Some would place this band along the unknown greats of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal
, when in truth, the underrated Budgie
hails from a time before even Black Sabbath
, making them part of the First Wave of British Heavy Metal
, up alongside Sabbath, Led Zeppelin
, Deep Purple
and others. However, the "dark" material that we saw with those bands is not present with Budgie
. They adhere more towards the arena of hard rock than "heavy metal"...but that's not to say that they're inferior. This band, along-side Motörhead, is one of those little-known bands with that bad-ass mentality of "fuck it, we love what we do and we're not going to quit."
Now, let's see what this band's third album has to offer in regards to music. This album, Never Turn Your Back on a Friend
, is only seven tracks long. But one reason can be that only two tracks are less than three minutes, the rest ranging between almost five-and-a-half to the last, epic piece at ten minutes twenty-five seconds.
My first real introduction to this band was with the video game Brütal Legend
, where one of the tracks you could listen to was the opening track from this album: the immortal "Breadfan." It has got to be the best opening track in the history of great opening tracks. That
riff is perfect, courtesy of Tony Bourge. The solo as well, though it is rather simplistic, is sweet. The singer/bassist, Burke Shelley, despite having an appearance similar to Rush
's Geddy Lee, is one hundred percent original. The song slows down to an acoustic passage, where we get to hear some of Burke's softer vocals, which appear also on the two shortest tracks on this album, both of which are fully acoustic. But wait, the song picks up speed again for one last recapitulation of that favorite riff of favorite riffs.
As I've stated before, heavy metal owes its existence to rock'n'roll and old school R&B. Track
number two, a cover of blues master Big Joe Williams' "Baby Please Don't Go", is just so great that I have to make mention of it. When I first heard this song, I could have sworn it was an original Budgie
song. They owned this track. It's everything we love about heavy metal and hard rock: fast, heavy and electric. I have yet to hear the original, so I can't honestly say whether this is better or whether the Delta
blues master's original beats all others, but of its own, it's a sweet tune that will get your foot tapping and head banging...at the same time!
But before I wrap this review up, I've got to make mention of the insane drumming skill of Ray Phillips. "You're the Biggest Thing Since Powdered Milk" has one of the longest song-titles off this album, and one of the best drum-solos/intros I've ever heard. Clocking in at one minute and forty-three seconds, it is a clear indication that every member of this Welsh trio is a master of his art.
This is a strong album from a relentless rock band from the "good 'ol days" of heavy music. It's sure to please the fans of heavy, hard and fast tracks, slow acoustic ones and we insane fans of ten-minute-plus tracks. Enjoy!