Monday, December 28, 2009

Hair Today Gone Tomorrow


OK, another holiday gift to you all. This one not only featured a logo on it, the dude on the right is wearing his own band's T-shirt. Boooooooooo! However, all that may not matter much, because I think this picture is somewhat common. I think it was even used on one of the band's albums.

I still couldn't resist posting it, just for the expressions on their faces. And for the guitarist's hairy chest. That's well worth showing off. I can see why he decided against wearing a shirt to this photo shoot.

But, man, look at the mugs on these guys. Very serious. Not mean, not evil—just serious. Like Grandpa-just-died-unexpectedly (well, he was pretty old...) serious. I believe the Brits call this "po-faced."

And, yeah, the hair's something else, too. You can see as the posts here on TYM have progressed in time (relatively speaking) the hair just started getting bigger and bigger, even for non glam bands.

Let's hear your guesses.

Update: Curt from Demolish Fanzine correctly ID'd these guys as Masi (featuring the swarthy, shirtless shredder Alex Masi). This photo was from Masi's Metal Blade days, I believe, some time in the late '80s. I have to admit that I am completely unfamiliar with Masi's music. Partly because I was never much into the whole "shred" scene and partly because I was losing interest in most metal at this point. Most, not all.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Still Up For Grabs!

OK, here are links to some old posts where the bands have yet to be identified. See what you can do!

Longhairs With Bangs

Fringe Era

"Make Us Look Cool or We Won't Help You Out of That Deep Hole"

REPOST: Random '80s Band Photo Generator


REPOST UPDATE: This was originally posted in February, but since "Jymbo" just ID'd them, I figured I'd repost it.

Guess I kind of skipped a week there. Gotta be honest and say that the lack of response/interest was probably a contributing factor. Maybe the shine's faded from this particular endeavor. And I don't know if this post is gonna change things.

But, wait, do I see a pair of suspenders? You've got to be kidding me. Actually, make that two pairs of suspenders. And a bolo tie, dude? Isn't the Native American choker-thing enough neck adornment?

Closer examination of this photo leads me to believe that these guys didn't really go into this photo shoot (or perhaps their entire image) with a "plan." They just picked a little bit from here and there—Freddy Krueger shirt, skull shirt, weird dangly lapel pins, snakeskin shirt—and threw it at the wall, so to speak, to see what would stick.

Anyone still paying attention, I welcome your thoughts on this mess.

Update: Finally, "Jymbo" managed to ID these guys as Banshee, from Kansas City. I put this up because several Test Your Metal readers bristled at the fact that I lumped this band in with the other faceless and unremarkable major label signings of the late '80s. The funny thing is, that the people who jumped to Banshee's defense couldn't actually identify a picture of them. Since they were on a major label (and Metal Blade before that), they certainly aren't obscure and I won't bother getting into the details of their career. They have their own website for that.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Leather Boys


Love the fact that these dudes are all about the black leather. They all have at least one piece of leather (or perhaps "pleather") clothing on. In addition, they have the requisite studded wristbands and belts. Yep, this is a metal band. No question about that.

Blondie was sporting his own band's T-shirt, so I (now that I have mastered the incredibly difficult tasking of using the "Magic Eraser" tool in Photoshop) had to black that out. The graphic on the Tee is still visible, but good luck using that to figure it out.

Best thing about this photo is that the dudes seem to be arranged by height from shortest to tallest. The guy on the right seems like a giant compared to his bandmates, although maybe that's just the camera perspective.

Have at it...

Update: So, "Anonymous" has correctly ID'd these guys as Savage Steel from Mississaugua, Ontario (Canada). Yet another New Renaissance Records band from the mid '80s. I'll refer you to all my previous New Ren band posts as to how I feel about SS. They may have been a decent band but you wouldn't have known it by the terrible recording and even worse album artwork on that first album. Witness:

Monday, October 5, 2009

Trailer Park Glam


All right, maybe trailer park glam is a little harsh, but the rise of L.A. glam in the early and mid '80s gave rise to a whole slew of bands from across the States who tried their best to imitate the big city sleaze. With mixed results.

You can make your own assessment of these guys—who I have pretty clearly indicated weren't from L.A. and were American—but everything about them says "good intentions unfulfilled" to me. The hair was big, but the rest is just a patchwork of wild patterns (and colors, I'm sure), women's accessories and Spandex. One of these dudes even had his band's name sewn on his Spandex that I had to crop out. And the big dude in the middle is wearing a Marilyn Monroe T-shirt.

