HARD ROCK HELL NWOBHM 02 ACADEMY SHEFFIELD
It’s clear that the inaugural HRH NWOBHM festival has piggy-backed on or at least benefited from Brofest’s ability to persuade long-defunct bands to reform. Of the army of acts on the two-day line-up, many have already trodden the Brofest boards. But a good idea is a good idea, and the bands themselves are unlikely to care whether they’re revisiting their glory years in Newcastle, Nuneaton, Newport or – for the next 48 hours – right here in Sheffield. While London has a proud NWOBHM history of its own, it’s somehow fitting to witness this particular event taking place beyond the rapacious event horizon of the Capital. Even during the winter of discontent from which the NWOBHM sprang, the regions – in this case the former mining and heavy industrial hub of South Yorkshire – laboured under an investment and infrastructure deficit when compared to London and the South East in general. Sheffield may have come a long way since 1979, and avoided being nuked a la ‘Threads’, but in the frozen half-light of a December dusk, it’s all too easy for the mind to time-hop back to the bleaker days of Saxon’s ‘Hungry Years’.PERSIAN RISK
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Bristol’s Jaguar are a pioneering band of the prime NWOBHM era. Forming in 1979 shortly after leaving school, their first gig was just prior to the coining of the term NWOBHM by Geoff Barton. Guitarist Garry Peppard and bassist Jeff Cox were joined by singer Rob Reiss and the then 16-year-old Chris Lovell on speed beats. The band were typically influenced by the usual metal gods Motörhead, Priest, Sabbath, UFO and Deep Purple but Garry particularly was also a huge fan of punk. As a result they quickly developed a distinctly fast and raw sound that influenced the birth of speed metal. Jaguar, alongside their friends Raven and Venom were the fastest bands around in the early ’80s. Their pioneering speed and heaviness undoubtedly helped birth the thrash Metal monster that still stalks today.
A couple of killer demos in ’80 and ’81 led to the fast-selling single ‘Back Street Woman’ (Heavy Metal Records, 1981). The band then parted ways with singer Rob Reiss and tracked down Paul Merrell (ex-Stormbringer) to voice their classic period. Legendary label Neat Records snapped them up at this point for the 1982 single ‘Axe Crazy’ and the fantastic ‘Power Games’ (Neat Records, 1983) album.
Jaguar famously … Read More
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