Tape Wyrm XXXI: Forgotten Showcase #1 Tape Wyrm XXXI: Forgotten Showcase #1

Before we begin, I would like to thank a designer and illustrator named Yeti for providing this publication with a new logo. I could never master the trade of black/death lettering so I am thankful for the artisans who keep the trade alive and productive. It is to him and the heavy metal craftsmen which I dedicate this article.

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Forgotten Showcase #1
Give em Hell

In all honesty this article started as many things. First it was an obscure thrash metal article, then it was a playlist highlighting the border between German speed and power metal from the 1980’s. Now it is this. I have become very distracted and nothing I wanted to do is turning out the way it is suppose to be. If you know me personally then you are privy to the knowledge that I throw things when I get angry. Mostly when I paint. Brushes, canvases, sketchbooks all collide against the wall when things do not go right. I am very temperamental much like a three year old child when not getting his way. Now it is returning. If this article was an actual room, your feet would be covered with scraps of paper and type writer keys. My desk is on fire and I am weeping. Perhaps next time I can come up with the article I wanted.

I have always wanted to do a forgotten showcase. This stems mainly from my collection of music that was picked for the sole purpose of album art. I have a lot of it. The next step I ran into problems with was how the term “obscure” means something completely different to every person. Angel Witch and Legend may be obscure to some while to others painfully common knowledge. When attempting to amass a variety show of lesser known metal records one cannot be perfect but one can be close. In fact, I do not even think obscurity should be a goal rather a general region for unearthing some forgotten gems. If I failed to impress you then we all can celebrate in the general holiday of lesser known records.

And here we now stand in the Tape Wyrm offices. I have started to smoke inside and my desk is still on fire. Perhaps my German speed/power/thrash article will see the light. Until then enjoy the clip show. I am the cryptkeeper, the old witch, and the vault keeper wrapped up in a big ball of unmitigated frustration. I am sorry about the hole in the wall. These Underwood typewriters are heavier than I had expected. Goddamn it, Charles put out this fire before we all perish in flames. Tape Wyrm’s Forgotten Showcase Volume One roll clip.

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Witchfynde – Give Em Hell (1980)

Alright, this is definitely not a forgotten metal record for some. For those who are dedicated to the more obscure occult based records in the early 80’s, Witchfynde is known. The New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) yielded some amazing and long lasting records from now classic bands. It also gave us libraries of awesome records now buried under the sands of time. For every Iron Maiden and Saxon there are exponential amount of bands like Mendes Prey, Praying Mantis, and Charger. If you were ever looking for a hobby to fill the space between coin collection and model ship making, obscure NWOBHM is a perfect spring activity.

Witchfynde is one of those bands that is just begging to be collected. With a classically sinister cover and traditional music based around dark magic, 1980’s Give Em Hell was just waiting for the invention of the internet. While the majority of Give Em Hell is adequate, it is when Witchfynde allows themselves to travel into longer track lengths things become truly interesting. “Tetelestai,” “Lady Nadir and the spacey”, and “Into the Ages of the Ages” are the band’s crowning moments…upon the demons altar. I wish I could get this album cover on a shirt.

Winterhawk – Revival (1982)

A normal Saturday night at Kaptain Carbon’s house includes beer, comics books, and endless searching through YouTube for obscure metal records. Ohh look a painting of a centaur flying over an icy gorge. New favorite record. Send to close friends and loved ones who are too busy with social lives to be bothered by amazing music. Sleep. Repeat. I’m just joking, I do not have friends.

Holy shit Winterhawk where were you all my life? If I had a superpower, it would be to heal the world with the power of forgotten hard rock. Unlike the speed driven frenzy which marked that time period, Winterhawk allowed the early days of heavy metal to soar…like a centaur over an icy gorge. Winterhawk is undoubtedly hard rock compared to the development of heavy metal in the early 80’s. While that will certainly ward off some, others will be happy to have an album cover with a goddamn flying centaur. Fans of Uriah Heep and UFO, climb on this noble steed. To the frozen kingdom we ride.

Salem (UK) – In the Beginning (1981-1983)

In the early 80’s there was a momentary blip like the last pulse of a dying star that lit the metal sky. Now branded Salem (UK) to avoid confusion with an Israeli death/doom band, that formed after the dissolution of this band. I am confused. It’s alright, Salem (UK) never made a full length album.

