THIS WEEK I'M LISTENING TO...THE HAND OF DOOM Poisonoise (On The Dole Records)THIS WEEK I'M LISTENING TO...THE HAND OF DOOM Poisonoise (On The Dole Records)

In November 1979, while most of us were getting worked up about this new 7” by a bunch of Londoners called Iron Maiden, a young German band with an intriguing name and a bucketload of attitude were locked away in the studio working on their debut album, ‘Poisonoise’. An energetic romp with all the hallmarks of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal – but recorded some five hundred miles outside the UK – ‘Poisonoise’ wasn’t destined to make the majors sit up and listen, and ended up getting a self-pressed run of just five hundred copies before fading into the obscurity of eBay listings. Thankfully, this new CD and LP re-issue on OTD Records gives this rather offbeat yet curiously comforting oddity a new lease of life.

Like many of their NWOBHM counterparts – not that they would have known that in those pre-internet years – The Hand Of Doom’s emphasis is on brashness rather than musical competence and vitality rather than stamina. No-one’s going to say that ‘Poisonoise’ features the greatest songs ever written (and the quote on the rear “...and special thanks to ourselves for good singing and playing” has to be taken with a healthy pinch of salt!), but what the guys have in their favour – as with many of the NWOBHM’s greats – is youthful excitement and plenty of potential (as well as a superb NWOBHM time-change in ‘The Lights Of Blind’). The ten cuts on offer ooze enthusiasm and energy, punky ‘n’ spikey ‘n’ Stooges at times, and songs like ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Close To The End Of The World’ and the self-referential ‘Doom Power’ could easily have graced the pages of Sounds and, years later, made an appearance between the hallowed covers of ‘The NWOBHM Encyclopedia’, had vocalist Andreas Rößner, guitarist Uwe Ellenberger, bassist Klaus Bode and drummer Karl-Heinz Wehde been born in the UK.

It is interesting to note that, elsewhere in the world, while we were sewing Saxon patches on our denims, others with similar ideas were challenging the established musical order with riffs and raucousness. Long may it last!

© John Tucker September 2019