Killer Dwarfs formed in late 1981 by Russ and Darrell Dwarf. The Canadian pop metal band released their self-titled debut album in 1983. They released several albums between that time and the time they broke up following the release of 1992's 'Method to the Madness' album. With the recently renewed interest in metal, the Dwarfs have reformed as of the year 2001 and have released a live disc with possible plans to record another studio album.
Killer Dwarfs (Attic) 1983
1. "Are You Ready"
Debut album by the Dwarfs from up North. This disc is a bit more of a straight forward heavy metal platter than the slightly more commercial stuff they would release following it. Unfortunately the music is somewhat generic and not as interesting as the Dwarf's later releases. Russ Dwarf's signature, helium high pipes are in place and are the unique character of the band at this point. Despite the lukewarm review, however, I do like this disc. Having been a long time fan of the band, and having not heard this particular album in many years, I completely enjoyed listening to it again. A nostalgia trip for sure. However, when I am in the mood for the Dwarfs I tend to pick up "Stand Tall" or one of their other platters first. Still, nice to finally acquire a proper CD version of this album. If I am not mistaken, this is the only Dwarf album that has not been re-issued to CD in the last few years. Only the original Attic Records pressings (ACDM1178) seem to be in circulation which makes "Killer Dwarfs" a hot Ebay item. If someone knows differently, please let me know.
Killer Dwarfs - Stand Tall (Bullseye) 1987
1. "Stand Tall" (3:12)
The first Dwarfs album I ever heard and owned on vinyl back in the glory days of the 1980's. "Stand Tall" is a hook-laden, melodic, pop metal album that could almost be played as the epitomy of 80's pop metal. The title track should have been a hit for the band. It has all the essentials of a good hair metal song, heavy guitars, memorable chorus, snappy guitar solos and clean, melodic vocals. However, the entire album really follow suit. Each song possessing similar qualities. Darrell Dwarfs' vocals are ear piercing high and very effeminate, which wasn't uncommon for the 80's. Comparisons have been made to Geddy Lee of Rush over the years, and while that comparison isn't completely off base, I think Darrell's delivery and tone is quite different and is rather unique to this band.
Finding a CD version of this album was quite the quest for several years. Fortunately I have friends in high places, or at least who have the same anal CD collector insticts as I, so I was able to obtain this CDR copy with all the artwork. In 2003, Canada's Bullseye Records (under license from Sony) released a remastered version of this CD complete with a 12-page booklet with tons of liner notes from the band and those in the know.
Killer Dwarfs - Big Deal (Epic) 1988
Me Please" (4:09)
These guys remind me of Kix in both style and in their struggle to get out of the underground. They had the hooks, the looks, the sound, and the label backing, yet they never were able to get out of the clubs and into the arenas. Still, popularity doesn't a good record make. 'Big Deal' is a good pop metal record, although any respectable metalhead in the 80's could never admit liking this bubblegum metal. I mean take a look at the bandana clad Darrell Dwarf (real name Darrell Millar) on the cover. It's laughable, right? Ahh, who cares what people think. It was fun, good times, rock 'n roll. Loads of sing along anthems and screachin' guitar solos. Hair, bandanas, spandex, guitars, and an attitude to boot. What more can you ask for from a Dwarf? "We stand alone, with only ourselves to please. We stand alone, living destiny, we stand alone..."
Killer Dwarfs - Dirty Weapons (Sony) 1990
1. "Dirty Weapons"
I can't help but wonder why it was that the Dwarfs weren't MTV superheros in the early 90's. I mean this album is made to order for MTV in the early 90's when hairspray ruled. 'Dirty Weapons' has plenty of catchy pop metal anthems that could easily have been as big as any of their hair teased bretheren. Last Laugh," "All That We Dream" and "Not Foolin'" are all quite good in my opinion. This particular re-issue also contains five bonus tracks, all taken from the bands "Method of Madness" album.
Killer Dwarfs - Method to the Madness (Epic) 1992
"Method to Madness" continues where "Dirty Weapons" left off. The music is heavier, better produced and more mature than the pop based stuff they did on "Stand Tall" and "Big Deal." The vocals seem a bit mixed back than in the past, which actually works well on this disc. "Hard Luck Town" was the first single for the album, and is a great thumping blues metal romp, opened up by a old, foul mouthed miner. Unfortunately, either due to lack of label push or the fact that this type of good time heavy metal wasn't in vogue, it didn't do well and this album didn't sell beyond the fans loyal fans. Other standout tracks are "Just As Well" and "Give and Take." Thrown into the mix are a few ballads and more bluesy numbers to keep things interesting.
Killer Dwarfs - Reunion Of Scribes-Live (Bullseye Canada) 2002
What do you get when you take a band with a catalogue of excellent, yet forgotten metal gems and reunited them in 2002? You get this live reunion CD recorded in the bands native Canada. Sometimes reunion live CDs tend to sound weak, but the Dwarfs really haven't lost any momentum here at all. The rip through a set of songs from all their past albums to a rowdy crowd that seems to just be eating it up. Here is hoping that they will stick around to give us another studio album. My particular copy was given to me by a friend from Chicago who went WAY out of his way to get it autographed for me. (thanks again James.)