NEVER WAS AN ANGEL
Released April 10, 2012 (Eonian Records)
01. Land Of Plenty
02. Honey Child
03. Outta Line
05. Simple Man
06. Dirty Work
07. Never Was An Angel
08. What’s Good For You
09. Long Time Comin’
10. Keep Me In Mind
11. Got No Business
12. Around Again
Paul Trombetta – vocals
Michael Karafilis – guitar and vocals
Bobby Reid – bass and vocals
John Link – drums and vocals
Produced by Murder Bay, Eric Valentine and Rob Beaton. Executive producer Stephen Craig.
Over a decade ago, when I first stumbled onto the World Wide Web, people were praising Murder Bay as being one of best from the crowded unsigned ’80s rock era. Finally, after a seemingly endless wait, Murder Bay‘s long lost recordings are finally delivered to us thanks to one of the premier reissue labels — Eonian Records.
The question now is, does Never Was An Angel live up to the underground hype that it has garnered over the last twenty years? That’s hard to say, but there is no denying this is a memorable slab of ’80s hair-metal — one that was recorded long before that term even came to fruition. And perhaps the high praise for Murder Bay was in fact warranted, as drummer John Link eventually teamed up with Cry Wolf and the band themselves managed to secure the production talents of Eric Valentine (who is working on the current Slash album) and Rob Beaton (Guns N’ Roses) before each garnered success in their own right. So it’s obvious that many people saw the potential in these San Francisco rockers — and now we music fans can experience it as well.
Opening the disc with “Land Of Plenty” is a stroke of genius as this full-throttle rocker sets the tone of the album with one of Murder Bay‘s best tracks — the song represents everything that made the ’80s hard rock scene so memorable… heavy grooves, an infectious chorus and lightning-fast guitar leads. Thankfully, as Murder bay go on to prove during this release, they aren’t a one trick pony. For instance, “Outta Line” is straight out of the Danger Danger playbook, the title track is a moody slab of rock that explores several tempo changes, “Long Time Comin'” drives hard rock attitudes straight into your spine, and drummer Link does his best Van Halen impression on the album closing “Song?”. In all honesty, aside from stumbling during the slow “Simple Man” and funky “Dirty Work”, Murder Bay deliver exactly what one would expect from long-haired rockers of the late ’80s/early ’90s.
When you include top-notch production and killer artwork, Never Was An Angel quickly becomes one of the more professional of the endless ’80s hair-metal reissues. After spinning this disc several times you will come to the same conclusion I did — that this is simply another sad tale of wrong place at the wrong time. Lots of bands fall into this category, but Murder Bay are as worthy of the tag as anyone.
www.facebook.com/pages/Murder-Bay/390237640995525 – www.eonianrecords.com
Reviewed by Skid for Sleaze Roxx, April 2012