NWOBHM WEDNESDAY:ETHEL THE FROG
If it seems like it has been forever since we did a NWOBHM Wednesday that means it probably has been forever. Time slips away from you though the older you get and you know the old saying about how time flies when your having a good time and all. Well, here we are with the oddly named Ethel The Frog. An odd name for an odd band. After naming their band after a Monty Python sketch about the "Piranha Brothers" the group built up quite a sizable local following. As part of the early NWOBHM movement the group was known for being a high energy live act. The group made some noise thanks to their hard rock take on The Beatles song "Eleanor Rigby" in 1978. That song would help cement Ethel the Frog as part of the movement as would the track "Fight Back" released on the first "Metal for Muthas" compilation. The buzz created by these early songs helped the group to land a contract with EMI in 1979. Ethel The Frog re-released "Eleanor Rigby" as a single with "Whatever Happened to Love" as the B-side and dropped their self-titled debut album in 1980. And yet despite getting positive write-ups and the fact that things looked promising for the band the ride was all over. Reports vary some on when exactly the group called it a day. Whether or not it was before the album was released or afterwards isn't really the point. All that matters is that the band released one hell of a fine hard rock affair and then imploded. By 1980 the band's time to shine in the spotlight was over and all we were left with was the group's one lone album. Although what an album it is! As far as debuts go this one was a winner. Sure the production is shoddy and paper-thin. With that said I like to think it gives it a raw, youthful appeal. Frankly it also makes the record feel all the more real to me and also powerful.Though there might have been plenty of other bands playing similar music no one was ever quite like Ethel The Frog and this record really grew on me over the years. It is a great introduction to the movement if you've never checked out any NWOBHM for yourself and yet it is also different in it's approach. If only someone would take the time to do a proper re-release of this album and give it it's proper due. It is a timeless classic and a real gem of the movement and deserves a wider audience than what it now has!
Metal Mark says-
The NWOBHM movement was so a vast that not everyone was going to make it or even get noticed. If you only released one album chances were high you may be forgottten. That's the way it worked for Ethel the Frog unfortunately. The oddly named act had just the one album out rather in the movement. Their album is a raw affair with obviously more of a 70's metal influence since that when the bulk of the material was written. On tracks like "Apple of your eye" and "Why don't you ask?" they have a smooth flow. "What happened to love" and "Staying on my mind" are more groove centered tracks. "Bleeding Heart" starts slow and the pace goes back and forth between two speeds with some great solos mixed in. Now these guys seem like a get in and get it done kind of band with fairly short songs, but they do create a seven minute plus track in "Fire Bird". "Fire Bird" is a real showcase for the band's ideas and they make the best of it. So there are different approaches to the songs here yet all them are well down. These guys were very sharp at their trade for a debut. It's a shame they didn't stick with it longer as it would have been interesting to see where they wanted to go next. Definitely worth tracking down.