HardReviews 3
by Martin Popoff

Tightened Up! Live In Nottingham 1977 (Market Square)

Tightened Up! is a 12 track archival recording unearthed, documenting a pub gig conjured to showcase songs from the band's forthcoming third album, Hard Nutz, which would be the band's last before a name change to Rage, and a creditable career as one of the bluesier old school bands participating in the NWOBHM. Ergo there goes close to the entire album, many of these songs played live for the first time. The sound quality is acceptable, not exemplary, although it's cool how the PAL/IGB-type key tones cut through. In fact, the sound is very much down that Purple project-y path, early Whitesnake also coming to mind, with tantalizing underground prog touches from the likes of Wild Turkey, Fields, Warhorse, Blodwyn Pig and early Magnum also coming to mind. Add to that the blues of Free, Bad Co. and Rory Gallagher, and what you have is a satisfying document of arch-classic rock, but of course, by guys you don't know, kinda in that Lone Star/Mott (without The Hoople) zone. A swell, fully explanatory colour booklet further explains the whole situation.
Rating 6.5

Nemesis Divine (Farvahar/Straw House/Red)

Three years on, Sweden's Gallows End have issued their debut in a swell, succinct digipak, cool old school Grim Reaper cover announcing the event. Open 'er up and what we get is NWOBHM-inspired power metal, or what you might call true metal. Positives are the energetic, Steve Grimmett-like vocals of Thord Klarstrom, which can, granted, go a little flat, and the general array of riffs, which melodically combine the mournful Swedish metal of the '80s with Maiden. Negative, and this is a big one, an ear-fatiguing overload of midrange and attendant lack of bass, pret' near to the point that I feel like I'm beginning my descent and my ears have yet to pop. Stylistically, another band in this camp is Western Canada's Savage Grace and all told, it's cool to hear that some toiling in power metal have paid attention to the indie 7" vibe of the NWOBHM's unsungs, that we aren't just spiraling further into keyboards, speed and classical melodies.
Rating 6

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