Grim Reaper-See you in hell, 1984
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.