Review Summary: Taste their Rock N Roll
It’s inarguable the greatest classic metal comes from the UK and ironic that the most f*cking BRITISH band from that era/genre isn’t even from England and is pretty much forgotten except for a little notoriety gleaned from Metallica covering their songs. Budgie share common ground with Diamond Head in the sense they enjoy posthumous praise/success at the hands of Jaymz and company and most importantly because they shred hard. Budgie are older, coming of age in the early 70s and employing the same blues-laced METAL style of their more famous contemporaries like Purple and Zeppelin, only they played faster, and are essentially the primary influence for NWOBHM bands like the aforementioned Diamond Head and other awesome British chaps like Saxon. Plus, their front man’s name was Burke Shelly, and holy sh*t if that isn’t the most BRITISH sounding name ever, and is a virtual guarantee that Budgie would riff pretty damn hard.
Budgie’s most famous album is “Never Turn Your Back on a Friend” because it contains the insurmountable might that is the hair-raising monster “Breadfan” (m/). That album contained loads of riffs and is certainly timeless in the scope of the genre, yet Budgie’s greatest work wouldn’t be realized until they put out “In For The Kill” for no other reason other than it rocks a hell of a lot harder. “In For The Kill” deploys the same blues-drenched metal riffage formula of its predecessor, but leaves less room for the wimpy balladry and progressive leanings on certain cuts from “Friend.” Budgie’s laser focus on rocking hard is easily apparent the second the title track comes roaring out of the gates with a beautiful sloppy mess of riffs and distorted solos. No momentum is wasted as the seminal Metallica-covered “Crash Course In Brain Surgery” and its steady rolling riff cements Budgie’s status as overlooked rock legends. “Running From My Soul” and “Hammer and Tongs,” the latter which sounds like guitarist Tony Bourge was shamelessly spying on Jimmy Page during the “Dazed and Confused” writing sessions, are straightforward blues rockers. The most ferocious cut of the lot is probably “Zoom Club,” which is a simply monstrous song worshipping at the altar of massive power chord riffage and shred-tastic solo wankery. “Zoom Club” has enough heft to overcome the album’s only weak track “Wondering What Everyone Knows,” a flower-child ballad that sounds more British than the Beatles at the height of their hippie phase. Closer “Living On Your Own” is not as strong as “Parents” off “Never Turn Your Back on a Friend,” but has enough arena rock tinged riffage to successfully cement “In For The Kill” as Budgie’s hardest album.
It’s difficult to say if the dudes from Budgie are pissed the only recognition they get is from having Metallica ape their work, but they can take solace in being underrated means they were actually totally awesome and people just weren’t smart enough to latch on to their ferocious brand of rock n roll. It’s a shame Burke Shelley and his awesome Cockney name would probably be forgotten if Lars Ulrich had not been such a massive British metal fanboy, but the underlying truth is Budgie rocked as hard if not harder than their contemporaries, and fortunately their greatness will live on even if it has to be through a third party.