Monday, May 28, 2007

Grim Reaper-See you in hell, 1984

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Grim Reaper formed in 1981, but it took several years before they finally signed with tiny Ebony records. Although part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, their debut came out around the tail end of the movement. I remember buying this on cassette at a department store in the summer of 1985. I played it quite a bit, but hid the case because my parents would have freaked at the album title. Musically it's very mid tempo for the most part and not too far removed from other NWOBHM bands. This album is slightly underproduced and I think that might actually work to their advantage. This gives it a bit of a raw feel to it that sounds right for this kind of music. Guitarist Nick Bowcott was often toted as a guitar hero and his solos are generally strong, but some of his rhythms are a little repetitive. Singer Steve Grimmett has a distinctive voice and it's not one that everyone loves. I think his vocals are better here than on the band's other two albums. He has a tendency to over sing at times and that's a slight drawback.My favorite tracks are the title track, "Wrath of the ripper", "Now or never" and "All let loose". The only track I wasn't real into was "The show must go on" which sounded like a weak attempt to copy late 70's Judas Priest.

This album quickly caught the eye of RCA who signed the band and re-released this debut. I believe the track order is different on the two versions, but that the only difference. I hadn't heard this one in a while and enjoyed how straight forward it was and the overall slightly low key sound. I don't think they are as special now as I did twenty some years ago. I think there were a number of NWOBHM bands that sounded like this, but it's just that Grim Reaper got the major label deal and a good push here in the states. Still if you like fairly simple, solid mid 80's metal then it's a decent one to get.


Blogger Metal Mark said...

Sorry about the huge image. Yet the first few I found were too small and dark and didn't due the album cover justice. In someways it's a stereotypical kind of metal album cover, but it's still at least initially eye catching.

9:47 PM  
Blogger Andre du Plessis said...

Heard of them, but never really heard their music. Love the cover though.

2:46 AM  
Blogger rock_of_ages said...

I like, as you put it, fairly simple solid mid-80s metal but don't have this... yet!!

I'm on a bit of a nwobhm trip at the moment so will add this to the list!

4:42 AM  
Anonymous Robert Ethier said...

Oh man!!!! I LOVED this album when it came out!!!! I remember my best friend Tom and I cruising around cranking out the title cut!!

I know what you mean about "oversinging", but back then, it somehow seemed to just sound "right"....this WAS 84-85 after all. Tom and I loved it because it was so heavy and because the lyrics and album cover made all the uptight preppy people nervous!!! Just like my Motley Crue shirt from Shout at the Devil tour!

Thanks for the memories :)

5:58 AM  
Blogger aXe mAn said...

They were a pretty good band. I am more familiar with their '85 release "Fear No Evil". The title track on that one is really good. But overall, pretty solid band...

6:31 AM  
Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

Grim Reaper will always be one of my absolute favorites and like Winger, their fate in metal history was decided by Beavis and Butthead, who slagged them. It's pretty fucked-up that cartoon had so much influence over the mindsets of its viewers, that what was intended to be a simple joke was taken far too seriously by people.

I used to have the British import on vinyl and the track order is definitely different than the RCA version. I was thrilled to get See You in Hell and Fear No Evil on the same disc and I keep hunting for the third album Rock You to Hell, which does suffer from commerciability but it's a terrific metal album for its time anyway.

Steve Grimmett definitely oversang on SYIH but sharpened up a bit later on. Bowcott's guitars got better on the next two albums. I always loved him and remember his guitar clinic column in Circus mag after GR broke up. Then I saw Bowcott open up for Anthrax at the reunion gig in NJ and Bowcott's set was simply doing Dimebag Darrell riffs overtop a karaoke machine because he was Dime's roadie and friend. What a strange world, because Bowcott was far more talented than to be someone's roadie. I dunno...

9:46 AM  
Blogger captain corky said...

Great album cover and even better album title.

10:10 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

andre-They were decent.

Rock of ages-They are kind of an unusual part of the NWOBHM. I am not sure, but I always got the impression that they were bigger here in the states than in the UK.

robert-It seemed more shocking that then it does now.

axe man-Fear no evil is probably more poular, but they are similar in style.

Ray-Beavis and Butthead are ancient history now though. They slagged Alice Cooper and Accept too so that shows how great their musical taste was. Actual it was your former vinyl that I listened to for this review. Rock you to hell had a rough time just getting completed. I believe it came almost a year after it was originaly due out. I believe the band got stuck with a producer they didn't like and had to scrap all of the first versions of the songs they recorded. Bowcott later wrote columns for music magazines in the late 80's and into the early 90's. He briefly had a band called Barfly, but I don't think they ever got signed. I was also under the impression that he had relocated to the states after Grim reaper broke up. Grimmett later played with Onslaught and Lionheart. I believe there were rumors a few years ago of a reunion, but it never happened. I think Grimmett had his own band and played a few dates in Europe a few years ago just playing Grim reaper songs.

12:07 PM  
Blogger bob_vinyl said...

I remember liking Grim Reaper at the time, but finding the vocals to be grating later on. Other than a song here and there, I haven't listened to them in years, so maybe I'll pull this off the shelf and see what I think now. I was doing heavy metal "name that band" with Linda a few weeks ago and Grim Reaper was one of them. She didn't really remember them, but got it right on a guess based on the vocals. He definitely had a distinctive voice, but I'm not sure if that really means that it was good.

7:44 AM  
Blogger :P fuzzbox said...

Grim Reaper's music was okay but their album covers always kicked ass.

8:40 AM  

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