GIRLSCHOOL – Legacy (Wacken / SPV) KILLAWATTS REVIEW
The year 2008 will be long remembered by many veteran “metalheads” - as the year of amazing 'come back' albums! Well over a dozen 'old school' metal acts instantly spring to mind, all having released their best products in years!
The list is impressive to say the least, it's virtually a who's who of Metal – names like: Whitesnake, Dokken, Motorhead, Def Leppard, Testament, Motley Crue, Judas Priest, Journey, Metal Church, Buckcherry, Metallica and recently, AC/DC!
Well, now you can add British all female metal 'legends' GIRLSCHOOL – to the list, with a very decent return album that celebrates their 30 years of ass kicking!
GIRLSCHOOL - for those of you under 30 years old, are the longest surviving all girl band ever! Forget those try-hard bands like, The Bangles, L7, Vixen, etc. GIRLSCHOOL is what an all woman rock band, should sound like!
The band first came to prominence via a tour supporting, MOTORHEAD on their 'Overkill' tour in 1979 and over the coarse of the next 3 years, GIRLSCHOOL released, three very good consistent albums - “Demolition” (1980), “Hit N Run” (1981) and “Screaming Blue Murder (1982). If memory serves me correct, MOTORHEAD's producer of the time, even produced their albums?!. I fondly remember seeing GIRLSCHOOL - belting out numerous film clips at the time, back in the day!
Sorry, flash-back - all three records showcased the toughest, young female rock band to ever emerge, only the mid 70's Los Angeles based all female act, THE RUNAWAYS – came close, albeit a far distant second.
Anyway, here we have GIRLSCHOOL's new album, “Legacy” - and to be perfectly honest – it's the best recording by the band since the above mentioned, 'hey days'!
Now middle aged women, who still kick serious freckle live, GIRLSCHOOL are a little older, a little wiser and definitely still kicking ass in a major way. The production is good, crisp, heavy and thankfully not over produced. The songs are strong and in most cases deliver what you want from this powerhouse quartet.
Original members, Kim McAuliffe Enid Williams and Denise Dufort are joined by Jackie Chambers – who replaces original guitarist, the late Kelly Johnson R.I.P. - who sadly passed away in July 2007.
Musically speaking, there's more than enough meat here to satisfy any long-time fans as well as introduce themselves to a whole new generation. Song wise, it's a tough, it's tenacious and definitely great to hear women kicking serious butt. In over 30 years, not one all female band I've heard comes close to these gals!
If opening song, Everything's The Same – a crunching hard rocker of the highest calibre, doesn't convince you then you're still probably listening to your PINK albums – shame on you! Well it's time to make amends and give that rubbish to your younger siblings. From The Other Side – is a medium paced cracker, that'll have you dancing around your lounge room, trust me or I Spy – which has a tough, slow grind topped off with some great gang vocals, a very tasty little tune.
We lift the bar ever so slightly to one of the albums' high points, a personal favorite, Spend Spend Spend – has it all, killer riff, great groove and well I'm a sucker for a song that has it all, and this one most definitely does! We get a rather infectious, quirky riff for, Whole New World – topped off with a strong anthem chorus, another good song. GIRLSCHOOL show why they're the best female band on the planet through another 'highlight' track from this impressive album, Just Another Day – a belter of a song, again featuring a crunching riff, great melody and above all else – a genuine kick ass attitude!
Medium paced rocker, Legend – has a interesting groove and strong chorus, while Still Waters – features a little light 'n shade feel but still cranks hard and mean when it needs too! The bands' long association with MOTORHEAD, basically the bands' main influence is exemplified by a cover of the 'legends' tune, Metropolis - and I've got to say – it's a very good version, featuring ex-Motorhead guitarist, Eddie Clarke on solo duties.
It's back to relentless driven rock via, Don't Mess Around – rollercoasting out of the speakers complete with double kick drum ending – excellent stuff! The almost epic sounding, Zeitgeist – has a almost power metal groove, stampeding across the plains, being a bruising workout. Just when you thought the girls can't get any heavier, well you'd be wrong as, Don't Talk To Me – is an thundering monster with an almost punk attitude, steamrolling and crushing everything in it's path – simply marvelous! Oh I forgot to tell you, Lemmy makes a guest appearance which only adds the cherry to the icing!
