To the States for the ultra-underground and ultra-powerful band, Ciruth Ungol. A name inspired from the Lord of the Rings only accentuated their sword and sorcery appeal.
They had been playing together for some time before they were eventually signed and released debut album, Frost and Fire. Employing a heavy/power metal styling, they were obviously all but ignored in their home market but gathered a loyal audience in Europe. The styling on this album eventually evolved into a doom style with a more progressive edge. They released a few more albums in the 80’s that cemented their live reputation until frustrated by record company demands, they split in the early 90’s.
Albums have been released in the meantime but mainly containing former tracks and demos and no new material. Former member Greg Lindstrom has been playing Cirith tracks with his new band and a proposed evening of Cirith Ungol songs at Bang Your Head last year fell apart when the set could not be played as advertised. Recommendations:
If you were a hard rock band in New York in the late 70’s and did not sound like KISS or Aerosmith, then your chances were pretty much screwed straight away. Added to the punk/new-wave scene and disco exploding across the city, chances diminished even further. Debut album, Rock City, was slightly all over the place in terms of styles which confused listeners. It did help them secure slots supporting the likes of AC/DC locally but there did not seem to be any major breakthrough.
Support from influential British DJ Neal Kay who spread the word about them and imported copies helped encourage them to record the Japanese themed Narita, which naturally was somewhat aimed at the Japanese market. It actually got to the stage though that their label refused to release their third album, calling it “commercially un-acceptable”. Urged on by a campaign lead by their management, fans picketed offices of EMI, especially in the UK. Eventually, they relented and Fire Down Under, became their best-selling release. Unfortunately, as with the case of most of these bands, there then was a whole raft of line-up changes throughout the rest of the decade. It did not help that their label was more interested in the similarly named but far more successful Quiet Riot. Re-unions with different members and splits took place but generally did not last too long.
A well-received album in “Immortal Soul” was released in 2010 but the death of guitarist and original founder, Mark Reale, before a planned series of dates around Europe, put paid to Riot for good. Recommendations: Overdrive, Rock City, Warrior, Road Racin’, Swords and Tequila, Run For Your Life, Fire Down Under
A weird thing happened in the states in the 80’s. Male bands decided that it would be fun try to wear shit loads of spandex, make-up and enough hair spray to create a small hole in the o-zone layer. Its name was glam metal/cock metal/hair metal (delete as applicable). Its themes were strippers, parties, drugs and an image that made a generation of teenagers very confused. Check out promo shots of bands like Trixer and wrathchild for example. All mainly coming out of LA’s sunset strip too.
A few stood out from the generally terrible music of that scene and that was WASP. They were formed in the early 80’s and had a tougher, harder edge to their music than most of the rest. This was backed up by their sometimes shocking stage show involving semi-nude women tied up on racks and throwing dead meat into the crowd. Early releases Animal (Fuck like a Beast) and L.O.V.E Machine hardly endeared them to censors or parents either. Of course they were cited by the P.R.M.C as well. Later releases The Headless Children and Crimson Idol, saw the band turning back on the shock tactics, and brought the song-writing talents of lead singer, Blackie Lawless, to the fore. Both were commercial and critical hits.
Since then, the band has seen a number of members leave and return but Lawless remained and remains still. He has recently decided to stop performing tracks like Animal due to his religious beliefs, which has not gone down especially well. Recommendations: