Gaskin – Edge Of Madness
High Roller Records
Release Date: 24/08/2012
Running Time: 41:27
Review By Rick Tilley
THIS REVIEW WAS WRITTEN AND FIRST PUBLISHED IN 2014
If you read my recent review of Gaskin’s gig at The Rock Den last month, then you’ll know how impressed I was with them and how much of a pleasure it was to finally see them live after so many years. Meeting with Paul Gaskin after the gig, he was kind enough to give me a copy of Gaskin’s most recently released studio album ‘Edge Of Madness’ (2012) and here is my review!
Gaskin arrived on the UK Metal scene in 1980 and were squarely lumped in with the NWOBHM movement at that time. They released two very good albums ‘End Of The World’ (1981) and ‘No Way Out’ (1982) and then, as so many bands did, faded away! I didn’t get into Rock & Metal until very late in 1982 so, even then, I was already a little late for the Gaskin party but I got hold of both albums in 1983 and still cherish them. I always felt, as many people did, that there was more to Gaskin then pure NWOBHM. They could certainly thump out the metal when they wanted to but Paul’s influences in Blues & Heavy Rock meant they were always a more melodic prospect than many of their peers and I personally thought they were very underrated! They returned in 2000 with third album ‘Stand Or Fall’ and after many ups and downs have thankfully been a more regular band on the circuit again since 2010!
And now we come almost up to date with fourth album ‘Edge Of Madness’ which is the best sounding Gaskin release to date, thanks to a fine production from drummer David John Norman, and an album that sees the band do what they do best which is give us eight full and two short instrumental tracks full of the trademark Gaskin sound! They know exactly what works for them and write the songs they love playing so there is no point expecting anything modern or original. This is a good hard rock album and if you have an ear for melody, some great guitar playing and fairly dark lyrics then you’ll really enjoy this. I certainly do!
What I am going to say is that one track doesn’t work so well for me and that’s ‘Wake Up Dead’ Now lyrically it’s a very personal, emotional and dark song, dealing with Paul’s descent into depression and drugs at a low point in his life and they are an engaging listen, but musically I find the track pedestrian and plodding, especially at over six minutes. However, Gaskin more than make up for it with opener ‘Damnation’, which has a very mid-paced sounding Saxon riff and is a good way to start the album, ‘Heart Like Thunder’, ‘Bedlam’, The title track and the barn storming and brilliant ‘The Contract’.
Apart from Saxon, there are elements of Diamond Head, Ozzy Osbourne, Rainbow and even a couple of instances that reminded me of classic UK Melodic Rock greats FM! Paul’s voice has stayed intact over the years, although he comes across more powerfully live and his guitar work is lovely, with a certain Ritchie Blackmore feel in places. Fellow guitarist Andrew Solomon is an excellent soloist and the aforementioned Norman on drums and bassist Mick Cross make a very solid rhythmic team. We also get a couple of guest appearances from Emma Hudson on backing vocals and Hawkwind’s Nik Turner who turns in a nice saxophone solo on the track ‘Mans’ World’
I’m not going to suggest that Gaskin have released an album of the year contender, but you also know what else I’m going to say if you are a regular reader. If it’s played with passion and emotion and nearly all the songs rock your boat then it doesn’t matter. Edge Of Madness is a good album and it’s by Gaskin. That I’m still saying that band name in the year 2014 means a lot because they, along with Saxon, Motorhead, Priest, Rush, Magnum, Demon and UFO were one of the bands that set me off on my long rock journey over thirty years ago and they deserve their moment in the spotlight! Come on Paul, I want album number five!!
01. Just Before Dawn
02. Damnation 04:36
03. Heart Like Thunder
04. Man’s World
05. Wake Up Dead
06. Lost & Lonely
07. The Contract
09. Te Amavi
10. Edge of Madness
Reproduced with the kind permission of Brutiful Metal Radio
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Tilley and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to reproduce and part of this review, unless you have the explicit permission of both parties; failure to comply will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.