Monday, January 15, 2018

With Iron Will We're Reaching For The Sky

 The Best Of 2017

Muthas, 2017 is history and I am back with my list of the best albums, live albums, and reissues. Enjoy!


Air RaidAcross The Line

The third full length album from these Swedish bangers is packed with neo-classical shredding and features new vocalist Fredrik Werner.  If you like Yngwie’s Rising Force album then you are going to love this! I cannot spin this enough! Buy or die!

SorcererThe Crowning Of The Fire King

Album number two for this epic doom band is a tour de force of classy metal with superb vocals. Please don’t pass on this band especially if you are a fan of Tony Martin era Sabbath. If you find doom boring, check out epic doom which cranks up to mid-pace and crushes skulls.

Ram Rod

Ram’s new album is excellent traditional metal which recalls Priest. Rod is half stand alone tracks and half concept album and the whole thing rips like Painkiller. Check out “Gulag” and buy the album.  Their back catalog is top notch as well.

Night DemonDarkness Remains

It’s Night Demon’s second full length and it’s great.  Check out my full review here.

OverkillThe Grinding Wheel

New Jersey’s thrashers blast my face off again.  Can they ever be stopped?!  Check out my full review here.


Canada’s Striker is back with another full length album and only a scant year has passed since their last disc! This eponymous album is stuffed with anthemic choruses, gang vocals and high energy songs. Do you need a soundtrack for your next training montage? Do you need some positivity and songs about achieving against all odds? If so, pick this up pronto. If not, pick it up anyway and stop being a loser.

VultureThe Guillotine

Pure, balls out, German speed metal is the order of the day here. Picking up where their demo EP left off, Vulture shreds all over the place with nary a pause to catch a breath. Good old speed metal that borders on thrash and takes a cue from Show No Mercy. Do you feel the need for speed? If so, this is your shit right here.

MetalianMidnight Rider

Holy shit this is good! Metalian has been rocking away for years up in Montreal and their newest album got the most spins from me of any 2017 release.  Combine Priest and Maiden and throw in a superb vocalist with ultra-catchy songwriting and you get Midnight Rider.  I love this album so damn much! Hail to you Metalian!

Satan’s HallowSatan’s Hallow

Chicago’s own Satan’s Hallow delivers the goods on their full length debut. The band has crafted a rock-solid collection of traditional metal with hooks galore. NWOBHM fans and anyone that likes metal that isn’t pretentious bullshit should pick this up asap. All killer no filler!

Iced EarthIncorruptible

Iced Earth is on my list? Is it 1997? I had written this band off a decade ago and lost track of them for the most part. I picked this up on a whim and I am glad I did because they have delivered one of their best albums in the last 20 years. John Schaffer has dispensed with the concept album nonsense and has written a great metal album. Vocalist Stu Block has really come into his own on this one and sounds amazing. Check out the majesty of “Clear The Way (December 13th, 1862)” and you’ll understand why this had to make it onto my list.

Jag PanzerThe Deviant Chord

Metal legends Jag Panzer issue their first album since the reunion of their classic lineup and the results are excellent. This is classy power metal that the world needs more of. The Tyrant sounds great and the songs are packed with hooks. Check out “Far Beyond All Fear” if you need a sample. In addition to the great album, Mark Briody was gracious enough to answer my NWOBHM questionnaire.  Thanks Mark and Jag Panzer!


Skol Records NWOBHM Single CD Replicas Round 2

Skol Records and Bart Gabriel deliver another great selection of NWOBHM replica CD singles and this time they are focused on Neat Records. Round 2 of the reissues includes classic singles from Jaguar, Crucifixion, White Spirit, Blitzkrieg, Saracen, and Avenger. Definitely pick these up if you can and check out Bart’s answers to my NWOBHM questionnaire right here.

