Various Artists - Jobcentre Rejects: Ultra-Rare NWOBHM 1978-1982 - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Various Artists - Jobcentre Rejects: Ultra-Rare NWOBHM 1978-1982

by Florian Meissner Rating:9 Release Date:2019-05-10
Various Artists - Jobcentre Rejects: Ultra-Rare NWOBHM 1978-1982
Various Artists - Jobcentre Rejects: Ultra-Rare NWOBHM 1978-1982

When you hear “New Wave of British Heavy Metal”, what do you think of? Probably the usual suspects, like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Def Leppard, or Saxon. They all have a very similar sound and style. When you read the label NWOBHM, you get what you expect, because these are the bands that survived from the late 1970s and early 1980s. And that’s the key word here: survived. Because, like with every genre of music, there were countless bands making music that, more or less, could be considered NWOBHM today. But, like in all walks of life, history was written by the victors. Which is why we immediately think about “Run to the hills” when we read something about British Heavy music from the 80s.

Well, until now, that is. Because a little label from Sweden started a Kickstarter campaign to release “a super deluxe reissue of rare NWOBHM singles originally released between 1978-82.” The campaign was a success, and the record is available now, which is big news not just for metal fans, but for everyone who likes any kind of garage rock, punk, or new-wave from Great Britain.

The compilation starts with Baseline’s “Suspended Animation”, a classic heavy metal song from the era. Listening to it, it’s surprising they seemingly disappeared, because that song could’ve honestly been released as a single and made it big. Next up are Predatur with “See you here”, a song that might well have been written by a punk band of the time. Let’s be honest, the only difference probably was that Predatur had long hair, wore t-shirts with the sleeves torn off, and bullet belts. Also, it’s got a guitar solo in it. This punky, new-wavey song is followed by “Children of the Street” by Spider, a song that I would describe as rock’n’roll. Damn, it’s so rock’n’roll, after the bridge you really expect them to start singing “Go Johnny go go!” for the chorus.

With “This one’s for you” by Stray, the compilation turns back towards a more classic metal-sound. To me, this song has a very Avantasia-vibe to it – it definitely is a diamond in the rough. This is followed by Overdrive with “On the Run”, and Frenzy with “Thanx for Nothin”, two songs that are so quintessentially NWOBHM, you can’t resist nodding your head along at least a little bit.

With this being a compilation, obviously, there will be songs you like more, and songs you like less. For me, track 7, “You got the Power” by Die Laughing, is the one I like least. It’s a classic rock song that sounds like it paved the way for so many modern classic rock bands (excuse the oxymoron), a genre that isn’t really for me. With track 8, “Down the Road” by Speed, we’re back on track though. And what a track! This song is like a mixture of Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, The Doors, and David Bowie. It’s a shame the band’s name is so generic because tracking down more of their music will be a right pain. “Don’t Show your Face” by Energy moves back into what I would call hair metal, although the singer sounds a bit bored – thankfully, the next track by The Next Band (no really, that’s their name), called “Never on a Win”, picks the pace up again. It’s the kind of track you imagine being played over a montage of Harley Davidsons cruising down the Route 66. Or maybe an Austin Metro bumbling down the A1, to keep it British.

The one but last track, “Voice on the Line” by Static, is a fun rock song I could see being performed by Judas Priest. But the last track is what really caught my ear. The band is called Metal Mirror, the song is called “English Booze”, and on first listen I thought it was a lost Lemmy Kilmister auditioning tape. It’s one of those songs that’ll make you unwillingly put your foot down in your Austin Metro on the A1. It’s fast-paced, driving, and finally available for a reasonable price again: the original recording was the B-side to a song with the long, long name of “Rock An' Roll Ain't Never Gonna Leave Us”, a 7” single from 1980 sold for £95 and more.

Either way, it’s definitely worth getting your hands on this compilation, and quickly at that. The Kickstarter campaign ended April this year, and the records are selling fast. It’s definitely worth having this in your record collection, and I’m very sure you will get it out and give it a spin fairly often.

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