Blitzkrieg - A Time of Changes- Phase One (Neat) 1985
Blitzkrieg's 1985 album "A Time of Changes" was the band's first full-length studio album, and what an album it was. The music here is solid NWOBHM! While I was a fan of many NWOBHM bands including Raven, Diamond Head, Saxon, etc. early on, I discovered Blitzkrieg thanks to Metallica's mighty cover of the song bearing the band's name. This song is one of the standout cuts on the album, but honestly I think tracks like "Inferno" and "Pull the Trigger" are equally great. Actually, it always sort of bugged me that "Blitzkrieg" so closely echoed Focus' classic "Hocus Pocus". (It was actually the version b-side version of "Blitzkrieg" off the "Buried Alive" single that inspired Metallica's cover.) "A Time of Changes" doesn't sport a big production or fancy songwriting, but it more than makes up for that with attitude and raw aggression. This was heavy metal. It wasn't about flash as much as it was about the attitude and the songs. Brian Ross' vocals were most certainly a big part of the band's sound as well. His screams are fantastic. He sings mostly in a mid-range style, but adds in these vicious, high screams that would become a mainstay in heavy metal in the 1980's. Unlike what was going on with many other popular European bands, Blitzkrieg avoided the bluesier side of the spectrum and instead tried to keep a consistant, driving riffs. Not unlike fellow NWOBHM rockers Diamond Head, it's really a mystery why Blitzkrieg weren't far more successful and popular.
Forming in October of 1980, apparently the band went through some personal hell for 15 months until the band finally dissolved and split. "A Time To Change" actually came out after the band had reformed in 1984. Brian Ross had spent a few years in the band Satan before reforming Blitzkrieg. ("Pull the Trigger", in fact, appeared on a Satan demo as well.) This 2003 2-CD compilation not only includes the entire "A Time of Changes" album, but all the demos, singles and such that were recorded during the band's first rocky 15 months. "Take a Look Around" was recorded during the '85 sessions as well and was originally intended to be used on a single. Unfortunately that single never materialized. It is added as track six on this compilation. The majority of the material outside the original album has a very raw production, but I was mostly interested in having the infamous "A Time of Changes" on CD to begin with. The rest of the material is just extra icing on the cake. As such, Disc one has seen plenty of spin time, while disc two is something I have only listened to sparingly.
"A Time of Changes" is a blistering NWOBHM assault. It might not have the polish of British bands like Priest and Maiden, nor their popularity, but they indeed delivered the goods. This is prime NWOBHM. (Thanks James)