Wolf Edge Of The World

One of the great NWOBHM albums finally gets a reissue!  Wolf, originally known as Black Axe, released this excellent album in 1984 and High Roller saw fit to reissue it for all of us to enjoy. Check out the classic cut “Red Lights” and then pick this up!

Running Wild – Noise Records Catalog

Finally, the long out of print Running Wild albums from Noise Records get a reissue! These stone cold classics from the German pirate rockers’ catalog is now available for all to enjoy without paying insane prices.  These also feature remastering and a clutch of bonus tracks on CD and the whole catalog is also available on vinyl.

Live Albums

AcceptRestless And Live

After three studio albums with Mark Tornillo, Accept offer up a double live album that captures the band live in Europe in 2015. The album sounds great and it was high time that the band released a live album with this lineup. The new material really shines in a live setting.

Armored SaintCarpe Noctum

I’m not sure if we can call this their first or second live album, but however you number it the album delivers eight tracks of prime traditional metal.  The whole band is tight and John Bush is in fine voice. The only complaint I have is it’s too short – I’d really like a proper double live album from them.

Disappointment Of The Year

AcceptThe Rise Of Chaos

Well, they may have released a great live album this year, but their new studio album is not very good. Just like their previous album – Blind Rage – there’s not enough hooks to keep me interested. I hope that Accept will be able to match the quality of Blood Of The Nations in the future, but I get the sense that they are rushing their songwriting. Come on guys, prove me wrong on the next one.


That's it muthas! Thanks for reading and I'll see you back here in 2018.


Sunday, December 17, 2017

Maiden Hell

Jarvis Leatherby 
Musician, Promoter and NWOBHM Enthusiast

Muthas, I was lucky enough to be able to interview the main man in Night Demon - Jarvis Leatherby - about the New Wave Of British Metal. It's a very cool interview and Jarvis has some really insightful (and lengthy!)  answers to my questions. So let's see what Jarvis has to say about NWOBHM. Enjoy!

MBOM: Jarvis, thanks so much for doing this interview! How's the touring going for the new Night Demon album?

Jarvis: So far so good.  We are about 1/3 of the way through the touring cycle for Darkness Remains.  We've done a ton of European headline touring and festivals, along with some big U.S. Festivals.  Heading back to Europe at the beginning of the year to support Accept for about six weeks, then returning stateside to do some more damage out here.  Although it's a grueling lifestyle, I can proudly say that we are really enjoying it now more than ever.

MBOM: In addition to being in Night Demon you are also the singer for NWOBHM legends Jaguar. How did that come to pass? Any plans for a new Jaguar album with you at the mic?

Jarvis: A few years back, Jaguar's then time manager had contacted me regarding the band looking for a new vocalist.  They had heard Night Demon's cover of "Axe Crazy" (on the expanded version of our debut EP) and thought I would be a good fit.  Unfortunately at the time, I was right in the middle of a Night Demon tour and had another one to follow right after.  It also didn't help that the rest of the band was spread over the U.K. And Sweden. 
About a year and a half went by with little to no communication when I came across a poster for a big NWOBHM festival in the U.K and saw their name on it.  I immediately contacted Garry Pepperd (founding guitarist of Jaguar) to find out who they got to fill the role of lead singer.  He explained that they still had nobody, and had hoped to get somebody in on time to do the show, but to no avail.  At that point I knew I would be available for this particular date, so I picked up our conversation where we left off and I agreed to do the gig and see how it goes. 
Night Demon had just come off a tour in Mexico with Skull Fist, and I immediately got off the plane in Los Angeles, can hopped on another plane to London.  I got to spend a couple days with Simon and Garry prior to the gig (not rehearsing mind you) drinking and getting to know each other.  We hit it off so well, it felt like we had been best mates forever.  I met Nate the drummer onstage at the gig, and we busted out an amazing set in Sheffield, and the rest is history.
Power Games is such a huge vocal influence to me, it's a surreal feeling to be up there with those guys on stage and live out a real rock and roll dream.  I'm a great fit for the band, and at the moment we are just taking things as they come and keeping it a fun and low pressure situation.  The great thing is the band has never rehearsed since I've been in it, and we just have this mutual trust on stage that seems to work really well while also feeling very spontaneous. 

