BRATS — 1980 (review)

BRATS — 1980 album cover Album · 1980 · Heavy Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Time Signature
Heavy rocker...

Genre: traditional heavy metal / punk rock

Take 50% punk and 50% heavy metal and sprinkle sing-along-melodies on top, and you have Brats' "1980" - a heavy metal gem by an obscure band that is in many ways crucial to the genre of heavy metal. Brats were the band that eventually morphed into Mercyful Fate who, as most of us know, were hugely inspirational to black metal, thrash metal, progressive metal and so on.

"1980" is interesting because it seems to be a snapshot of a band in the process of going from punk to heavy metal, and - fortunately this is a best-of-both-worlds scenario. The main punk element is the energy and enthusiasm, but the degree of musicianship is much higher than what was typical of 1970s-1980s punk rock, which is to be attributed to Brats' heavy metal sensitivity. In terms of riffage, the band seamlessly make use of both simple punk rock riffs and more complex hard rock and heavy metal riffs. Examples of such perfectly balanced hybrid songs are "Oy-905", "Tame Me (Insomnia)", "B-Brains", "Sense My Boy", and "Zombie People", and "Accepted". Other tracks like the doomy "Complex (Don't Destroy Me)" and the Judas Priest-like "Heavy Rocker" (my favorite track along with the opening track) are more straight heavy metal tracks, while others like "Punk Fashion", "Fuel""Pinned on My Eyelids" are straight punk rockers.

I like the production. For a punky album, it is very well produced with a sound that reminds me of Thin Lizzy. Still, the album is not overly polished and it does have an authentic sound which I appreciate.

I would recommend this album to fans of traditional punk music and traditional heavy metal alike. I would also recommend it to fans of Mercyful Fate and King Diamond since Brats are incremental to the history of King Diamond (Diamond does not appear on this album, but he did join the band in 1981).
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