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Adam's Blog #5: Obscure, Forgotten and Otherwis...

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    Posted: 23 Jun 2016 at 5:52am
I couldn't fit the full title I wished to use in for this entry, so here it is in full:

Adam's Blog #5: Obscure, Forgotten and Otherwise Hard to Find Metal Albums

I've decided to dedicate an entry on my MMA blog to my on-going review series that I started last year and have every so often added a new entry to. Unlike my other blog entries this will be one that I will keep updating, depending on how long I keep the series going for. I decided to do this since some of you have taken an interest in the series (thank you!) and I thought it would be a good idea to have a place where all the entries are gathered together. Obviously I won't be repeating the reviews themselves here, but I will provide a short summary of why I decided to include each release in the series. You can of course use this entry to comment on the albums, so use the MMA shout system on each review I've posted. 

Review #1: Original Sin - Sin Will Find You Out

With a cover that suggests a glam metal band to me, it may come as a surprise that this is a speed metal album. That's not why I picked this as the first entry in the series though. In truth I only came up with the series after writing this one and retroactively included it, but it's story fit in well with what I was going for. This was a so called Metalploitation band, presented as all female, no doubt a rarity in 1986 which Original Sin weren't really changing, as apart from the singer they were actually a bunch of dudes. It was actually the same guys responsible for Exorcist's Nightmare Theatre the same year, who were basically Virgin Steele in disguise with a different drummer. I've known of Virgin Steele for years and have several of their albums and I'd at least heard of the Exorcist album, but it was only relatively recently that I found out that there was a second such album out there by the same guys (who swapped David DeFeis for his sister in Original Sin, with the former producing). Only here they took on the names Cynthia Taylor, Pandora Fox and Darlene Destructo. Where the truth about Exorcist is more widely known, I've come to suspect that even though it's no secret that Original Sin still fools a few people - take for example Virgin Steele's profile on Rate Your Music. Exorcist is mentioned. Original Sin is not. Even on Exorcist's own page, no mention of Original Sin, despite being 75% the same band. 

Sin Will Find You Out was released in 1986 and doesn't seem to have ever been reissued since then, a contrast to the Exorcist album. Virgin Steele are known for have reworked some of the music here into the main band though. 

Review #2: Matthias Steel - Haunting Tales of a Warrior's Past

This may well be the least known album I've written about in this series so far. Even using Rate Your Music's ratings (sorry everyone they just have more than MMA) this album only has 15 ratings to this day. That may be because this album was only released on cassette in 1991 - a time when it seems to have been a damn terrible time to be playing USPM. There's hope for this unsung gem to start getting the recognition it deserves though as not many months after I posted this review, the wish I expressed in it came true - the album got reissued on CD! Matthias Steele even has a new album out, which unfortunately I've not had the opportunity to hear yet. I think even if I had known about the reissue coming though I'd have still included this album in the series - it's certainly one of the best ones I've reviewed so far. 

Review #3: Cauldron Born - Born of the Cauldron

A spiritual sequel to the previous review though the two bands are completely unrelated. This one went less under the radar than Matthias Steele did, but it was perhaps released in an even worse time to be playing USPM - 1997! And yet this and the former I think should definitely be counted as two of USPM's true gems. Born of the Cauldron has in fact been reissued a couple of times but still remains a very hard to find album in the normal sort of price range for a CD, so for that reason a place in this series was assured. 

Review #4: Ancient Wisdom - For Snow Covered the Northland

The genre focus is quite different with this entry in the series as the other releases both before and after deal with USPM and speed metal mainly, whereas this one is an atmospheric black metal album. Using Rate Your Music ratings as a reference this is perhaps the most well known release I've included so far, but it's difficultly to find assured its place. This is actually the album I've known about for the longest and also the one I've been trying to track down for the longest without success. It is on Spotify in full though.

Review #5: Lords of the Crimson Alliance - Lords of the Crimson Alliance

I almost didn't put this album in the series as it has quite recently been reissued, but its story clinched it's place. This was one of those mystery bands who even now thirty years on no one knows for sure who they actually were. Some say they were the band Grudge but I'm not sure I buy it. Though either way this is a great USPM album that fortunately found its way back onto the market. We can only hope that others on this list will be as lucky.

Review #6: Siren - No Place Like Home

This one may be the most significant album I've included so far from because of the time period of when it was released. An early progressive metal band/album, released in 1986. It's a time where by today's standards we may not call this music prog, but it was certainly on the level with what the likes of Fates Warning and Crimson Glory were doing back then and they has material that dated back to 1984, making Siren one of the earliest progressive metal bands, which in my book makes them pretty damn significant. Only who here has actually heard of them before? I found out about them by accident. 

The album was released on vinyl in 1986 and has never got an official reissue since, though I have found reference to it being bootlegged on CD. Someone should really make sure this piece of history gets the recognition it deserves. 

Edited by adg211288 - 29 Jun 2016 at 10:25am
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