Thanks to bands like these, mostly devoid of any remarkable talent and any sense of originality, glam devolved into a ridiculous parody of an already fairly ridiculous genre. It's no wonder it only took a couple of Northwest grunge bands to dust the whole scene in the early '90s. It was built on nothing but image by that point and the quality of the music was atrocious.

These guys were one of hundreds of bands hoping to score a major label deal and break it big like Ratt or Motley Crue. Never happened.

Update: Congrats to Saint for correctly IDing these guys as Tuff Luck. I know it may seem like I'm picking on this label a little bit, but these guys were also on New Renaissance Records and they were generally emblematic of the largely third-rate material the label cranked out in the mid '80s. Not everything on New Renaissance was terrible, but the label did release a plethora of poorly recorded and poorly packaged albums (see for yourself) that generally established a sketchy reputation for themselves. Tuff Luck were from Florida and their self-titled debut was released in 1987. Needless to say, it didn't help them realize whatever major label dreams they may have had. There was a subsequent album that appears to be self-released in 1993.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Longhairs With Bangs


Do these coiffs automatically qualify as mullets due to the bangs (fringe, I guess, in the UK) trimmed up to keep the hair out of their eyes? This was a very standard metal 'do in the Eighties, popularized most famously by Bruce Dickinson. Not a traditional mullet, which is short on the sides, as well, this is something of a hybrid.

These guys definitely look of an era and I'd imagine that their country of origin should at least be pretty easy. Since this is the only promo photo I've ever seen of the band, my guess is that someone else who's a regular here will recognize them at first glance.

Though I'm not entirely sure, I don't think that the dude in the lower right is wearing his own band shirt, so don't bother looking there for clues. Gotta love the flannel, though.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

REPOST: A Chest As Smooth As A Baby's Bottom


Someone couldn't be bothered to button their shirt, or put on a T-shirt for this photo shoot. So feast your eyes on the oh-so-appealing glimpse of his pre-pubescent teenage boy-looking chest. Classy. Come and get it, ladies.

Doubtful he's looking as svelte these days, as this photo is at least 20+ years old and he may well have packed on a few pounds and successfully navigated the perils of puberty. Based on how freakin' obscure this band is (though they did manage to release a very hard to find album), we may never know.

The rest of the band aren't really that bad. The mirrored aviator shades are pretty sweet (pre-Axl Rose, of course) and, if nothing else, they managed to clearly establish a basic heavy metal look. No one was gonna mistake them for, say, Loverboy. OK, maybe Loverboy, but not Dexy's Midnight Runners.

Update: Keir has correctly identified these guys as Shining Blade from Italy. I absolutely loved their demo I received back in the mid '80s. One of the songs on that, " Winged Snake," ended up on the first Speed Metal Hell album (though I'd hesitate to call SB speed metal), which is where Keir spotted them. Apparently there was some sort of bootleg or quasi-legit release by these guys that came out a little later, Touch the Night, but I've never actually seen it or confirmed that it exists. I still have that demo, though. It's very NWOBHM-ish, but very technical and proggy (kind of a precursor to DragonForce, in a weird sort of way). I was always surprised that they didn't make a bigger impact, but so it goes.

Monday, August 24, 2009

REPOST: I Swear This Band Is From The '80s


I love this photo and, yeah, I know what band this is. I will be suitably impressed if anyone else gets this, because this is waaaay underground.

But look at that photo! It could have been taken in 1975! The facial hair, the leather jacket, the...everything! It's glorious how unintentionally retro this band looked. Once someone figures out their ID, I'll give you the full explanation as to why they look like this.

In the meantime, bask in the gloriousness of this photo and toss out a few guesses as to who it might be. (And, no, it's not Black Sabbath circa the Ian Gillan era, despite the obvious similarities...).

Update: I reposted this because "Anonymous" finally figured out who it is and I wanted to make sure it didn't get lost in the shuffle. This is, in fact, Lazarus Sin from Eugene, OR (hence the hippie-ish attire and overall image). Their self-issued debut, Intracranial Mass, which came out in 1988, is a cult progressive/thrash/power metal classic. It's even been reissued by the band, due to its underground notoriety and can be found here. I was living in Eugene when these guys were active and though they played shows, the Eugene scene didn't offer a lot of support. They were unjustly overlooked at the time and it's only in the last 20 years that people around the world have discovered what a solid band they were. I think at one point they changed their name to Lazarus and released a second album, but the debut (and get a load of that that cover below!) is the one to own.


