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Onslaught album review | Onslaught live review
Onslaught single review
| Onslaught A-Z of Thrash

Lionsheart demo review | Lionsheart Rising Sons review


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" cassette sampler.

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.

Al Simpson



Metal Hammer No. 17 / Vol. 3 August 27th, 1988


Live '88...Next 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 Texxas Jam. 

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.

-Steve Schofield


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.

Mark Day


Metal Hammer No. 11 Vol. 4 - June 12th, 1989

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 at!

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!

John Duke



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 Cor label.

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 (drums).

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 '93"
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.

SOUND: 3/10
SONGS: 6/10
GENRE: 7/10




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