STAMPEDE – A Sudden Impulse (2011)

STAMPEDE - A Sudden Impulse (2011)

Arising originally from the ashes of NWOBHM hopefuls Lautrec, Stampede came together when the Reuben Archer (vocals) and his stepson Laurence Archer (guitar) split from one of the later incarnations of Wild Horses, the band originally put together by ex-Rainbow and Thin Lizzy members Jimmy Bain and Brian Robertson in 1978.
Taking with them journeyman drummer Frank Noon (he of the original Def Leppard EP), hooking back up with ex-Lautrec keyboard player Alan Nelson and recruiting the then unknown bassist Colin Bond, the Archers had Stampede up-and-running by the end of 1981, touring with the likes of Def Leppard, Whitesnake and Gary Moore.

Polydor Records quickly picked up on them and released two albums (The Official Bootleg ’82 and Hurricane Town ’83) of seriously impressive british melodic hard rock, tough on delivery yet sweet enough to suggest that the band weren’t just a one trick pony.
Compared to the earthy swagger of UFO, Thin Lizzy and Fastway, the group’s sound made much of its british roots and yet hinted at the sort of vibe that was making Def Leppard a household name in North America.
Following the demise of Stampede, Laurence Archer released the now much sought after only-Japan album ‘L.A.’, was hired by Phil Lynott for his new band ‘Grand Slam’ and later by UFO, recording and co-writing on their album ‘High Stakes And Dangerous Men’ and ‘Lights Out In Tokyo Live’.

Fast forward some 25 years… with the band’s catalogue back in print, the interest generated prompted Rueben to consider a reformation of the original band. He floated the concept by Laurence and received a surprisingly warm reaction, resulting in the two main offenders buckling down to a period of writing, rehearsing and recording.
Together with original bassist Colin Bond and a handful of helping hands – including new hot shot guitarist Rob Wolverson and drummer Steve Graystone – the band have crafted a worthy and impressive, long lost follow-up to ‘Hurricane Town’, a new record harnessing all the promise of the original band but with the experience of years crafting their art in numerous studios and on the live circuit.

“A Sudden Impulse” is the result of two years worth of hard work, a very ‘UK classic hard rock’ sounding affair indeed.
The thing that first grabs my attention about this long awaited second album from these reformed UK rockers is the large sticker on its cover that bears the legend ‘Classic NWOBHM’.
Well, to me NWOBHM is a term I would never have associated with Stampede, they were always much more of a refined beast, with something of a unique sound (due largely to Reuben Archer’s vocal style), as anyone who has ever heard their classic album ‘Hurricane Town’ will surely agree with.
Stampede had much more in common with the big boys, the likes of UFO and Thin Lizzy, than the bullet belts, denim and leather of the NWOBHM scene.

In fact it is very much the aforementioned spectre of UFO and Co. that underlies the grooves of ‘A Sudden Impulse’, not in a plagiaristic way you understand, but definitely in the style and delivery of tracks like “Having Fun”, “Shame on You” and “Natural Disaster”. The latter in particular featuring some searing Raymond/Schenker type guitar interplay.
Album opener “Send Me Down An Angel” has Laurence Archer peeling off licks that could only have been come after years of experience working with the likes of Mogg / Way and Phil Lynott, whilst “Humble Pie” comes over all Southern, with Reuben adopting an almost Skynyrd-like drawl over a white-hot display from the band’s 3 guitarists.

The overtly commercial Lynott-esque melodic rocker “Homeward Bound” is one of the highlights of this album, with a catchy refrain and very, very melodic guitars.
“This Road” is a real old school winner, featuring a hot guitar riff and superb ‘Les Paul’ solos.
The calm, retro “Flaming Gold” is one of my favorite tracks here. The band themselves must also like this song as it makes the track listing for a second time via an acoustic version as one of the album’s two bonus tracks.

“A Sudden Impulse” treads a familiar path to their classic ’80s albums, boasting a strong running order of melodic British melodic hard rock in the vein of UFO and Thin Lizzy, bolstered by a muscular production that really brings out the best of the band; check out the guitar sound and the vocal harmonies – two of Stampede’s trademarks – and you’ll hear what I mean.
Intervening years haven’t blunted the band at all. Archer Snr’s vocals are as strong as ever, he always was a cut above the average histrionic hard rock goon.
And Archer Jr’s guitar work is as fluid as it was back in the day – don’t forget that in his subsequent stints with Phil Lynott’s Grand Slam and UFO Laurence Archer was following in the footsteps of some of the best known guitarists in the world.
Supported by a solid rhythm section and some material seemingly mined from the classic age of rock, “A Sudden Impulse” marks a welcome return for Stampede.
And it’s great to have them back.

1) Send Me Down An Angel
2) Jessie
3) Having Fun
4) Make A Change
5) Hard Rock Hell
6) This Road
7) Homeward Bound
8) Shame On You
9) Natural Disaster
10) Humble Pie
11) Flaming Gold

Bonus Tracks:
12) Recharged
13) Flaming Gold (Acoustic)

LAURENCE ARCHER – Guitar / Backing Vocals
COLIN BOND – Bass / Backing Vocals
CHRIS CLOWSLEY – Guitar / Backing Vocals

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.