Devil Childe (2014 Re-Release)
Mark this down as my third(!) attempt at doing the write-up for the (long-overdo to be released "officially" on CD if you ask me!) re-release of Jack Starr's Devil Childe. Why you may ask? Well, for whatever reasons, my first attempt was foiled by the fact that it still way too early in the morning when I started the write-up and, as I've been dealing with a household full of sick people and therefore a lack of sleep on my end, it made little to no sense! The second one though was about spot-on, but then a wasp, yes, a BIG, UGLY and "Man alive does that thing ever looked pissed!" MEAN, landed on my keyboard and (sometime after freaking out and spilling coffee on my self and said keyboard!) I managed to delete the whole review! So, after cleaning myself up I'm on take number three of the 1985, seven-track "Devil Childe"! Hopefully the gods of rock and roll and (naturally) HEAVY METAL will look kindly upon me and the third time will be the charm! One can only hope! So, with all of that out of the way who, or better yet, what was Devil Childe? Well, the story goes something like this. Back in the day (early eighties) Jack Starr, who should really need no introduction at all at this point in time (what with time spent in Virgin Steele and Burning Starr!), was playing with his post-Virgin Steele outfit Burning Starr when he stumbled upon the idea of recording a thrash album! It seems that his band (Burning Starr) would have band rehearsals where they would start off (getting loose and lethal no doubt!) by jamming on material like Motörhead's "Ace Of Spades". So, Jack (here dubbed as Lucifer) ended up together with two talented musicians* and, after (reportedly) spending less then 12 hours in the studio and a budget of no more then $200, we get "Devil Childe". While there were two other release** recorded around the same time and with the same line-up (see below) we are just going to be talking about this one today. Just this (wicked and wonderful and so so raw!) one. With a bunch of ideas spawned from Jack's more "primal side" and a few contributions from the group's drummer/vocalist "Matthew Hopkins" (again, see below!) the three "metal maniacs" whipped out a cozy little (raw) gem of an album! Did I mention that this shit is raw? Yes? Well, good because it is. And all the better for it! As the album was "dedicated to true headbangers who hate false Metal magazines" and pretty much composed of on the spot one shouldn't expect majestic passages or long, over-technical leads. Instead this is heavy metal garage-style that borders on near thrash. It's somewhat sloppy, but never in any sort of Venom sort of way. I'd argue that all in all this is just heavy metal as it would have sounded coming from the underground scene of the early eighties where influences like Raven, Tank, Venom and all-things Lemmy would have meshed with everything from Metallica to Black Sabbath! Now, although this re-release is presented as is, bare-bones and all (meaning no bonus material sadly) it is still a great pick up especially as this marks the first time that this has seen an officially CD release! For fans of 80's metal and/or Jack Starr this one seems like a no-brainer all around!
* Vocalist/drummer/living-legend Joe Hasselvander (here going under the name of Matthew Hopkins who was a well-known English witch-hunter) is perfectly suited in both roles. In some ways he reminds me (as does the record as a whole really) of C.O.C.'s "Animosity" or rather bassist Mike Dean. Besides Devil Childe Joe has quite the extensive resume as evident by the list posted over at the Metal Archives! Bands that he (presently) plays in include Raven, The Hounds of Hasselvander and Joe Hasselvander while this talented musician has previously played with Guardians of the Flame, Phantom Lord, Death Row, Black Manta, Pentagram, Jack Starr's Burning Starr (live), Armageddon, Reactor, Cathedral (live), Blue Cheer, Forgotten Realm, Overlord, The Boyz and even White Lion!
Meanwhile bass duties fell on Ned Meloni (Jack Starr's Burning Starr, Reverence, ex-Guardians of the Flame, ex-Phantom Lord, ex-Rhed Asphalt) otherwise known as (for this recording) Anton Phibes. Anton Phibes of course being the same character from the movies "The Abominable Dr. Phibes" and "Dr. Phibes Rises Again!" as made famous by the one and only Vincent Price.
** They were the Phantom Lord LP and Joe Hasselvander's "Lady Killer".