Picture – “Live – 40 Years Heavy Metal Ears, 1978-2018” (Pure Steel Records)
Regarded as Holland’s first heavy metal band, Picture were formed 40 years ago and that they’re still going with pretty much their original line up sez it all! Releasing 10 prior albums, including the acclaimed “Diamond Dreamer”, Picture rose to fame rapidly, forged in 70s heavy rock to ride the NWOBHM wave while still being heavy enough to retain interest as thrash began to emerge. Sadly it was not to be as band differences and management pressures soon led to a more commercial approach, disintegrating the group ultimately leaving only bassist Rinus Vreugdenhil, who bravely soldiered on for 3 more albums before folding the band around 1988. However, with a cult status reaching as far as Mexico, Japan and South America cemented from their early work, calls to reform finally pulled the band back together 20 years later, resulting in a comeback album “Old Dog, New Tricks” in 2009 and “Warhorse” in 2012 which definitely brought Picture back into the limelight. Celebrating their 40th anniversary, this 17 track metal monster was recorded across their European tour by the original line up of Ronald van Prooijen (vocals), Jan Bechtum (guitar), Rinus Vreugdenhil (bass) and Laurens Bakker (drums), as well as today’s second guitarist Appie de Gelder. Besides being highly nostalgic, what impresses most is just how tight the band still are, and even more so how heavy the songs are – not to mention loud! With a shredding 80s guitar sound that’s the rawest I’ve heard this year (!) and Bakker’s thundering double bass drumming throughout, not many 70s bands could match the searing performances here – truly incredible!!! Wisely drawing from their legendary material, Picture simply obliterate through classics like ‘Unemployed’, ‘Heavy Metal Ears’ and their most famous song, ‘Bombers’ on an extremely rare old school performance (including a classic extended dual guitar solo on ‘Lady Lightning’) that never lets up and is certainly well deserved of the rapturous applause from the chanting audience (not to mention myself!). If you want to know what it was like in the glorious days of heavy metal in the 80s then you only have to check out this amazing live album.