Taking stock of their promising past, Australian metal stalwarts return with futuristic prospects.
It all started rather well, with this Perth band’s inaugural run of concerts peaking in 2000 on their twelfth day out in front of 35,000 festival-goers – delighted with the quintet’s performance to such an extent that the limited edition of their debut EP “Love Me Tomorrow” which contained the players’ tattoo scabs flew of the shelves. Still, soon after the issue of the “Rose Coloured Glasses” album in 2001, vocalist Paul Miles moved to Melbourne to become a DJ and a writer of rock ‘n’ roll books, and the group stopped in their tracks – only to get back two decades later and deliver a freshly recorded single in 2022. Yet before “Life’s A Bitch” was out, the veterans compiled the cream of their original output to remind old and new fans alike of their erstwhile sharpness.
The melodic assault hits the listener from the first infectious riff of “Seven Needle Scratch” and doesn’t let go until the transparent “Swan Song” takes a folksy strum to the fore to crush it under the rhythm section’s weight and somewhat hysterical singing. Miles’ in-your-face delivery may feel a tad detached from instrumental bedrock, yet the ensemble’s melodies are memorable enough to guarantee the group potential that’s so obvious when Stevie D’s guitar filigree is woven into the groovy “Same Old Same” and “You Take It All” – although “I’ll Be the Rocket” must be the most consummate cut the Aussie’s laid out, the song’s chorus reaching for the AOR accessibility. But if the late Geoff Lewis’ bass rumble and Matt Franklin’s beat feed the intense exotica in “Committed A Crime” the fierce “Keep On Movin’ On” should default to NWOBHM template, with the angry “Life” throwing in a few thrash licks and the throbbing “Idle Hero (I’ll Never Give In)” reminding the faithful that it’s all about rock ‘n’ roll more than heavy metal.
Catchy and vigorous, this compilation is a perfect overture to the veterans’ forthcoming adventures.