Having given the world thirteen editions of Brown Acid, the compilation series which unearths long lost obscure singles and ultra rare tracks from the world of ‘60s and ‘70s hard rock and proto-metal, the full-time part-time musical archivists over at Riding Easy Records have taken their first stab at making inroads into metal’s untapped and often unheard world of ridiculously hard to find songs by long-forgotten soldiers of steel. Scrap Metal – Excavated Heavy Metal From the Era of Excess Vol. I is the first edition of what we’re pretty sure will be many, many, many more to come of rare and hard-to-find singles by bands, many of which only ever issued a demo or two, a 7”, an EP or, in rare instances, even an album before going the way of the dodo. In some cases, featured artists on Vol. I, had members go on to star in bands of recognisable name and note to our readership.
Such is the case with New Jersey’s The Beast. Their early stabs at leather ’n’ studs immortality as heard on “Enemy Ace” taken from their 1983 self-released Power Metal EP shows driving Priest-like metal colliding with a punky Misfits’ urgency. It’s a far cry from what ex-members Scott Ruth, Shaune Kelley and Jack Pitzer went on to do with Ripping Corpse, Dim Mak, Hate Eternal and Mucky Pup. But now you know. As most of us are at the very least amateur metal historians, the Scrap Metal series should become a welcome resource for those who like connecting the dots between the present and the past.
(The Beast, being beastly)
And speaking of the lines between past and present, when I was a young ankle biter roaming the clean streets of Toronto with all my fellow pre-teen degenerates, one band that ordinarily popped up on the radar was Rapid Tears, whether it was on local late night radio, the New Music (originally co-hosted by present-day FOX “News” talking head John “J.D.” Roberts) or just seeing their posters wheat pasted all over downtown light posts and telephone poles. They, along with Anvil, are widely considered one of the earliest heavy metal bands from the city and it was an admitted surprise to hear the Scrap Metal series being christened by their 1981 single “Headbang,” a song that today sounds like it could have come from a pastiche of Spinal Tap riff tapes, but at the time was cutting edge Maple Leaf metal.
(Rapid Tears, being Canadian)
There are many other awesome gems among the nine tracks here. Some will make you wonder why you’re only hearing this shit now (Hazardous Waste’s salute to the NWOBHM with “Danger Zone” and the mathy and shifty epic sensibility of Real Steel’s “Viking Queen”), others will have you recollecting metal’s historical clever silliness (Air Raid’s ribald salute to Judas Priest “69 in a 55” and Don Cappa’s blue collar pounder “Steel City Metal”) and some of it will scratch that archeological/family tree itch (Hades’ “Girls Will be Girls” featuring Dan “Non-Fiction” Lorenzo and Alan “Watchtower” Tecchio).
Let the history lessons begin!
Scrap Metal Vol. I is out November 12th.
Ordering and info at Riding Easy Records.