Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Forgotten Gems:Rox-Violent Breed

Music For Nations

In 1982 Manchester, England's Rox came out of nowhere and made a splash with their semi-hit single “Hot Love in the City”. While most bands at the time were striving to be the next Iron Maiden or Saxon this five piece band opted instead to take the hard rock/glam sounds of Sweet and make it there own. Despite being more influenced by not only Sweet but Starze as well the band still fits in nicely with the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement. With Wrathchild being the only other real glam metal band at the time to make an impact in Europe Rox should have had a larger following. For whatever reason they failed to catch on despite being picked up by Music For Nations. While their 1983 Krazy Kuts EP borrowed a tad too much from Wrathchild (Wrathchild could have sued Rox it's that obvious!) Violent Breed had a more beefed up sound and edge. The band was coming into their own and label owner Martin Hooker took the group under his wing and even produced this record for them. By today's standards the production is not perfect truthfully. But for the time period it works giving Rox a more menacing approach. If you can look past the obvious Gary Glitter influences you'll find opener "Love You Like A Diamond" is pure rock and roll overdrive. Nature is filled with odd tracks like this and if I didn't know better it almost comes across as a heavy metal Eddie and the Cruisers. "I Wanna Be A Hero" sounds like LA metal. Others before me have pointed out how much it sounds like a certain W.A.S.P. song and you'll get no argument from me. "Dressed To Kill" is less glam and more heavy metal. I've it before and will say it again that nothing is better than early eighties heavy metal and this tune has it in spades. "Say Goodbye To Love" tries a little too hard to be both Tokyo Blade and Wrathchild. "Daylight Robbery" is the better take on it and is an album highlight for me. With the majority of bands trying too hard to capture Saxon's sound it is nice to see that Rox tried their hands at something different. Sure their are times when you hear Saxon come into play on Violent Breed. But, other times you hear other acts like Thin Lizzy, early Overkill, Praying Mantis and Tigertailz. Or maybe it is just me? “Wild and Crazy” sounds a lot like other early 80's heavy metal songs as does the number “Jailbait”. Is that bad though? Rox wore their influences out in public were everyone could see them. They might have just had a brief stay on the scene because they couldn't quite decide if they were heavy metal or glam but this one LP stands out because it is honest in it's approach. It is loud rock and roll more than anything and a fun album to put on when you just want to escape the modern metal world. If only someone would see fit to re-release this one though on CD. It is better than half the stuff that gets re-issued and would appeal to both glam fans and hard rockers.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rox used to call themselves Venom.
The story goes ( cannot account if this 100% true )but it was well known that the real Venom a Black Metal outfit from Newcastle drove down to Manchester in a beaten up van and grabbed hold of Rox aka Venom and told them to change the name of the band otherwise they would get a good kicking to the head thus Manchester Venom became known as Rox.
Now this I can account for as 100% true for I was there. Rox going by the name of Venom did a gig at the Manchester UMIST in the early 80's in support of some overrated band called Diamond Head.
Well Rox came on in a blaze of strobe lights and dry ice the immediate reaction of the crowd was jeering "fuckin puff", "fuckin shit", "get the fuck off" and "fuck off you queer bastards" and the women in the crowd where making signals like putting their fingers down their throats mimicking the act of being sick and vomiting.
So Rox were very entertaining for all the wrong reasons.
Eventually the singer had all he could take with the heckling and growls down his microphone "fuck off" trying to look Badass with it, somehow it just did not have the desired effect he would have liked as soon as he said it a hail of beer bottles and pint glasses came flying over in the bands direction at which Rox fled the stage and sneaked out the back as not to get themselves beat up.
Now I must say they did look like a bunch of Drag Queens the singer had a silver jump suit on with huge winged shoulder pads that should have belonged in a Flash Gordon movie.
Also he wore a pair of knee high gold platform boots had a silly bleached white haircut that could have been a wig and glitter with makeup on his face.
They thought they were the bollox the crowd thought otherwise.

8:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haha, just read the above comment, really made me laugh, My dad is Red Hot Red, and he has NEVER told me any of those stories... i shall have to ask him! :)

4:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just seen this page and it took me back to my youth. Say hello to Red Hot Red. I remember Ian well and his wife, always lovely. I used to date Kevin and remember the gigs as having some 'interesting' reactions lol

5:52 PM  
Blogger Andy said...

It's always cool to hear from people/fans that were around these bands back in the day.

9:02 AM  

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