A bonus version of, I Spy – featuring Ronnie James Dio and Tony Iommi – sounds cool while the feel of, London – zips along at a frantic pace, possessing that 'American Pie' mentality and it works very well! As stated above, there are a number of 'special guests' herein including, JJ French and Eddie Ojeda (Twisted Sister), Neil Murray and Phil Campbell also drops in to help out.
Closing off this very good product is a 'classic' written by girls, 'back in the day' – originally featured on their debut album, "Demolition". Re-recorded and still sounding as heavy as ever, Emergency – sounds just as good as it did yesterday! It's slightly different but only an old dog like me, notices these little things - a driving anthem that would make any band proud!
We've all heard the expression: the difference is like 'shit and diamonds' right? Well, I can tell you the new GIRLSCHOOL "LEGACY" is the diamonds and well, wait until you hear the new GNR album .... you'll hear what I mean!
easily rubs shoulders with the recent returns by Metallica and AC/DC – not to
mention probably, another 20 consistent albums released this year! I'm
sure Kelly is looking down from that great gig in the sky, proud as punch!
For newcomers, this is a great place to discover the
best all female band on the planet, you f**kin' better believe it! - 9/10
GIRLSCHOOL Legacy SPV/Wacken (2008) From www.getreadytorock.com
I've been looking forward to this for a long time, and have already witnessed four of the tracks played live. A long time fan, I tried to approach this with an open mind and was instantly blown away.
Britain's longest running all girl rock band (30 years) are back with the first full album's worth of material in a long time, and it's been well worth the wait.
Girlschool have always excelled at the catchy metal single, and every track does that here, but anyone expecting 'Hit And Run' or 'Don't Call It Love' will be in for a shock here.
OK the album has been well publicised for having loads of guests, but even the tracks featuring the four girls have more balls than a team of footballers. The original Girlschool mix of 'I Spy' is very reminiscent of Sabbath circa Dehumanizer. Fitting then that one of the three bonus cuts is a different mix of the same track, featuring Ronnie Dio and Tony Iommi.
More upbeat, I would say more typically Girlschool but heavier, is 'Spend Spend Spend'. Watch out for the guitar solo by Twisted Sister's J.J.French.
Right from the outset and opener 'Everything's The Same', you are struck by two things. Firstly, just how solid, smack in the face, modern and heavy and completely different this is, and secondly just how good the girls sound. It's not unrecognisable, it's just a several stage development.
OK, so they've called in a few favours, but who doesn't these days. So together with the aforementioned French, Dio and Iommi, the album features Neil Murray, Phil Campbell, Eddie Ojeda, Fast Eddie Clarke (on a rare recent cover, a great take on Motorhead's 'Metropolis') and Lemmy.
'Just Another Day' is good time rock'n'roll with a sleazy angle, and the title track is a stand out, with some great vocal harmonies.
I have to admit I was taken by surprise, even with the tracks I'd heard live, but that said It's such a good album; 12 tracks you can't fault. And then there's the three bonus cuts, the Dio/Iommi version of 'I Spy' and recent rerecordings of the classics 'London' and 'Emergency', previously made available for download from the band's website a year or two back.
It's a very good feeling when one of your favourite bands produce a fantastic new album that you know you'd really want to buy on account of the music alone, and that's before you get to the mouth watering guest list.
Review by Joe Geesin
Legacy (from www.seaoftranquility.org)
Few bands in the world have the opportunity to celebrate their 30th year anniversary together and fewer still, have done it with such gusto and fire as four girls from London called Girlschool. With a spirit that seems as fresh and new as the day they first burst on the scene, Girlschool gives their fans a real treat with the aptly named album Legacy. Leaning heavily on the pure rock and roll that has fueled the band for all these years, they deliver a terrific dose of the metal magic that has kept them out front as one of the pioneer all girl bands.
