A Ridiculously Entertaining Debut for Riding Easy Records’ Rare 80s Metal Compilations

by delarue

The unstoppable crate diggers at Riding Easy Records – who’ve put out thirteen crazed editions of their Brown Acid compilations of ultra-rare proto-metal and heavy soul vinyl – have moved on to rescuing lost metal singles and deep cuts from the 80s. The debut release in their new Scrap Metal compilation series – streaming at the label’s album page – is hilarious, and underscores how closely related punk and metal were in the early 80s. No doom here, only thrash, and the jokes fly fast and furious.

The best one comes right before the end of 69 in a 55, an innuendo-laden 1983 single by short-lived Bay Area band Air Raid. The punchline is musical, not lyrical. Play this for somebody who’s extremely stoned and expect a laughing fit.

Rapid Tears’ long-forgotten 1981 single Headbang, which opens the album, is Spinal Tap gone thrash. You can’t make this stuff up. Maybe the band being Canadian might have something to do with it: catch the spirit, catch the spit.

Paramus, New Jersey gave us Hades, who released Girls Will Be Girls on cassette in 1982. They open with an outro. Then they overdub wildly clustering leads over a drum track that doesn’t quite sync with the rest of the band: there was a lot of that stuff going around back then. Pittsburgh band Don Cappa’s 1987 shout-out to their hometown, Steel City Metal has similar issues – and yet it’s one of the catchiest tracks here.

A second Jersey band, Resless reaffirm how ridiculous the supposedly unbridgeable divide between punk and metal was. Their 1984 rarity The Power is the missing link between the Dead Boys and Van Halen. Is the lyric “I got it in my hand,” or “I got it in my pants?” Is there any difference either way?.

The Beast’s obscure 1983 track Enemy Ace is more punk than metal, although the band also take a well-known Blue Oyster Cult theme to ridiculous extremes. In researching this compilation, the Riding Easy brain trust discovered that in the mid 80s, there were two Denver acts who called themselves Dead Silence. Neither the punk band nor the 70s-style acid rock crew knew the other existed. The latter are represented here by Can’t Stop, a band-on-the-road saga distinguished by a couple of tantalizing guitar solos and the assertion that “My guitar is my best friend.”

Boston band Hazardous Waste had fun ripping off Eddie Van Halen at max velocity in their 1986 obscurity The Danger Zone. Iron Curtain, the A-side of Czar’s lone 1982 single, is the best and most ambitious track here: they’re tight, they play much of it in 9/4 time, it’s more than just verse, chorus and solo, and it has a historically aware anti-authoritarian political message.

The last song on the compilation is Viking Queen, a primitive 1987 Led Zep ripoff by Flint, Michigan’s Real Steel. Original vinyl copies now fetch more than a grand apiece on the collector market. But you can get it that song on vinyl on this compilation for a tiny fraction of the price. Let’s hope there are least a dozen more of these playlists in the Riding Easy pipeline.