1. Demolition Boys (3:40)
"Demolition" was the debut from all female British heavy metal band Girlschool. The debut from this band is among the top NWOBHM releases, featuring some of their best material. The album even features a few hit singles such as the cover of The Gun’s "Race With the Devil" with some scorching lead riffs by Kelly Johnson. Kelly was the band's lead vocalist, but on this particular song bassist Enid Williams belted out the lyrics. The other hit was "Emergency", a number with a big sing-along hook and a punky vibe. Of course a year down the road the band would re-record the song with Motorhead for the infamous St. Valentine's Day Massacre EP.
Despite having two hit singles, "Demolition" isn't just packed with filler around a couple singles. This album is a constant barrage of biting British heavy metal from the opening track of "Demolition Boys" through the last track on side two, "Deadline". It has been said that Girlschool are the female counterpart of Motorhead. That comparison, especially on this album, is not that far off. I think Girlschool were wearing their influence on their sleeve, however, they don't sound like clones either. Girlschool are slightly more melodic than Motorhead. Though it might be trite to say, I also hear The Runaways in their sound. Opening track "Demolition Boys" is one of the band's signature songs. On top of being incredibly catchy the sound is loud and raucous. Other tracks such as "Not For Sale", "Midnight Ride" and "Take It All Away" are equally infectious and the balance of heavy riffs and harmonies are fantastic. Some fans might argue that "Hit and Run" was the band's best album, but for my money it doesn't get any better than this NWOBHM classic.
1. Going Under (4:16)
2. High n Dry (3:09)
3. Play Dirty (5:03)
4. 20th Century Boy (3:28)
5. Breaking All the Rules (3:02)
6. Burning in the Heat (3:19)
7. Surrender (3:23)
8. Rock Me Shock Me (4:28)
9. Running for Cover (3:11)
10. Breakout (Knob in the Media) (3:23)
11. 1 2 3 4 Rock n Roll (3:32)
12. Don't Call It Love (new version) (3:23)
13. Tush (new version) (2:13)
14. Like It Like That (3:28)
15. 1 2 3 4 Rock n Roll (12" extended version) (4:32)
Play Dirty is the fourth studio album by New Wave of British heavy metal band, Girlschool, produced by Noddy Holder and Jim Lea from the seminal English band Slade.
As much as I am a huge fan of this band, "Play Dirty" is easily the worst that Girlschool had to offer. Girlschool always had that heavy edge and punk-attitude. For the most part that vibe is completely gone here and replaced by a clean pop-metal sound. Unfortunately the songs aren't even all that memorable and some are downright hard to listen to. The first two tracks alone sound more like something Vixen might have recorded than the mighty Girlschool. "Going Under" is a fairly riff-driven metal song but is drug down by the glossy production that robs the song of it's heavy edge. "Burning in the Heat" was one of the singles off this album and one of the more memorable songs on the album. It was written by Noddy Holder. The title track was the other single for the album and it isn't bad in it's own cheesy way. "Surrender" is a synth-soaked 80s "power" ballad and is easily one of the worst songs on the album. It is horribly cheesy 80's pop. The album ends with a couple rockers that are all but ruined by the production, which again robs the songs of the heavy edge they should have had. "Breakout" is easily the best of the bunch and one of the most enjoyable songs on the album. Apparently guitarist Kelly Johnson didn't care for the direction the band took here either and split not long after, moving to the United States.
The CD features several b-side bonus tracks including 2 versions of "1 2 3 4 Rock n Roll". This track sounds more like something Joan Jett would have recorded in the 80's with the clap box and hooky gang chorus. I'm fairly sure the song is a cover and was not written by Girlschool. Regardless it is an incredibly catchy song. In fact, I wonder if Joan had recorded this song in 1983 if it might have been a hit. Of course, "Tush" is a cover a classic ZZ Top song.
1. Action (3:05)
"Take A Bite" is Girlschool's seventh album and at this point there are only two original members left, guitarist Kim McAulliffe and drummer Denise Dufort. The album follows on the heels of the excellent "Nightmare at Maple Cross" in which the band attempted a returned to their classic, early 80's sound. While I would not say "Take A Bite" is a complete return to the biker metal of the first two or three records, what this album offers is a compelling mix of Sweet, Slade, perhaps some Runaways and of course, Motörhead. As a matter of fact, it's been said that the song "Head over Heels" contains a portion of lyrics written by Motörhead bassist Lemmy on a napkin during a night out in a pub with McAuliffe. Raw, biting British heavy metal with a punk-like delivery. The album is packed full of tight grooves, catchy riffs and super hooky songs. Album opener "Action" should have been a hit single for the band. The album contains also the cover of The Sweet's single "Fox on the Run", which apparently was chosen as a single for the album. If "Action" wasn't chosen as a single, it should have been. "Girls on Top" and "Head Over Heels" are two other standout tracks with biting guitars and big hooks. The album ends with "Too Hot To Handle", which is not a cover of the classic UFO song, though that would have been cool. Rather it's another upbeat pop-laden metal number. "Take A Bite" is far from a fan favorite from Girlschool, but I personally think it's one of their best. It doesn't top the first couple records, but it comes close.
My first exposure to Girlschool was the "St. Valentine's Day Massacre" EP, which was a collaboration between Motorhead and Girlschool. Soon after I discovered albums like "Hit & Run" and "Demolition". However, over time, as I sold off my old vinyl collection and began collecting CDs, I had sort of forgotten about this classic NWOBHM band. When I stumbled upon this CD in the used bins for a mere $3.99, I snatched it up. My expectations weren't real high, being that this was a "newer" album by Girlschool and somehow I expected something less than what they were in the 80's. To my delight, this disc is pretty darn good. Essentially it sounds like classic Girlschool, which has always been a mixture of punk and metal, not unlike Motorhead. Album opener "My Ambition", "Cant Do That", "We Came" and album closer "Take Me I'm Yours" could very well be considered classic Girlschool. Had any of these tracks been released during the rise of the NWOBHM, I am sure they would have been fan favorites. Both songs are heavy and aggressive. There are some less aggressive moments such as "Sitting Pretty" which has a slight Southern rock vibe, due to some slide guitar work. "On My Way" is a mid-paced hard rock song with a melodic chorus. Girlschool's self titled CD is a solid slab of metal and one of their more underrated albums in their catalog.
Girlschool - The Collection (Sanctuary) 1998
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