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Articles Home » 1983 Articles » Oz (Finland) - 1983 Fire In The Brain
Oz (Finland) - 1983 Fire In The Brain

ALBUM: Fire In The Brain
LABEL: Combat (USA), Wave (Sweden)
SERIAL: MX 8006, WAVE-LP-8006
YEAR: 1983
CD REISSUE: 2006, Black Mark, BMCD112


LINEUP: Ape De Martini - vocals * Speedy Foxx - guitars * Spooky Wolff - guitars * Jay C. Blade - bass * Mark Ruffneck - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Search Lights * 02 Fortune * 03 Megalomaniac * 04 Black Candless * 05 Gambler * 06 Stop Believin' * 07 Free Me, Leave Me * 08 Fire In The Brain

Finland had never been known as a stronghold of European metal, but Oz must surely rate as one of their more noteworthy exports. As metal exploded in popularity in the early 80's it allowed hundreds of sub-par acts a shot at the limelight, and while Oz might have appeared rather primitive and crude on the surface, they were actually an extremely heavy, basic metal outfit that made some progress during the early part of the decade. The band went as far back as 1977, formed by vocalist 'The Oz' and guitarist Kari Elo, who lasted for 1982's debut and were gone shortly after. Only Ruffneck remained from the original lineup, which he would do so until the bands demise. 'Fire In The Brain' elicited enough of a reception to gain the band a major label deal with RCA, but predictably the band never lived up to expectations.

The Songs
While there's nothing original or ground-breaking about Oz's tried and true style of energetic heavy metal, they play with enough impact to almost sit alongside the likes of Motorhead or Saxon, without the production or finesse. European metal in the 80's was hit or miss (usually miss) but now and again a gem like this would surface, although compared to what Iron Maiden were up to it might be viewed as dated, even for 1984, but this is the true sound of heavy metal all the same. The struggle with English lyrics is always a nemesis for acts like Oz, but 'Search Lights', with its cross between Iron Maiden and Judas Priest is extremely heavy, the title track itself as brutal as metal can be, with some menacing riffs made for the discerning head-banger of old! 'Gambler' is an enjoyable romp, with Motorhead in its blood, 'Meglomaniac' unrestrained and furious also. 'Black Candles' is an epic in the same mould as Mercyful Fate, far less atmospheric but atoned for with the surging 'Free Me, Leave Me' and its galloping riffs, one of metals most simple but greatest sounds.

In Summary
Lots of promise, but little result in the long run for these guys. Endless lineup changes seemed to hinder their progress, and despite two albums for RCA the band split only to reform for 1991's 'Roll The Dice'. which I'd be interested to hear, if only to see how the bands style had changed for the early 90's. I had expected 'Fire In The Brain' to be the work of pretenders the first time I heard it, but was take aback at what Oz had to offer in terms of overall heaviness and melody. That is inevitably the measure of any metal band and Oz had enough to warrant this a closer look for all metal fans.

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