Friday, November 18, 2011

THUNDERSTICK - Echoes from the Analogue Asylum CD compilation review

THUNDERSTICK - Echoes from the Analogue Asylum CD compilation
Heaven and Hell Records
Genre: Classic Metal/Hard Rock
Rating: 3/5

Heaven and Hell Records is well known for unearthing material from Metal's past which to some people are considered lost relics. This latest one was a surprise to me although I do know some of their pre-history. For those of you who don't well get comfortable and I'll give you the quick version. Prior to joining IRON MAIDEN, vocalist Bruce Dickinson was in another NWOBHM band called SAMSON. After a few releases he split and of course the rest is history. Back in the day I knew about SAMSON, well basically all American fans learned about em once Dickinson became MAIDEN's new frontman. I never had any of their releases but I had a Metal comp album with one SAMSON song on it. Don't even ask which one because I forget. Anyway SAMSON also had a drummer named Barry Graham who went by the stage name Thunderstick whose gimmick was to wear a leather S&M mask (now commonly refereed to as a gimp-style mask). I remembered the mask but not the name. Shortly after Dickinson left SAMSON Graham left as well. It's at this point in the story where my personal knowledge ends. I didn't know that in 1981 Graham started a new band named after his stage persona THUNDERSTICK. I also didn't know he played drums inside of a cage on stage either.

Anyway THUNDERSTICK managed to put out two releases which were 1983's 'Feel Like Rock'n'Roll' EP and 1984's 'Beauty and the Beasts' full length. The band also recorded a second full length album entitled 'Don't Touch, I'll Scream' which was never released. 'Echoes from the Analogue Asylum' is a representation of THUNDERSTICK's full recorded output from the EP and LP (eleven tracks) plus five previously unreleased tracks. The first thing you need to know is that Graham enlisted a female singer for the band named Jodee Valentine. This woman's vocal style balances out between commercial early 80's pop metal and punk rock. It's evident from listening to this that Graham was probably shooting for commercial radio appeal instead of continuing on with NWOBHM. The song "Long Way To Go" could have been a radio chart hit in 84. I'm surprised they never made it on Top of the Pops. Hmmm I'll have to check Youtube. If you compare this to one of their contemporaries of the time, GIRLSCHOOL, then you can hear the difference. It's not very metalish at all even by early 80's standards. Another thing to add is that the band's other shtick was glam rock inspired by various 70's acts and not the California hair metal scene. I guess if you're into female fronted bands then this is right up your alley, maybe even mandatory. In the end I find it surprising that even with a quality pop rock oriented sound and style they never made a mark in the 80's.




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