So everyone knows by now that Metallica used the first few bars of Rainbow Warrior as the intro to their song Sanitarium, on the Master of Puppets album.
But not everyone knows just how good Bleak House were back in those heady days of the early NWoBHM - and that's mainly because there just aren't the copies of their first two EPs to go around.
The good news is that they're both available on a recent release called Suspended Animation, which also includes a few songs from a re-discovered live set which was doing the rounds about 10 years ago.
Man, these guys were good and then some - the music could be dreamy and atmospheric, simple and sparse, complex and downright out-and-out heavy when it chose to be, and Bleak House seem to me to have had some kind of natural instinct for where the music wanted to take itself that went beyond yer run-of-the-mill song format.
It didn't always work - some of the various sections of Rainbow Warrior simply don't mesh, as if they were tacked on as an afterthought, then re-stated as if repetition would somehow make it right.
But other sections - and other songs - paint a portrait of a band who SHOULD have made it and SHOULD have caused ripples. The fact remains, fortunately, that they did, albeit through Metallica's insightful and tasteful reworking, which I know I've heard Dream Theater quoting on more than one song - and so the disemmination of great ideas works.
The first part, or main body of Rainbow Warrior is haunting, and special enough in its own right, to be a classic. Yhe change to the next section with that spine-chilling JCM chug works extremely well, topped with the simple but effective vocal harmonies. Where it all goes wrong for me is in those pitiful lead/bass lines whch intersperse the vocal sections.
This is followed up by the guitar solo, an effective, if not impressive effort, which builds up to the sudden drop-down for the atmospheric ending.
Ishandivana, to me, is a much better song, however, full of driving power with that irresistable half-time drum beat and chunky, clanking bass line under the twin rhythm guitar section, like a squadron of Spitfires. The overall pathos is what is so impressive about this piece - the dramatic build-ups and tear-downs, and cascading cliff-drops, providing headbanging nirvana even at varying tempi. There's quite a bit of Diamond Head and early Maiden influence here, but Bleak House stamp their own signature on the music authoritatively.
The EP finishes at this higher tempo in a similar style, such that Inquisistion feels like a follow on from Ishandivana rather than a new song. Again, the music sounds fresh and original, with subtle variations in style that provide a pleasing momentum. The drumming is particularly ear-catching to me.
You probably won't find a copy of the 45, and definitely not for less than £50 - so I'd recommend the Suspended Animation CD over this for that reason alone.
But this is a great EP - one of the very best of the NWoBHM.