MBOM: What song/comp/album started you on your journey of listening to and collecting NWOBHM?

Jarvis: NWOBHM 79' Revisited. That was the one that did it all for me.  I haven't been the same since.  It changed my view of metal in the most positive way.  In the pre-internet years there were so many NWOBHM bands that I had heard of, seen photos, artwork, new song titles, etc. that I had never actually heard with my own ears.  One day I was at Best Buy in the suburban town I grew up in, and I came across the double CD version of this in the racks.  I couldn't believe my fucking eyes!  I had no knowledge of this compilation ever existing, so to me I was in heaven and completely blown away with excitement of what I was holding in my hands, and what I was inevitably going to buy and rush home to throw into my stereo.
I remember specifically the excitement of popping in the first disc so I could finally here “It's Electric” by Diamond Head.  Here is a song that I had heard about for a long time, but never had the opportunity to actually ever listen to.  That was just the tip of the iceberg in all actuality.  The songs and the bands themselves just kept my attention track by track from beginning to end.  I thought I had an idea of what NWOBHM was all about, but this thing really took me to my first major schooling on the genre.
This compilation was something much more focused than Metal for Muthas.  You also had twice   three times as much music here.  I suppose in hindsight guys like Lars Ulrich and Brian Slagel could really be able to put together something more comprehensive like this because the scene had already been and gone.  Where as Metal for Muthas was released in the thick of it all.
I discovered so many bands from this compilation.  One thing I will say about it know a days is that the bands that were on this very damn lucky to be included.  Now that my knowledge of NWOBHM bands has more than doubled from that point in time, there are so many unsung heroes of the scene that were really great.  If only they were on this comp, maybe their careers would have been different in the later reunion years of some of these bands.

MBOM: What's your favorite NWOBHM single?
This is a strange one because the sing is very commercial and poppy sounding.  Almost like it could've easily been a Rick Springfield song or something like that, but something about taking the risk to release a song like that as a single, really excites me.  It's a great song with some really good hooks, and although the production is big sounding, the tones are very raw and rock and roll.  The song also kind of reminds me of something Rainbow would do in the Graham Bonnet era.  Funny thing is that the band didn't even write this song, so I assume this was the record label's attempt to get a hit song out of AIIZ.
The cover art is fantastic!  A killer live shot of the band on stage with red lights and fog!  That's exactly how Night Demon was in the early days.  We brought our own red lights and fog machines to every gig.  It was our signature.  Maybe subliminally that came from this image.  Who knows?
Now the b-side “Ringside Seat” is really what's gonna save my ass here.  LOL!
This has got to be one of my favorite songs of all time!!!!!!!!!!  From the intro down to the last note.  If you ever want to explain to someone what rock and roll sounds like, this is the first song they should ever hear.  I don't need to go into explaining why, or breaking down the song.  Just simply go listen to it and feel that feeling.

MBOM: What's your favorite NWOBHM LP?

Jarvis: Angel WitchAngel Witch
This is a question I would normally struggle with, but in truth it's not that tough a decision when I really answer the full question.  To me it's my favorite because it's such a complete album.  There are enough songs, the sequence is perfect, the dynamics are definitely there, there is an interesting yet unmistakable sound to the album, and the artwork is iconic.
We have been fortunate enough to get to know Kevin and the band and play quite a few shows with them.  I absolutely love the band and they are definitely in my top five favorite NWOBHM bands of all time. 

MBOM: What's your favorite NWOBHM compilation released back in the 80s?

Jarvis: I would have to say Roksnax.  It's a pretty rare comp that our former guitar player Brent Woodward turned me onto.  Hollow Ground was one of the bands on there, and really blew me away.  Saracen, as well.  This comp has a lot of more rare NWOBHM bands, but the quality of the bands is really high in my opinion, and I'm really glad he turned me onto it when he did.