Filled with pure rock and roll, Legacy is what Girlschool stands for. They are aided by a distinguished line-up of rock veterans. J.J. French, Fast Eddie Clarke and Eddie Ojeda from Twisted Sister. Neil Murray and Phil Campbell of Motorhead. Even the legendary Tony Iommi gives thanks to the girls for all their musical efforts. To top it off, rock icons Lemmy and Ronnie James Dio lend their vocal talents to this celebration of Girlschool's place in the rock and roll history books.
The album itself is nothing short of a pure joy for anyone who has rock and roll in their heart. The girls give you great anthem rockers such as the one I don't want my wife to hear, "Spend, Spend, Spend" and the Lemmy fueled "Don't Talk To Me". They give you some of their hardest sounding work in ages with such soon to be classics as the blistering From The Other Side and the first track Everything's The Same. These girls just know how to rock in the traditional sense of the word. There is no real weak spot on the album and it should come with a warning; if played during road trips - 'make sure seat belt is tightly fastened as this jet fueled package might just result in excessive speed and loss of control while driving'! Get ready to further your rock and roll education at the Girlschool center of higher learning!
October 15th 2008
Reviewer: Scott Ward
SPV Records ( from www.pitriff.com/)
Girlschool has always been one of the more well known bands out there that never really gained major commercial success, but proved their worth on the strength of a building a long career on the strength of their ungiving drive and their commitment to not accepting the “they rock for women” stereotype that has always been thrust upon them. Now, 30 years later they’ve outlived most of their peers that were around when they started. Not surprisingly, they are still better than most of them ever were.
LEGACY is an interesting listen from Girlschool. It is vastly different from the bulk of their catalog for a lot of reasons. First and foremost, it’s definitely a tribute album, of sorts, to their fallen guitarist Kelly Johnson. The song “Legend” basically spells out Johnson’s bio with the band, as well as exposing a rare feminine moment from the band as they grieve. It’s a somewhat touching song, although it’s not sappy or lame. On the album’s opener, “Everything’s The Same”, Johnson actually is featured on the track. This one seems like a more fitting tribute because her riff is big, and it’s really everything that she stood for as a member of Girlschool.
Another interesting aspect of LEGACY is that there’s some overtly blatant political rantings on this release. Not being a Girlschool expert by any means, I’m not really sure that hasn’t always been the case, but I’ve never heard them considered as a political band. Songs like “I Spy” and “Spend Spend Spend” are government attacking anthems that seem upset with the way government is currently working.
Finally, there’s a lot of guests appearing on this album. Motorhead, the band’s staunchest ally throughout the years, is well represented. Guitarist Phil Campbell plays on “Just Another Day”, while ex-Motorhead member “Fast” Eddie Clarke checks in on “Metropolis” and “Don’t Mess Around”. Of course, Lemmy himself sneaks in as well on “Don’t Talk To Me” and makes his presence felt. While the presence of Motorhead is everywhere, they aren’t the only name performers to show up. Tony Iommi and Ronnie James Dio pop up on the reworked version of “I Spy”, while Twisted Sister guitarist JJ French plays on “Spend Spend Spend”. Even legendary bassist Neil Murray stops by to play on “Legend” and “Whole New World”. It’s a star studded release, and worthy in every respect.
PITRIFF RATING – 8/10 - While there are a lot of names on this album, at it’s core it’s still a Girlschool album and the girls do what they do best – ROCK! Band leader Kim McAuliffe sounds as good as ever, and the music she makes with the band is straight from the band’s classic metal/punk hybrid sound. LEGACY is a very solid effort from Girlschool that has something for everyone on it. At it’s core, it’s Girlschool rockin’ hard. Peripherally, it’s got a lot of recognizable guests that may lead you to like it. All in all, it’s got something for everyone. Good stuff.
Sunday, October 05, 2008
Reviewer: Chris Akin
What better way is there to celebrate 30 years in the buisness and honour the passing of former guitarist kelly Johnson than to produce your best album in nearly 20 years !Sure girlschool have always produced a high standard of recordings (A couple of blips along the way with Glitter and Toyah not withstanding) from the classic 'Demolition' album in 1980 to 'Believe' in 2004,but this album is just outstanding.