And one more bonus pic from the same session as above.

Friday, July 31, 2009

The Fringe Era

Ozzy used to rock the fringe back in the day, but I think most people would agree that it's not a look that should have gone past, say, 1973. And it should have been mostly relegated to stage wear (and maybe rodeos). You know, so people in the back of the room can see you better when you've got both arms raised and you're giving them the peace sign.

So, we've got these dour-lookin' fellas and, sure enough, there's a leather jacket with some fringe on it—front and center. Dude even decided that the look would be even more badass if he went shirtless. His bro on the left might actually be looking worse, however, as he seems to have a rather large white stain in the crotchal region of his pants and not even his sweet leather vest can cover that up.

The right side of the photo looks vaguely like it was lifted from an Iron Maiden promo shot cira 1979 with these Paul Di'Anno and Steve Harris look alikes.

On the plus side, it doesn't seem that these guys spent nearly as much time working on their hair as the guys in Mystic Force.

Anyone recognize, 'em?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

REPOST: These Boots Are Made For Rockin'


This was originally posted in late 2008. It's one of a handful of bands that remain unidentified. Please check out the comments in the original post before guessing. And, no, this isn't Rail.

This one should be a slam dunk. I put this up not so much because I think it will be particularly difficult to figure out, but more as an example of what bands in the early ’80s thought a metal promo photo should look like. I mean, c'mon!

To be fair, though, the entire scene was considerably less sophisticated then. Dudes in a small town with limited access to magazines and fanzines (or other local bands to look up to or emulate) only had a vague idea of what a metal band should look like so they just kind of filled in the blanks with whatever seemed kinda bad ass.

And sometimes that meant putting on giant fuzzy boots.

Update: This obviously didn't turn out to be as easy as I thought it would be, but Keir, after a little sleuth work finally figured out that this is Prophet, a rather short-lived band from California, who had a track on the very first New Renaissance release, Metal Madness. The dude wearing the boots is the dimunitive Jayme Minson, who later formed Arsin, while his ex-bandmates formed Synbad, neither of which did anything to speak of. We do wonder what happened to those boots, though...

Friday, July 3, 2009

Don't Touch the Hair, Dude


The most notable thing about this rather dull promo photo is the fact that all of these dudes have very immaculately coiffed 'dos. Which actually may help date them. I mean, no one looked like this in '82 or '83. Sure, bands had long hair, but it didn't look like this.

I think there may have been a curling iron involved here. Seriously. There was definitely a lot of styling mousse and/or Aqua-Net involved. I wonder if they all crowded around the same mirror spraying and fluffing up their long locks, maybe comparing styling techniques for getting those shorter bits on top to stand up nice and big.

Yeesh.

Anyway, have a happy Independence Day. Here's hoping (at least in America) you'll be drinking a cold beer (or three) and remembering this important piece of advice: Light the fuse and RUN!

Update: Congrats once again to Ian Christe for IDing this band as Mystic Force from Baltimore. They are apparently back together and recording. I don't know much about them, but they seem to be the kind of power metal/thrash combo that was pretty common in the late '80s. I think I might have had one of their demos. I presume Mr. Christe did, too, and probably has a copy of this same photo.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

REPOST: Spot The '80s Wardrobe Essentials

This was originally posted in late 2008. It's one of a handful of bands that remain unidentified.

Let's start off by ticking off the checklist of essential "metal" accoutrements we can spot in this picture:

• Torn T-shirt (shredded to look like fringe). Check.
• Fingerless gloves. Check.
• Scarf tied around head. Check.
• Bandana around neck. Check.

I'm sure there are more that we just can't see.

A couple of other things bother me about this picture, though. First, why does the guy on the right look so scared of his bandmate's armpit hair? And second, why is blondie grabbing his bandmate's hair from behind and smiling so broadly?

My guess is that these guys are European and probably had an album or two out on some long-gone French label. Anyone?

2008 update: I "accidentally" discovered what band this is, and I will be stunned if anyone else gets it. Suffice to say, my guess (above) was right on the money. Good luck!

