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GASKIN: 'EDGE OF MADNESS' (High Roller Records)
Paul Gaskin first made a name with his epnoymous band back in the golden days of the NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) movement shining brightly with the influential single 'I'm No Fool' and with the albums 'End Of The World' from 81 and a year later with 'No Way Out'.
Whilst some from that time went onto glory, Gaskin like so many others had to disband and give up the dream of rock 'n roll stardom and get themselves a day job to bring home the dough for the dinner table.
Almost two decades later at the turn of the Millenium Gaskin, along with some new members. returned with 'Stand Or Fall' and whilst some took notice the world still wasn't ready for a NWOBHM re-emergence. Now some thirty years after we headbanged away to the classic 'I'm No Fool' Gaskin are back with album number four that will not only please the die hards but also the growing scene of young rock fans who weren't even born when 'Ace Of Spades' was riding high, and who through the wonders of the internet are rediscovering many bands who like to keep the Metal pure and simple.
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The album cover has the best demonic artwork I've seen in a very long time, however the music inside is more akin to the melodic approach that many heavy rock bands headed towards to gain a greater appeal. 'Damnation' is the heaviest number on the album with some hammer and chisel drumming from David John Norman who also produced this album in very much the same DIY ethic that was used in the post punk days of the NWOBHM.
'Man's World' has a similar riff to Dio's 'Rock 'N Roll Children' and it's the sound of that Dio song that best sums up this album in that it has the heaviness in the riffs but the melodic choruses of Metal back in the eighties when heavy rock bands began changing their sound to hopefully get on the radio or MTV although it was only the Americans with their high productions costs who could only carry it off to great effect whilst the British were left behind only being fondly remembered by their loyal followers.
Those who still hark for those days and that sound, like myself, will find plenty to enjoy on this album.
The song 'Man's World' also features guest saxophonist Nik Turner, formerly of Hawkwind and now fronting his very fine Space Ritual.
'The Contract' is an epic building number with some Stargazing keyboards that will please all lovers of Rainbow. 'Heart Like Thunder' and 'Bedlam' are those tracks with the chest beating choruses but the best is saved to last with the biographical title track 'Edge Of Madness' where Paul Gaskin tells the dark psychotic story of finding your inner self after drowning your mind in booze and despair.
Live review of Gaskin at the Bristish Steel Festival London 2012.