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Porter, Pepper (Band) - 1980 Invasion

ARTIST: Porter, Pepper (Band)
ALBUM: Invasion
LABEL: First American Records
YEAR: 1980
CD REISSUE: 2010, James & Smith, 5226


LINEUP: Pepper Porter - guitars * Steve Teasley - vocals, bass * Rob Reuber - guitars * Paul Rieland - vocals, keyboards * Nelson McFarlan - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Take A Ride * 02 Dreams * 03 Invasion * 04 Cynical World * 05 Lost City * 06 Big Time * 07 Rainbow

Here we have another case of an album treated by purists as an obscurity worth paying hundreds of dollars for when in reality it's woth no more than a can of coke. Naturally it's not bad by any stretch, but when digging up facts on this relic it was shocking to see someone shelled out over a hundred dollars for a copy of 'Invasion' on trusty E Bay. Pepper Porter were one of the Northwest's premier club acts of the late 70's but were never destined to make the big time and this was until last year their sole recording, when Porter released 'Cynical World' an amazing twenty six years later. 'Invasion' itself is a standard set of late 70's hard rock manoeuvres, closely related in sound to Teaze in particular, but far less overwhelming and effective.

The Songs
At only seven tracks and twenty seven minutes this is hardly time consuming and at least gets straight to the point with the brisk riffing of 'Take A Ride' that sounds more dated than that peculiar Electric Eels album. Porter's guitar work is heavily Tony Iommi influenced, shades of it are everywhere, for example the opening licks to 'Dreams'. Even more in this direction is 'Invasion' which is a mixture of Black Sabbath doom and Rush inspired vocals and guitar fills, while still somehow clinging to the raw vibe Teaze owned at their best, which was all the time. Porter is the star, and his guitar work dominates 'Cynical World', but I can't help feeling his style is too heavily borrowed elsewhere no matter how flashy or heavy. There's a minor boogie attempt during 'Lost City', where the piano is unfurled in true rock and roll style, the sort of material Steeplechase and Revolver both tried and mildly succeeded with. The scathing lyrical content of 'Big Time' and it's poke at stardom is relatively weak and the sarcastic vocals are truly awry. One epic is attempted, 'Rainbow' clocking in at six quiet minutes, trying to be atmospheric and setting images of golden skies and tranquility etc. Somehow it brings Ray Gomez to mind, but without the flair or individuality.

In Summary
It's hard to see how 'Invasion' claimed such a big reputation. So many times those among us who have secured a much sought after album after years of futility have been letdown because of what others have written years ago, lending an album like this a pedestal it could never hope to reach. What took Porter so long to rebound with a new CD is uncertain as the internet seems devoid of any real facts, but at least he hasn't given up the ghost. It would be more promising to hear Volcano, a band of Porter's that supposedly featured a pre Queensryche Geoff Tate.

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#1 | Eric on October 19 2011 03:47:18
This was released on CD recently. The James and Smith label??
#2 | gdazegod on October 19 2011 03:49:31
I'll be updating this review shortly Eric.. (new format etc), so will hunt down reissue info as a matter of course. Cheers.
#3 | gdazegod on November 22 2011 08:50:52
Seems Pepper Porter passed away in 2007, a year after their second album 'Cynical' was released.
#4 | super80boy on June 22 2014 19:29:43
'Take A Ride' really get things off to a explosive start, with those grinding melodies and mammoth guitar licks. Yes, the chorus melody in 'Cynical World' sounds reminiscent of others, but it's still doom stricken and cool. The one real mis-step here is the goofy 'Big Time''s filler and out of place. I like the mellow finisher 'Rainbow'. Thankfully I recently acquired a NM vinyl copy for a very fair price compared to what I've seen this go for in the past.
#5 | aaasreg on March 23 2015 22:05:13
Sorry but I adore this album. It's really great in my opinion.

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