VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) — Metal for Muthas

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VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) - Metal for Muthas cover
3.55 | 2 ratings | 1 review
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Album · 1980

Tracklist

1. Iron Maiden - Sanctuary (3:32)
2. Sledgehammer - Sledgehammer (3:10)
3. EF Band - Fighting for Rock and Roll (3:34)
4. Toad the Wet Sprocket - Blues in A (3:44)
5. Praying Mantis - Captured City (5:31)
6. Ethel the Frog - Fight Back (2:49)
7. Angel Witch - Baphomet (4:58)
8. Iron Maiden - Wrathchild (3:10)
9. Samson - Tomorrow or Yesterday (5:31)
10. Nutz - Bootliggers (4:41)

Total Time 40:50

Line-up/Musicians

http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/artist/iron-maiden-nwobhm
http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/artist/sledgehammer
http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/artist/e-f-band
http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/artist/toad-the-wet-sprocket
http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/artist/praying-mantis
http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/artist/ethel-the-frog
http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/artist/angel-witch
http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/artist/samson
http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/artist/nutz

About this release

Released by Sanctuary Records (CD) / EMI (LP), February 15th 1980.

Thanks to adg211288 for the addition and Vim Fuego for the updates

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VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) METAL FOR MUTHAS reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

Vim Fuego
The New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Thanks a lot Geoff Barton, for one of the most awkward labels for a genre of music ever. NWOBHM. If you try to pronounce the acronym, it sounds like somewhere in North Africa where Montgomery and Rommel scrapped it out during World Ward 2, at the Battle of NWOBHM. Writing for Sounds magazine, Barton first coined New Wave of British Heavy Metal in May 1979. Is the term descriptive? Yes. An underground swelling of heavy metal bands popped up in Great Britain the late 1970s and early 1980s. They supposedly had a new sound, distinct from that of the old guard of heavy metal. Is the term accurate? Not really. Define the sound exactly. Was it Iron Maiden’s galloping riffs? Was it Diamond Head’s hard edged take on prog rock? Was it Angel Witch’s occult inspired freakouts? Was it Saxon’s working class denim and leather? All NWOBHM bands, but all that’s really similar in them is their British origin, and they all played metal.

“Metal For Muthas” was an attempt to catalogue these disparate sounds, and in doing so created an album both definitive of and symptomatic of the scene. Released in February 1980, the ten tracks on this album featured some of the best and worst of metal for the time and place.

“Metal For Muthas” is probably most famous for being the place where many a metal fan first discovered Iron Maiden. Maiden had released the single “Running Free” a week before this compilation came out, and their debut album was still a couple of months off. What was on offer here was early versions of “Sanctuary” and “Wrathchild”. These are far and away the stand-out tracks on this album, and it’s easy to see why Iron Maiden became Iron Maiden. In an odd twist, neither was included on the original version of Iron Maiden’s debut.

“Sanctuary” was intended to be a non-album single. It was recorded as a four piece, with Doug Sampson on drums. The band were most unhappy with the way it sounded, so re-recorded it for the single, and the re-recorded version was later added to the US and subsequent versions of the “Iron Maiden” album. However, the rougher “Metal For Muthas” version has a gritty charm all it’s own.

“Wrathchild” also sounds rougher than the version which would eventually appear on “Killers”. The guitars have a bit more bite, the solos are demonstrably different, and it doesn’t quite have the Martin Birch punch of the later version.

There’s more to this album than Iron Maiden though. Sledgehammer’s “Sledgehammer” just perfectly sets itself up for any number of hammering, pounding, thumping, or bashing clichés, so just pick your own one while you listen to Mike Cooke’s excellent melodic vocals and his powerful rhythm section. Like many of the songs here, it has a bluesy swagger to it, owing great debts to the likes of early Deep Purple and Status Quo.

E.F. Band kept the blues flavour, but upped the tempo somewhat, and completely fucked the British part of NWOBHM by having the temerity to hail from Sweden. Never mind, “Fighting for Rock and Roll” does just that, and there are some incredible solos mid-song.

Toad The Wet Sprocket borrowed their name from a Monty Python sketch, and you might almost think someone was having a laugh by including “Blues In A” on the album. The song reeks of boozy, smoke-filled barrooms, complete with someone tinkling the ivories, and vocalist Mick Mostafa wailed all over it. A great hangover song, but a bit of a momentum killer, and there was a vital element missing from it, namely THE METAL!

Praying Mantis had all the ingredients to have made it bigger than they did. After all, guitarist Rob Angelo wrote “Sanctuary” when he was in Iron Maiden. Yes, the same “Sanctuary” that led off the album. Angelo was paid £300 for the song and was well satisfied with it. Interestingly, he didn’t have a writing credit for “Captured City”, the song featured here. While not as quick as Maiden, this still has a similar bass driven feel, with some great memorable vocal harmonies.

Ethel The Frog... Not a promising name. Another amphibian from another Monty Python sketch, but it’s a matter of not judging a book by it’s cover. “Fight Back” is one of the heaviest songs here, and featured some Judas Priest-like guitar work.

And then on to Angel Witch. While Samson is probably more famous, Angel Witch would have to be second behind Maiden from this album for their influence on future metal bands. “Baphomet” is firmly rooted in the occult lyrically and thematically, and from this song come the roots of speed and thrash metal, with the likes of Mercyful Fate being obvious descendants of Angel Witch. This was also a big influence on Dave Mustaine, Chuck Schuldiner, and Tom G. Warrior. It is easily the best song outside of the Maiden tracks.

And so to Samson. Probably best known for featuring a pre-Iron Maiden Bruce Bruce (fucking good thing he changed his name from THAT!), it’s actually Paul Samson singing on “Tomorrow Or Yesterday”. Once again, it’s a blues rock/ballad, with some hard driving mid passages, but ultimately, it’s a bit dull.

The whole thing is rounded out by Nutz with “Bootliggers”. Nutz also didn’t feature the NWOBHM tag by not being new, as in they were an established band, with three studio albums behind them already. “Bootliggers” has it’s boots firmly rooted in the early 70s hard rock/glam rock sound. Dave Lloyd even lets rip with a Daltrey-esque scream. While not a weak song, it’s an odd finish to the album, complete with fake finale.

Geoff Barton, he who coined the fuckawful acronym for this genre called the album “A good idea abysmally executed”. Well Mr Barton, you were proved wrong. “Metal For Muthas” hit number 16 in the album charts, and is still loved by metal fans the world over, as much for its historical significance as for the actual music. Yes, parts of the album aren’t new, British, or even heavy metal, but it exposed an underground scene to a wider audience, which gave metal a huge kick in the ass, and boosted it to greater things in the 1980s and beyond.

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