2016 proved to be a stellar year for the New Wave of British Heavy Metal….kings of the genre returned with albums to rival their 80’s heyday, compilations unearthed lost tracks from the more obscure acts and a few – much anticipated – re-releases put key NWOBHM albums back in the hands of aficionados.
Here’s Worship Metal’s top 10 NWOBHM releases for 2016, let the countdown begin:
10. Paralex – Key To A Thousand Doors (Compilation)
Paralex may have been all but forgotten by all but the most devout NWOBHM connoisseur (and considering they originally left us with a mere three track EP that’s understandable), but this years No Remorse Records release of Key To A Thousand Doors reminded the world how potent this band once was.
Familiar to those who purchased the NWOBHM compilation album ’79 Revisited, the Paralex track “White Lightning” features here but in a re-recorded version. As the band have stated, these songs in the demo versions were simply not of substantial quality to release so Mark Gibson, Ian Johnson, Phil Ayling, Jez O’Donovan and Dave Blundy – a Paralex line-up from 1984 – reconvened to record the best material for the die hard fans to enjoy once again.
It may have taken 30 years for Paralex to give us Key to a Thousand Doors but the wait was well worth it!
You need to hear: “Rock The Force”, a tour de force of relentless riffing that should have seen Paralex keeping up with the likes of Iron Maiden!
9. Chaser – Raiders: The Anthology
Featuring 13 previously unreleased tracks alongside “Raiders” and “Final Stand” (a single way back in 1984), Chaser’s Raiders – The Anthology saw a wealth of quality material – originally recorded between 1984 and 1987 – finally see the light of day….thanks to Skol Records!
Hugely melodic but dripping with malevolent atmosphere, moments such as the chug-arific instrumental “Chaindriven” offered plenty of light to counteract the dark but it was on the suitably epic “Crucifix” that this bands untapped talent truly came to the fore; 8 mins of pure NWOBHM at its most sublime.
You need to hear: “Final Stand”, check out that gallop….this fucker could win the Grand National!
8. Chateaux – Chained And Desperate (Re-Release)
Originally released in 1983, Chained And Desperate (featuring the mighty lungs of Steve Grimmett – Grim Reaper/Onslaught) was always an underrated powerhouse of an album, adorned with a gritty tone and a malicious – yet still melodic – edge!
2016 finally saw a re-release of this sought after classic via No Remorse Records and it was time this high watermark of early 80’s UK heavy metal saw a new lease of life. An undisputed classic of the genre – and one that achieved more integrity with just one album than many NWOBHM peers managed over their entire careers – even the token ballad “The Dawn Surrendered” was a pulsating affair.
This may have been just a NWOBHM re-release but 2016 was a better year for it!
You need to hear: “Fight To The Last”, a fist-pumping anthem that found time to fit in chugging riffs, references to Vikings (you gotta love a Viking) and a killer vocal performance from Steve Grimmett.