SAVAGE NOMAD ALBUM REVIEW #1.
Welcome to TNUC’s very first SAVAGE NOMAD ALBUM REVIEW. Our intention is simple. Seek out crusty records with ridiculous cover artwork, listen, reflect. We’re looking for bodacious looking albums that capture the true power and spirit of heavy metal but sadly only 37 people in the world have ever heard. With millions of bands and billions of albums floating across the earth, all we have is one requirement. The album artwork must be nasty, primitive and savage. Artwork that easily could’ve been drawn by that delinquent Randy from shop class, your best friend’s scary older brother or the mustached stranger working at the carnival’s airbrush booth. Artwork that explodes off the shelf, excites your inner-dream child and demands that you bring it home. That same knee-jerk “cool cover…I need this” reaction you had as a kid while browsing aisles at the record shop or video store.
You know the ones. Bulging muscles, nude ladies, demons, witches, executioners, barbarians, reapers, sledgehammers, axes, swords, blood, rock boulders, neon animals, raging beasts, loin cloths, prostitutes, molten steel, lightning, villagers, snakes, rats, power glow, Italian sports cars and foggy darkness……perfectly portrayed in all their airbrushed and colored pencil glory.
We hope to uncover some gems, but realistically some of them will be turds and that’s OK. The goal is to showcase these obscure albums for what they are.
So join TNUC in scraping the $1 bargain bins, garage sales, abandoned high school lockers and Uncle Rick’s smokey basement in search for cheaply drawn, savage metal power.
SAVAGE NOMAD ALBUM REVIEW #1:
FORTRESS – SELF-TITLED (1985)
Properly describing something so pure and mighty is no easy feat. This artwork has two possible scenarios. One, the screaming long-haired barbarian holding a white-hot guitar lets out one final war cry before he’s burned alive at the stake from a naughty pack of savage bubble-butt babes with daggers. How beautiful. All this happens while a reaper hovers above waiting for death. I love how our buff shredder is in perfect power stance position while he’s going down in flames. “Leg up on the amp” and everything. Those broken hearted, medieval minxes below are celebrating his demise because of a bad sexual episode or two.
The second scenario is that he’s rising up out of the flames like a golden god of heavy metal and savior of all these ladies’ steamy desires and lonely hearts. You have to remember, the barbaric age was cold, sad and bleak. Our hero probably just landed in a village of widowed barbarian queens, longing for a beefy warrior to come stumbling into their compound and satisfy them with his 6-string axe. The desperate women awake in the morning to a squealing guitar coming from the sacrificial fire pit. They rush down with daggers and swords in hand, ready for battle. What they see amidst the flames is rock’s chosen warrior, thrusting, pumping…and probably drenched in Miller High Life.
I know what you’re thinking. PLEASE be as good as the artwork.
Well good news, it is! This is a ripper of a record. Imagine a darker, less polished, more beefy and pissed off version of Ratt. Make no mistake, these are still party tunes. It’s like Stephen Pearcy putting down the hairspray for a minute and picking up the iron. The songs are exactly how the album artwork suggests. Low budget, smoking guitars and paint-by-numbers bass. Shrieking vocals that mean business and give a total of zero fucks. No surprises, just tits and fire. Wanna ride?
There’s something refreshing and exciting about the unpolished sound of these types of records. It’s exactly how they should sound. If you want squeaky clean, go listen to Def Leppard. If you’d rather be reminded of high school days cruising around in your friend’s mom’s Ford Pinto, throwing beer bottles out the windows, listen to FORTRESS. Immediate highlights include “Metal Meltdown”, “Wastin’ My Time”, “She Gives it All” and “Takin’ it Back”. I can almost smell the bottle of stale Schnapps being passed around a wood-paneled basement filled with smoke. A lone piece of pizza crust spins around the top of a turntable.
FORTRESS made their mark on the mean streets of Kansas City, Missouri in 1980. Locals say they ruled the Kansas City heavy metal scene for years. The band suffered a major blow when drummer Gary Vogel died before the release of their 1985 self-titled debut album. Gary was one of three brothers in the band, plus a guitarist and vocalist. No offense to Kansas City, but these savage nomads would’ve had a real chance if they had relocated to LA. I can think of so many wet noodle bands with far less passion who’s careers made it way further than FORTRESS. What a shame.
Thanks for reading and listening to our first Savage Nomad Album Review! Go pick up the FORTRESS album at the nearest crustiest record store that still exists. Otherwise, hit up Discogs or make a bootleg copy for your next basement party.