It was a highlight of the weekend and I longed to hear their studio output which comes in the form of this self-titled released.
First recorded back in 1985 and available via Criminal Response Records, Blackmayne was re-released in 2016 on Eat Metal Records and features the bonus of 3 new tracks, recorded especially for this record.
The band’s two main protagonists are guitarist Phil McDermott and bassist Julian Sackett who met in 1983 and managed to cobble together a happy band of players who earned a 3-record deal then released their debut, Blackmayne. Unfortunately, due to a lack of money/management/gigs, the band called it a day and were not heard from again until 2012 when Phil and Julian got together again to see what they could do.
The result is the re-release of their debut album plus the 3 added tracks mentioned using vocalist Jay Duke, who also performs with Crow Lane.
The bulk of the album is clearly New Wave of British Heavy Metal and has all the hallmarks you would expect. Edgy riffs, well-crafted solos and under-produced vocals are all telltale signs.
There is power and pace aplenty as you’d expect from the genre and these songs don’t variate from the theme. If that makes it all sound a bit boring then that’s far from the truth, every single song from the original is chock-full of quality playing and guitar work which certainly gets the blood flowing. The standout tracks for me are “Law of Love”, “Counterpoint” and “Hot Blooded Woman” which form the spine of the album.
There is clear definition between 1985 and 2016, with the new tracks, “Lionheart”, “Vanishing Point” and “Chosen Few” being better produced (obviously) and having a more punky feel, leaving the NWOBHM a bit behind. Jay Duke’s vocals definitely have more balls and heaps more attitude. I’d even venture to say that “Vanishing Point” is more punk than anything else although great guitar breaks are included.
You could say that Blackmayne reflects a journey of where the band has been and where they are heading, albeit in only two steps. From fresh-faced rockers to post-punk rioters it’s a hell of a leap, but one worth taking, I can assure you of that.