Sounding as fresh as they did when they released 'Take It All Away' in december 1978 this album exudes energy and confidence and the "Special Guests" add to the music as opposed to "Steal" it, if you get what i mean? although Iommi & Dio do their own version of I Spy.
First couple of tracks are in typical style,but 'I Spy' is the first stand out track its slow,pounding and moody with great vocals and catchy lyrics.The same song is reprised as track 13 with Dio on vocals and Iommi on guitar and i have to wonder why.
'Spend Spend Spend' is a well timed track with out current financial climate and also features guitar work from J.J French.
'Whole New World' almost raps its lyrics and features Neil Murray (Once known as king of the liggers) and Phil from Motorhead.
'Metropolis' is a great cover of Motorhead's song originally on the 'Overkill' album back in 1978, Eddie Clarke plays his guitar brilliantly for the girls.
'Zeitgeist' is another stand out "gets yer headbanging" track as is 'Dont Talk To Me' with Lemmy on vocals and bass and according to the press release a triangle !
Yep you gotta throw in a classic and they do with another version of 'Emergency' and you know what what i still love that song,though my fave of all time is still 'Dont Call It Love'.
We end with 'London' it has an old punk feel and a shout it out chorus of "London whoa oh u got everything", this also acts as a reminder that Girlschool are still in touch with their roots (Skin Flicks in 1977 anyone??) and that of course London rocks!
Go buy this album even if you are under 40 years of age,it rocks!
Rating : 9.5/10
From Grigoris at www.metal-temple.com
Dunno how many like (or even know) GIRLSCHOOL; fact is this British band paved the way for all-female Hard/Heavy acts to spread their wings. 2008 marks the 30th anniversary of the London-based femmes, GIRSCHOOL sees 75% of the original lineup intact and – as far as I’m concerned – "Legacy" does not predict any sign we won’t hear again from these cats in the near future. Yes, GIRLSCHOOL is (in a way) a legend.
"Believe" – 2004 – was a nice British Heavy/Hard/Rock album, the first studio one with Jackie Chambers on board. I believe – listening to "Legacy" again and again – that the new album is even better. It’s louder, more energetic, more well-assembled, more diverse in its own limits. Apart from this – we’ll get back to the music itself later – this new CD features the kind participation of eight no-less-than respected musicians, paying their own tribute to this perilous clan.
OK, Lemmy’s appearance would be judged as nothing less than predictable, haha; the man plays bass and sings in "Don’t Talk To Me", while fellow comrade Fast Eddie Clark does the guitar solo in the rendition of "Metropolis". TWISTED SISTER’s J.J. French provides leads and licks in "Spend Spend Spend" and Eddie ojeda appears in "Don’t Mess Around", the living legend of Hard/Heavy bass Neil Murray appears in "Whole New World" and "Legend" (both alongside MOTORHEAD’s current axeman Phil Campbell) and – last but definitely not least – the sacred Iommi/Dio duo delivers the goods in thei relative version of "I Spy".
What’s special with "Legacy", now: it’s a dangerously ’fresh’ album, even if ’retro’ in (almost) its entirety. Meaning: the production unveils a band with strong knowledge if its inspiration/influence but also willing to cut its teeth in the ’now’ season. This dogma supplies the needed weapons to dress up the familiar British Metal-with-Rock-attitude-and-Punk-notion GIRLSCHOOL recipe. The voice of Kim McAuliffe is familiar, of course, but does care to make you feel comfort; she’s dangerous. The guitars are striking, both in riffs and leads, do not remember I heard such loudness in "Believe". As for the bass/drums operational status, the girls are pounding be it mid-pace rockers or just rock ’n’ Roll or the metallum of Britain.
No weak song, although some of them may leave you kinda uninterested, is present here: of special reference – of course – is the one named "I Spy". In the CD’s sequence the listener should find himself moving along to the Metal groove, while the vocals denote some vogue atmosphere in relation to the in-your-face GIRSCHOOL standards. Then, later on, the Dio/Iommi version bursts out and you can understand why this song (possibly) thrilled you the most in the first place.
