Mythra – “Warriors Of Time: The Anthology” (Skol Records)
If most people talk about NWOBHM in the North East of England then usually Venom and Raven spring to mind. However, behind them were a slew of bands from a burgeoning scene that had actually grown during the 1970s in rebellion to punk. Playing their own fast n aggressive form of heavy rock, these bands drew their influences from a wide range of the rock spectrum, taking in elements of Motorhead, UFO, Rush and Budgie – to name but a few! Gigging alongside a young Raven (then a 4 piece), Son of a Bitch (later Saxon), Axe (later Fist), White Spirit and Warbeck – Venom didn’t exist at the time – were Mythra, a young band in a similar mold to that of Def Leppard. Formed in 1975 while still at school, Mythra soon went onto make their name playing covers – and earning a living – to audiences 3 or 4 times a week, every week, and where younger fans couldn’t get into licensed pubs, Mythra would hire PAs and play in community halls that would accept them! It didn’t take long for the band to pen and record their own material culminating in the cult “The Death And Destiny” EP, which thanks to NWOBHM champion Geoff Barton, stayed Sounds Heavy Metal Chart for over eleven weeks. As the band rose to record the “Death and Destiny” album, main songwriter guitarist John Roach left the band, to be replaced by Mick Rundle, whose relative inexperience showed both in the studio and at live performances, leading to the band’s reputation becoming jaded and management contacting Roach to repeatedly fill in – all of which he declined! With continuing label problems and management focusing on other acts and not paying the band, the final straw came when having secured the support slot to Ted Nugent in 1979 – including being named on the tour promo posters – Wild Horses (Jimmy Bain and Brian Robertson’s band) were slotted in instead after the promoter wanted more money to keep Mythra on. After the promoter subsequently suggested the band move to London, Mythra called it quits. Even after time passed, the curse still hadn’t been lifted when none other than Lars Ulrich wanted to include Mythra on his celebratory compilation, only to be thwarted by legal wrangles as to the ownership of “The Death And Destiny” EP, something that apparently still continues onto this day – talk about metal for muthas! Despite all of this, the name of Mythra has remained alive in the North East, and even more amazing, as the growth in ‘True Metal’ has taken an increasing international flavor, so too have new fans – possibly generations – to the band’s name. In 2015 most of the original Mythra lineup reunited to perform at Brofest in the UK and having signed to metal connoisseur Bart Gabriel Management, are now on course to make up for lost time. The “Warriors Of Time: The Anthology” compilation via Skol Records will be a limited edition including all the classic Mythra tracks from 1979 through to the early ’80s, plus five brand new songs written and recorded in 2015. Remastered by Gabriel, it will feature the original song titles for the first time, as the famous “British Steel Death And Destiny” LP, released back in 1998, had incorrect titles on several of the songs! Completed by a bumper booklet with tons of previously unseen photos, lyrics and liner notes, and cover art by Italian artist Roberto Toderico, who has previously worked with Tygers Of Pan Tang and Quartz, this is the first ever official and proper collection of all classic songs from these NWOBHM legends! Listening to the 18 tracks, Gabriel has done a superb job, giving a crystal clarity to the material, but beyond that, its the songs themselves that still hold true in withstanding time to delivery all the energy and excitement that had young headbangers like me in a sweat. Honed from smoky working men’s clubs, don’t be expecting any Dave Lee Roth flamboyance, rock star trips or poodle perms, this is real man’s metal as sung through the clear high vocals of Vince High (what a name!), the steaming n warbling guitars of Alex Perry and John Roach with heaps – and I mean heaps – of amazing soloing be it in short bursts or lengthier epics, backed by a steaming rhythm – complete with double bass drumming – fantastic! From my personal fave of ‘UFO’ to the ‘Breadfan’ take of ‘Killer’, Roach shows what an amazing song writer he was – and judging by the new material like the very early Maiden sounding ‘Face In The Mirror’ – continues to be! All in all an awesome comeback of a fan’s band brought back by the undying love of those fans themselves – now let justice be done!!