I wish to dedicate this first post of many SHR posts to none other than Brats.
You’ve probably never heard of them, which is a shame because this is an album I believe everyone needs to hear at least once in their lovely lives. Since you’ve never heard of it, how would I go about describing it?
It’s heavy rock perfection. It has the perfect balance of punk rock, hard rock, and heavy metal. At the same time, it has this pop sensibility that’s simply irresistible. Like a chocolate commercial or something. Every time I listen to it, my favorite track shifts with the song being played, and I’ve narrowed it down to… well, the entire album, but in particular these four tracks…
- Heavy Rocker
- Tame Me (Insomniac)
An interesting thing to note is that this band is technically proto-Mercyful Fate. Hank Shermann and Michael Denner got their start here, as did King Diamond himself (though on a later release).
So what’s so heavy rock about the album? One: It’s the way the songs are made, possessing high energy without being overly aggressive. Two: It’s the guitarlove. The riffs are plenty, especially on B-Brains— it sounds like ’90s alternative rock with ’70s riffs. That is a truly heavy rocking sound, something I’ll return to when I get around to discussing the glory that is Soundgarden and various stoner-rock bands from the 1990s such as Kyuss. Three: It’s a pure mixture of punk and hard rock. Imagine the Dead Boys and the Mob if mixed with AC/DC and Cheap Trick. You can hear the clear influence of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, which was going strong at the time (’79 to ’83).
Also, they rocked the look.
I didn’t intend on reviewing a whole album. However, I had to make an exception (yes, an exception on the very first post) for this group. Before hearing them, I couldn’t believe it was possible to be that pure, raw heavy rock.
If only it were released in 1979…