Fireworks

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Badge - 'Stormrider' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/4c/34/bc/2703_badgestormrider_1346774927.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 04, 2012    
 
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Songs with hooks and melodies, with cruising riffs and stunning solos.

With just one single, ‘Silver Woman’, on Neat Records’ short-lived vaguely progressive imprint Metal Minded, Badge would be a minor footnote in the history of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal if it wasn’t for one small thing: the songs. Badge wrote terrific songs. Songs with hooks and melodies, with cruising riffs and stunning solos. And in their vocalist Graham Waudby they had a truly great singer. As with most NWOBHM acts their star soon faded, which, given the aural evidence presented here, is truly a great shame.

‘Stormrider’ features the two cuts featured on that original and highly collectable 7” together with eight other demo tracks. But don’t be put off by the word ‘demo’ as – so long as you accept the limitations of Eighties’ recording studios (and the lack of funds available to a band like Badge) – these offerings are as good as many a final cut from the period and illustrate the great diversity of the band’s back catalogue. OK, so the 7” itself (flipped by ‘Something I’ve Lost’) may be rather simplistic on the surface, but it features some strong riffing, a neat time change, strapping leads and, what’s more, it’s catchy – and that’s what counts; as a result it became a cult hit in many a NWOBHM chart.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Elsewhere there’s the punchy ‘Blizzard’, a riff-driven bully that’s as hard as nails; ‘Drift Away’ and ‘See Me Gone’ are wonderful slices from the melodic rock pie, not dissimilar to what Praying Mantis or Tygers Of Pan Tang were to serve up as the NWOBHM waned; ‘Driving Home’ is a wonderful acoustic weepy with a solo to die for; and ‘Natalya From The Volga’ (surely the title of the year so far!) is a political narrative wrapped up as a fairytale. The album plays out with an extended version – a 12” remix, as it were – of ‘Silver Woman’, which Waudby calls in Matthias Mader’s excellent liner notes “an experiment in mixing techniques by our guitarist.” Take that any way you will.

With German specialist label High Roller now pressing CDs alongside their familiar limited edition vinyl runs there’s a chance for more people to discover some of HR’s less familiar signings. And I’d suggest you start with Badge.

John Tucker

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