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Out Now – Avenger ‘Steel On Steel’ 3CD set (Cherry Red / Dissonance)

Formed by vocalist Brian Ross and bassist Mick Moore in 1982, the year after the demise of their previous act Blitzkrieg, Avenger released two albums for Neat Records before hitting the buffers in 1986 following an ill-fated tour of the States. ‘Steel On Steel’ rounds up those two albums – the proudly NWOBHM ‘Blood Sports’ and the US speed-tinged ‘Killer Elite’ – and adds the band’s first demo from September 1982 (when Brian was still fronting the band) as well as their 1983 demo which featured new frontman Ian Davison-Swift and a couple of other rarities.


The third disc in the set features a previously unreleased live show from that US tour, when the band took to the stage at the legendary club L’Amour in Brooklyn, New York, on 3 March 1986. The show was assumed to be lost, but Mick had given me a cassette of the gig on his return to the UK which I’d digitised some years later. As it’s the only full show in existence of the ‘Killer Elite’ line-up, when guitar duties were handled by hot-shot American guitarist Greg Reiter, it’s a must for any NWOBHM collection.

‘Steel On Steel’ picked up a glowing 8/10 review in Classic Rock magazine. “Their influence on Metallica is obvious,” writes Geoff Barton, “and their caustic cover of Montrose’s obscure ‘Matriarch’ betrays a connoisseur’s approach to metal... But if you listen to only one song, it’s got to be ‘N.O.T.J. (Night Of The Jackal)’ with its flesh-peeling chainsaw intro and air of stalking menace.” Crank it up and enjoy.

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