|B||Off The Rails||2:50|
The group we came to know as Ricochet were doing the rounds at the West Midlands (UK) since the later half of the 70s, playing an unashamedly heavy style of music that would fit like a metal glove to the upcoming NWOBHM boom. Unfortunately, they never managed to cause any real impact outside their geographical area, being pretty much disbanded as soon as 1982. Still, they went as far as to release a sole 7″ by their own Heavy Rock label, a single (or a “double B side”, as they playfully describe it) that looks good enough (nice logo, well-done drawing of the band and all) and sounds even better, believe me.
And oh man, were these guys GOOD or what? “Midas Light” (the main focus of attention here) isn’t only a kickass song in the purest NWOBHM tradition: it also showcases a healthy dose of adventurous spirit that really should have taken these guys further in the business. The guitars, for instance, are tirelessly adding different layers, distortions, unexpected fills and leads and so on – and it’s always so damn heavy that you can’t stop throwing shapes, no matter how much in awe you are. The singing is rude and intense, even with a pinch of mockery in it, carrying the lyrics along with such a conviction that you completely overlook the fact that the words actually don’t make that much sense at all. And the song owns such a drive that it truly defies description – a sort of urgency perhaps, like they needed to take the world by storm and they had to do it NOW. I guess it’s perfectly possible to live a meaningful and healthy life without ever listening to “Midas Light”, but I don’t know how could that be and I would never want to find out. Many songs are labeled as ‘classics’ without being nothing of the sort, but make no mistake: this tune is a really impressive showcase of sheer metal energy and genius, a mandatory listen for everyone with any level of interest in NWOBHM. How can a band record such a track and still disappear into near-oblivion is beyond me.
“Off the Rails” is obviously not as good as the previous “B side” (let’s face it, there’s not that much competition in the whole metal world for a track such as “Midas Light”), but it still rips in major fashion. The production tries to make the listener feel like being at some very rowdy party, with people talking and singing and screaming woo-hoo all over the song. It sounds kinda weird perhaps, but the musical contents are more than adequate for such a background, as the track itself is a very intense rocker with straight-to-the-point arrangements and a drive that grabs you by the neck and makes you headbang with near-spinal-injury intensity. Another kickass song, no doubt, and you can consider yourself well advised to get hold of a copy of this 7″ if you ever have the chance. It won’t come cheap I guess, but few NWOBHM artifacts will provide such a good musical return for your money.