WHITE SPIRIT – White Spirit [Japan HR/HM 1000 Vol.5 series] (2022) HQ *only at 0dayrox*

WHITE SPIRIT - White Spirit [Japan HR/HM 1000 Vol.5 series] (2022) lossless full

As part of the really good Universal Music Japan campaign of their ‘HR/HM 1000‘ series – the Limited Release reissue of long time out of print albums from their Hard Rock / Heavy Metal catalog at the affordable price of 1000 Yen = about 8 USD – and their recent second 2022 batch ”HR-HM 1000 Vol.5”, we find this little gem; WHITE SPIRIT‘s self-titled album “White Spirit” from 1980 in its remastered version plus bonus tracks.
The lineup that recorded the band’s album consisted of vocalist Bruce Ruff, guitarist Janick Gers, bassist Phil Brady, drummer Graeme “Crash” Crallan, and keyboardist Malcolm Pearson. Of these musicians, Gers later achieved the widest mainstream success as he would become a member of Iron Maiden in 1990, where he has been ever since. He also served a brief stint in Ian Gillan’s solo band, Gillan, following his time in White Spirit. Crallan, for a short time, played with fellow NWOBHM rockers Tank. After vocalist Bruce Ruff left the band, they briefly featured singer Brian Howe, later known for his roles in Ted Nugent’s band and the late 80s/early 90s incarnation of Bad Company.
While operating in UK in 1980, WHITE SPIRIT wasn’t your typical NWOBHM act. Their music is more hard rock oriented with a strong Pomp edge with profuse keyboards akin Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, etc.

In 1980, the New Wave of British Heavy Metal was in full swing, with countless bands drawing the attention of headbangers, critics, and record companies alike. White Spirit, hailing from Hartlepool, was no exception to this.
The quintet had a sound unique from many of their competing bands, and enjoyed some recognition, but it was short lived. The band only recorded one album and a few singles and compilation appearances before disbanding.
It is a shame that this band of some of the UK scene top players could not catapult themselves to greater successes; they certainly deserved more credit than they got.

While clearly influenced by the classic hard rock bands of the 70s (they have drawn a lot of Deep Purple comparisons), White Spirit had a sound all their own that definitely helped them to stand out amongst their musical peers.
What really helped the band to stand head and shoulders above the competition was the way that they integrated keyboards into their music. Yes, numerous metal bands did this when they were taking on a more commercial or progressive sound, yet for these guys it came naturally and just seemed like part of the music, not a gimmick or anything of the sort.

This 1980 album is a lost classic, and the product definitely stands the test of time, perhaps even more so than some of the band’s better known peers.
While some tracks on the album are certainly better than others, there are not any moments I would consider to be “weak” either. All of the musicians are competent, superb performers; it is a shame that outside of Gers, none of these guys were known outside of the group.

The true standout talent in the band is keyboardist Pearson; he is able to achieve an unrealistically diverse number of keyboard sounds in the album’s relatively short duration. From lighthearted pop sounds to aggressive Pomp playing that rivals even the guitars, he was someone who should have gone on to greater things following an all too brief moment in the British metal spotlight.

Though the original LP is seven tracks long, the band does succeed in delivering a superb hard rock album with a sound all their own. What the band managed to do here, no other band at the time was doing, making it all the more appealing a listen for any fan of the NWOBHM.
Opening cut “Midnight Chaser” kicks things off well with a solid hard rock sound, complete with a brief but memorable keyboard solo! “Red Skies” continues the hard rock assault with the keyboards playing an even more substantial role, particularly in the song’s latter half. The band achieves a nice mix of heavy and melodic on this cut.

“High Upon High” is lighthearted and melodic compared to much of what else is found on the record, yet I would not quite call it “poppy” either. “Way of the Kings” is the album’s hardest and heaviest track, and arguably one of its finest, featuring a killer interlude that contains some of Pearson’s wildest keyboard work.
“No Reprieve” and “Don’t Be Fooled” are good rockers too, then the lengthy epic “Fool for Gods” ends the album in fantastic form with its sheer arrangements and diverse sounds explored throughout its duration. If you want to close an album out in epic fashion, you simply cannot do a whole lot better than this.

This Japanese CD reissue include three bonus tracks – “Suffragettes” (B-Side of the “Midnight Chaser” single), “Backs to the Grind” (a non-album A-Side) and “Cheetah” (B-side of the “Backs to the Grind” single). These are all worth listing to and certainly not “throwaway” tracks.
Anyone who gives this release a listen will be pleasantly surprised; the NWOBHM had many bands that were wrongfully neglected, this being one of the major ones. Find out why these guys should have been bigger than they were.
VERY, highly recommended if you are a fan of classic, old school hard rock/metal with a pomp feeling.

You’ve seen it first at 0dayrox


H R / H M 1000 SERIES

01. Midnight Chaser
02. Red Skies
03. High Upon High
04. Way of the Kings
05. No Reprieve
06. Don’t Be Fooled
07. Fool for the Gods
08. Suffragettes (7″ Single Side B)
09. Back To The Grind (7″ Single Side A)
10. Cheetah (7″ Single Side B)

Bruce Ruff – vocals
Janick Gers – guitars
Malcolm Pearson – keyboards
Graeme Crallan – drums
Phil Brady – bass



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