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Italia Di Metallo - 'Ambush (2020 Reissue)' Review by Leonardo Tomei


The British band is considered by people much more experienced than me as one of the most famous bands in NWOBHM. The two debut albums (dated 1980 and 1981 respectively) "Wild Cat" -with Jeff Cox on the voice- and "Spellbound" -first album to have vocalist Jon Deverill and John Sykes on guitar in formation-, have become over time of the classics.

After an album that was supposed to climb the American charts ("The Cage") but which instead disappoints the expectations of old fans and obviously also the relative sales are affected by the domino effect; the group lost the sumptuous contract with MCA, recorded two more mediocre albums and starting from the mid-80s the interest of the general public quickly diminished. After that a silence, in terms of record releases, which lasted for about 14 years.

But let's go in order; I would like to make a note to try to frame the decade during which our people have laid, or tried, the foundations for a success full of hope and above all of money. In the mid-80s, a teenage student like me was a common thing to have on hand, when it was going well, a figure that was around 15,000 lire to be spent on a weekly basis for the much sought-after record purchases; a figure, it should be remembered, the result of sacrifices and savings on snacks to be eaten at school. So, all pompous with his nail and his hair, the handsome hairless blonde slipped into the record store of his own city reality. And here in front of the shelves was born the great existential - economic dilemma that took place between sighs, laments and snotlets (many third parties and few others): I choose a year at random and I quote so much to say that in 1985 the following groups gave to print and to posterity their labours: Ac Dc, Accept, Anthrax, BOC, Bon Jovi, Dio, Dokken, Exodus, Iron Maiden, Kiss, Motley Crue, Possessed, Ratt, DL Roth, Rush, Saxon, Scorpions, Slayer, S.O.D., Twisted Sister, Venom, Wasp, White Lion. Now you will understand that that boy, eager to know all the metal universe, had to ob torto neck make a methodological choice and then decide. Divide between mainstream bands and those of series b, not available immediately (and who knows when), those bands that made a separate league and could not compete for appeal with sacred monsters, latest news and urban legends. Well, the band reviewed here was part of the second band but, if you take a look on the internet, you will find that they were in excellent company, although for my pocket the list was almost endless.

Returning to our TOPTs after the long absence, they put the boss back in production at the beginning of the new millennium but both in terms of sales and criticisms the new two works do not get what Weir hoped, reformer of the band and the only original member of the historical core. With the entry of the current singer and the release of "Animal Instinct" in 2008, the group receives compliments and positive reviews on a large scale. The work examined here dates back to 2012 and in this version (from 2020) we have four more tracks. We find a studio outtake version of the unpublished "Cruel Hands of Time" where our fellow countryman plays among the golden uvula tones of the best singers of the Hard Rock tradition; the rhythmic ending could make one think of certain closures typical of a drummer like Tommy Lee. The live transposition of "Keeping Me Alive" best expresses the vocal potential of Meille (who is a relative of the well-known Italian Protestant pastor?) Who does not have one failure; I was puzzled by the rhythm section which has not undergone any changes in speed compared to the situation in the studio. But here we could open an endless diatribe between standardization, a regular method, an equality in the timing of exposure and a spirit of improvisation made up of impulses and instantaneity. To you the choice. Live "These Eyes" is something exciting and here the drums do their job perfectly. We feel that Sykes has passed through this band and has left valuable teachings; the guitar riff, then, is very reminiscent of a Dokken song ... To close this cd the demo version of "Rock 'n' Roll Dream" and it is pleasant to listen in this way because it seems to hear the band playing a lot from close as if it were in your living room.

For those who do not yet know the overseas moniker this is a good starting point, for others it could represent a piece to add to their personal collection.

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