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Metal Hammer 8/87
Rock You To Hell
It's astounding stuff that Grim Reaper can sell over 200.000 copies of
their first two albums. "See You In Hell" in '83 and "Fear
No Evil" in '85 in the States, but at home they are about as welcome
as heating at the Marquee. At last, Grim Reaper have found a major deal
in Europe and it looks as if their profile should be raised pretty soon.
"Rock You To Hell" isn't any weaker than the first two albums
and sounds just the same. Whether Grim Reaper are just trying to rely
on a relatively successful formula or haven't got the guts or talent to
progress isn't known. There isn't really much that grabs you by the gazongas,
but "Rock You To Hell" is probably the best of the nine tracks.
Incidentally, the title track first appeared on the "Wild Bunch"
This is standard British HM - good, but far from original and very much
the kind of stuff that you can hear anywhere in the UK. Isn't it about
time someone out there got the message? The rest of-the Rock world is
experimenting, whilst British Rock is like a Morris Minor - It gets there
in the end, whilst the rest roar down the highway. If this was a debut
album it would get a five. It ain't so it's a four.
DECEMBER ROSE / GRIM REAPER / PREYER
Metal Hammer No. 17 / Vol. 3 August 27th, 1988
CHELTENHAM TOWN HALL 29/07/88
to tread the boards were Droitwich based band Grim Reaper whose quicker
than greased - weasel - shit opener 'Rock You To Hell' immediately created
an explosion of activity down at the front of the stage. I was impressed. The
band continued their set with fast, melodic songs with a strong back-bone
such as 'All Hell Let Loose', 'Lust For Freedom' 'Shakedown' and a song
dedicated to "All the people who I f***ing hate..." vocalist Steve Grimmett,
"Get Out Of My Face".
"This next song is about my first sexual experience and is dedicated
to all you virgins out there", laughed Steve as the band went into 'Suck
It and See'. The more I saw of this band, the more impressed I became.
It's no wonder that they are making waves in the USA, playing alongside
acts such as Deep Purple, Scorpions, Ted Nugent and Bon Jovi at the '85
It's difficult to understand why they haven't caught on over here yet,
as the exceptional voice of Steve Grimmett and the finger-smouldering
guitar playing of Nick Bowcott, are an added bonus to the material and
the rest of the bands ability to play and put on a good visual show.
Metal Hammer No.7, Vol. 4 / April 17, 1989
'In Search Of Sanity'
(London Records Advance Tape)
In March of last year I reported on the showcase gig that Onslaught played
at the Glasgow Venue. At the time the working title for the album was
still 'Blood Under The Ice', Sy Keeler was still in charge of vocal duties,
and the band were still signed to Music For Nations, though with every
intention of moving to a major.
The gig was impressive, but frankly nothing about it prepared me for this.
With the turmoil that the recording of the album caused (Keeler jettisoned
in favour of Grim Reaper veteran Steve Grimmett, extensive/expensive re-recording),
expectations had to be riding high, after all they couldn't have gone
through all of that for anything less than quality. But this has exceeded
it's primary role as a standard bearer for U.K. thrash. On any international
level you'll find little that could match 'In Search Of Sanity'.
There's a maturity on this record that could only be compared to Metallica's
awesome '...And Justice For All'. What's stunning is the fact that most,
if not all all, of this album was written before '...And Justice For All'
emerged from it's own cocoon. Some credit must go to Steve Grimmett. While
I'm sure Keeler could have made an more than adequate job of this album,
Grimmett simply has a more measured, slightly richer voice. Add this to
the fact that Onslaught needed their own Dickinson, their own Halford,
a man who can command total respect on stage. Grimmett has a wealth of
experience on the American circuit, one of the few British singers who
can really come up to the requirements of this band. In retrospect it
was not such an unusual choice.
I have reservations about the merits, even in this drastically re-arranged
form, of covering AC/DC's 'Let There Be Rock', but in view of every other
track on the album. I'll let that pass without too much complaint. The
production (by Stefan Galfas) and the playing (the lead work of Rockett
and Trotman in particular) is nothing short of superb. It's difficult
to single out particular tracks, because it's the overall impact that's
most striking, but the title track in particular has my neck twitching.
The vast and epic ballad, 'Welcome To Dying', is a touch overwrought for
me, but I'm sure it'll have it's fans out there, and the thundering single,
'Shellshock', sounds even better in context. It's no insult to Onslaught
to say that, what ever standards they've set in past, they've more than
excelled themselves here.
Metal Hammer No. 11 Vol. 4 - June 12th,
Manchester International, May 15, 1989
...'Asylum' on record was a brave way to kick off the 'In Search Of Sanity'
album, but live it is a gut curdling lambasting that explores the nether
regions of my innards. In other words it works totally! It's a long, long
intro, that draws people to the stage, where they push, wait and wonder.
Onslaught start with 'In Search Of Sanity' and they are tight for space.
