La Morta

Rick Ambrose (voc), Henky Backer (git, bs), Victor Rammstein (dr)

format: CD Tracklist:
  1. Blacque Moon
  2. La Morta
  3. Mystery Of Fate
  4. Kings Of Tomorrow
  5. Sympathy For The Devil (live) (bonus)
  6. Don't Let Them Take Control (bonus)
  7. Lost In A Memory (bonus)
  8. Mirage (bonus)
  9. I Dream On (bonus)
  10. I've Been Trying (bonus)
  11. Excalibur (bonus)

recorded: 1983-88
re-released: 2006
country: Holland
label: Rusty Cage Records
#: RCR-0003
edition: 2000


Fuck! Right now I could have killed for my long lost tape of their old live demo. I remembered liking the loooong, weird epic "Little Paganini", perhaps not for it's Metallic qualities, but it was a fun song nevertheless. A comparison with that recording and this CD would have been interesting, but thanx to Rusty Cage Records I can at least go on a semi-nostalgic tape trading trip and reacquaint myself with the band and their vinyl release "La Morta" of 1988 as well as other bits pieces from the band's career.

You could accuse JEWEL of being a tad over-dramatic in their performance, but since when has being a bit over-the-top been a crime against Metal anyway? Their wild and raunchy yet intricate style, with plenty of neoclassical guitars is very American-sounding, but not in an L.A.-poser-fashion. OK, there's a minor VAN HALEN influence in Henky Backer's guitar technique, but JEWEL were definitely Metal and not cock-rock (cock-rock = the nu-metal of old). Tracks like "Kings of Tomorrow" and "La Morta" could match the finest of overseas underground Steel. Take the best and most metallic half of any average US HM/HR platter and you'll end up with something similar to this MLP. The acoustic "Mystery of Fate" deserves a mention too. It proves you really can make decent, slow and 'soft' Metal-songs without stepping in schmallad-cowdung.

The bonus material is a bit hit & miss. "Sympathy for the Devil" at Speed Metal pace could surely be a disastrous project, but works surprisingly well. You'd almost wish they'd just ripped off the best parts of the song and made a track of their own with it. Demo-cuts "Don't Let Them Take Control" and "Lost in a Memory" are nothing more than old, inferior versions of the 2 first songs off the MLP. If anything it shows what a great addition Rick Ambrose's vocals was to the sound of the band on "La Morta!" (You've gotta love the way he handled those vocals. Please point me in the direction of your pusher, Mr. Ambrose!). "Mirage" and "I Dream On" has plenty of great parts but feel a bit too disjointed to work as your average afternoon Metal snack and takes a while getting into. The last 2 cuts on this disc on the other hand are simply glorious. This '83 debut 7" session under the SWORD moniker has long been one of my absolute faves among early European Metal and seem to be their most cherished recording among fans and collectors. Having listened through this CD a few turns I can confidently say that there is no excuse whatsoever for a SWORD-fan to miss out on this release. Holland has once again proved itself to be in the absolute top-divison of old, lost Metal glory.

Listen to the "La Morta!" MLP here. (Provided by the Vibrations of Doom webzine)

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