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PARALEX- White Lightning & 2 12″EP (Reddingtons Rare Records, UK, 1980)

p5100006p5100007p5100001No Metal discrimination here, so here’s another NWOBHM gemm.

PARALEX only released this most wonderful 12er in 1980 and then disappeared from the radars. In 1981 or 1982, I used to be a Heavy Metal Joyrider. That sounds spectacular, but it wasn’t really. Mofas were the big thing for a youngster like me, but my parents couldn’t afford to buy me one (or maybe they just didn’t want to). Mofas were those < 50 ccm bikes that were huge among the young generation, especially on the countryside in the 70s and 80s. puchSo every now and then, you’d go to the nearest train station or school and just get yourself one. I felt very attracted to a pretty wild bunch of young men back then, who had formed a rather violent gang. They didn’t really accept me, but they kinda tolerated me, so I tried my best and followed on my Mofa to the next pub or in the forests where we smoked hash and drank beer – honestly: I didn’t. I hated beer. I always had to empty the bottle when nobody was looking. I think they all knew. Some of them were just local school dropouts, some a bit older. Those were really violent types, always carrying knifes, sticks or even guns. They all had done time in jail – but the good thing was, two or three of ‘em had large record collections. So I discovered PARALEX during one of the hefty nights up in the attic of the gang leaders house, where the whole group usually banged one and the same girl (again: I didn’t and another rather young bloke neither. He died soon after in a traffic accident on stolen a stolen Mofa. I might have mentioned that before).

I was deeply fascinated with this EP. Sometimes, these older guys would sell me some of their records, but as much as I kept begging, Roger S. didn’t want to part with this one. “The skull cover”, he said, ” is too fucking great!”. Indeed: The cover and the green vinyl stuck in my head much longer than the music and so it wasn’t until recently that I decided to spend a little money on ebay and finally get myself this EP.

Today, things are a bit different. Sure, the green wax is lovely and the cover’s neat. But dammit – the music’s really superb! The riffing is classic on all three tracks – one sometimes seriously wonders why it has taken the NWOBHM so long to spit out so many bands with this kind of “heavy” riffing. The vocals, especially on “Travelling Man” are ludicrously bad. This guy ain’t got not the slightest trace of a voice – but his singing rules so much! This kind of vocals adds a lot to the b-league NWOBHM bands, and a real human touch too (forgive me being so pathetic). Just by losing the key, he brings himself in the center of attention. Still, it remains a mystery how on earth the singer did persuade his band mates to keep him in. That was either very heroic of PARALEX or then just totally silly. I mean, maybe they didn’t realize before, but a soon as they hit the studio, somebody must have told them: “This guy might be a nice chap, but for god’s sake, never let him near a microphone again!”. Imagine how it must have sounded when he was lying down his vocal track. I picture all the blokes sitting on the other side of the window, turning their backs to the singer in the cabin and laughing their balls off hahaha.
“Black Widow” has such a typical yet kinda classy chorus (not to speak of the killer riff) – but on the same hand, the singer totally ruins it again. Wonderful, innit! The b-side song “White Lightning” is maybe the most ambitious one and it’s another top class gold standard deluxe (b-league) NWOBHM scorcher. Imagine the same band with a top-notch singer – it would be DAMASCUS! But take PARALEX’s EP as it is and you have another fine example of what this blog’s name stands for: Good music that actually is pretty bad (or the other way ’round). At least if you measure it by regular standards, but that’s not what we’re here for.

You’ve got my sympathy if these three songs don’t make you wann be a joyrider yourself.

Travelling Man.mp3
Black Widow.mp3
White Lightning.mp3

14 Comments

  1. Frank Mossi

    I feared the punk would never stop HAHAHA. What can I say. Another masterpiece of the NWOBHM I learnet from you. I hear some Diamond Head too. The singer is not soooo bad. The cover is great. I will buy this when it’s on EBAY!!!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 10-May-09 at 11:01 | Permalink
  2. Par

    Now that I have given this a couple of listens I must say that the singer sounds swedish, like he could have sang on the first Mercy demo or something.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 10-May-09 at 11:17 | Permalink
  3. Par

    Now to the Puch, my brother has one in his garage still. To bad that it don´t work. I had a Suzuki K50-79 myself and I was so cool.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 10-May-09 at 11:17 | Permalink
  4. Another underrated band from the NWOBHM. This is a classic!! There demo after the EP is awesome!! All demo tracks are in youtube:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lij7c85xkcg
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nmw_KmPw8Q&feature=related
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzFBBxcDbos&feature=related
    I don´t know why there isn´t an anthology cd with the ep and the demos!!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 10-May-09 at 14:07 | Permalink
  5. DLO

    I too feel very attracted to wild young me.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 11-May-09 at 06:16 | Permalink
  6. Thanks for the links, Hugo. These songs indeed FUCKING KILL!!!!!!!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 11-May-09 at 06:25 | Permalink
  7. Dave G

    bad in a good way or good in a bag way ? Either way I like it.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 11-May-09 at 17:52 | Permalink
  8. Bonnie

    As mr. Mossi said, the singer is not that bad as I thought he would be. Nice solo’s, Black Widow has a very catchy beat.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 13-May-09 at 11:22 | Permalink
  9. Jay Thurston

    I am impressed with this tasty little morsel. I was thinking, “oh no, not another crappy metal record”…my thoughts were wrong. I actually like this. Thanks Erich…

    [Reply]

    Posted on 13-May-09 at 18:28 | Permalink
  10. stephen

    charming! love the mix of hardcore and metal. best blog out there.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 14-May-09 at 00:26 | Permalink
  11. readgeorgesbataille

    “mofa” reminds me of the two PUCH mopeds that my stepgrandad salvaged for my sis and I when we were real young…ours put out about 40cc power and we were always in the crack area of town mixing 2 cycle fuel at the shell station(as a matter of fact, we would bungie cord our mixture (milkcontainers) to the back racks of the PUCHs–mine was brown coloured, hers was creem–1984 i think? pretty fast mopeds–cops never fucked with us cause there were pedals on the PUCHS and we looked cute

    [Reply]

    Posted on 03-Jun-09 at 01:22 | Permalink
  12. JoeP

    This makes me think of NWOBHM fronted by Will Shatter, killer! Every time I come tour in Europe I drool over all the bikes you never see in the US, especially the mofas. Thanks so much for all the great posts!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 09-Jun-09 at 23:30 | Permalink
  13. Mark Gibson

    Hi mate its Mark Gibson here founder of Paralex and right to the end ,just read ur right up ,just to let you know we are doing a load of recording of the old stuff with the new technology around

    [Reply]

    Admin Reply:

    Please don’t, Mark. Your (and the other early NWOBHM-bands) magic lies in the “imperfections”.

    [Reply]

    Mark Gibson Reply:

    send me ur email and i,ll send you a snipit of the new recordings Mark

    [Reply]

    Admin Reply:

    I’d be delighted! It’s admin at goodbadmusic

    [Reply]

    Posted on 19-Sep-12 at 01:08 | Permalink
  14. P.

    http://boldbelvoir.org.uk/paralex/news/new-release-devils-cavalry-paralex/

    “New”stuff from Paralex out now

    [Reply]

    Posted on 24-Aug-14 at 14:04 | Permalink

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