent, check out the beauty of “Take My Hand”, or the aggression behind “Power” (a fantastic instrumental). The latter displays the perfect Interplay between keyboardist Ricky Castaneda, bassist Angel Alias, drummer Joey Matos, and, of course, guitarist V.M. Arias.

Needless to say the crowd lapped it up, which seemed to spur the band to even greater heights and resulted in a singing contest which actually worked (!) and a couple of encores, one being a cover of DOKKEN’s “Into The fire”.
Hopefully NIAGARA will remove the stigma that so far has been synonymous with Spanish rock.
DAVE SHACK

NUCLEAR ASSAULT

METAL FORCES ISSUE 37 MARCH 1989

EXODUS/NUCLEAR ASSAULT/HOLY TERROR
Rolling Stone, Milan, Italy


I’ve got to say that this gig had all the ingredients for turning into a “Fabulous Disaster” itself and considering the trauma’s suffered throughout the day by bands and crew alike, I was very relieved when it had actually got underway.

On arriving mid-afternoon at the Rolling Stone, a seedy but fairly amiable venue close to the centre of Milan, it became apparent that all was not exactly what you would call…er, well. Problem. The truck carrying all the equipment, PA, amps, etc had not yet turned up and as far as I could make out, nobody seemed too sure about its location either. As time drew on faces grew longer and longer, including my own. By now plans were afoot to hire gear locally, an idea not relished by most, but something that looked like becoming a reality and better than not playing at all.

Moving on to the early evening, things were still unchanged and with proceedings meant to commence at 8 o’clock then time was running very short, However, shouts of ‘the truck’s here’ and a general buzz which suddenly spread around the hall, signalled time for a mad panic in order to get the gear in and setup.

And so to NUCLEAR ASSAULT. Well, as I’ve said before, these guys are just so much fun and have some crushing songs that you can’t fail to enjoy. The set featured was a very familiar one featuring all the old faves, one of which I was particularly interested in seeing what sort of reaction the Italian crowd would give it, They must have had a few doubts about playing “Hang The Pope”, but actually it went down surprisingly well, as did the other quickies “My America” and “Lesbians”. NUCLEAR ASSAULT managed to entice the odd stage diver or two and also succeeded in whipping those down the front into a frenzy. With “Butt***k” we got the usual looning around on stage, promptly copied by the crowd out front, but sound wise it was still a bit of a disappointment – but then I haven’t yet seen a NUCLEAR ASSAULT show where l thought that the sound was excellent.

Whatever, it didn’t matter to the crowd and we got some barnstorming versions of songs that have now become like old favourites. what the band lacked in clarity they made up for in pure. raw energy: “F Sharp”. “Game Over”. “Nuclear War”. “Fight To Be Free”, all manic run throughs which gave the cue to go berserk and it looked like NUCLEAR ASSAULT had succeeded in winning the crowd over. “This one goes out to EXODUS,” announced Dan Lilker before the band burst into “Justice”. With a brutal version of “Vengeance” and the quick inclusion of crowd pleaser “Good Times, Bad limes” this was a set that offered few surprises, but gave the Italian crowd just what they’d hoped for, expected and got, so despite the iffy sound I’d have to say NUCLEAR ASSAULT 10, The Pope 0.

After the show I asked guitarist Anthony Bramante whether the band have been at all worried about doing “Hang The Pope”? “At first I was and then I said to hell with it, they wanted it, they asked for it and they got it”

So how do the Italian audiences compare to elsewhere? “This has been our best so far, no bullshit, after we record our next album in May ‘89 maybe we’ll come back. As of now we have about five songs together, it’ll just be as heavy, maybe a little more progressive, with a little more taste and style,”

Have the band suffered because of the equipment hassles’ ‘Well, we did the show even though we didn’t have our road crew here, we still did the best we could do but we’ve only got two guys, no monitor man, no sound man, y’know, but we still did it and got the best response, so it was fun.”

ROB CLYMO


 

EXODUS

METAL FORCES ISSUE NUMBER 37 MARCH 1987

EXODUS/NUCLEAR ASSAULT/HOLY TERROR
Rolling Stone, Milan, Italy


I’ve got to say that this gig had all the ingredients for turning into a “Fabulous Disaster” itself and considering the trauma’s suffered throughout the day by bands and crew alike, I was very relieved when it had actually got underway.