OK, GIRSCHOOL’s heyday was the early 80s, with monumental albums like "Demolition" (1980) and "Hit & Run" (1981) acting like equivalent weapons to MOTORHEAD’s "Ace Of Spades" or "Iron Fist" or whatever. Still, not only the good die young, since GIRLSCHOOL seems ready for the taking in an era I don’t know how many people will take the chance to get interested in. In any way, what matters is that the quartet is ready to deliver this chance; if you care, grab it. It’s legacy, after all.
P.S.: Kelly Johnson’s paying can be heard in "Everything’s The Same". RIP...
Classic Rock Magazine Christmas 2004 issue
GIrlschool - ‘Believe’
4 Stars out of 5
It’s amazing to think that Girlschool started life as a band called Painted Lady way back in 1977, and extraordinary that these sister sledgehammers released their debut album, ‘Demolition’, nearly 25 years ago. And it’s remarkable to discover that Girlschool are apparently listed in The Guinness Book Of Records for being the world’s longest-surviving all-female rock band (although Girlschool guitarist Kim McAuliffe, for one, won’t believe it until she receives the gilt-edged framed certificate).
‘Believe’ is the kind of record you thought no one ever made any more. It’s Girlschool in prime-time, tousled‘n’rat-tailed, aggressive‘n’hook-laden, full-on shoutalong form, and it’s augmented by some ferocious, stiletto-in-the-groin attitudes.
No change there, then, you might say. But ‘Believe’ sounds like a breath of fresh air...albeit with more than a hint of smudged, misapplied lipstick lingering in the wing.
The members of Girlschool may all be in their 40s now, but they’re still trailblazers - even if they’ll never quite live down that burdensome ‘female Motorhead’ sobriquet.
Original bassist Enid Williams returned in 2000 (after an absence of 18 years, would you believe), and together with drummer Denise ‘frenzied foxbat’ Dufort the duo are truly one of femme rock’s grittiest, grimiest rhythm sections (even if they’re not exactly bosom buddies). Long-time Girlschool fans may bemoan the continued absence of guitarist Kelly Johnson, but Leeds-born hellcat Jackie Chambers (who also joined in 2000) is a first-rate replacement. Jackie is acutely aware of Girlschool’s howlin’ harridan heritage. She also has a major songwriting credit on each of this album’s 15 tracks.
‘Believe’ mixes straight-to-the-heart, raucous, rasping, typically chunky 70s-style British rock with a bunch of bold songs that push the Girlschool boundaries forward somewhat.
You’ve got to love a band that puts a song called ‘We All Love (To Rock‘N’Roll)’ on an album in 2004. On that track the four-piece don’t disappoint, creating a jaunty, punk-tinged shriek from the past with their archetypal call-and-response vocals and lyrics that go:‘Waking up the neighbors/Waking up the dogs/Walking down the streets/Singing Motorhead songs’.
‘Let’s Get Hard’, with its rampant, Aerosmith-esque rollin’ riff, plus the shrill simplicity of ‘C’mon’ and ‘Feel Good’ are further eye-watering examples of top-spanking ‘School seduction.
But delve a little deeper into the album and you’ll find some surprising maturity, often accompanied by a fiercely feminist undercurrent. ‘Come On Up’ neatly turns male voyeurism on its head; the passionate anti-war cry of ‘Crazy’ contains pinging ‘All The Young Dudes’-type guitar tones and, surprisingly, builds into something of a Euro-metal anthem; the nails-raking-down-the-back-female-empowerment schtick of ‘Yes Means Yes’ had me reaching for a etaphorical tube of Savlon.
It’s a much overused phrase these days, but there’s no doubt that Girlschool deserve to be called a national treasure. Even if their jewellery will always come from Argos.
