Various Artists – “Rawkaholic Volume 1” (Rock’N’Growl Records)
Battle Helm Rating
Oh wow, this could be compilation of the year! Although I’m not really one for collections, when they’re done well and offer something going beyond the standard rehash of prior numbers, then they certainly get my attention as “Rawkaholic Volume 1” has done. With 15 exclusive and previously unreleased songs, it’s the sheer range of bands that impresses here, with every track a winner to boot. From recognised names such as Vardis, Desolation Angels and Airforce to cult bands such as Blackmayne and Playhouse, newer acts like Krashkarma and Rat Bastard Syndicate, and not forgetting solo artists Ryan Roxie (Alice Cooper) and David ‘Scary’ Perry, the level of talent across “Rawkaholic Volume 1” is breathtaking, and I really wonder why these bands have not released these songs before as they’re unbelievable! Formed in the mid 80s and too late for NWOBHM, Blackmayne nevertheless sat comfortably between Tank and Terraplane and here on ‘Legions’ with an absolutely massive back end sound, not mention that creepy twanging bass, heavy ass Metalli riffs meld amazingly with some new wave baritone tones and soulful vocals before headbanging back into the era that stopped just short for them. Hammering in with double bass drums and a thick guitar sound is Phonomik from Denmark, whose powerful but skill full mix influenced by Metallica and Disturbed is evident by the irresistible combination of monster, ball grabbing riffs and moving melodies, as sung passionately by guitarist / vocalist Shane Dhiman. Formed in 1987, Playhouse exploded onto the Montreal scene and opened for many great rock bands including Extreme, Lee Aaron, Killer Dwarfs, Harem Scarem, Peter Criss and here ‘On Fire’ they show their pedigree on this phenomenal stadium rocker that I dare anyone to resist in all its air punching, singalong, kick ass glory as they bring the ‘rock n roll circus’ home again after 25 years! Relocating from New Zealand to Germany, Blue Ruin are 5 punk riot grrls and on ‘Scream Queen’ they do just that as they sing, wail and croon about ‘…little Annabelle from Transylvania..’ and as the raucous girlie shout outs of ‘..run little boy run..’ are enough to shrivel a bulls balls with the bashing between Anna Smashy’s drums and Chrissi Icecream’s shredding guitar not holding back whatsoever on this catchy punk horror number. An incredible release by all accounts, “Rawkaholic Volume 1” has definitely raised the bar for compilations and I certainly can’t wait for Volume 2!