July 2009 update: Congrats to Alcolm X for figuring this one out. It is zee French band called Stators. My guess is that Alcolm X went to the Metal Archives and just cl
icked through all the French bands (yes, you can sort by country over there), until he spotted a very similar photo of the band. Which is fine. Doesn't matter to me what your methodology is. As for info about Stators, there's little out there. I still own their one and only album—...Never Too Late (1985, Axe Killer)—but it's been 20+ years since I've heard it. You can check out part of a track for yourself here. Not terrible, vaguely NWOBHM-ish. Mystery solved.



Friday, June 19, 2009

Moustaches: Metal or Not-Metal? Discuss.

Well, this is a meaty dish, isn't it? Lots to dig into here. Not the least of which are the fuzzy caterpillars crawling across two of these dudes' upper lips. I know that in certain circles of metal copious amounts of facial hair are now OK, but the hirsute look was not a popular one in the '80s. And the wispy, my-first-whiskers moustaches this pair is sporting aren't doing them any favors.

In general, the hair in this photo is not good, nor very metal. Only one dude is truly representin'. The others seem like they're trying—maybe they're new to the game—but it's overall a weak effort. And is the guy on the right wearing a skinny tie (or is it a cravat, or jaunty scarf?)? Very puzzling.

The inclusion of two axes in the photo would lead us to believe that guy on far left was the bassist, while cravat guy on the right was the guitarist. The fingerless leather gloves the other two are sporting would lead us to assume that one of them was the drummer. Let's hope the person fronting this band was the one with the long hair.

This photo may look somewhat familiar due to the fact that I posted another picture of this band way back on Election Day. It's one of a handful of bands on the site that remain unidentified. And since Keir suggested I repost some of them, this will be my first effort in that endeavor.

UPDATE: Well, it took a long-ass time, but Keir finally figured out that this is Siren. As he said, he was a huge fan, but he had no idea what they looked like, which I think is probably not uncommon. They were something of a cult power metal band of the mid '80s. I used to correspond with vocalist Doug "Dead" Lee, who was a helluva nice guy, so I do feel a little bad poking fun at this. It's all in good fun, Doug, I swear! Anyway, Doug ended up in German band Mekong Delta from 1990-1997, but I don't think the other guys went on to do much beyond the two albums they released on indie labels.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Revenge of the Nerds

Usedta be that metal was populated by the uncool dudes (see above). That's because it was patently uncool to be into metal at various times over the last 30 or so years. By "uncool" I mean not accepted by the masses.

So, yeah, plenty of freaks and outcasts found their way to the music. And, while I don't want to make any judgements about these guys based on this photo, my guess is that they were like me and my friends in high school in the early-'80s: a small tribe that kept to itself and was pretty much ignored by everyone else.

Hell, a picture of me and my friends back then would have looked pretty much exactly like this one—bad skin, funky haircuts and all. But these dudes were in a band, and we weren't (yet).

Any idea who they are?

Update: I can't sneak any New England bands past Ian. He immediately recognized these guys as Executioner, featuring Seth Putnam on the left. Seth wasn't the band's original bass player, but I think he joined after their first album. Executioner were one of the plethora of trashy mid-'80s "thrash" bands that seemed to be influenced by the early Metal Blade output. Most of them ended up on New Renaissance Records, and most of them were unremarkable. The artwork was terrible, the production was weak. Some of them may have actually been decent bands, but it was hard to tell from albums they released.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Happy Disembodied Head


Just stumbled across this in my personal "archives" (aka piles of crap collecting dust) and though the band looks really familiar, I have no clue who it is. So, up it goes. I'm pretty sure this'll be an easy one.

Even if it isn't, there's much to enjoy here. Not the least of which is the guy in the lower right corner who looks like he used an entire eye-liner pencil to make himself look like a scared raccoon. Totally not evil looking, dude. Fail.

And the smoke machine, while creating that Halloweenish ambiance they were obviously looking for, has the added benefit of making the guy in the upper right look like he has no body. And he seems cool with that. Maybe even a little ecstatic.

Enjoy, my friends. Enjoy. And also don't forget to post your comments and guesses.

