Saturday, 3 July 2010
[ALBUM REVIEW]Mournblade - Time's Runnin' Out
The main attraction initially to ‘Mournblade’ was their connection to Michael Moorcock’s Elric saga. Me being the Moorcock geek that I am had to listen to this as soon as I could. Sister sword to the soul stealing hellblade ‘Stormbringer’, ‘Mournblade’ completely robbed me of all my attention for a brief, but extraordinary twenty five minutes.
‘Time’s Running Out’ was the debut by this all but forgotten NWOBHM band and has drifted into the dusty vaults of time with numerous other bands that fell by the wayside at the back end of the scene. Many of those bands have regained a cult following almost, acts such as Desolation Angels, Virtue and Hell, due to the internet and/or underground labels re-releasing old material. This is something ‘Mournblade’ should look into for the future, because frankly material like this deserves to be heard.
‘Battlezone’ opens the album, and is, in a nutshell, everything the NWOBHM was all about. Lyrics about war, gritty guitar riffing, an infectious chorus coupled with the token blistering guitar solos so synonymous with this music, how could you possibly ask for more? The production isn’t great, infact it’s pretty dismal, but it’s that low-fi DIY quality that gives this release so much character. The vocals are delivered by a figure only known as ‘Drunken Mullet’, and really couldn’t be more apt, as his voice gives the impression of that boozed up, overweight, patch-jacketed fan who sits at the back of the gig at the bar swaying in his stool singing every word from his heroes in front of him. Influences shine clear, similar to most bands from the era, Motorhead play a large part in the whole attitude, and the layer of keyboard has a heavy air of Deep Purple about them.
The rest of the album doesn’t quite stay at the same grade as ‘Battlezone’, but ‘Sidewinder’ comes close with its brisk pace, slick soloing and brash hard rock style of the guitars. It’s almost as if ‘The Who’ recorded a metal song with an intoxicated Roger Daltrey. The vocalist can also execute a mean scream as heard in ‘Hunter Killer’, though he’s no Halford.
Not the entire album is flawless NWOBHM though, ‘Titanium Hero’ is an odd, futuristic number, a fairly repetitive riff is repeated throughout the whole song which lacks the contagious passages the first four songs contained, but is more of a song which you go to the gig and yell the words as loud and aimlessly as you can. The ridiculous intro which sounds like a cut-out from Dr. Who could have been dropped though. The last song returns more to the style of the start of the album with the focus on the lead guitar and gruff vocals.
It’s bands like this which in their heyday toured all the dim lit, grotty old bars of London, and I can only wish I was there back then. Only one band from that scene ever made it ‘big’, and I think we all know who that was, but ‘Mournblade’ could have been up there with the likes of ‘Cloven Hoof’, ‘Angel Witch’ and ‘Satan’ had things went their way, but as is the story with so many other bands from that scene, they have been designated to a lifetime in obscurity, save for those denim jacketed NWOBHM aficionados still marvelled by the scene which started it all. This is long out of print though, but still attainable if you don't mind spending a few pennies on ebay. In brief, if you’re at all a fan of the NWOBHM scene, this is definitely worth hearing.