MBOM: Which band had the better debut album - Iron Maiden or Angel Witch?

Jarvis: This is a loaded question.  Difficult to say, but if I had to make a choice, I would say MaidenAngel Witch in my mind had a better album, but Maiden's debut is just a total and complete game changer.  You could argue that the Soundhouse Tapes was the true debut, but really with the artwork, and the songs, the first Maiden album really did so much to advance the genre.  Angel Witch is still my favorite of the two, but with Angel Witch, you kind of feel that it's more sophisticated than a debut.  I have nothing ever bad to say about Maiden, and I'm not here, but even as amazing as the self titled is, I still prefer Killers to the debut.  Better production, and more direction in the song writing and themes.

MBOM: Which Brian Ross band do you like the most - Satan, Blitzkrieg, Avenger or Lone Wolf?

Jarvis: Satan.  I'm not just saying that because I manage the band, either.  For my money, Satan is a band who is a the top of their game.  There's not been anything I didn't like that the band has ever released.  I think Brian's voice fits the band well, and has since he joined over thirty years ago.  He is the voice of Satan.  It's so rare to see a band like them these days.  The original five members from the Court in the Act era are still playing together, and writing and recording, and performing on the highest level.  So maybe that is why I manage the band.  They are the best!  It's undeniable.

MBOM: Was Motorhead a NWOBHM band or were they a precursor like Judas Priest?

Jarvis: Definitely not a NWOBHM band.  They are more a U.K. Punk band than anything in my opinion.  At least when they started.  They are one of the most important bands to the NWOBHM movement, but they came before and helped inspire it all, along with Priest, punk rock, and the big three (Sabbath, Zepplin, and Purple).

MBOM: Please recommend a good playlist for a NWOBHM newcomer.


MBOM: Which NWOBHM band do you wish had been more successful/well known?

Jarvis: Raven.
They get well known for the first band to take Metallica on tour.  Well they were also the first band to take Night Demon on tour.  So what?!  The fact is that Raven still have more energy on stage today as any metalcore acrobatic band out there.  This guys are the real deal and always have been.  There are so many great songs that span their catalog, it would be hard for me to pick the perfect setlist by them, because something would obviously have to be left out.  I'm not sure if it was bad decisions, bad management, the public not being mature enough for them, or all of the above.  The fact that Raven's still not as well known as they should be continues to blow my mind.  I'm happy to have them still around, as I know their die hard fans are.  The positive thing is that they are still making new records, touring the globe, and always have a certain spark in them that makes them relevant today, and always working toward a better future for the band.  They are one of the most important bands in the NWOBHM scene, and there can never be a conversation about the genre without mentioning them.  Their legacy is cemented.

MBOM: Which of the classic "Black And White EPs" is your favorite - Paralax - White Lightning, Mythra - Death And Destiny, or Crucifixion - Green Eyes?

Jarvis: Mythra.
I have had the pleasure of sharing the stage with this band many times, and every time "Death and Destiny" or "UFO" is played, and just can't stop smiling.  Paralex and Crucifixion also put out good EPs, but the Mythra EP has a little more musicianship for me, good solid rock hooks, and a production more liking to my ear.  Overall it's a more solid outing in my opinion.

MBOM: Night Demon's covers of Jaguar's "Axe Crazy" and Diamond Head's "Lightning To The Nations" are excellent. Any plans for any other NWOBHM covers?

Jarvis: Yes, we are actually in the studio next week to record a cover of LeGriffe's “Fast Bikes”.  Here's another band that had it not been for our friend Rob McNees in Houston, TX, we would have never heard of, would have had to wait to discover it years later.  Rob made us an old school mix-tape for the road, because our touring van only had a cassette player in it.  The tape began with the Fast Bikes EP.  We ere totally blown away!  I think we must have listened to that thing hundreds of times on tour, and we still do to this day.  Definitely a diamond in the rough, and a band that fell through the NWOBHM cracks.  I highly recommend checking out this band.

