BUZZARD – Gambler ’84 [Digitally Remastererd +6] (2023)

BUZZARD - Gambler '84 [Digitally Remastererd +6] (2023) - full

Reissue label Relics From The Crypt is dedicated to keeping the past alive, and now are presenting a long-overdue reissue of the lone cult album of Belgium’s BUZZARD, 1984’s ”Gambler”, on vinyl LP and CD formats. The remastered CD version also includes the band’s demo, ‘A Strange Gang’, as bonus tracks.
Hailing from Menen, BUZZARD initially began as early as 1979 when vocalist Hans Berten and drummer Dirk Vanhee decided to start a band. Their first gig took place in February 1981.
”Gambler”, BUZZARD’s first – and sadly, only album – is a poignant snapshot of classic heavy metal from the first half of the ’80s, NWOBHM influenced but also sporting a Scandinavian & German sound-style.
From that ‘cheap-but-charming’ cover art to its ten rocking tracks ”Gambler” bursts and bristles with a youthful energy that’s almost naïve, but endearingly and charmingly so.

The band formed in the late Seventies when Berten and Vanhee were searching for a guitarist and bassist, with guitarists Steve Deceuninck and Nick Debeuf (ex Riff) both joining midway through 1980. Since a bassist was not immediately found, Hans decided to take on bass guitar as well as vocals.
The moniker BUZZARD was then chosen, as inspiration was drawn from the band Armageddon, whose 1975 album of the same name featured the song “Buzzard,” which Steve had learned to play on guitar. The band’s first gig took place in February 1981.

Lineup shuffles ensued, but BUZZARD eventually recorded the studio demo A Strange Gang in 1983 with new drummer Stephan Logie (Elly). Their live reputation grew in kind, and the band came to the attention of Antler Records, who signed BUZZARD for a two-album deal. Perhaps not surprisingly, more lineup shuffles ensued two months before recording their debut album and even continued during its recording, but what a record they delivered.

Titled ”Gambler”, BUZZARD’s debut album included three re-recorded songs from the preceding demo, plus new ones already tested live. For BUZZARD were simply a HEAVY METAL band – not strictly speed metal, although they had their share of juiced-up rockers, nor did they have the pout & strut of so much hard rock-leaning metal of the time, and they definitely weren’t thrash, still very much in its nascent days – and one that nodded to both England and Germany, but never too often nor for too long.
The album’s first two tracks perhaps spell it out best: “Stone-Hard and Loud” and “We Are Heavy Rockers,” as perfect of an opening combo as there is for the time. And the rest of the record is absolutely spellbinding in its verve and vivacity, with the recording just on the right side of rough.

”Gambler” was released at the end of October 1984, and the following week, disaster struck again: Steve was involved in a motorcycle accident and was in a coma for a week and a half, requiring three months of rehabilitation. When Steve was fit again, many gigs followed, including some concerts in France and in the Netherlands.
Work then began on the second BUZZARD album, and although the writing process was progressing well and the record was already written, the band found that the fire was actually quietly dying out because of other interests, relationships etc. Thus, in February 1986, the band decided to pull the plug on BUZZARD.

Now, 38 years later, ”Gambler” sees a well-deserved reissue – and, for the first time ever, on CD as well as vinyl. A BUZZARD reunion is out of the question because Steve has traded in his guitar for a drum kit over the years and also out of respect for Stephan Logie (Elly), who sadly left us in 2018. The former members still see each other regularly at local parties where old memories are made between pot and pint.
Highly Recommended


01 – Stone-Hard And Loud
02 – We Are Heavy Rockers
03 – You And Me
04 – Save Me
05 – Can’t You See
06 – A Strange Gang
07 – Nosferatu
08 – Gambler
09 – Midnight Countess
10 – Woman Of Illusion
11 – A Strange Gang (Demo 1983)
12 – My Dirty Girl (Demo 1983)
13 – Metal Freak (Demo 1983)
14 – I Was Living Without Love (Demo 1983)
15 – You And Me (Demo 1983)
16 – Woman Of Illusion (Demo 1983)

Hans Berten (Hanzie) – vocals, bass
Steve Deceuninck – guitars
Nick Debeuf (Fox) – guitars
Stephan Logie (Elly) – drums



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