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Grim Reaper - 1984 See You In Hell



ARTIST: Grim Reaper
ALBUM: See You In Hell
LABEL: RCA
SERIAL: NFL1-8038
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: 2000, Spitfire, 5126-2 * 2011, Southworld, SW0025CD

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Steve Grimmett - vocals * Nick Bowcott - guitars * Dave Wanklin - bass * Mark Simon - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 See You In Hell * 02 Dead On Arrival * 03 Liar * 04 Wrath Of The Ripper * 05 Now Or Never * 06 Run Your Life * 07 The Show Must Go On * 08 All Hell Let Loose

WEBLINKS: grimreaperofficial.co.uk


Background
This English metal quartet existed as far back as 1979 undergoing various lineup changes, with the constant presence of founding member Bowcott. In 1981 the band was featured on the 'Heavy Metal Metal Heroes' compilation with 'The Reaper'. The track was the standout cut of the album and Reaper found themselves in demand on the club circuit. The bands next pivotal move was to win a battle of the bands competition, which won them studio time and the chance to record a three song demo. The demo fell into the hands of Ebony Records who signed Reaper up, RCA picking the band up a year later. At this point Bowcott scrapped the current lineup and formed the listed group. The ensuing debut met little response in Europe, the market saturated with similar traditional metal acts, but in the US it reached a staggering no 73 on Billboard and sold an astounding 250,000 copies. Even today this is amazing, considering Reaper were far inferior to Iron Maiden who were enjoying their greatest American success at the time.


The Songs
Reaper's sound was rough and grainy, the result of low budget production, this giving them some raw appeal. The title track is 80's metal defined, with the harmonies of Bowcott's guitar and Grimmett's high pitched wailing often savage, always heavy. Grimmett sounds almost out of tune during 'Dead On Arrival', not helped by the scratchy sound. Reaper's melodic finesse' is unmistakable though, sorting this problem out. 'Liar' is unremarkable, typical early 80's material, but almost passable when the band speed things up. There's a nice surge to 'Wrath Of The Ripper', as uninspiring as the title seems, thanks to Bowcott's meaty riffing. 'Now or Never' is almost identical in its approach, with the obligatory speed of light solo from Bowcott. The most gripping musical sequence appears on 'Run For Your Life', with a maniacal riff and vocal delivery reaching thrash levels. This is a rare moment where Reaper reach Saxon levels. A token metal ballad is thrown in courtesy 'The Show Must Go On', with lyrics like 'up and down the boulevard' sounding like an AOR act. Obviously this is amended with a heavier selection, 'All Hell Let Loose', finishing things up with the crudest sounding riff yet.


In Summary
After a bout of Stateside touring Reaper followed up quickly with 1985's 'Fear No Evil'. Predictably it was a commercial flop, regardless that it was musically identical to the debut. 1987's 'Rock You To Hell' was another top 100 effort but fell by the wayside also. It was their most professional album to date, the production much improved and a competent blend of metal with accessible choruses. Disillusioned by their progress Reaper soon called it a day. Grimmett was the most noticeable member following their demise, with stints with Onslaught and Lionsheart. With an album of such surprising success, Reaper are still remembered fondly, 'See You In Hell' providing an engaging listen years later. I'd take this over any of today's jokes.


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Comments
#1 | reyno-roxx on June 11 2009 09:22:43
One of the best pure heavy metal albums of the 80s.
#2 | gdazegod on September 30 2015 05:57:48
This LP still remains the great mystery of 1984. How on earth did this lot manage to sell 250,000 units of this over in the US of A? I still scratch my head to this day. Whoever the promo/ad person for RCA was, he/she deserves a medal.
 
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