Reviewed in Metal Maidens#37/Oct. 2004
Toine van Poorten
Rating: 8 points (out of 10)
Have GIRLSCHOOL distanced themselves from the well-known MOTÖRHEAD like sound? When I hear some of the songs on their new album "Believe", my answer would be 'yes'. Is this a bad release then? No, of course not. GIRLSCHOOL may sound a little more mature, and sometimes a bit alternative perhaps. But of course there are some real cool rock songs on the album as well. "Come On Up" is a bit darker than the average GIRLSCHOOL stuff. "Crazy" could have been done by THE SPICE GIRLS. It's catchy, but nothing like the old GIRLSCHOOL. But with "We All Love To (Rock 'N' Roll)", they get back to the more recognisable sound of the band.
As you can see, there's a lot of variation on this CD. "New Beginning" is a real cool song, and on "C'Mon" I even hear some distorted vocals, next to the AC/DC like song structures. It might be innovating, but in my opinion GIRLSCHOOL doesn't really need all these new influences. Despite all these comments, I'd like to emphasise that I really do like their new album. Although it sounds very different than you would have expected at first. It's definitely an album that has to grow on you, and then it gets stronger and stronger every time you give it a spin.
It might have been much easier for the girls to play newer version of songs that sound like "Tonight" or "Demolition Boys", but that way their music would all sound the same, over and over again. Would you like that? Listen to a song like "Never Say Never", and turn up the sound a little bit more, every time you listen to it. It's catchy, it's rocking, and you must admit that it's just another cool rock song! No, these girls aren't dead yet and they still kick some serious ass in the hard rock and heavy metal scene. Even after more than twenty-five freaking years, there aren't many bands, who can say the same thing. GIRLSCHOOL stood tall, and they were always a (girls)school example of how a rock band should sound. "Feel Good" simply does what the title suggests and makes you 'feel good'. I hear some resemblance with the old GIRLSCHOOL classic "Race With The Devil", and I heard more people saying this. There are two bonus tracks on this CD, namely "Play Around" and "Passion". Which makes the total amount of songs rise to fifteen new rock and roll classics from the longest living all-female rock and roll divas in the whole f*cking world. Thank you Enid, thank you Denise, thank you Jax and thank you Kim for so much great rock pleasure! You can be proud of this new release, please keep on rocking and visit us soon in Holland. We "BELIEVE" in you, and we always will.
THE SECOND WAVE
25 Years of NWOBHM
Reviewed in "Cutting Edge USA"
Finally after the dust has settled from the Saxon controversy (and lawsuit) original founders Graham Oliver and Steve Dawson are back at it with their rightful name emblazed across their monarch. A tour has recently been assembled in celebration with Tygers of Pan Tang and, believe it or not, Girlschool. Now admittedly it's been awhile since I¹ve listened to any of these bands, yet in high school they were among my faves. So it was with great anticipation that I put on this recent compilation boasting five all new recordings from each of these metal icons.
Smiles all around when the lazar struck "World Gone Crazy". O/D Saxon are as heavy as ever with a lethal paring of "munchy" guitars and hammering bass.
Fans of good ol' headbangin' could easily imagine the band rocking in unison as they storm the stage with "Nursery Crimes" ,"Reeder Aus Stahl" and a searing version of "Ghost" where the six-string axe takes complete control of the song. The Tygers prove just as energetic with revised versions of "Love Potion No. 9", "Hellhound" and the mind-blowing "Firepower" all a
testament that these bands are playing better, harder and with true conviction.
Most surprising is the greatness that is Girlschool, a band which was almost completely obliterated from my vocabulary. Here, they come roaring back with a full-on guitar barrage and vocal prowess that almost surpasses the other two bands before mentioned. Their tight, clean, well-rehearsed harmonies showcase a female foursome in diva form after their own right. Knockout versions of "Passion", "Mad Mad Sister" and the monster "Believe" prove that though the years have been quickly clicking by, these girls have not only maintained their chops but come ready for the fight in exceptional shape.
This disc is so much more that I hoped for and will remain in the disc changer for months to come.
Reviewed in Metal Maidens #28/June 2002
Click Here for an interview with Jackie for Tartarean Desire online magazine