Ever since Sentinel Daily editor Scott Adams told me I’d be reviewing this reissue I’ve been giving the matter of Marshall Law some thought. Actually quite a lot of thought. And now, listening back to the album in full for the first time in twenty-odd years, I’m thinking some more…
…Why weren’t this band huge?
In the simplest of terms, Marshall Law is one of the best straight-up metal albums to have emerged from Britain in the late eighties. Wrapped in a superb production (unusual in those days for a band on an indie label), containing wonderful songs that run from the heaviest of metal through to the most accessible radio rock, sung brilliantly by Andy Pyke and with a guitar duo – Andy Southwell and Dave Martin – that surely wasn’t that far behind Tipton, Downing, Smith and Murray, Marshall Law had all the requisites to be hailed as one of British metal’s undoubted highpoints.
But it pretty much disappeared without trace, flashing across the collective metal consciousness of the enlightened few yet evading the notice of the many. A criminal fact.
Hopefully now a few more may flock to the Marshall Law banner thanks to the foresight of Dissonance Productions, who are reissuing the album this month. Now, such unsung slices of British steel as Under the Hammer, Hearts and Thunder and Feel It have another chance to meet and say hello to a new, wider audience, and a very well-deserved chance it is too.
From the opening dystopic sounds of scene-setting curtain-raiser Armageddon, new listeners will know they are in for something very special indeed. Opening track proper Under the Hammer is pure, powerful British heavy metal of the very best kind, fast, furious but most of all tuneful, the band a sleek killing machine in the best Priest tradition, singer Pyke hitting all the notes he needs to and then some. Confident, assured, almost cocky, sure, but definitely worthy of such sass – these guys could certainly walk it like they talked it.
Thoughtfully for those of us who already own and treasure the album, a quartet of non-album tracks accompany this reissue. Originally released a couple of years after Marshall Law as the Power Crazy EP, All are excellent, although the production quality is not that of the album proper, and all serve to underline just what talent there was in this band. If you love British metal but don’t already own this album, then I’d have to say it’s an absolutely essential purchase.
Marshall Law will be reissued by Dissonance Productions on April 14th.