Update: Any of you who are familiar with the logo, would have noticed that the dude in the lower left corner is wearing a Ruthless shirt. So, yeah, I do believe this is LA band Ruthless, who are reunited (or still together?). I like Keir's comment (and correct ID of the band) about their "confused evil glam look," because that about sums it up. The music was pretty similar. They put out an EP in 1984 on Iron Works in the States (and Axe Killer in Europe) and a full-length on Axe Killer in 1986. Fade to obscurity. There are probably Europeans who think this band are a god-like kvlt band (like Glacier, I bet they're huge in Greece), but they never did much for me. I like the photo, though. And anyone reading this who is a big Ruthless fan, feel free to contact me because I have a ton of Ruthless memorabilia from the mid-80s that the band sent me back in the day.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Smallest Metal Band In The World


Sorry that this picture is so small, but I guess it kind of fits the theme of the post. Most metal bands try to make themselves look larger than life somehow in their promo photos, but by staging this shoot in front of what I presume are giant doors, these guys end up looking like Lilliputians.

I think I would have also avoided wearing bright red shoes, leather jacket, T-shirt, etc. in front of the bright red doors. I am a big fan, however, of the leather-jacket-with-the-arms-pushed-up look. I'm kind of surprised no one ever had the idea to simply make 3/4-sleeve leathers. I mean, those stupid full-length sleeves are always getting in the way. And what is the deal with those bright red shoes?

As always, comments, guesses and conspiracy theories are welcome.

Update: OK, I screwed up and left the band's name on the photo file I uploaded, so I obviously gave it away. Didn't seem like anyone ID'd them based on how they looked. This is Portland, Oregon's own Glacier. Glacier was kind of a hard-luck band who could have been a lot bigger had a few breaks gone their way. They went through a lot of lineups in the early 80s, but hit their stride with the Mach III lineup in the mid 80s which featured vocalist Mike Podrybau, who they recorded the classic 3-song demo, "Ready For Battle" with. Small French label Axe Killer put out their only official recording, a self-titled, 5-song EP (which is incredibly hard to find) that featured the Podrybau-sung tracks from the demo, as well as two newer songs, each with a different vocalist: Keith Flax, Rex McNew. It must have been confusing to people who bought it at the time, since it pictured the four instrumentalists in the band (though it even misidentified two of them, see below) and didn't show any of the three vocalists. Glacier stayed together for a few more years and recorded another demo, this time with vocalist Tim Lachman (brother of Pat Lachman of Damageplan, Halford, etc.) who went on to sing for Gargoyle (who put out a now-highly sought after album on New Renaissance records). Apparently Glacier are quite the underground heroes in Greece and a bootleg CD called The Writer's Eye, which compiles all of the abovementioned material, was released by Greek label Hot Metal Records.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Your Antics Are Making Me Sleepy


Well, we've entered a new era of Test Your Metal-dom. Rather than drawing from my own collection, I've scavenged this gem from the Interweb. So, it's possible that some of you may have seen this one before. It's a pretty obscure band, but ya never know.

Anyway, I couldn't resist its Spinal Tap appeal. And the fact that the dude on the right's eyes were closed and yet they decided, "That's the best photo we can offer to the world to represent our band." Maybe the guy always looked like that, so it was no big deal.

The other three seem awfully chummy and happy to be mugging for the camera together, while poor ol' Sleepy is the odd man out. If only his hair was longer, the other guys might have accepted him as one of their own.

And the band is?

Update: Whoa, I totally fell asleep at the wheel there! Yes, this is Slauter Xstroyes, as Keir correctly noted. I found this photo when I was looking for info on a band in one of my previous (still unidentified) posts. (I always love it when people compare a super-obscure band to another super-obscure band--that's useful.) Anyway, I loved the photo and I loved the name. And I have no idea how to pronounce it. These guys were from Chicago and they put out a self-released album in 1985 called Winter Kill. They recorded a follow-up that was set for release in 1987, but it didn't see the light of day until 1995. Very progressive, kind of thrashy. And they are remarkably like that mystery band from an older post that I alluded to above, which is kind of crazy.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Which One of These Is Not Like The Others?


Here's a bonus for you, since I've been a little slack with the posts recently.

I just love everything about the look of this band because it is so of-an-era (and a specific scene). In doing a little extra research I discovered that this is a particularly notable shot in the history of this band. Read into that what you will, but a full explanation will be provided once someone figures this out.

And, yeah, we're continuing with the theme of shirtless men. And Japanese paraphernalia. I also need to point out the awesomeness of the laced up shirt the other up-front poodle is sporting.

