Released: 2013, Shrapnel Records
Not many people know this but Shrapnel is America’s longest running Metal label. Founded in 1980 they have been around longer than Metal Blade! It may seem odd to define the record company as ‘Metal’ as they focus on Guitar Gods in many guises, and we know that guitar is the root of all Metal, so they qualify for the distinction. They are still going today and I’m going to do a little roundup of three recent reviews on the Shrapnel label, namely, Jacky Vincent, Dario Lorina and a reissue of the Trauma album. Please feel free to enjoy the trio of reviews.
Back in the early days of the label I picked up, on cassette a good chunk of the Shrapnel Records catalogue. There were a couple of noticeable exceptions that I could never come across; the first Steeler album and the Trauma album. While the label was primarily a breeding ground for young guitar gunslingers who would go on to Metal glory, the label did have a few real ‘bands’. Here we are 30 years later and Shrapnel has reissued the Trauma album SCRATCH AND SCREAM.
Listening to this is akin to falling headfirst into a strange and beautiful (but familiar) metallic time-warp. I can guarantee of I had heard this 30 years ago it would be permanently fused into my cerebellum as an all time favourite. Listening to it now with the advantage of 30 years of listening experience, I can hear how good this band was. SCRATCH AND SCREAM is a brilliant little slab of proto-power/speed metal. They fall nicely into the Steeler meets Racer X meets Vicious Rumors camp with catchy songs and lots of guitar firepower and blazing speed. The vocals of Donny Hillier are era-perfect with a bitching blend of Lizzy Borden and the grit of someone like Coburn Pharr. The reissue comes with three bonus tracks as well which sweeten the deal, especially since they feature the performance of Cliff Burton on bass. I’m not a card-carrying member of the cult of Cliff but it is kinda cool to hear those old songs from one of his first bands.
It’s a shame that the band broke up. It’s a damn shame none of the members went onto anything else of note. I would rate this higher but I think for most Metal fans this now somewhat obscure record may show signs of age. Apparently the band has reformed in 2013 for a quick kick at the can and to support the release of this album. For historians, collectors, and fans who can’t get enough of the original sound, you will want to get SCRATCH AND SCREAM.