Looking at these pictures would probably lead a person to think that this Welsh band was a sleaze rock/glam metal band. So, how exactly does this odd looking
band, with an ever odder name, fit into the NWOBHM movement? Well, despite the ill-fitting and hair metal make up job, Rankelson is a name that should be on any respected NWOBHM fan's to check out list. Formed in 1984, the band managed to release two solid, if admittedly middle-of- the-road, rock/metal albums before folding four years later. According to the ultimate guide on all things NWOBHM, "The N.W.O.B.H.M. Encyclopedia" the band was formed initially by ex-Neon Spirit bassist Kim Hooker (Kim later went on to greater fame as the front-man of glam band
Tigertailz) under the name Ran-Kelson. Due to numerous omissions of the hyphen the band dropped it and settled for plain old Rankelson. A four track demo appeared in the band's early days which lead to better live opportunities rather then an immediate record deal. It took some doing, but a deal was eventually struck with the classic Ebony Records. The result was 1986's "Hungry For Blood". With a keyboard player in the line-up the material released proved to be more on the hard rock/ melodic metal side of things. The overall impression is material similar in nature to bands such as Demon, Blade Runner, Tytan or Seducer. Album number two, "The Bastards Of Rock 'n' Roll", might have had a mean-looking cover and sinister- sounding title, but the music proved to be more commercial in nature (bands like Chinawhite and Persian Risk come to mind) even if it did retain some of it's hard rock appeal. Two albums proved to be all Rankleson could muster before folding and truthfully, as I do strive to be above all honest, neither album is a "masterpiece". Added together on one of those 2 on 1 CDs though (which I just ordered not that long ago, but you can easily make your own at home thanks to sites like this:
) and you get a very enjoyable mix of melodic NWOBHM metal/hard rock and keyboard-driven rock/metal. For those times when you want to listen to solid heavy metal (not thrash or speed metal, not power metal or hardcore metal) this is the right type of band. As stated though the band is mostly known for it's association with Tigertailz who, in and of themselves, proved to be far much more successful then Rankelson. Still, I like a good change-of- pace album for when I'm in the mood for NWOBHM, but not really heavy or fast metal. I will leave with this one last thought/observation though. Any day of the week I will gladly (and I mean GLADLY) take a band like Rankelson over what passes for hard rock/heavy metal these days. With these guys the emotions were real as was the energy and charisma. Bands like this, even if they were looking to sell a more commercialized product, were putting out fun records that were not 100% pissed-off rage like today's young crop. Don't get me wrong as we need the rage to stay in metal (and I say that as someone who has groups like Slayer, Napalm Death, Hatebreed and Pantera in their personal CD collection), but sometimes you want your rock to just rock and your heavy metal to just flat-out make you want to let loose without smashing furniture in the process!
Labels: melodic metal, NWOBHM Wednesday, Rankelson, rock/metal