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)