Released: 2011, Heaven and Hell Records
Reviewer: Robert Williams
Cult US metal label Heaven and Hell Records have recently issued the latest installment in their "Lost Relics" series in the form of a career spanning retrospective by East Coast metal stalwarts Blacksmith entitled STRIKE WHILE THE IRON'S HOT. All of the band's early recorded works have been digitally re-mastered by Jamie King at The Basement Recording studios.
The first five selections on tap are culled from the long out of print "Blacksmith" EP originally released in 1986, showcasing a female fronted band of New Yorker's fronted at the time by the capable hands of the leather lunged Heidi Black. The early material is mid-eighties American heavy metal in it's rawest most primal form, a wild bunch of rockers amplified into infinity with crushing Marshall stack gusto and an over the top delivery.
For the next eight tracks, the listener is met by the band's second lineup (or Blacksmith Mach II) this time fronted by Malcolm "Mania" Lovegrove as well as an entirely new rhythm section leaving only guitarist and founding member David Smith from the band's original lineup. These eight tracks are taken from the Tropical Records released "Fire From Within" LP from 1989, presented in all of their beer soaked metal nostalgic glory, again benefitting from a slick digital re-mastering job and thus sounding like a million bucks as a result. It is interesting to compare the Heidi Black versions of songs like "Louder Than Hell" and "The Bone March - Tower of London" to the re-recorded versions some three years later by the Malcolm "Mania" Lovegrove fronted Blacksmith.
Heaven and Hell Records has done right by this collection with all new album artwork, extensive liner notes and eighties era photographs of the band even including downloadable content links within the booklet. Collector's should also take note that a limited edition pressing of STRIKE WHILE THE IRON'S HOT contains a bonus DVD comprised of archived live footage of both lineups, rare televised appearances of the band, photo galleries and more; making this a must have release for fan's of Blacksmith and early American heavy metal in general.