MBOM: Which NWOBHM band that never released an album do you wish had released a full length? (Five bonus points for picking Trespass.)

Jarvis: I'm actually going to say Buffalo.  I know they put out a record in the 2000's way late in their career, but really those first singles are so good, and show so much promise.  It makes me wonder what they would've become had they kept it going in the early days.  Trespass also would've been a great band.  One of These Days is definitely one of my favorite singles. (Editor's note - I'll award 2.5 points for acknowledging the greatness of One Of These Days.)

MBOM: Are there any recent albums by old NWOBHM bands that you can recommend?


  • SatanLife Sentence and Atom By Atom.  A new album has been completed and will be released in 2018.  I can tell you know that it's gonna be something great!
  • RavenExtermination
  • Diamond HeadDiamond Head
  • MythraStill Burning

MBOM: Do you have any cool NWOBHM rarities/collectibles?

Jarvis: I actually own a copy of the Diamond Head white album.  The version I acquired years ago is just the white cover with no signatures on it.  It is real though, and it is on Happy Face Records.  When Night Demon did some dates with Diamond Head, I had Brian Tatler sign the black jacket for me.  He confirmed that it was a legit copy, then proceeded to write the year under his signature.  LOL!  Another bucket list moment, nonetheless.

MBOM: Is there a particular NWOBHM rarity that you'd like to have in your collection?


  • Iron MaidenSoundhouse Tapes
  • JaguarAxe Crazy single
  • Witchfinder GeneralBurning a Sinner

MBOM: Thanks for taking the time to talk about NWOBHM! Any last words or anything else to add?

Jarvis: Thanks for spreading the word on NWOBHM.  For me it's the best sub genre in all of heavy metal. It has the perfect balance of melody, heaviness, and true spirit than anything else I've ever heard.  These songs still live up to this day and continue to inspire me.  I still can't believe that just when I think I've heard every NWOBHM band that ever existed, something gets unearthed for me and I start all over again.  I hope that's something that continues to happen.  Cheers!


Muthas, I hope you enjoyed the interview with Jarvis and it inspires you to buy some Night Demon and to listen to more NWOBHM!

Also, Jarvis just announced Frost and Fire in London (!) on May 11-12, 2018.  Several NWOBHM legends are scheduled to play including Angel Witch, Mythra, Bashful Alley and Jaguar!


Sunday, October 8, 2017

I Breathe Fire

Bob Mayo
 Musician, Writer and NWOBHM Enthusiast

Muthas, I had the good fortune to interview Bob Mayo about the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. Bob was the lead singer and bassist for the excellent thrash band Wargasm which you can check out here - I highly recommend all of their releases. Bob also has a superb blog - Mayonoise - which I cannot recommend enough. Bob's writing is clever and insightful and I love the way he discusses music. Read or die!  Okay, without further ado, let's hear what Bob has to say about NWOBHM. Enjoy! 

MBOM: Bob, let me start by saying thanks so much for doing this interview! I know you are in the midst of reissuing the entire Wargasm catalog, but what else are you currently up to?

Bob: I have been recording songs under the name Robot MonsterArmy for 10 years, and I have put together a live band for a gig in November.

MBOM: I first became aware of Wargasm back in the 80s when a friend recommended your band because he knew I was a big fan of Tank. How much did Tank and the NWOBHM influence you and Maniac/Wargasm early on?

Bob: Tank's influence was huge on me specifically, but Wargasm's sound was a combination of mine, Rich's and Barry's influences. Barry was way into Venom, Rich was into Accept, Raven, and Angel Witch.

MBOM: What song/comp/album started you on your journey of listening to and collecting NWOBHM?