On arriving mid-afternoon at the Rolling Stone, a seedy but fairly amiable venue close to the centre of Milan, it became apparent that all was not exactly what you would call…er, well. Problem. The truck carrying all the equipment, PA, amps, etc had not yet turned up and as far as I could make out, nobody seemed too sure about its location either. As time drew on faces grew longer and longer, including my own. By now plans were afoot to hire gear locally, an idea not relished by most, but something that looked like becoming a reality and better than not playing at all.

Moving on to the early evening, things were still unchanged and with proceedings meant to commence at 8 o’clock then time was running very short, However, shouts of ‘the truck’s here’ and a general buzz which suddenly spread around the hall, signalled time for a mad panic in order to get the gear in and setup.

Within a very short space of time, something that was not at a premium, headliners EXODUS emerged and made everything seem worthwhile after the past days events leading up to the gig, which had at first made for rather a bleak picture what with the all round chaos and confusion. Nevertheless, this was an important gig for EXODUS, one they couldn’t afford to miss, and with a mere hours worth of playing time left you could tell they didn’t want to hang around.

Opening up with “Last Act Of Defiance” Messrs Sousa, Holt, Hunolt, Hunting and McKillop turned the place upside down, although one thing did become immediately apparent the gremlins were still at large. Lack of soundcheck cannot have helped matters much and the problems continued to affect the sound right thorough the title track from the new album “Fabulous Disaster” and the somewhat older, but nonetheless effective, “‘Till Death Do Us Part”, guitars being buried in a sea of drums and bass. By “Braindead” things have begun to improve, in fact, this song as with all the other numbers from the “Pleasures Of The Flesh” album sound a hell of a lot better live than on record, they take on whole new dimension, perhaps because they’re endorsed by the lunatic behaviour of the band on stage, having got their act these days, well and truly together. You can’t fail to be grabbed instantly by the vocals of Steve Sousa, this guy has really developed an incredibly gruff style, one which is all his own and anybody who still yearns for Baloffs growl must surely now be convinced that Sousa is the perfect successor, having plenty of aggression yet being musical enough to handle a touch of melody here and there, when and if it’s needed.

EXODUS are fast emerging as one of the tightest thrash outfits currently on the circuit and although some say they took a step backward with “P.O.T.F.”, I think songs such as “Chemi-Kill”, which went down a storm here, only help to give their show a new and varied dimension, plus the songs are that much heavier live any way. All too much obviously for some of the more adventurous in the crowd with the odd one or two fans making a break for the stage only to be quickly restrained by the rather lacklustre bunch of security guys.

Guitarists Holt and Hunolt are always entertaining, particularly Hunolt who was performing some bizarre leaps to the front of the stage while peeling off some ever impressive solos. Old favourite “And Then There Were None” was an instant success which only served to strengthen the crowd’s enthusiasm, so much so that a stage diver managed to land practically on Sousa’s head – a perfect lead up to the “Toxic Walt”. With the sound having improved we got “Like Father Like Son” and the mayhem of “Deliver Us To Evil” at which point the PA. suddenly decided to emit some appalling feedback before cutting out entirely! At first the band seemed unsure of what was happening and the crowd reacted similarly, a shame, but they recovered well and when the PA. did finally cut back in again the sound was altogether better, better than it had been all evening, so the band grabbed the chance to tear through “Parasite” and “Strike Of The Beast” before being told that was it… or was it..? What else, but one of the all time classics, “Bonded By Blood”, a track that sounds as fresh now s when it originally appeared, brilliant and what better way to round of the show.

I asked Steve ‘Zetro’ Sousa if he thought the show had been a success?

“It was f*cking heavy. You can tell I’m losing my voice ‘cos this is the ninth
show in a row, tonight was the heaviest so far, the Italian crowd was amazing, these kids are like relentless. As soon as we do another album we’ll be back.”

Could you hear the problems with the P.A. up there on stage? “I could hear a little bit through the monitors, but the thing was that our equipment got held up at the border and we didn’t get it until about 7 o’clock tonight and there wasn’t a soundcheck, so we went on there in like a suicide pact, we didn’t know what was going to happen, we just went up there and did it. For the first song or two it was not miked at all, so when the guitars aren’t miked and the vocals are loud it’s trouble, but by “Braindead” things got ironed out. On the first song, I don’t know if you noticed, but we were all looking at each other like ‘what the f*ck is this sound like?’ and then about “Braindead” it started to click in, you could really hear it.. that’s just what happens on the road in rock’n’rolI! But we were definitely happy with the crowd and the show. The Italian crowds are completely nuts for thrash metal and we gave it to ‘em!” Miss them at your peril.
ROB CLYMO