Now, if only the dude in the middle had gotten the memo about the official band coiff for this session. Hello! Alex Lifeson called and wants his 1970s 'do back!

This may actually turn out to be an easy one, but I can never tell. You tell me.

Update: "Anonymous" correctly ID'd this as Savage Grace, a Metal Blade band best known for it's ultra-cheesy album covers, and not much else. I'm sure that people will chirp about how these guys "should have been bigger" and that they released some "under-appreciated proto speed metal blah blah blah," but my recollection is a little more like this: another faceless, generic Metal Massacre band. There were tons of them back in the day and these guys were no better or worse than the others, but they seemed to lack some good decision-making skills based on their album art and nonstop rotating lineup. Which brings me to what makes this picture notable in SG history. Probably no one would recognize him (and, honestly, why would you), but the second guy from the right is former Witchkiller guitarist Kurt Phillips, a Canadian who was in the band very briefly. He never recorded anything, so this may be the entirety of his Savage Grace legacy. Phillips now lives on Vancouver Island in British Columbia and plays in a band called Warhag. Even stranger, guitarist Christian Logue (far left) was arrested in 2005 for allegedly impersonating a doctor. I have no idea what happened with this, but it's a weird twist to the Savage Grace saga.







Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Chest As Smooth As A Baby's Bottom


Someone couldn't be bothered to button their shirt, or put on a T-shirt for this photo shoot. So feast your eyes on the oh-so-appealing glimpse of his pre-pubescent teenage boy-looking chest. Classy. Come and get it, ladies.

Doubtful he's looking as svelte these days, as this photo is at least 20+ years old and he may well have packed on a few pounds and successfully navigated the perils of puberty. Based on how freakin' obscure this band is (though they did manage to release a very hard to find album), we may never know.

The rest of the band aren't really that bad. The mirrored aviator shades are pretty sweet (pre-Axl Rose, of course) and, if nothing else, they managed to clearly establish a basic heavy metal look. No one was gonna mistake them for, say, Loverboy. OK, maybe Loverboy, but not Dexy's Midnight Runners.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different

This was, I believe, taken in the '80s , but it's probably not going to be very easy for the regulars here as it's from a different era in metal than what I usually focus in on. Take that for what it's worth. I dunno if that's gonna help anyone.

The effect of taking this photo in a cemetery (a clue as to the kind of band this is?) is somewhat nullified by the heart-shaped floral arrangement in the upper left corner. It doesn't exactly set the ominous tone I think these dudes were aiming for.

This band did precious little during the time they were together, but they nonetheless had a certain notoriety for their "associations." Once someone IDs them, I'll post another piece of their memorabilia that's pretty hilarious and will illuminate what I'm hinting at regarding their "associations."

Update: So, yeah, this was pretty easy, because not one, but two of the dudes in this band were sporting Incubus T-shirts. This is the death metal band Incubus who were sort of from Florida and sort of from Georgia, a long, confusing story based around the fact that two of the dudes—bassist/vocalist Sterling Von Scarborough (who may or may not have died in 2006) and drummer Mike Browning—were in an early incarnation of Morbid Angel, who were Florida based at the time (circa 1986). Anyway, upon leaving MA to reform Incubus, Von Scarborough took the opportunity to bag on his former band mates, saying in the press release (below): "I learned their material in a short period of time, but they couldn't play my songs. The guitarist said it was too fast and complex....After I left, Morbid Angel folded (by the way, if you hear the old Morbid Angel demo, remember, I WAS NOT ON IT!!!)." The press release also mentions how Incubus was planning to move to San Francisco in '87 to "find a REAL guitarist." They DIDN'T move to SF and they added local guitarist Gino Marino who they recorded a 3-song demo with. That demo was eventually pressed into a 7" EP and that is all she wrote for Incubus.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Random '80s Band Photo Generator


Guess I kind of skipped a week there. Gotta be honest and say that the lack of response/interest was probably a contributing factor. Maybe the shine's faded from this particular endeavor. And I don't know if this post is gonna change things.

But, wait, do I see a pair of suspenders? You've got to be kidding me. Actually, make that two pairs of suspenders. And a bolo tie, dude? Isn't the Native American choker-thing enough neck adornment?

Closer examination of this photo leads me to believe that these guys didn't really go into this photo shoot (or perhaps their entire image) with a "plan." They just picked a little bit from here and there—Freddy Krueger shirt, skull shirt, weird dangly lapel pins, snakeskin shirt—and threw it at the wall, so to speak, to see what would stick.

