AHH the heady days of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal - our formative years when the Friday Rock Show was gospel and a myriad of bands infused musicality with punk attitude. Even for the younger generation - weaned on the bands, or simply introduced by friends it was an era that cemented the future of metal.
Thus, every time Rabid Bitch of the North take to the stage - cut-offs (or battle jackets as they are now called...), bullet belts and associated apparel they invoke that special time in the history of hard rockin' metal music.
With the imminent release of their latest assault of on aural tracts across the land 'Nothing But A Bitter Taste' they have a lot to live up to.
Across all eight tracks they pummel the listener with clear intent to do sweet glorious damage to all - a three-piece that pulls out all the weapons in their armoury.
While the comparisons with the classic era of NWOBHM are evident, this is just not an exercise in re-treading the riffs of old. Rather they take their influences and wear them on their sleeves.
The likes of 'Chance' and the title track meld melody - in both guitar and vocals - with muscle. The slightly unorthodox approach to arrangements and changes of tone mess with the memories and transform them into a new, fresh interpretation. They are self-confessed NWOBHM, but this is simply great metal.
Joe's voice reaches registers that terrifies the Metal Mansion's dog - he ran out with his tail between his legs while 'Trapped in 1999' was playing. And, yes the comparisons with Halford do occasionally surface, but it is no slavish copy of the Priest frontman, even if the band do confess to that being a big part of the fare they chose to work upon.
With Joe's bass and Chris's drums they make a solid base for Gerry's explorations across the fret board, with the notable Lizzy/Celtic doff of the cap on 'Gilded Man' surfacing to complete a manic track.
There are two tracks well familiar to fans already, live and on recorded output. 'Defending Two Castles' and 'Trapped in 1999'. These retain their power and round off the album. However, one gets the sense that the other six tracks will get their place in the hearts of the growing number of those appreciating what Rabid Bitch of the North are set to achieve.
Across all the songs there is a sense that the band's honest approach, combined with wit and earnest lyricism has been finally been captured on what is not yet the complete definitive collection of Rabid Bitch of the North recorded material.
That day will come in due course, but for now the three guys have carved out an album that will stand the test of time; an album that is fun to listen to, fun to singalong with, and one - if you have any sort of metal heart - will have those neck muscles getting a damn good work out banging your fucking head.
Rabid Bitch of the North has us all getting a little frothy around the lips at how good this is!
Review by Jonathan Traynor
Nothing But A Bitter Taste is released on August 18th. It is available for pre-order now, with shipping from 10th August, here.