Angus started in the spring of 1983 when four friends started to rehearse in the attic of an old canal house in Amsterdam, Holland. They played as fast and as loud as they possibly could. The four friends were Ed Sprey on guitar, Ed Lois providing lead vocals, Gerard Carol on bass and finally William Lawson on drums. Sprey described their music as "rugged" like a Scottish bull. That particular type of bull is called Angus which was also the first name of one of his favourite guitar players, Angus Young of AC/DC. It proved to be a perfect name for the new band.
|Original Angus line up.|
Picture courtesy of Jolly Jokers Ohrenbalsam
The compilation album brought Angus to the attention of Boudisque Records subsidiary Megaton Records which signed the band. The debut album called Track Of Doom was recorded and released in 1986. This album was filled with great classic heavy metal and was produced by the band themselves. The result was really impressive with Lois' mighty vocals and a really tight band that had crafted a bunch of really strong songs. The album was played on national radio stations and on TV channels in Holland. Track Of Doom also made it into the top 20 in the Polish metal charts. Poland was at that time a socialist country behind the Iron Curtain so that was no small achievement. The record sales were promising and the album got a lot of positive reviews from the press. Track Of Doom was released in the US in early 1987 on Restless/Enigma Records which also handled bands like Poison and Stryper.
|Cover of 7" single Papa Don´t Freak|
Picture courtesy of Jolly Jokers Ohrenbalsam
In the summer of 1987 the band entered the studio to record their sophomore effort with British producer John Tilly. Production wise the album was recorded with the latest studio and computer technology of the time. During the recording bass player Gerald Carol had to leave the band due to medical complications so studio bass player Andre Versluys laid down the basslines on Warrior Of The World. The album was released in 1987 and on the live dates that followed Mike Shultz played bass. The album shot Angus into the top league of Dutch heavy metal with its pure classic heavy metal sound coupled with strong melodies. Music Maker Magazine named it heavy metal release of the year in Holland. Warrior Of The World was definitely a huge leap forward for the band who supported the album with another national tour. Unfortunately, the band broke up when the driving force of drummer William Lawson left the band after a disagreement with Megaton/Boudisque Records and their management in 1988.
|Reunited Angus. Picture courtesy of Heavy-Metal-Gems.com|
Track Of Doom
Time to spin the debut album a couple of times. The album starts off very unconventional with an instrumental track called "The Centaur" which to me is a very strange opening track. I think the album would have benefited greatly by using a track with lyrics as an album opener. It is followed by "When Giants Collide" which starts with a fast guitar riff that transpires into metal groove when bass and drums join. Then a short stick and some double bass drumming as the song kicks off for real. This song features a very strong vocal performance from Ed Lois whose vocals on this song very much remind me of the great Steve Grimmett of Grim Reaper/Lionsheart fame. Lyrically it's a song about the Gods fighting for fun and it sounds like a giant collision. Up next is the title track "Track Of Doom" which starts out with a great guitar riff and a nice and melodic verse. A mid-tempo rocker with a great guitar solo from Bert Foxx making it one of the strongest songs on the album. The song also has a couple of interesting tempo shifts and it's a tune that deals with the threat of a nuclear war. Next is "Heavyweight Warrior" which starts with an ultra fast riff and continues in an up-tempo beat throughout
|Original LP of Track of doom|
Picture courtesy of Play it loud forever.
The latter half of this remastered CD (including bonus tracks) starts off with another fast paced instrumental song that is somewhat of a filler called "Dragon Chase". A song to skip with the remote. The mighty voice of Ed Lois is back again on "Lost Control" which is also the last song on the original vinyl album which contained only eight songs. It starts out with a strong groove and a couple of really nice guitar harmonies/solos from Foxx. A couple of nice tempo shifts with the odd acoustic guitar adds more value and keeps me interested throughout the whole song. Then the four bonus tracks from the first demo take over with original guitarist Ed Sprey handling the guitar. The first song is "Night Fight" which starts with a slow, almost ballad like, intro which then turns into a fast paced song. The chorus features some falsetto screams from Lois that is not my cup of tea. You can hear this is a band in the early stages of development and the lyrics sometimes do not follow the English grammar. The song is about a killer stalking at night and you have to try to stay alive. The tempo changes again for a slow outro of the song. The CD continues with track no 10 which is "Keep On Shouting" and it is a much stronger song than its predecessor. It starts with a nice riff from Sprey and this mid-tempo rocker has a decent chorus and a melodic hook to go with it. A song about dancing, shouting and partying. Up next is "Virgin Girl" which is a nice mid-tempo rocker with a distinct chorus. A drum intro is joined by a heavy grooving, almost Sabbath-like guitar riff. Definitely the strongest song off the first demo and would easily have made the album in my book. The CD ends with "Leading You Back" which is another groovy and heavy song about leading you back to the place where you were born and where you belong. It's easy to lose your way.
|Picture courtesy of Jolly Jokers Ohrenbalsam|
Warrior Of The World
|Warrior of the world original vinyl press|
Picture courtesy of popsike.oom
|Angus bull with logo|
Picture courtesy of Metal-archives.com
When it comes to the music both the production and songwriting are better and more mature on Warrior Of The World compared to Track Of Doom. It, on the other hand, has got a nice rawness to it. My guess is that you never heard of Angus before either. In that case - do yourself a favour and pick up a copy right now. This reissue is limited and will not be available for a long time. Both these albums prove that Holland could produce great heavy metal and it was not only limited to Picture. I would give Track Of Doom a 7/10 rating and Warrior Of The World a 7,5/10 rating. Time to take the bull by the horn and spin it one more time!
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