Anyone still paying attention, I welcome your thoughts on this mess.

Update: Finally, "Jymbo" managed to ID these guys as Banshee, from Kansas City. I put this up because several Test Your Metal readers bristled at the fact that I lumped this band in with the other faceless and unremarkable major label signings of the late '80s. The funny thing is, that the people who jumped to Banshee's defense couldn't actually identify a picture of them. Since they were on a major label (and Metal Blade before that), they certainly aren't obscure and I won't bother getting into the details of their career. They have their own website for that.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"OK, Now Tilt Your Head To The Right...A Little More..."

This unfortunate-looking trio all have a tilt to their heads like an expectant dog waiting for a treat. Maybe the photographer was dangling some Snausages to get them to pay attention to him while he was snapping away.

Now, because two of these dudes seem to be of Asian descent, I'm gonna give the guy on the right a pass on the official Heavy Metal Crime of sporting a T-shirt with the Japanese Rising Sun and Kanji characters (a torn up one, no less). Don't know that I can be so forgiving of his counterpart on the left who seems to have both a bandana and a studded leather choker around his neck. Eesh.

The guy in the middle looks all the whiter and out of place sandwiched between these two. In fact, he kinda looks like a Kelly Johnson (R.I.P.) of Girlschool doppelganger. For which I feel some pity in pointing out. Sorry, guy.

I know who this band is and, uh, let's just say that given plenty of opportunities to make a mark in the metal world, they were mostly unsuccessful. They did leave behind some excellent promo photos, however, which I'll be happy to share once we get an ID on 'em. (And Ian is banned from commenting on this post [at least until it's revealed], due to his corroboration on it.)

Update: Yes, indeed, this is Canadian band Sye. Alcolm X correctly ID'd them. Finally. I thought that they looked so unique that someone would have gotten this right off the bat. Sye released two albums, Turn on the Fire (on Metal Blade, 1985), and Wings of Change (on Loudspell, 1988), but were never able to turn the corner. Some have lauded their second album, but their first was pretty universally panned. Here's a bonus picture provided by Ian Christe with an obviously different lineup around guitarist/vocalist Bernie Carlos.


Monday, February 2, 2009

The Beginning Of The End


Now I'm not going to suggest that the above pictured band was somehow responsible for how ridiculous metal got once it hit the mainstream in the mid '80s, but they are definitely representative of the glut of bands that were suddenly signed and foisted onto the world based on nothing more than their hometown and hairstyles.

It's a pro-shot promo and the dudes look like they're well-groomed (i.e. there was probably a stylist involved), so we can surmise that there was some money backing them. But if you ever had the pleasure of listening to the accompanying record, you'd know why this quartet has been long forgotten.

Though I'm picking on these dudes, the unfortunate thing is that they were just one of many utterly forgettable second, third and fourth generation craphounds (anyone remember Cats in Boots, Vain, Child's Play, Dirty Looks, Banshee, D'Molls, Roxx Gang, etc., etc.? Could you tell one from another if I posted pictures of them?) that besmirched metal's good name during its first real taste of mega popularity. On the plus side, these kinds of bands were probably largely responsible for sending "real" metal back underground and fueling the rise of the extreme era.

Anyone have any thoughts on who this band is?

Update: Congrats to Keir for his correct guess of Shire. Yeah, where are they today? Where were they a year after their debut EP came out on Enigma, for that matter? Nowheresville, population 1. I really have no other information other than the fact that their record came out during a very fertile time in the LA metal scene and they were just another face in the crowd. I probably still have this record and I probably only listened to it once before deciding it was pretty generic. I guess the singer went on to front the equally obscure Attakk, but that's all I know. Keir, if you have more info, feel free to post it in the comments section and I'll add it here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Fists of Metal!


I thought this post deserved a Manowar-esque title. I mean, forget the Invisible Orange, a clenched fist (shall we call it this gesture the Gerbil Squeeze?) suggests you're about to get a good pummeling—metaphorically speaking, of course. In this case, by two shirtless men. Savage!