Bob: Probably Iron Maiden's Killers album. In America, we new Metal was coming back, starting with Van Halen's debut in 1978, but the NWOBHM kind of snuck over here in a very underground way around 80/81.

MBOM: What's your favorite NWOBHM single?

Bob: I love all of the Gillan singles, the Tank and Raven singles. they're all my favorites. Def Leppard's 1st ep is great (damn shame what happened to them!)

MBOM: What's your favorite NWOBHM LP?

Bob: I think Angel Witch's album is the very best NWOBHM album. The Tygers of Pan Tang's Wildcat is a favorite, Tank's 1st 3, Maiden's debut, Raven's Wiped Out are all up there.

Photo Credit: Bob Mayo
MBOM: What's your favorite NWOBHM compilation released back in the 80s?

Bob: Metal for Muthas 1 & 2, also Axe Attack, which was the first time I heard "Earth Mother" by Samson, a great song.

MBOM: What's your favorite retrospective NWOBHM compilation released in 90s to today?

Bob: Don't know of any!

MBOM: Which band had the better debut album - Iron Maiden or Angel Witch?

Bob: Angel Witch! Maiden's might have been the best if the production was better...

MBOM: Was Motorhead a NWOBHM band or are they a precursor like Judas Priest?

Bob: Motorhead defied categorization from Day One.

Photo Credit: Bob Mayo

MBOM: Do you consider Gillan to be part of the NWOBHM?

Bob: Yes I do.

MBOM: Please recommend a good playlist for a NWOBHM newcomer.


MBOM: Which NWOBHM band do you wish had been more successful/well known?

Bob: Angel Witch! I wish they had continued early on instead of just collapsing right after the 1st album.

MBOM: Which of the classic "Black And White EPs" is your favorite - Paralax - White Lightning, Mythra - Death And Destiny, or Crucifixion - Green Eyes?

Bob: Crucifixion seemed to be more 'together', and had a better singer, but I do like the energy on Mythra's ep, and the album.

MBOM: Can there be a Tank without Algy Ward?

Bob: NO! Ridiculous! 

MBOM: Your cover of Tank's "Power Of The Hunter" is excellent. Any plans of any other NWOBHM covers?

Bob: Thanks! No plans.

MBOM: Which NWOBHM band that never released an album do you wish had released a full length? (Five bonus points for picking Trespass.)

Bob: Um... Trespass?  (Editor's Note - I'll take it! Five bonus points for Bob!) 

MBOM: Are there any recent albums by old NWOBHM bands that you can recommend?

Bob: Saxon's last few are great, but they really don't sound like a NWOBHM band anymore...

Photo Credit: Bob Mayo
MBOM: Do you have any cool NWOBHM rarities/collectibles?

Bob: I have all the Gillan and Tank singles, I used to have all of the Raven singles on Neat, can't find 'em!!

MBOM: Is there a particular NWOBHM rarity that you'd like to have in your collection?

Bob: There's a version of "Don't Take Nothin" by Tygers w/Jess Cox that sounds like a 1st album outtake, I had it on a vinyl 'various artists' comp but I am trying to find it on CD. The deluxe reissue of Wildcat has a version of this song, but its not the same recording... HELP!  (Editor's Note - I think that version is available here. Bob ordered it so let's hope I'm right!)

MBOM: Thanks for taking the time to talk about NWOBHM! Any last words or anything else to add?

Bob: That was really a magic time for metalheads! Metal seemed to be asleep for a while until we started to hear the buzz about Maiden, Saxon, Def Lep, etc. The one place that sold all of these records was about 40 miles North in Saugus, MA, called Rockit Records; we used to drive up there once or twice a month and spend tons of money buying up all this stuff. It really was exciting, discovering new bands all the time. The same thing happened with Thrash a few years later but the NWOBHM was really something special!


Muthas, I hope you enjoyed this interview with Bob Mayo and it inspires you to do the following - buy some Wargasm, read Mayonoise, and listen to more NWOBHM!