The first thought that trampolines through my mind is that the band deserve
a better stage and a larger audience. Roll on The Hammersmith, f**k knows
if they can fill it but full marks for the sort of attitude that breeds
such an attempt! But at 'The International' there is no extravagant light
show, no special effects, just bare boards and bare bones. The acid test.
Grimmett has a great voice, it filled the tiny venue from top to bottom
and surely elevates the band into first division category. But Onslaught
have to have the songs for Grimmett to work with and by the second number
'Shell Shock' it's starting to come together. Live this track is much
tighter and more immediately effective than on vinyl. It creates a new
world of its own and the band are now starting to work the tiny stage
as best they can. Jim is rushing around trying not to trip over anyone,
Nige is as always the steadying influence, Steve with eyes tightly shut
lays out right and left as if someone is threatening his privates with
a blunt auto cue while Rob is - just Rob! Inconspicuous, hardly moving
a muscle, let alone a feature, but adding constant textures to the Onslaught
machine. In concert the band have a great way with a chorus with both
Steve Grice and Nige adding effective vocal back ups. Next we had 'Fight
With The Beast' from 'The Force'. Back to the past but with a startling
message for the present because live the song works just as well as the
later material and perhaps hints that the 'In Search Of Sanity' album
is a natural progression from seeds that were there from the beginning.
'Blood Upon The Ice' has a magnificent, brutal, military like beginning,
all fuming rolls and criss crossed rifting. Now the crowd are finally
starting to respond. Tonight the songs from 'In Search Of Sanity', kick
ARSE and anyone who says the band have copped out, compromised, diluted,
will simply have to suck their goddamn acid remarks when they catch them
in concert! Combine a Monday night with a first night and you are going
to have technical problems, it's par for the course. Nige has a major
dilemma around the start of 'Lightening War' to the extent that he only
managed to come in towards the very end. The rest of the band carry it
as best they can, but it shows how important his solos are when they ain't
there! At their finest Onslaught tear various musical strips off Exodus
and Metallica before frying them in their own uniquely commercial British
oil. At this point in the proceedings they are as tight as a duck's arse
but not half as puckered! 'Power From Hell' surfaces next followed by
the immortal 'Let There Be Death'. The only thing that's bugging me about
the mix is that hardly any of Nige's solos are escaping unharmed. Then
we get 'Let There Be Rock'. Ahem. I guess it still has to be played but
surely that number has reached its peak of usefulness? The band came back
for a hasty encore and it's the one I wanted them to do. 'Power Play',
perhaps the heaviest track on their latest album, is f****n' awesome!
The riff in the middle of that mother has to be heard to be shuddered
Overall? A powerful gig that had its initial teething problems. But now
I've heard the album and seen them live I reckon this British band should
hit the American trail as soon as is humanely possible!
Welcome To Dying - Metal Hammer No.
17 Vol. 4 Sept 4, 1989
Mark Day, with Jezebelle
H: I liked it, apart from the fact that it was a rip-off of Metallica's
'Fade To Black'...I liked it!
HANNA: I saw them supporting Girlschool several years ago and they were
obnoxious b*st*rds who completely alienated their audience...but this
is nice even if it is Metallica anyway. The guitar sound is very nice.
MAGGOT: I liked it, and that's all that matters.
T.C.: Best one so far, lovely guitar playing. ...and the B-sides? Van
Halen's 'Atomic Punk' and the Stranglers' 'Nice 'N' Sleazy'?
H: Well, I don't really like bands who do covers unless they're funny
or very, very good. This is neither.
T.C.: Was that the Stranglers? I like the bass line.
MAGGOT: The Stranglers were heavier.
MARK: The A-side is exquisite, but not a single. It'll get no airplay,
is that a marketing ploy? Loved the B-sides.
A-Z of Thrash - John Duke
Metal Hammer No. 21 Vol. 4 Oct 30 1989
At the end of '83 guitarist Nigel Rockett and drummer Steve Grice formed
Onslaught in Bristol. With singer Paul Mahoney and bass player Jason Stallard,
the LP 'Power From Hell' was released in the summer of '85 on the small
The band showed their youth and lack of imagination by rather premeditatedly
jumping onto the Satan, death bandwagon. The album actually contains a
Death side and a Metal side while titles like 'Death Metal', 'Damnation'
'Lord Of Evil' and 'Angel Of Death' give a more than substantial hint
as to what Mr Rockett was writing about in those days. Lyrically it's
Slayer, Venom, Bathory territory, musically you have presentable metal/thrash
complemented rather ably by vocalist Paul Mahoney's growled threats. It
all gets a mite repetitive after a while, most of the tracks becoming
interchangeable because it's a case of the same riffs doing the same sort
of work. When they slow it down Rockett indulges in some sub lommi theatrics,
when they roll along normally it's kinda like early mid period Exciter.
'Power From Hell' was enough to interest Music For Nations who promptly
signed the band and in the spring of '86 Onslaught put out 'The Force'
and made their first move towards technically well produced thrash metal.
This time the line-up took a bit of a turnaround; Mahoney went to bass,
Stallard shifted to rhythm guitar and new boy Sy Keeler took over on vocals.
