NWOBHM WEDNESDAY: BLITZKRIEG
Love them or hate them Metallica introduced the world to Blitzkrieg. I'm not saying that Blitzkrieg needed Metallica's help. That's an argument reserved for another day. What I am saying is that having their song "Blitzkrieg" covered on the Creeping Death EP would lead to a lot of people wondering exactly who this English act was and how they could be that influential to metal's biggest act? The fact is that the first line up of the band would last only fifteen months and issue only a few official recordings.The group was originally formed in 1980 as Split Image with Sarah Aldwinkle on vocals, Jim Sieroto on guitar (he would change the spelling of his last name to Sirotto to make life easier), Steve English on bass and Steve Abbey on drums. Looking to toughen up their sound the group would bring in vocalist Brian Rose and also add rhythm guitarist Ian Jones. It would be only a month after Brian Rose joined that the group would record their first demo w/ "Armageddon", "Inferno" and of course "Blitzkrieg". Neat Records would be one of the first to hear it and and offered them the chance to publish a single in 1981. A two day session would result in the "Buried Alive"/"Blitzkrieg" single as well as some one-take songs ( one song a re-recording of "Inferno" would end up on Neat's Lead Weight compilation also in 1981). A "live" six-song cassette (Blitzed Alive) was recorded in May of 1981. Mick Moore would replace Steve English and John Antcliffe would take over for Ian Jones. A second single "Too Wild To Tame" was demoed and a deal with Carrerre Records (home of Saxon) was all set when all of a sudden the band started falling apart. Founding member Jim Sirotto decided he didn't want to tour and didn't like the deal on the table with Carrerre Records. Despite the fact that some members wanted to carry on the band called it a day in late 1981. Brian Ross would go on to join Satan as well playing with Avenger, Lone Wolf and Unter den Linden. However in 1984 Ross and Jim Sirotto would decide to give Blitzkrieg another go. Although it should be noted that "A Time Of Changes" was originally going to be a Brian Ross solo act. Along with guitarist Mick Proctor (ex-Tygers of Pan Tang), bass player Mick Moore (Blitzkrieg/ Avenger) and drummer Sean Taylor (Satan/Blind Fury, ex-Raven) they recorded "A Time of Changes". It would later be released in 1985. Back to Metallica's part in the story of in regards to Blitzkrieg. Seeing as Lars Ulrich was a huge fan of Blitzkrieg (and NWOBHM in general) Metallica would cover the song "Blitzkrieg" first on the 1984 Creeping Death EP and then on the 1988 reissue of Kill "Em. "A Time of Changes" wouldn't come out until 1985 as I said so while Metallica's cover brought exposure to the band many fan's would also falsely assume that Blitzkrieg's version was the cover. You have to remember this was before the Internet age so trying to get all the facts straight when it comes to heavy metal bands could be a hard thing to do. With that though there was no excuse when only a few years back a 20 something "metal" fan told me that "Blitzkrieg" was a Metallica original and that the band Blitzkrieg was named for it. This is exactly why we need this article and why NWOBHM history should be a mandatory course for young metalheads. Blitzkrieg would end up breaking up and reforming more times than I can count but in 1990 the band was at it again for the 1991 release of "10 Years of Blitzkrieg".In 1992 they started recording more songs for "Unholy Trinity" which wouldn't be released until 1995. "Ten" followed in 1996 and "The Mists of Avalon" in 1998. Vocalist Brian Ross would be involved in a car accident that would put Blitzkrieg on the shelf. Six months later though Blitzkrieg was back in the game and have been going strong every since. "Absolute Power" in 2002 and "Absolute Live" in 2004 would come out (as well as 2003's compilation "A Time Of Changes - Phase 1") followed by 2005's "Sins and Greed". 2007 saw Blitzkrieg release their last album "Theatre of the Damned" through their own record label Armageddon Music and rumors persist that we'll see a new disc in 2011. Yes "Blitzkrieg" is as classic a NWOBHM song as their comes and Metallica did their song justice when they covered it. And yet there is so much more to their story and their music needs to be heard. If you haven't yet then do yourself a favor and hunt their music down.
Metal Mark says-
Let me get at Blitzkrieg before I get at the involvement of that band whose names starts with an "M". Despite the line-up changes and all the go arounds they had a slightly unique sound in the world of NWOBHM. They frequently walked the line between a cleaner melodic sound and rougher heavier side. To their credit they not only sounded great doing both styles, but they actually sounded comfortable handling the different styles. They could blend in some heavy rhythms not far off from what Judas Priest were doing around the same time, but then they could rip it up and peel off some lightning riffs as well. Brian Ross had a rough hard rock style vocals, but then he kick in some serious falsettos. I love the thick drum sound on their early material as well. Just a few of my favorites are "Blitzkrieg" with it's amazin riff, "Savior" and it's largr than life sound and "Take a look around" with it's varied tones and pace changes. As with other bands like Budgie and Diamond Head who were so no known on this side of the Atlantic Metallica helped Blitzkrieg to gain some notice due to their cover of "Blitzkrieg". It's an alright cover, but when you hear the original you will know that Metallica didn't quite do justice to just how magnificent this song it. Blitzkrieg have a somewhat jumbled history, but they also produced some stellar songs. Definitely a NWOBHM band worth re-visiting.