The New Wave of British Heavy Metal stripped away all the indulgence and meandering that encrusted the pure core of the heavy metal genre. The massively influential Metal for Muthas captures this burgeoning movement. "Sanctuary" from Iron Maiden's debut could kick-start any record. Side two dishes out "Wrathchild," another pre-Dickinson Maiden burner, and Bruce Bruce also haunts his pre-Maiden project, Samson, working the slow-fast hangover lament "Tomorrow or Yesterday." Sledgehammer's eponymous barnstormer and the Swedish E.F. Band (named for the founders) keep the standard high. Toad the Wet Sprocket adds depth by sliding into blues mode. Praying Mantis spews a bit of prog into the brew with the fantastical "Captured City" ("where have all the good song subjects gone?"). Perennial supporters Nutz query who among us needs "Bootliggers." Angelwitch pioneers death metal and Ethel the Frog deserves to be preserved simply because of that Monty Python
moniker. These bands toured supporting Budgie, April Wine
, Def Leppard
, and various others, but barring the obvious exceptions, rarely broke from a regional following. Since many of the adjoining records lack consistent quality, these short shots are the best ways to knock back some great lost rock.