Album review: Jobcentre Rejects

Various artists - Jobcentre Rejects - Ultra Rare NWOBHM 1978-1982 (On The Dole Records)

WHEN IRON Maiden released their self-titled debut album in 1980, it did something no one thought possible - it fused the still evolving metal genre with styles the previous three years declared sworn enemies - punk/post-punk with prog-rock.

However as this new compilation, which collects 12 rare tracks from the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal era, reveals other British metallers were injecting a healthy dose of punk, garage-rock, and DIY ethos into their Sabbath/Purple template.

Baseline's 'Suspended Animation' is an effortless fusion of punk and metal, while the appropriately named Speed's boogie-driven 'Down The Road' is a match for any garage-punk of the era, with some frenetic guitar soloing adding to the thrills.

Metal train spotters (like myself ) will be intrigued by how Stray's 'The One's For You' borrows the melody from Sabbath's 'Children Of The Sea', while the opening riff to Overdrive's 'On The Run' nods to Leppard's 'Wasted' and Maiden's 'Prowler'.

None of the bands featured here ever pushed the punk/prog hybrid as far as Maiden, and none exhibited Maiden's vision, imagination, creativity, and daring. Also, while Sabbath is a big influence, these bands were looking to the Birmingham quartet's past, while the Sabs themselves had moved on, setting the agenda for metal in the eighties with Heaven and Hell.

That said, for hard core metal and punk fans, Jobcentre Rejects is a highly enjoyable trip though the highlights from the lesser lights of the NWOBHM movement, whose best songs deserve to get this outing.

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