Monday, January 02, 2012

Forgotten Gems: Culprit - Guilty as Charged

Shrapnel Records

US heavy metal at its finest. That is what you have with Seattle, Washington's Culprit. Formed in 1981 the band would release "Guilty As Charged" two years later. Who knew it would go on to be a classic? And who would have guessed that the album still hasn't been made more readily available? One has to wonder why. Lead by vocalist Jeff L' Heureux (who would show up in another band I plan to cover down the road-Mistrust) the band were a perfect fit for Shrapnel Records if only for the fact that Culprit had insane power metal riffs. Like a more primal Riot these guys played true traditional heavy metal that still sounds as fresh and amazing all these years later. Whether it is the excellent title track or songs like "Ice In The Black" or "Steel To Blood" Culprit played the sort of timeless eighties heavy metal that was all the rage then and is still loved now. Why they were not bigger I will never know. They had everything going for them from the licks to the looks with attitude to spare. Simply put "Guilty As Charged" should be an album every heavy metal fan talks about and yet most people will give you a blank stare if you mention Culprit. More people know of TKO which is where several of the members ended up. Such a shame really. Beware when tracking down a copy of this album as several "official" releases are nothing short of vinyl transfers and not good transfers at that! Eventually I hope to pick up a proper album but in the meantime I got my copy from the excellent site Vibrations Of Doom Magazine. Part webzine and part Internet radio the site also offers copies of long lost and OOP heavy metal/thrash metal releases. The nice thing about going through these guys though is that part of the profits for the albums (which are very reasonable) go right back to the bands themselves. And if the band members can't be found the money is saved for them. Seeing as there were lots of bands who never got their proper payout thanks to shady record labels this is a good way to help out underground acts that played heavy metal for the pure thrill of it. You can find Culprit's album there along with hundreds of other rare releases! Find out more at the link below.


Blogger Patrick said...

I saw these guys a bunch back in the day. They were local heroes of mine, along with Metal Church, Queensryche and Heir Apparent. They've done a couple reunions here and there, but the last time they did, it was without the vocalist, Jeff. Last I heard, he was holed up in an apartment with my old drummer, doing drugs, but that was years ago. I'm not sure if he's cleaned up since then, but I know my drummer hasn't, so.... Guitarist John DeVol plays with his band Stonebender, with his wife singing (good voice too!) and he is a guitar tech and teacher at a local music chain. Anyway, I completely agree with your review, this album is a must have for any early 80s metal fan. It's always amazed me that it isn't seen as a classic by more people.

12:07 PM  
Blogger Andy said...

Thanks for the kind words Patrick.

5:15 AM  

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