Long before the cancer that was grunge became associated with Seattle, WA, Culprit was the kings of the Seattle scene. Originally released in 1983 on Shrapnel Records, my first exposure to this band was on the U.S. Metal Vol. 2 compilation. As I recall, Culprit had good company on that compilation with the likes of Exciter, Wild Dogs and Virgin Steele. As with those bands, culprit are classic heavy metal. "Guilty As Charged" is a solid metal platter with a technical edge, screaming vocals by Jeff L'Heureux, and top-notch guitarwork from from the duo of Kjartan Kristofferson and John DeVol. Shrapnel has always been a label with the reputation for releasing guitar driven, shred metal albums. While Culprit are most certainly heavy and guitar driven, they are more song oriented than the average Shrapnel Records band. Culprit were apparently very popular in their area and inspired a number of followers including Heir Apparent and Queenryche. Unfortunately this was their one and only full length release.
I own the original vinyl version on Shrapnel (pictured above). I also own two CD versions. The Hellion Records pressing features updated cover art and three bonus tracks. Apparently this CD has been reissued several times, some of which are bootlegs, such as the crappy Reborn Classics version. My copy appears to be a Hellion Records release, but I don't think it is the original as it only has a one page insert. From what I know, the original Hellion Records release had a richly pictured, multi-page booklet and the complete lyrics. My CD copy was purchased directly from the band at a show in Seattle, WA. I also picked up a 'bootleg' version on Blood & Iron records that has the original artwork restored and a slew of bonus tracks. The 1982 demo tracks are essential listening for Culprit fans. However, was really makes these bonus tracks interesting is the three cover songs, "Radar Love" (Golden Earring), "Robot Man" (Scorpions), and "Wrathchild" (Iron Maiden). "Robot Man" is a great choice of covers from the Uli Roth era of the Scorpions. (Frankly, the Uli years are some of my favorite from them.)