Back in 1979 it seemed as if metal was everywhere, and when Deaf Barton used the term ‘NWOBHM’ in the May issue of Sounds there was a banner around which fans could join and take on the world. Some bands quickly outgrew the scene (Iron Maiden, Def Leppard) while other pre-dated it but made it their own (Saxon). Some bands who should have made it in a big way never did (Diamond Head, Trespass) while some erstwhile musicians cut their teeth in bands that soon folded (Janick Gers – White Spirit). The list is apparently endless, but back in ’79 I was just sixteen years old and lapped it up, seeing every band that I could, buying loads of independent albums (even writing to Neat and demanding that they send me stuff as I couldn’t buy it locally,and they did!). I listened to TV on the Radio, picked up on every band I could and still have singles by bands such as Chainsaw, Mythra, Geddes Axe (they should have been huge) and many others. But one band that passed me by was Metal Mirror.
According to the press release they issued one of the most desirable singles of the era, “Rock & Roll ain’t never gonna leave us” (with “English Booze”on the B-Side) on the M+M Records label, but I must have missed that one. Apart from appearing on a compilation, that was all they released during their time together (all over by ’82), but when they were recently approached for some bonus songs to be added to some later-released live albums they managed to uncover 15 songs from various sources, and the decision was taken to release this compilation of all studio songs recorded between 1979 and 1982. Listening to this in 2014 I found myself smiling, as this is totally derivative of the period. The production isn’t great, but unless you were one of the lucky ones it never was. The songs aren’t great, but the guys are enthusiastic and really into it, again something very true of many others. If I was to quantify the sound I would have to say that they come across as Iron Maiden crossed with Tygers of Pan Tang (as they were both sounding back then as opposed to later years) along with Nazareth. The songs aren’t brilliant, but they were having a load of fun playing them and when I listened to this I was a teenager once again. I think that you would probably have had to have lived through the original NWOBHM to ‘get’ this, but if you did then like me you will find plenty here to enjoy.