Judas Priest and Beyond: Rock Me’Til I Die

Tygers of Pang Tang

As with many of this era, the band came out of provincial Britain, and in this case, Whitley bay.

tygers-logo2

Playing many of the clubs of the region, the band soon got signed and released their first album “Wild Cat”.  John Sykes, who later become known for bands such as Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy and others, joined the band briefly.  Following frustration from their label at the time, the band broke up, re-united and broke up again.

A final reunion brought about by an invite by the Wacken festival, saw the band, minus most of its original members, back touring and recording.  It was noted that one of their more recent releases actually got more positive review than other more better known contemporaries such as Def Leppard and Whitesnake.  Recommendations:

Don’t Touch Me There, Killers, Running out of Time, Love Don’t Stay, Love Potion No.9, Never satisfied

Raven   Raven

Coming out of Newcastle, the band initially employed a rather bizarre image, what was known as “athletic rock”, because of their high-energy stage performances and more strangely, their use of sports gear.  They signed for the renowned and ultra-low budget label, Neat Records.

Releasing their first two albums on this label, allowed them the chance to tour the states, where with supports bands like Metallica and Anthrax, they proved to be a major influence on the emergent American thrash scene.  Moving to the states to try and take better advantage of this proved to be a disaster for the band though.  Trying for a bigger breakthrough, resulted in the band adopting a more commercial style, which instantly lost their most of their core audience overnight.  With a change in the musical styles around them, the band did what a lot of bands like them did at the time, and was to concentrate on markets in Europe.

Taking a break, after an accident involving guitarist Mark Gallagher, the band got back together and still play today.  Festival dates across Europe over the past few years proves to fans how great this band were and still are.  Recommendations:

Rock Til You Drop, For the Future, Battle Zone, Crash Bang Wallop, Juggernaut, Faster than the Speed of Light

Angelwitch   angel-witch-20140319180620

The band had a troubled line-up from the very beginning but garnered a great deal of attention from the underground through their inclusion on the now legendary Metal for Muthas compilation.  Eventually, they were signed up and set about to record one of the highlights of the era in their self-titled album.

Even this did nothing to halt the instability and a number of times the band broke up and reunited, usually with differing line-ups and members.  At one stage, there was actually an American version of the band as well.  Eventually though, a level of stability was achieved and a series of low-level gigs to get them back on track culminated with guesting with on Orange Goblin’s annual Christmas gigs.

The current line-up, featuring Bill Steer from Carcass and Napalm Death fame, released a new album last year to massive critical acclaim.  Recommendations:

Flight 19, Angel Witch, Gorgon, Free Man, Straight from Hell, Waltz the Night, Dead Sea Scrolls

Grim Reaper   Grim Reaper

This band came out of provincial town, Drotwich, in the late 70’s.  They gained attention through winning a battle of the bands comepetition at the time and released their debut album in 1984.  See You in Hell was yet another one of those all-time classic early 80’s metal album, with Steve Grimmet’s soaring vocals and Nick Bowcott’s classic guitar sound.  It was also another one of those classically low-production style albums as well.

Second album Fear No Evil enjoyed better production and the band started to enjoy some success in Europe and the States.  And then the classic problem happened.  Their album delayed the release of their third album by which time the band faced a much changed musical environment with thrash metal to the fore and death metal on the rise.  More hassle with their next album caused the death of the band.

They got back together in 2006, minus Bowcott, prompted by requests from former fans and played a series of festivals over the next few years.  They are still touring today.  Recommendations:

Wrath of the Ripper, See You in Hell, Liar, Dead on Arrival, Final Scream, Rock You to Hell, Rock Me ‘Til I Die

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