Black Rider

Dave Dragos (git), Vic Barreira (keys), Ray Dauria (voc), Jay Dee (dr),

format: MLP Side A:
  1. Beyond The Four Winds [intro]
  2. Black Rider
  3. No Return

Side B:

  1. Memories
  2. Wake Up Screamin

year: 1985
country: Canada
label: Torch Records
#: ROK 007
insert: no
edition: ?
rarity: 9/10


The haunting, spoken intro promises plenty. Time to put on the doom-boots and do some doom-dancing perhaps? *assuming position*
Ahem, well, not quite... The lead riff to "Black Rider" sound like a The Rutles-take on RAINBOW's "Man On The Silver Mountain" - very 70's, very hammond, very Scandinavian and very 'huge in Japan'. Not bad at all but very far from what I've expected. "No Return" is only slightly less dated in sound. It starts out with a few pounds heavier lead, but then gets too melodic for it's own good. Yes, melody = great, but it has to be sticky and original enough to remain in your head, at least after 3 listenings, don't you agree? Skipping to the next tra... I mean, carefully turning this insanely rare original vinyl upside-down*, we get to hear "Memories". It's... a ballad! Golly gee how original! Has anyone ever heard a song called "Memories" which wasn't a ballad?? 'But our manager told us we needed a slow song for the ladies..'. Well, boo-fuckin-hoo. For fux-ache stand up for yourselves! Do you always do what your mommy tells you? Can you spell 'rebellion'? Oh, I digress, but all those ballads, they just... Gaaaahhh!!! And the keyboards sound unusually annoying too! (listening too much to Kraftwerk, have we?)
Phew, I'm out of vinegar now. I'll finish with some praise for the quite interesting, closing epic "Wake Up Screaming". Want another ingenious This-band-meets-That-band-comparison? Well, how about DEEP PURPLE meets CIRITH UNGOL on a broken mixing desk? Yeah, this is good stuff indeed. Not over-the-top brilliant, but everything falls into place here. The weird keys, the lackluster mixing, the 70's/80's clash all makes sense when they reach for a little more darkness and originality. This is how they should have done the whole album. Would have been a classic and I might even have paid the mega-bux required for an album like that. As of now I think I'll settle for my ol' homeboys BLACKSMITH, or even SILVER MOUNTAIN on a rainy day. MYSTIQUE may have done one of the rarest Canadian HM/HR vinyls ever (you'll find plenty of BLACK KNIGHT-originals before this one turns up) and it's far from the worst, but no way do they deserve such a killer logo and totally cult b/w cover art. 'Disappointing' is the nicest thing I can say about the album as a whole.
(*= Thanx to Rob Preston for the CDR & cover photos;)

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