Friday, March 7, 2008

Gorau Sgrech - Sgrechian Corwen (1982 Recordiau’r Tŷ Gwyn)

As much as I love the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, I won’t be reviewing very many NWOBHM compilations since Malc Macmillan pretty much covers them all in his book (which is absolutely essential for any fan of the genre). However, there are a few he missed, such as this live compilation from Wales. Of course he might have intentionally excluded it because of the minimal NWOBHM content, but then again he did include the similar Barod am Roc compilation.

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Every song is sung in Welsh. The songs appear to be recorded during a local “Battle of the Bands” type of competition. The LP came with a poster insert featuring photos of the live performances.

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There are basically only three artists of interest on here, the rest fitting mostly in the folk rock category. One is Rhiannon Tomos a’r Band, featuring Y Diawled’s singer from their excellent “Noson y Bladd” single, who performs two songs from her 1981 Dwed y Gwir LP. First is “Rosaline”, one of the weaker, bluesier tracks from the album. It’s practically unchanged in live form unfortunately and therefore not worth listening to. However, she follows it up with a killer rendition of “Cer â Hi” which is possibly the only real metal song she’s recorded outside of her time with Y Diawled. Again, the song is hardly changed from the studio version, but hearing it live shows just how powerful Rhiannon’s voice is.

Omega’s “Nansi” is excellent melodic NWOBHM (heavy melodic like Trespass, not wimpy melodic like Valhalla) with a catchy chorus. They released an eponymous LP in 1983, though I don’t know how the music compares to this song which was also released as a single (presumably studio version).

Finally, we have Crys’ title track from their 1981 Rhyfelwr LP. One of their best songs, it is done in a 70s epic style not too far off from their famed countrymen Budgie (minus the high pitched vocals). This is a significantly shorter version than on the LP.

1. Y Ficar – “Seibiria Serenêd”
2. Pererin – “Mae ‘Nghariad i’n Fenws”
3. Rhiannon Tomos a’r Band – “Rosaline”
4. Rhiannon Tomos a’r Band – “Cer â Hi”
5. Meic Stevens – “Rue St. Michel”
6. Omega – “Nansi”
7. Crys – “Rhyfelwr”
8. Tich Gwilym – “Little Wing”
9. Tich Gwilym – “Red Beans & Rice”
10. Ail Symudiad – “Garej Paradwys”
11. Ail Symudiad – “Geiriau”

Available Formats: Most Welsh albums (those on the Sain label anyway) were typically released everything on cassette and vinyl, but as far as I know this is vinyl only.

Value: $10-20


nightsblood said...

Interesting! I'm not familiar with any of the welsh nwobhm bands, so this one is new to me

Andras said...

No, these were national Welsh bands! I think, from very distant memory, that Sgrech was a national Welsh music mag. I really wanted to get to this gig, but couldn't (too young) but I did see Rhiannon Tomos a'r Band in Aberystwyth subsequently and their last gig the following year or thereabouts. Wish I still had my vinyl of their album!!