For whatever reason, when people talk about influential metal scenes of yore, the L.A.area just doesn’t seem to get the credit it’s due. Sure, the whole Hollywood/Sunset Strip glam thing left its mark in the mid-’80s, but some of the world’s biggest and influential, ahem, “real” metal bands arose from the L.A. area much earlier in the decade. Megadeth, Metallica, Slayer are obvious bands to point to, but a ton of other groundbreaking acts—many of whom recorded EPs or albums for L.A.’s own Metal Blade—who didn’t sell as many records or last as long were also a big part of the early-’80s scene.
Bitch were one of those bands. The female fronted quartet was first heard on Metal Blade’s Metal Massacre compilation in 1982 (along with Ratt, Metallica, Cirith Ungol and Malice, among others) with the track “Live For the Whip.” For the time, it was a fast and thrashy as just about anything else out there. And lyrically, the tale of S&M savagery as sung by a buxom, leather-clad temptress was about as titillating as it got.
Bitch next released the Damnation Alley EP that same year and Be My Slave a year later on Metal Blade. Both records (freshly reissued together and released today by Metal Blade) were the band at its best, before they pursued a more commercial and glam-influenced direction on subsequent releases.
Consider this reissue a history lesson in just how Metal Blade and the many local bands it supported early on were part of the foundation of U.S. metal. It doesn’t get name-checked like the NWOBHM or other influential movements, but there was a ton of essential metal that originated in L.A. and hopefully more reissues like this will be forthcoming.