This is another photo where I know the band's ID, and I think this may be an easy one. What's not so easy is having to stare at the dude on the right with the fish-belly-white chest. Dude in the middle is no picnic (though extra points for the natural 'fro!), but the metal platelets strapped across his chest at least give him some semblance of metalosity (yeah, that's a made-up word). Fish Belly just looks like he wanted to take off his shirt and join the fun—maybe do some man-hugging with his bro in the middle after the shoot was finished. I don't friggin' know.

I'll be sorely disappointed if this takes more than 24 hours to get, considering the total dearth of black dudes in metal bands in the '80s. And anyone who does know this band, I must insist that you share any and all info about them, and provide a full admision of how many of their albums you own (which I know will be tough to admit publicly...).

Update: Though he's apparently too shy to fess up to the full extent of his knowledge of this band, "Boleslaw" did manage to correctly ID them about 30 minutes after I posted the photo. It is, in fact, Mass from Germany. These dudes started up in the '70s but released most of their albums in the early '80s, including the gem below, Kick Your Ass, which I'm proud to say I own. According to Rockdetector, they actually toured with Celtic Frost in 1985. Now that would have been something to see.

Monday, January 19, 2009

I Swear This Band Is From The '80s


I love this photo and, yeah, I know what band this is. I will be suitably impressed if anyone else gets this, because this is waaaay underground.

But look at that photo! It could have been taken in 1975! The facial hair, the leather jacket, the...everything! It's glorious how unintentionally retro this band looked. Once someone figures out their ID, I'll give you the full explanation as to why they look like this.

In the meantime, bask in the gloriousness of this photo and toss out a few guesses as to who it might be. (And, no, it's not Black Sabbath circa the Ian Gillan era, despite the obvious similarities...).

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Invisible Lemons?


Since this photo dates from circa 1985 this is an early representation of the Invisible Oranges hand gesture. Dude on the left, unfortunately, looks like he's holding a couple of invisible lemons. He also seems to be wearing some hockey gear--hilariously utilized around the same time by Raven. Guess it helps do the killer knee slides when you're busting out a solo or something. It also vaguely looks like armor.

As for the rest of the crew...where to begin. Eye makeup? Really, dude? The outfit says, James Hetfield, but the eye makeup kind of looks like Slayer circa 1983. Even they figured out that was a bad idea pretty quickly.

Multi-zippered PVC pants? They immediately bring Michael Jackson circa "Thriller" to my mind, but maybe Judas Priest were rockin' this kind of gear back then in the Turbo days. They are unfortunate, either way

Anyway, there's much to be amused by here (not the least of which is the fact that this was shot at a professional photo studio, you know like where people get family portraits done and such). I know who this band is and I'm curious to see who else can figure it out from this excellent photo.

Update: Once again I must congratulate Mr. Sound of the Beast (soon to be translated into Urdu) himself, Ian Christe, for coming through with the answer: Attila. Though there have been other bands with this moniker (including--I shit you not--a "party death metal" band from Georgia), these guys were the original. Formed in the early '80s in NYC, they contributed to a couple of comps, including Speed Metal Hell, and released one album on Shattered Records, Rolling Thunder, in 1986.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Anyone Look Familiar?


Welcome to 2009. Can't believe we're almost through with this unnameable decade (the double-oughts?). So, we're starting the new year with something that actually is a reference to an older post that still remains unsolved. I dunno if this band is any more recognizable, but they were on a major label for a brief period of time. And, one member of this band was also in that older photo I posted.

BTW, the reason for the weird crop on this photo is one of the knuckleheads was wearing his own band's shirt, thus a dead giveaway. (Informal poll: Your thoughts on this practice? Cool or totally cheesy?) So, we're just left with four leather-clad, relatively average-looking longhairs.

However, comparing this to that older photo, the lone holdover has clearly improved his appearance. There's not a dude in that old post who doesn't look like a complete goof (and I'm being kind here), even though the photos were probably taken just a few years apart.

Have fun comparing them and here's hoping that someone will be able to figure them both out.

Update: Guess it just took some fresh eyes to figure this one out. Carlos checked in with the correct answer of Toranaga, from the UK, who put their debut out on Peaceville Records, signed to Chrysalis, released a second album and then more or less disappeared. Dude in the front is vocalist Mark Duffy, who was also in Millennium--the rather unfortunate-looking NWOBHM band that seemingly took its promo photo at Kmart. Duffy was rocking a mullet back in the Millennium days, something he wisely abandoned in Toranaga. Duffy is still in the music biz and his latest project is called Face the Unknown.