Hello Mr Zaks, and thanks for agreeing to represent Everdawn in the latest instalment of Record Collection Dilemmas! We all know the drill by now – ten artists, thirty albums. And you have to decide which one from eacj artist you’re going to keep, which one you’ll trade and which one you’ll attempt to offload at your local record and tape exchange… First up is Black Sabbath, and the albums are Heaven and Hell, Born Again and Headless Cross… “Heaven and Hell: Trade – it’s a tough one as it is a first with Dio and a timeless classic. Born Again: Sell. Has good moments and songs such as Zero the Hero, however it hasn’t made a big impact on me. Not sure Ian Gillan‘s voice really fits well with Black Sabbath. Headless Cross: Keep. I know I’m in an absolute minority, but Tony Martin‘s era is my favourite and Headless Cross is probably the most consistent album of that era. Also, I think Tony Iommi‘s guitar playing here and especially his soloing is at it’s absolute best”.

Well – you’re not in an absolute minority… I too am a fan of the Martin era and in particular Headless Cross! Moving on, the next band for your consideration is Rush, and the albums are Caress Of Steel, Power Windows and Hold Your Fire. “Caress Of Steel – Sell. I appreciate most of the seventies albums of Rush, however I prefer their more polished sound and more song oriented song writing of the eighties. Power Windows – Trade. It’s almost up there with Hold Your Fire. Has some killer songs such as Marathon and Mystic Rhythms while some others are a bit too commercial sounding for me. Hold Your Fire – Keep. My favorite Rush album, killer songs where they found the perfect balance combining song writing and synth work with powerful guitars letting Alex Lifeson shine. Geddy Lee‘s vocals are top notch”.

Wow. Once again we’re in agreement and seemingly in a minority! It’s you and me against the world! Next is Iron Maiden, and the albums are Killers, Powerslave and Virtual XI… “Killers: Trade. Some good songs such as Wrathchild, however I’m not the biggest fan of Paul Di’Anno‘s vocals. Powerslave: Keep. By far one of their best albums, another timeless classic, my third favourite overall from Iron Maiden. Virtual XI: Sell. I never really got into Blaze Bayley era of Iron Maiden, perhaps I should check it out again some day”.

Three for three! Were we separated at birth? Next up… and this has been a difficult one for all our correspondents so far. Metallica, and their classic first three records Kill ‘Em All, Ride The Lightning and Master of Puppets. “Kill ‘Em All – Sell. Stellar album for a debut, not close to their next two however. Ride the Lightning: Keep. My favourite from Metallica as I think this is their most consistent output. Top notch songwriting, drive and musicianship. Master of Puppets: Trade. Almost right up there with …Lightning with the great album start nailing some killer tracks (Battery, Master of Puppets)”.

Couldn’t agree more. What about Judas Priest? The albums you have to choose between are Sad Wings of Destiny, Ram It Down and Nostradamus. “Sad Wings of Destiny: Sell. Just like with Rush, their seventies era is absolutely stellar, however their eighties and early nineties albums can’t be beat. Ram It Down: Keep. While perhaps not as strong and heavy overall as their next (Painkiller), this album features some insane tracks such as Ram It Down, Hard as Iron and perhaps my all time JP favourite Blood Red Skies. Nostradamus: Trade. I confess I really like Nostradamus. If JP removed all their interludes between the songs I think it would be one of their best musically. Still a very ambitious and strong album from the veterans!”

Nope. As you might imagine I’m a big Priest fan, but I just can’t abide Nostradamus! Never mind – we can’t agree about everything! Next up is Queen. And the albums I’d like you to think about are Queen II, The Game and Innuendo. “Queen II: Being a huge fan of Queen, this record is my absolute favourite. I simply can’t get enough of the latter half of it! The Game: Among these three albums this is one is the least stellar with some filler… although Play the Game and Save Me are as good as it gets. Innuendo: Trade, however it’d be extremely tough to part ways with it. Innuendo, I’m Going Slightly Mad and Show Must Go On are so strong it’s impossible to let them go”.

Those are the rules, I’m afraid. Ypu’ve got to be strong! UFO are up next, and specifically their albums Force It, No Place To Run and Sharks… “Force It: Trade. Anything with Michael Schenker in the seventies-eighties on – I’m game. Doesn’t have as many classics for me however comparing to the next few with Schenker. No Place To Run: Keep. A very underrated album that showed no signs of stopping following Schenker’s departure. Sharks: Sell. I remember not liking the songs when I heard it a while back. Probably should give it another spin one day”.

Yet again we concur! I really don’t think NPTR gets enough love! How about turning your attention now to Thin Lizzy – and the albums to cogitate over are Jailbreak, Chinatown and Thunder and Lightning… “Jailbreak: Trade, great seventies album with a distinct sound. Chinatown: Sell. Never got into that one and don’t remember a single song off it that I particularly liked.
Thunder and Lightning: Keep. Too bad it was their only with John Sykes and sadly the last. Great songs and so much potential”.

Well, that’s nine down; the final band is Queensrÿche, with the albums Rage For Order, Hear in the Now Frontier and The Verdict… “Rage for Order: Keep. Despite following up with the heavyweights after this one, Rage… for me is all the way up there. Not a single filler, all songs flow perfectly here. Hear in the Now Frontier: Trade. Some good songs but too dramatic change from Promised Land towards the alternative territory for me. The Verdict: Trade. A very interesting album with great songs such as Portrait. Still getting into it”.

Well, that’s it – all thirty albums sorted and dealt with. It’s great to know I’m not alone in many of the choices I’d have made! Thanks for taking part!

Everdawn released their last album, Cleopatra, in February. Read Ferry Templeton’s review of the album HERE