Released 1988 (Iron Works)
02. 20th Century Boy
05. Too Young
06. School Of Hard Knocks
07. Versateller Blues
08. Last call
Mark Mason – vocals and screams
Craig Beck – guitars and tribal chants
Ladden Pierce – bass and backing yells
Mark London – drums and backing vocals
Bill Vaughn – bass
Happinin Harry – backing vocals
Max Wolf – mouth harp (7)
Produced by Ampage. Executive producer D.T. Richards.
During the eighties a small label named Azra/Iron Works (and their various imprints) released tons of albums, ranging from glam to heavy metal and everything in between – sometimes in insanely limited pressings. Ampage was one of the unknown bands to pass through the quirky label, releasing one self-titled record before vanishing into thin air.
The band plays a straight-up brand of hard rock not unlike that of early Motley Crue or Riot, which isn’t surprising considering Ampage called Hollywood Blvd home. In fact the song “Hollywood” refers to their hometown with lyrics such as “drinking at the Rainbow Bar & Grill”. It was a great way to pay tribute to their roots and a cool opening track. Next up is a faithful remake of one of hard rocks staples, T. Rex‘s “20th century Boy”, and the band managed to capture the feel and urgency of the original. “Autobahn” kicks off with the same sounds that grace the start of Motley Crue‘s “Kickstart My Heart”, a song that came out at least a year later. “Too Young” is arguably the best song on this release, it has great pop-sensibilities with a hypnotizing riff and killer vocals.
In fact vocalist Mark Mason has a great rock voice, like a gruff cross between Vince Neil and Kevin DuBrow. Despite being released in 1988 this album sounds more like 1984 when the Sunset Strip had more backbone than hairspray. Perhaps Ampage were just a few years too late to hit the big time, because even though there is some filler here there is also some great simplistic hard rock. I have to give the band extra credits for the album cover which features a woman that looks like Christy Canyon minus the double-D’s. You might be able to find this one cheap in some used vinyl store – but you better hurry, according to the group “D-Day” will soon be upon us – “Countdown to Armageddon, in the year 2011”.
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