Lyrically it was still to do with blood, fire and premature ejaculation,
but the music was more extreme with substantial changes in pace and structure.
Tracks like 'Let There Be Death' 'Metal Forces' and 'Contract In Blood'
showed the way forward, the only set backs being a complete blank on melody,
silly solos, and Keeler's voice, which falters somewhat when he is actually
asked to hold a note or two. Rockett's songwriting had improved a great
deal and commensurately Onslaught started to develop their own sound.
This album secured them the position as the best thrash band in Britain
and then we waited for that all important third album. And we waited.
In May '87 the 'Power From Hell' LP was re-issued, Paul Mahoney left
to be replaced by James Hinder and then Rob Trottman came in for Jason
Stallard. They covered AC/DC's 'Let There Be Rock' which was released
as a twelve inch single, in late '87. In the summer of '88 a contract
was signed with London Records for 5 albums and the recording of the new
record began. 'In Search Of Sanity' finally took three years to come out
and two years to complete, with the major and most necessary change being
the replacing of Keeler with Steve Grimmett, ex-Grim Reaper. Grimmett
had the job of re-taking and mixing all the vocals even though he had
only been in the band a matter of weeks and was struggling with melody
lines written for and by someone else. He did wonders and it was due in
no little part to the high calibre of his vocals that the new material
exuded a stunning maturity and overall made for an album of powerful,
well structured, accessible, thrash, which managed to endorse an American
bias whilst still holding on to its own identity. The power ballad 'Welcome
To Dying' has to be the band's nadir, their experimental peak, where the
most delicate of melodies rub dislocated shoulders with quite monumental
rifting. Here Onslaught manipulate everything that thrash can offer as
a genre and consequently 'In Search Of Sanity' is an album that can stand
proudly in the face of the very best competition around.
PERSONNEL. Nige Rockett guitar, Rob Trottman guitar, Steve Grice drums,
Steve Grimmett vocals, James Hinder bass.
'Power From Hell' (MFN)
'85 'The Force' (MFN) '86
In Search Of Sanity' (London) '89
Demo Review - Metal Forces 1991
Steve Grimmett is a man of impeccable pedigree, fronting as he did the
awesome GRIM REAPER prior to adding a touch of class to an otherwise very
ordinary ONSLAUGHT. Steve should of crashed into the big time with REAPER,
but a totally apathetic and in some ways downright criminal U.K. record
industry scuppered his chances there.
With a new decade Steve has gathered around him a completely fresh set
of faces that prove on this tape that the man has chosen well. LIONSHEART
is not a vehicle for a revered frontman, It is a band In its own right
that displays all the characteristics that should become tenets for guaranteed
success in the future.
Steve's new cohorts Include identical twins Mark Owers (guitar) and Steve
Owers (bass), alongside Graham Calleft (keyboards) and Anthony Christmas
The demo itself opens up whole new vistas for Grimmett's gargantuan vocal
range to explore, his voice now more of a honey dripping, blues soaked
majestic roar than REAPER's skyscraper annihilating siren. The man tells
me he's singing like he always wanted to and the passion and conviction
an show here backs that up admirably.
The rest of the band aren't about to let the star steal the show however,
the guitarwork in particular being as adventurous and silken as anything
cascading from the frets of Schneker or Vandenberg. Combined with a collection
of songs that positively reek of glorious British rock
of yore, all smoldering riffs and cocksure tribal rhythms, LIONSHEART
possess every quality necessary, and In enviable proportions, to lay claim
to vacant thrones.
There is no sycophantic leanings towards the Yankee dollar here. LIONSHEART
recognise the world as a whole is crying out for British rock, undiluted,
pure and honest, and I've a feeling this band could well be the welcome
provider. Nice one Steve!!
LIONSHEART - "Rising Sons - Live In Japan
PowerPlay #34, June 2002
Lionsheart were formed by ex-Grim Reaper vocalist, Steve Grimmett in
1989. I have to say that I did buy their debut album and if my memory
serves me right, it was acceptable blues based rock with some touches
of AOR. Their formation came about as the infamous Grunge
movement began to take off and the band seemed to disappear from the radar
in the UK. Not so, apparently, in Japan. This recording was made in 1993
in Osaka. Now I must commend Zoom Club Records on their recent raft of
classic live releases, however, the sound quality of some of these releases
is dubious, to say the least. Here is a case in question. To be fair,
the liner notes accept that the recording is "a little rough around
the edges". It is a recording of the Heinz variety (you know....recorded
in a tin can!).
With my gripe out of the way, back to the music. Lionsheart produced
some good, solid rock numbers. Grimmett always possessed a strong voice
and these complement each other very well on the 15 tracks on offer here.
Pick of the songs? "Living In A Fantasy" and "Can't Believe'".
The Japanese fans seem to lap it up and it is quite nice to have these
snippets of history featuring some of the stalwarts of the UK rock scene.
Having said that, this is really for die-hard fans of the band.