Weapon - 'Set The Stage Alight (30th Anniversary Edition)' (weaponrock) 4.5/5
No matter how old I get, I will always take comfort in the fact that my teenage years and early 20's were set to the soundtrack of two of the UK's greatest musical movements, The '77 punk boom, and the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. So its always a pleasure to rediscover gems from that era that you last rocked out to many years ago. so with that in mind I give you this re-issued and updated version of Weapons classic 1981 opus Set The Stage Alight.
I used to have this album on cassette back in the day, and it was a bit of a permanent fixture in my Walkman for a year or so until it went the way of all tapes and became a mass of brown spaghetti wrapped around the play heads and damaged beyond repair. But now I have this re-issue on CD and sitting hear playing through it is like a host of old friends you haven't seen in years rushing into a room at a suprise party.
But enough of the nostalgia trip, what is this album like? Well to be honest its typical NWOBHM fare in the vein of Sweet Savage, Tygers Of Pan Tang, Jaguar, Dark Star etc. Not very 'heavy' by today's standards, but laden with memorable riffs, catchy vocal hooks, care-free guitar solos, pounding rhythms and played with an enthusiasm that so many of today's so called 'serious' metal acts have forgotten how to capture.
Tracks like Set The Stage Alight (a Tommy Vance Friday Rock Show fave in the early 80's), One Night Stand, Midnight Satisfaction, Liar and the rest of the album to be honest all go to show what a cracking band Weapon were back then, and also points out what a lottery the whole NWOBHM era was, with bands like Iron Maiden and Def Leppard becoming international superstars and equally worthy outfits like Weapon bound for the cult status file.
Maximum praise for the four guys who recorded this classic. Vocalist Danny Hynes has a voice that is powerful, tuneful and instantly likeable, guitarist Jeff Summers is a guitar hero in all but mass adulation and the ducks backside tight rhythm section of Baz Downes and Bruce Brisland hold the whole thing together with bolts of pure British Steel. The songs are expertly penned and despite being 30 years old are just as fresh as they were when this album first came out.And you younger ones remember without the likes of Weapon and the NWOBHM you wouldn't have yer thrash and death, and metalcore at all. This is where it all started.
Fans of the band are also in for a treat for this edition contains four early demo tracks, that are if anything even more urgent and classically NWOBHM than the main album, (just check Jeff Summers slick solo on Remote Control to see what I mean)
Now I've penned the above in the past tense, but I, and fans of the whole NWOBHM will be glad that Weapon are still very much alive and kicking, and there is a new album on the way, that if the latest single Ready 4 U (available through the usual outlets and NOT featured on this reissue) is anything to go by should be just as much a classic as this their debut opus.
So if you've not heard Weapon before, load up and check out this gem whilst your waiting for the new album, you'll love it, I promise.
For Fans of - Marseille, Tygers Of Pan Tang, Sweet Savage, Dedringer, Def Leppard etc...