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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

REVIEW: Charger (UK) - Desperadoes (1987, Single)

charger desperadoes

Charger is an obscure heavy metal / late-NWOBHM band from UK, North Yorkshire, who only released one single, so not much is known about the band, nor they didn't left much trails behind. Even the release date of this single is debate, but reasoning with the facts, such as that singer Colin Bell was active with his earlier band Dark Heart until mid-1985 and Holosade until, perhaps 1987, would suggest, that it indeed was released as late as in 1987, despite sounding like something from 1983. However, this single is really good! 'Desperadoes'-single features strong sounding, rather speedy pure heavy metal in veins of NWOBHM, with some rock n' roll attitude (especially featured in the title track). Short-lived Charger was given a warm-up slot for Tygers of Pan Tang in Durnham, Spring 1987, which should had increased their reputation. However, interest towards their music commercially was minimal and the band disbanded at some point in late eighties, with their last copies of the single given out for free for promotion, or sold at local fish n' chip shop. Talking about "happy ending". (The n.w.o.b.h.m. encyclopedia 3rd Ed. Malc Macmillan, p.106-107).

Lets finally take a look into the single. I cannot but give little praise for vocals. Singer Colin Bell (ex-Dark Heart, Holosade) has nice clean, rather deep, just slightly soaring mid-range voice, with occasional tad rough screams. He has pure heavy metal voice with quite a bit of emotion, and while not perhaps the most complex voice around, still much more skillful and interesting than your average NWOBHM band features. Bell's vocals fits the heavy but melodic atmosphere well, reminding a bit of Russ North on Cloven Hoof's 'Dominator' album, for example, but with less range, and bit more rebellious attitude.

Guitars by Barry "Baz" Cummins on the single feature tight rhythm sections driving songs forward, with melodic leads, fine shredding and solos. 'Desperadoes'-single features two tracks of honest pure heavy metal, or very late NWOBHM, with tight playing and surprisingly fine instrumental skills from this unknown band, who sound like professionals on the record. Sound could be described such as 'Dark Heart' meets 'Cloven Hoof' (Dominator-Sultan's Ransom era), wandering somewhere in-between the both, for not being quite as power-metal flavored and melody driven as Cloven Hoof's later work, nor as laid back Dark Heart. It also has more fury and aggression, than either of the previously mentioned does. Desperadoes-single also features rather good sound production, in comparison to many other bands of NWOBHM genre, who were releasing singles of EP's mainly.

The single is energetic, speedy, and quite melodic effort. Both of the songs here are definite headbanging material. Title track 'Desperadoes' contains tons of rebellious attitude with vivid lead guitars and abrasive rhythm guitars, while it draws influences from rock n' roll / punk rock, too. Punchy bass-lines and shout-along chorus add the final touch -- "Desperadoes! Desperadoes after me!". This track's a true winner that would fit into any a-tier NWOBHM band's top album! It's a speedy melodic delight, with some of that TANK / Jaguar-like roughness. While title track is my definite favorite of the two, 'Are You Out There' isn't too bad song either, taking approach towards more mellow and melodic field. Bell tones down roughness of his vocals a bit, featuring more melodic and soaring side, than on rebellious title track. The band turns on Cloven-Hoof-Dominator-gear on this one, and it's got much more flashy shredding, very melodic chorus, and some group shouted backing vocals featured. A fine song too.

This all leaves me wonder why the band never released any more material. The band was hugely talented, and could had competed with both NWOBHM "power-houses", TANK or Jaguar on their best days. Charger had good guitarist, good catchy compositions, very pure and honest heavy metal vocalist, and overall very good approach towards the heavy metal sound on it's core, with fair amount of power. This single should had predicted good things to come for them, but NWOBHM was already pretty much over, so did they come too late, for a record deal I mean? If you ever bump into this single (which I doubt), and it's not totally insanely priced, get it immediately! Highly recommended and one of the best British eighties heavy metal singles I've ever heard! (Awesome)

92 | reviewer: dungeoncrawler

  • Colin Bell - Bass, Vocals
    • See also: ex-Holosade, ex-Dark Heart
  • Steve Hall - Drums
  • Barry "Baz" Cummins - Guitars

  • 1. Desperadoes 02:54
  • 2. Are You Out There 03:51
    • Total running time: 06:45


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