This is a crazy fun heavy metal record. If you want something to pump your fist to, or drive fast (within the government mandated speed limit of your locale, of course) to, this is the record for you.
Their first record came out in 1981, and in 1982 they went on tour with Wishbone Ash (a killer old school band if you haven’t checked them out already. The first two albums were my favourites. You can still see them on tour as “Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash”). They did a few records in the early 80s, another couple in the early 2000s, so the band has been a bit on and off over the years. They’re playing their last gig at Hard Rock Hell NWOBHM in the UK this year, so check them out if you can!
Let’s take al look at the record!
The first track, Sweet Dream Maker, has a great riff. Gaskin show themselves to be masters song arrangement, we hear this riff throughout the song, but they arrange the other instruments around this riff in such a way that it never gets boring.
Track 2, Victim of the City has some really textures with the clean guitar. They throw in the classic song writing tool of a bass line with a clean guitar over the top, before going into the overdriven rhythm guitars a few times in this song. (You can hear this tool being used in the Chrissy Steele album I wrote about here).
Track 3, Despiser. This opens with a nice guitar solo, some killer riffs, and a some great bass lines. In fact the bass is totally mental in this song, it’s great. This song has really busy and fast verses followed by half time style choruses. It’s a nice reverse on the usual trend of the chorus being the peak of a song. And gives the fans a chance to rest their necks!
Track 4, Burning Alive. The more I listen to this record the more I’m enjoying the bass line.
The next track is a really nicely put together instrumental version of a hymn, The Day Thou Gavest Lord Hath Ended. It works surprisingly nicely as a rock instrumental. I put the track name into google and a website called “Funeral Helper” came up lol. Morbid.
Track 6, End of the World. This one has some big guitar solos – YEAH! The guitar solo ending, going into a thematic guitar harmony and then back into the verse is a really nice structure.
Track 7, On My Way, FINALLY we get some cowbell. What more needs to be said?
Track 8, Lonely Man.
Track 9, I’m no fool. Some pretty nice songwriting tools on this one. There is a pretty cool part where the instruments drop out and we get a single vocal line. No we know where Nickleback got the arrangement for the end of “How You Remind Me” from (apparently their drum tech gave them the idea… maybe he is an ld school Gaskin fan??).
Track 10, Handful of Reasons. The intro to this is beautiful. Then it slowly builds into some totally rocking heavy metal. I think this is my favourite track on the record. We get a really driving riff
It’s fair to say the production record of this record is quite low, but you can hear all the instruments and vocals clearly, and its still a really enjoyable record.