The other day I was over a friend’s house and ran into a guy who plays rhythm guitar in a hardchord punk band like a blazing maelstrom of Ginn-ness. For some reason we started talking metal bands, and it turned out we both hit on SAVAGE, RAVEN, and a few other old guard NWOBHM bands.
It reminded me to go back through some of my old Ebony Records releases. CHATEAUX, SAVAGE, GRIM REAPER – I don’t know who this guy Darryl Johnston was that ran Ebony and recorded those bands, but he pegged the guitars beyond 11 in the mix and is responsible for a lot of latter-day fuzzboxes and palm muters (loosely related to other palm activities).
When you peruse the Metallica covers dust bin of history, there’s a big hole where SAVAGE’s “Let It Loose” is supposed to be. I looked for their recording of that for a long time with no luck. Now I know why: they don’t want you to hear it. THIS is where they learned their tricks. The guitars on “Let it Loose” are so loud that just covering those songs would lead any teen with an higher-than-low-moron intelligence level to think “hey—why don’t we cut the notes part and just move our hands around on the strings real fast and see where this ‘chugga chugga’ sound goes?”
So if you get a chance check out that song, which can be found on SAVAGE's Loose 'N Lethal album (and below - thank you, You Tube). It was more like Loose 'N Meth’d Up 'N Drunk Beyond Reason. The guitars, drums and vocals on this thing define “everything louder than everything else.” When you are done there check out CHATEAUX’s Chained and Desperate. Not as overall consistent and groundbreaking as Loose 'n Lethal, but another example of guitars amped to the point of something new.
If you get done with that, drop us a line about where Darryl Johnston is now. He probably had and still has a shitty studio, shitty mics, and a shitty location. He made up for it by putting everything so high the listener runs for cover. Amasone.