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. So 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.