1986, 1987, 2008
In the mid-late 1980's metal bands were popping up in the cities and the towns and all were pushing and striving to get noticed, recognized and get signed. Unfortunately many bands who deserved recognition got overlooked in this crowded sea of would bes and never weres. In my book the best 80's metal band you probably never heard of was a three piece from Kalamazoo, Michigan called Medieval. I first heard their unbelievably crunchy "World War IV" on New Renaissance's Speed Metal Hell compilation back in 1985 and I was in awe by that one track with it's off the wall solo and scattered pace. They signed to New Renaissance and released a self-titled EP in 1986 and then the ever so aptly named "Medieval Kills" in 1987. Unfortunately they didn't get the kind of or amount of recognition that they so justly deserved back then. However now at long last New Renaissance has released Medieval on CD so we get the EP, the "Medieval Kills" LP and three new track all on one disc. Even though I already have the two albums on vinyl I still opened this sucker like a four year old kid on Christmas morning, ripping that plastic off and anxiously put it into my stereo. Ah, I was greeted with music that is as good and perhaps even as fresh as it was twenty plus years ago. Tracks like the anthem "All knobs to the right", the pulsing "Reign of terror" and the blood boiling "Epitaph" are just a few of the killers on this disc just dig and plow forward. Medieval had a style that's a little difficult to put a finger on because they were following their own drummer to some extent. I think of them as a basement metal band because I have this image of the three of them back in the 1980's playing a raw, stripped down combination of metal and punk rock in one of their basements. I imagine windows rattling from the sound as they crank forth this sound that brings in parts of Motorhead, the Dead Boys and their own ideas into the riveting blend that they put forth on those two albums. "Medieval Kills" is slightly tighter and has stronger production than the EP, but every song in worth hearing. The three new tracks were recorded in 2007-2008 and the sound is something of a combination between Medieval's old sound, early Metallica and maybe even some spurts of Pentagram as well. The new material is slightly heavier and perhaps a little more metal, but really thick and certainly along the lines of the band's work from the 1980's. So Medieval and New Renaissance deliver in a big way with the best re-issue so far in 2008 which has been a year rich with quality re-issues already.