Rawkaholic Vol 1 is a compilation album of previously unreleased tracks by various artists and of various styles.
Rock compilations have traditionally fallen into one of two categories; either a showcase for up and coming bands without a record deal or a collection of classic tracks bundled ready for lazy ungrateful children to buy as a Fathers’ Day gift.
This, however, can’t really decide what it wants to be. There are new bands, splinter acts and bands going back to time immemorial.
Punk, New Wave of British Heavy Metal, classic metal and indie metal all make an appearance here and it’s indie which opens proceeding here, with Syteria and “Reflections”. It’s a simple track with simple riffs but sadly the worst chorus in history.
From a band formed in 2015 to one formed in 1987, and Airforce. The promo bumph for the band says they were a major force in the early days of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. In 1987? I don’t think so. Anyway, the song, “Sniper”, features Paul Di’Anno and does have a NWoBHM feel to it, albeit a slower, more threatening one.
The first live track comes from Desolation Angels and “Fury”. This is a cracking track; once again a NWoBHM offering with pace, bollocks and top guitar work. And these boys were actually around during the NWoBHM, having formed in 1981.
More veteran rockers now and Blackmayne with “Legions”. This is a slow burner which builds up beautifully and possesses power in abundance, another NWoBHM winner.
We take a right turn down Classic Rock Drive with Daxx and Roxane and what fun “State Outta Myself” is. Big vocals, crazy keyboard breaks and a singalong tune all add up to a monster track.
Crunching riffs greet us next from guitarist/vocalist Ryan Roxie. “Nevermind Me” is a modern metal tune which trundles along without reaching the heady heights it promised early on.
There’s a bit of punk infusion to David Scary Perry’s “Combinations” but not much else, unfortunately. Fuzzy vocals and a scream do not a great track make.
Phonomik follow with “Vicious Circle”, a traditional modern metal track full of heavy riffs, but again falling short.
Playhouse bring a lot more interest to the party with “On Fire”. Powerful vocals and exciting chords reminded me of Aeraco, which I can tell you is high praise indeed.
It’s back to the NWoBHM and another live track, this time from Vardis. “Move Along” is basically a showcase for band leader Steve Zodiac’s not inconsiderable guitar playing talents.
This track highlights the confusion of Rawkaholic Vol 1. Vardis have been around, on and off, for a million years but haven’t released anything for a while and are definitely at the fag end of their career. Why appear on a compilation album of this nature? I’m at a loss.
“Scream Queen” is the title of this punk-inspired track from Blue Ruin. Lots of shouting and thrashing about sums up this track. It is called “Scream Queen” after all.
Classic heavy rock from Love and a .38 as “Life is a Cage, Honey” gets things back on track. Pace and power are the order of the day and it’s good to see.
It’s modern metal time with KrashKarma and “Walking On The Sun”. With its choppy riffs matched perfectly with intense female vocals, this track has plenty going for it.
The best-named band on the album, Rat Bastard Syndicate had me worried with its odd spoken word beginning but I need not have worried. “Black Looking Glass” is the song Danny Joe Brown of Molly Hatchet fame would have sung in a metal band. Great powerful vocals are backed up superbly by intense riffs and a quality solo.
Finishing things off is singer/guitarist Matt Keen with “Everything Else”. It’s a good classic rock tune with playful riffs and nice soloing dotted throughout the song.
If you like various types of rock then this album might just interest you but with the wild differences in eras, I’m not quite sure who it’s aimed at.
Rawkaholic Vol 1 is out now on Rock ‘N’ Growl Records.