1980 (2000 Re-issue)
The New Wave of British Heavy Metal stripped away all the indulgence and meandering that encrusted the pure core of the heavy metal genre. The massively influential Metal for Muthas captures the burgeoning movement on two editions, and both rip mightily. Along with its companion, this remastered relic is essential for students of metal shop. Lovingly preserved, the original linear notes demonstrate the genius of underground media, and a recent essay acknowledges the relevance of this compilation and its sequel sampler twenty years later, as HM continually thrives more than any other hybrid-strain of the 70's. As for the tunes, "Sanctuary" (now a major metal label) from Iron Maiden's debut could kick start any record. Side two dishes out "Wrathchild," another pre-Dickinson Maiden burner, and Bruce Bruce also haunts his pre-Maiden project, Samson, working the slow-fast hangover lament "Tomorrow or Yesterday." Sledgehammer's eponymous barnstormer and the Swedish E.F. Band (named for the founders) keep the standard high. Toad the Wet Sprocket (not the same band What's up with that?) slides into blues mode (Thought the NWOBHM wiped out this brand o' boredom, but it's not a bad number, and variety adds depth). Praying Mantis spews a bit o' prog into the brew with the fantastical "Captured City (where have all the good songs gone?)". Perennial supporters Nutz query who amongst us needs "Bootliggers." Angelwitch has achieved death legend status and Ethel the Frog deserves to be preserved simply because of that Monty Python moniker. These bands toured with Budgie, April Wine, Def Leppard and various others, but, beyond the obvious exceptions, rarely broke from a regional following. Since many of the adjoining records lack consistent quality, these short shots are the best ways to knock back some great lost rock. Again, this disc exemplifies reissuing done right as Metal for Muthas belongs in any head-banging collection.
-STONE, Cheap Trash NYC