BITCH / BETSY
Bitch - Be My Slave/Damnation Alley (Metal Blade) 1983/1982
Be My Slave
1. Right From The Start (5:08)
2. Be My Slave (4:40)
3. Leatherbound (4:19)
4. Riding In Thunder (3:58)
5. Save You From The World (5:41)
6. Heavy Metal Breakdown (5:34)
7. Gimme A Kiss (3:54)
8. In Heat (6:47)
9. Make It Real (Make It Rock) (3:57)
10. World War III (5:10)
11. Saturdays (4:21)
12. Never Come Home (2:57)
13. Damnation Alley (4:03)
14. He's Gone (3:40)
15. Live For The Whip (5:55)
Bitch have the distinction as being one of the first bands to sign to the fledgling Metal Blade label in the early 1980's, their first EP released just after the infamous "Metal Massacre" LP. Bitch also had one song included on that compilation, a demo version of "Live for the Whip", which would be re-recorded for the "Damnation Alley" EP. The band's first full length "Be My Slave" was released the very next year. Bitch were a band that were popular as much for their live shows, based on Betsy's S&M/dominatrix image, as they were for their music. Musically, the band are straight-forward, LA heavy metal. Mid-paced songs, crunchy guitars, screaming vocals, and all the other ingredients that make up a proficient 80's heavy metal band. I hear a bit of a Kiss influence in parts of this record; the title track is fit with a Ace Frehley inspired guitar solo. The song also features a chanted chorus, "Be My Slave, Be My Slave", that most assuredly was repeated by exuberant audiences at Bitch shows. "Leatherbound" is another song with a catchy chorus. "Heavy Metal Breakdown" is a more upbeat song with a slight punk vibe. "In Heat" features an extended guitar jam in the middle of the song. The mandatory ballad is also included in "Save You From the World". Basically "Be My Slave" was a product of it's time when heavy metal was about having a good time rather than being angry at the world.
"Be My Slave" was reissued on CD with the "Damnation Alley" EP as bonus tracks.
Bitch - The Bitch is Back (Metal Blade) 1987
1. Do You Want To Rock (3:44)
2. Hot & Heavy (4:25)
3. Me and the Boys (3:27)
4. Storm Raging Up (5:58)
5. The Bitch Is Back (3:13)
6. Head Banger (3:28)
7. Fist To Face (4:14)
8. Turns Me On (4:09)
9. Skull Crusher (4:06)
Betsy Weiss and band return with their second full length studio album. The band continues to crank out their brand of traditional, American heavy metal, heavy on the anthems. At times Betsy sings like a punky, new-wave chick on a mission while at others she reminds me of Pat Benatar. The songwriting is fairly infectious; galloping guitar riffs abound with just a slight punk edge. The lyrics seem to be catering a little more to commercial acceptance, as opposed to the bondage/S&M/sex lyrics of the band's previous recordings. Apparently, the band felt that their over-the-top dominatrix image was overshadowing their music, so the change was made. The first two tracks are instant concert favorites, which just beg for audience participation. "Me and the Boys" and "Skull Crusher" touch on speed metal, though never cross a line into thrash. Of course the standout cut is the cover of Elton John's "The Bitch Is Back", a song that ultimately became the band's signature song. The song is complete with a wild sax solo. Sure, it's all sort of cheesy, and some would even call it cliché, but it's not suppose to be rocket science. It's just suppose to be headbanging fun, and that's exactly what Bitch delivers.
Betsy (Metal Blade Records) 1988
1. You Want It You Got It (3:35)
2. You'll Never Get Out (Of This Love Alive) (3:21)
3. The Devil Made You Do It (4:08)
4. Rock N' Roll Musician (4:17)
5. Cold Shot To The Heart (3:49)
6. Flesh And Blood (2:53)
7. Turn You Inside Out (3:51)
8. What Am I Gonna Do With You? (4:43)
9. Stand Up For Rock (3:49)
10. Sunset Strut (4:34)
11. Get Out (2:55)
There is a NWOBHM band that used the name Satan in the 80's. The problem with using a name like that it can pigeonhole a band and keep them from gaining any sort of mainstream success. Apparently Bitch, their management or the record company felt the name Bitch was holding them back. So, for their 1988 album, the group decided to change their name to simply Betsy. The name change certainly made the band more appealing to a wider audience. However, for all intensive purposes "Betsy" was the third full length Bitch album. The group also included longtime Bitch drummer Robby Settles.
The sound is a bit more melodic and accessible than the first couple of Bitch albums. The songs are catchy and memorable. As well, the production is a bit slicker. However, the music is hardly wimpy pop. Songs like "The Devil Made You Do It" and "Stand Up for Rock" are upbeat, straight forward heavy metal songs, while openers "You Want It, You Got It" and "You'll Never Get Out" are more melodic hard rockers more in line with what was going on with a lot of the LA metal acts in the mid-80's. Betsy's vocals are better than they ever were on this release. She sounds like she is singing with confidence and without restraint. At times her voice reminds me of Pat Benatar, such as on the power ballad "Turn You Inside Out." For the most, the music is far more metallic than Benatar riding a fence between American heavy metal and LA pop metal.
Bitch - A Rose By Any Other Name (Metal Blade) 1989
1. Walls Of Love (5:18)
2. Throw Me In (3:47)
3. Sunset Strut (4:32)
4. Skullcrusher (4:07)
5. Crashthepartysmashthecake [instrumental] (3:18)
6. Make It Real (3:56)
"A Rose By Any Other Name" is a compilation of remixes, unfinished tracks from previous recording sessions, and a song recorded for a new album, that never surfaced. The six songs presented here are all straight-forward American heavy metal. The up-beat "Walls of Love" is easily the most memorable of the bunch, being one of the few immediately hooky Bitch songs. "Sunset Strut" has a nice groove to it and features some crunchy guitars. The oddly titled "Crashthepartysmashthecake" is an instru-metal track. "Skullcrusher" is a remix of a song from "The Bitch is Back"; a nasty little speed metal romp.
It's somewhat fitting that the album cover is tombstone as this EP was to be the last Bitch album of the decade, and the last album by Bitch. However, the band has continued to perform live over the years, most recently doing a few shows with 80's Metal Blade label-mates Heretic and Malice.