Friday, 27 November 2009
Hanover Fist - Hungry Eyes (1985)
1. The Maze
2. Metal Of The Night
3. Hungry Eyes
4. Don't Let It Stop
5. Standing Six
6. Fear No Evil
7. Rock Bottom
8. High Speed Roller
9. Looking For Love
10. Should Be Rockin'
Do you ever remember sitting up late at night with the TV on, a music video station emanating from the screen, almost feeling engulfed within the Technicolor fantasy that was unfolding before you? I’ve had many of those nights, lots and lots of wasted nights staying awake until 6am because I had stumbled across a classic rock station or some mysterious lull between scheduled programming. You’re there in the darkness, so thick you could take a bite and hypnotised by the blue flashes up the walls; the volume goes up and then comes the power…..
One night I saw a video for the Canadian heavy metal act, Hanover Fist and their song “Metal Of The Night” – middle of the night – get it? Awesome. This was one of those moments that I was talking about. This song, this video (btw, best music video period!!), cut into my soul, it twisted my brain with its pounding beat and grainy almost ghostly imagery. The video is like a fucking movie, it’s that good. But it makes no sense, but then it doesn’t have to. Know why? Yeah, ‘cause it was the goddamn 1980s. It’s the band playing in some small club, no one’s there (typical) and then there’s all this shit going on with women dancing round furnaces, a man chained to a wall, silver pool balls, some Nazi looking kid and a phone that shoots fire! You wanna know what the coolest (although sad) thing is? The video was made before the band was signed to MCA records, in hope of securing a deal! I’m led to believe that it was shown on MTV at some point between 1983 and 1985, but none of the band members ever saw it – I don’t think MTV was invented in Canada yet….
Let’s be honest though, the Canadian music scene back in the 1980s, particularly for metal was gravely under appreciated by the headbanging masses. Some of the bands back then kicked major ass and deserve a ton more credit for the melodic molten slabs they laid down on vinyl. You had; Helix, Killer Dwarfs, Sword and Lee Aaron to name a few, plus Hanover Fist to add to that list. That’s a fuck load of heavy metal goodness right there!
Hanover Fist was formed by vocalist Frank Zirone upon the demise of his former band Z. Frank had actually gone to record new demos with Z, but at the constant request of producer Stacy Heydon, these sessions would become the first Hanover LP.
The band featured guitarist George Bernhardt, Kim Hunt on drums, Chris Brockway on bass and Jim Macdonald adding keyboards. They would have a blast in the studio, composing around 15 songs backed by talented local session players, whilst partying with the likes of Gene Simmons, Mick Ronson and Hanoi Rocks. The bands signing would also be just as exciting and interesting. Axe god Eddie Van Halen had been snapped as a musical director for the 1984 film “The Wild Life” (a sequel to Fast Times At Ridgemont High) and needed a song for a scene in the movie involving a parrot. Yes, that’s right a parrot. The parrot was supposed to be getting his rocks off to some real fist pounding shit, but EVH didn’t have the right track to fit in with all this nonsense. By chance, he was using a record execs car one day and popped a tape into the deck. The tape just happened to be Hanover Fist’s “Metal Of The Night” and Eddie immediately called up his production cohorts announcing that he’d found the perfect song. MCA creamed their pants and signed the band within 20 minutes…
The original debut LP artwork...
Now due to overseas distribution and obviously their signing, Hanover Fist’s debut LP ended up getting re-packaged with a slighty different listing and running order. It was re-released in 1985 as “Hungry Eyes”, the bands name then shortened to simply Hanover. An up and down tour with heavy metal pensioners Saxon would follow later in the year, with the band bringing on board replacements Mike Terrana (drums) and Warren Toll (bass). Things would sadly turn sour and after a long sabbatical, the members would go their separate ways (each one staying within the biz in some capacity). Frank Zirone almost ended up taking the reigns from Mark Storace fronting Krokus. But the album they leave behind is a special one. It’s not fantastic, it’s not groundbreaking (even though they were using some unusual techniques), but it is mighty neat. Standout tracks are for sure “The Maze”, which is a great opener, “Standing Six” featuring real recorded thunder (like any true metal gods!) and probably “Rock Bottom”, a song that has around 40 people busting their guts on backing vocals! Original cut “Fits Ya Good” was sadly omitted from the second pressing, which would have bulked up the album much more. I can say that yeah, the music is really good, but it does seem quite generic in places. Frank Zirone doesn’t have the greatest voice either. Don’t get me wrong, you can tell he put a lot of time in here and he’s distinctive, but he comes off as poor man’s Ron Keel. I will say that this album is worth checking out (especially for George Bernhardt’s riffs) and that’s if you can find it. It has become somewhat of a holy grail on sites such as Ebay, I myself paid through the ass with my teeth for it, having been outbid countless times before! So, if you’re after something obscure for your collection or you’re finally scraping the bottom of the metal barrel, then here is the best answer….
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