In The Beginning is a double disc release celebrating everything the band did in their short three years on this earth. Salem (UK)’s propensity for grand presentation contrasts sharply with their short life span. One of the most exquisite tracks on this collection is a 16 minute trilogy called “Keeper of the Keys.” Within a marathon track length, Salem (UK) displays not only competent songcraft but also a genuine charm in their devotion to fantasy’s general optimism. These guys could never be Iron Maiden yet in the right light they still exhibit something memorable.

Bitches Sin – Predator (1982)

Say it with me. Bitches Sin. There is a lot of things to like about Bitches Sin as well as things to dislike. First of all the name is horrendous. It just doesn’t make sense. Are the bitches sinning or is their sin to be incurred due to bitches? This band’s love affair with hard rocking blues jams is unflattering. this isn’t just because I dislike the blues. Well, maybe. If it were not for the solid NWOBHM tempo, these guys would stay in their dusty record crate. Songs like “Falling Star,” “Runaway,” and the mid tempo gallop “Loser” makes your visit to the dingy biker bar worth it. Bitches Sin. How many pints of bitter did it take to reach that golden name? I wonder how many ladies that name has picked up. I wonder if any of the 50 band members in this outfit ever got a tattoo.

Ashbury – Endless Skies (1983)

Village, hear my wizard roar. I will stop loving the shit out of these album covers when 80’s illustrations stop being so goddamn amazing. Holy shit Ashbury. This band plays music much in the same way as Winterhawk. They construct their hard rock odysseys without care to current trends. In fact, much like Winterhawk, Ashbury is also from the states and thus removed from the NWOBHM styles developing. Ashbury played loud and proud in the deserts of the southwest. Without a fucking care in the world. I love every single thing about this record. It is nearing perfection. We do not even have to mention the wizard on the front.

There is a lot of mystery and lore revolving around Ashbury. This is due to the fact there is so little about this band. Some of it is just loony like how the band had the best light show of any other act during the early 80’s. There is also, supposedly, a southwest comic strip based around the lead guitarist, Randy Davis. I can find nothing, including validation that Ashbury did in fact have a killer light show. This band now stands at the cusp between great music, enigmatic past, and the grandiose statements from three stoned metalheads.

Sortilege – Sortilege (1983)

No ,you are not crazy, that does sound familiar. The introduction for Sortilege’s 1983 debut was copied or used by Chuck Schuldiner for Death’s 1987 debut Scream Bloody Gore. One album would make it out of the 1980’s with legacy attached. It was not Sortilege. My wife hates the French language. My wife hates Sortilege. I fucking love it. At the intersection between early power metal and golden era traditional metal lies Sortilege, a criminally forgotten French powerhouse.

Sortilege did fairley well in France during its heyday though a faster and more raw variety of heavy metal was about to come and bury everything. The fact that Chuck Schuldiner loved this band probably helped their legacy in at least being remembered past 1990. Holy shit everyone. You have not lived on this metal existence without hearing “Delirium of a Madman. It is supplied above. You can thank me later. The voice of a fallen angel.

Blaspheme – Blaspheme (1983)

Haha, my wife is now leaving our apartment for a few hours until I am done discussing Blaspheme. You guessed it, another French band from the early 80’s. I do not know what was going on in France during the speed renaissance in England but the echoes are being felt in glorious ways. Blaspheme is twice as fast and twice as flamboyant with their native tongue. This album is Iron Maiden’s first two records sung in a different language. Alright I lie. Marc Fery of Blaspheme is much more wild with his operatic tendencies.

Blaspheme’s first and second record are phenomenal if you enjoy gestural French heavy metal. The band has attempted in the past for various reformations which did not go the sdistance which they deserved to reach. I enjoy Blaspheme and wish for their good health and long life. Vive La Heavy Metal!

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Alright, so this article could have gone 10 different ways. In fact that closing line on Blaspheme could have been written better. I apologize. Because lesser known heavy metal is constantly being unearthed, Tape Wyrm’s Forgotten Showcase will continue given the right amount of shovels and shifting pans. Thank you for visiting and sorry about the mess. And the cats that now have Prussian blue all over their paws…



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