Echoes From the Analog Asylum
Heaven & Hell Records
Until earlier this year I had never heard of Thunderstick. Just a few short months later, I can’t imagine not knowing who they were. With Hammer horror style imagery, female vocals, and some high energy tunes, this is certainly my kind of band! The band is most closely associated with the NWOBHM movement, which is largely due to drummer (and band namesake) Thunderstick’s role in Samson (and briefly in an early incarnation of Iron Maiden). Thunderstick, the band, has some heavy moments but mostly it’s just really excellent Rock N’ Roll. Echoes from the Analog Asylum was released in 2011 and is a comprehensive look at the band featuring detailed liner notes and the band’s Feel Like Rock N’ Roll, Beauty and the Beasts, and The Wave Tapes. The album also features some instrumentals and alternate versions at the end to round it all out.
Obviously, this album covers a lot of ground (and two vocalists) so, in a way, it’s hard to pick favorites. You have to have lived through this era of music to truly understand it as well. Things were so different back then, from recording to guitar tones to presentation. Everything here is certainly top notch for the time period but a few things still stand out above the rest. “Long Way to Go” is a spectacular tune that reminds me of everything good about the eighties Rock scene. With a funky bass line, sexy vocals, and some JGeils style guitar work it hits me just right. The reprise at the end of the album is awesome as well and takes the compilation out on a high note in sing-a-long style. The almost Boogie Woogie drive of “Feel Like Rock N’ Roll?” is like Foghat on steroids and it’s a fun ride! “Buried Alive” has that big anthemic, arena rock feel to it, but it’s production helps it keep a gritty Rock N’ Roll feel that, in hindsight, makes it feel like the real deal.
What I enjoy most about this is that, as a lover of eighties rock music, I can’t really name any other band that sounded, or sounds, like Thunderstick. Sure, there are some moments that remind you of their connection to the NWOBHM (“Afraid of the Dark,” “Heartbeat in the Night”) and some songs that remind you of what was happening in mainstream Rock and Roll at the time but even those songs have a unique feel to them. With a new album on the verge of release, please do yourself a favor and pick up this lost gem. You won’t be sorry.
Reviewed by mark1340