THUNDERSTICK (ex Samson / Iron Maiden) – Something Wicked This Way Comes (2017)
After almost 30 years THUNDERSTICK is back into the scene with a new, own album titled “Something Wicked This Way Comes” to be released in a couple of weeks.
There are few musicians as iconic in image as Barry Graham Perkis – aka Thunderstick – who originally found fame as the masked and caged drummer for British band Samson. Previously a short lived drummer for Iron Maiden, he also recorded some albums with his own band Thunderstick post-Samson and returns in 2017 with this new record.
And it’s damn good ‘ol fashioned stuff.
After playing with a developing early Iron Maiden and then moving to Samson (being instrumental in finding a very youthful Bruce Dickinson), Barry Graham Purkis became the figurehead of the newly emerging NWOBHM scene. This was done by creating an alter ego Thunderstick, a masked persona known not only for his wild style of playing his drums but doing so from inside a cage and terrorizing audiences.
After playing in Samson’s albums Survivors, Head On and Shock Tactics, Thunderstick went on to form his own highly theatrical band in the ’80s. Fronted by a female rock ‘n’ roll wildchild, the band was a perfect “beauty and the beast” combination, playing live and recording for five years until it folded in 1987.
Never to be seen again until now.
However, all these years Barry still wrote music as well as working on production for other artists and his drumming has continued to receive critical acclaim. In April 2009 he played the ‘Keep It True’ festival in Germany with a reunion of various NWOBHM artists, marking the return of his Thunderstick persona.
On the 22 April 2016, former Thunderstick lead vocalist Jodee Valentine died aged 55. Following Jodee’s passing, Barry decided to bring back Thunderstick once more, recording this album with a new line-up.
In keeping with the original Thunderstick band’s sound, this is as reminiscent of his ’80s works as it is solid and relevant to the present day.
Alongside drummer Thunderstick are guitarists Martin Shellaerd and Dave Kandy, bassist Rex Thunderbolt and young vocalist Lucy V.
From the opening track ‘Dark Night, Black Light’, Thunderstick’s style remains reminiscent of both Samson and his original band, that’s being first half of the ’80s British hard rock.
Lucy V’s vocals are old school, the phrasing nods back to the early Samson days, and the twin guitar work have the feel of that classic era.
‘Don’t Touch I’ll Scream’ is thoroughly engrossing and enjoyable, and ‘Go Sleep With The Enemy (I Dare Ya)’ has a hint to the NWoBHM roots, with a catchy early ’80s chorus.
I smile with the riff on ‘Encumbrance’, it’s a classic rock ’n’ roll number, and there are some touches to the drumming that remind you how good Thunderstick is.
The final track ‘I Close My Eyes’ starts acoustically and builds to a power ballad, or a ‘metal ballad’ as were known back in the day.
Perhaps too much nostalgic in terms of style & sound, “Something Wicked This Way Comes” is an enjoyable slice of old-school British hard rock.
There’s that classic melodic twin guitars and Thunderstick’s fine drumming quite up in the mix, plus a vintage ’80 production that takes you back to a time when this kind of stuff was played on vinyl.
01. Dark Night Black Light
02. Don’t Touch I’ll Scream
03. Go Sleep With The Enemy (I Dare Ya)
04. The Shining
06. Fly ‘N’ Mighty
07. Lights (Take Me Away)
09. Thunder Thunder ’17
10. I Close My Eyes
Lucy V (vocals)
Martin Shellard, Dave Kandy (guitars)
Rex Thunderbolt (bass)
Thunderstick Barry Graham Perkis (drums)