Review Summary: Dinner tonight is: a heated up nice hodgepodge of Maiden, Priest, New Wave and Saxon, but... served a bit too late
In 1984 the restive vocalist Brian Ross re-established the once promising NWOBHM representatives Blitzkrieg, recruiting some old names as new members (notably from groups associated with Wallsend's Neat Records) to reanimate the evanished band. Main reason and aim was to release the debut album that shipwrecked at the end of 1981. And thus the album considered dead eventually showed up under the title A Time of Changes in 1985. And times surely had changed! The striking cover art and angular band logo were designed by Nigel Ballard, to me a big unknown, but I must admit that his rendering of the Great Bird of Armageddon is convincing and suitable for a delayed NWOBHM album. And a great improvement compared to the awkward drawing featuring their first single 'Buried Alive'
. The fact that this cd emerged in 1985 in stead of 1982 is of decisive importance and a main factor of appreciation, and one of the reasons why it's release went relatively unobserved. Imagine this traditional metal album in a sea of modern 'classic' metal and thrash washing up: Anthrax, Iron Maiden, Helloween, Megadeth, Exodus, Celtic Frost: anonymously it will go under and drown .
Although it contains some good, energetic songs and reveals occasionally confidence, the album as a whole never is a high flyer. It seems to lack cohesiveness and character, demonstrating some mediocre or anaemic compositions, lacking passion or boldness. The scrape together character of the album also is partly responsible for the impression of imbalance and turmoil that I sense. The album breathes a formulaic, hurried atmosphere leaving no opportunity for surprise. The production is reasonable, although there is a lot of echo and reverb especially on the vocals. Sometimes they got lost in a mush. Bass is audible (ok!), and the drums also (to my regret!). O, these drums spoil the atmosphere of the album: they sound like kettels and are way too simplistic and annoying. Productionwise it is not a bad album, but I prefer the raw and crude production of the 1981 single.
Although Blitzkrieg 1985 really fits in the heavy metal genre, relying on early NWOBHM acts, the songs seem to lack the passion and conviction, the attitude that belong to it. Take for example the title track or Vikings
, they tend to become nagging songs, leaning against New Wave or Glam Rock. The 'Shout-shout'-refrain especially reminds me of the Tears for Fears eponymous song, and although this is a good song in it's own right, it's not a fitting metal song. The title track, a spiced up glam rock song, nice but aimless, also does not convince me, even though it is one of the most characteristic songs by the band. The vocals of Brian Ross are worth highlighting in particular here, for they seem dividing. I am part of the critics group. His singing style is quite monotonous, pale and static, in spite of his Halfordesque high pitched swipes his voice better fits a New Wave band. Others regard him as a vocalist of importance, but he is not one of my favourites. The guitar tandem Jim Sirotto and Mick Proctor on the other hand is solid and robust, dueling in the well known Thin Lizzy and Judas priest tradition, but never really explosive.
The album contains 8 songs, all worthwhile in their own way but not one exceptional or special. Inferno
is an energetic song that bursts in after the obligatory synth intro Ragnarok. Blitzkrieg
is the band's most famous tune, thanks to Metallica's cover version. It's a nice metal song recycling Focus'main riff from te song Hocus Pocus. Pull the Trigger
is a song written for Satan, Ross's other brainchild and consists of an up tempo metal track with double bass drumming. The other songs are stuck in good intentions and never rise above mediocrity. Maybe A Time of Changes
would have been a great release back in 1982, with a better production and the right intention. In this respect Court in the Act
(1983) provides a way better example of inspired, dynamic heavy metal composed in this period.