October 14, 2023

The NWOBHM movement spawned a plethora of bands ranging from the essential to the interesting but never, ever was there a bad band and you have to remember that we rock fans were fed up of the airwaves being full of punk and disco so every new metal band was something to revel and delight in.

Many of the bands born out of NWOBHM become huge, worldwide sensations whilst others have had successful and lucrative careers without ever achieving the fame or acclaim awarded to Iron Maiden and the likes. I still maintain that the best song to come out of the movement was One Of These by Trespass and this song sounds as fresh and exciting today as it did when I was a mere lad just out of my teens and I still regularly play it.

Photo: Gary Cooper Photgraphy

For every Maiden or Diamond Head there were a million bands like Weapon who were every bit as good but just never seemed to get that lucky break. They formed in 1980 and were led by singer Danny Hynes and managed to secure a memorable gig as the opening band for Motörhead on their Ace Up Your Sleeve UK tour and the subsequent double A-sided single (remember them?) It’s A Mad Mad World/’Set The Stage Alight reached number 2 in Sounds magazine’s Top 20 but, sadly, the band split a couple of years later.

The band was then invited to play the 2005 Headbangers Open Air festival in Germany and, apparently, wowed the crowd which prompted Hynes and guitarist Jeff Summers to restart the songwriting process which led to a full-time revival in 2010 although the original drummer Bruce Bisland was unable to join up due to being a member of the Glam rock giants Sweet. The original bassist Barry ‘Baz’ Downes was too ill to rejoin and he sadly passed away on the 16th of November 2020 (RIP).

The boys in the band have been busy over the last decade releasing several albums with Set The Stage Alight – The Anthology which features songs from the ’80s, Rising From The Ashes in 2014 and Ghosts Of War in 2019 although Summers then left the band in 2020. This led to Haynes revamping the band with long time bassist Tony Forsythe remaining involved and they are now joined by guitarist Oscar Bromvall and Andreas Westerlund on drums and it is this team that has released the cleverly titled New Clear Power. It is also worth noting that Forsythe is receiving treatment for prostrate cancer which meant he had to record his parts from home in London and we all wish him well in his battle.

The record also sees guest appearances from Steve Mann (MSG/Lionheart) and Tino Troy (Praying Mantis) as well as Oscar Bromvall (Palace), Magnus Ulfstedt (Ginevra), Marcus Johansson (Deathstars) and Mano Lewys. The beauty of NWOBHM is that there is a clear formula with a sound very much old-school early ’80s metal and development of this sound is encouraged but too much deviation from the base is not advised so, paradoxically, you can have new albums that are rooted in the past but still have a sound very much of the present day, get it right and everyone’s a winner and Weapon have truly hit paydirt!

New Clear Power is a stunning NWOBHM album that ticks every box and has built upon the band’s history but also benefits from the new ideas and skills brought in by the new musicians so what we have is an album that is classic Weapon but harder, heavier and more direct making it a record that you cannot ignore and shows that even the lesser known bands of the movement are as good as the ones that went on to greater fame and acclaim.

Listen and be amazed.

New Clear Power

  1. Drumbeats of War (4:32)
  2. Take It Or Leave It (4:34)
  3. Electric Power (3:59)
  4. In for the Kill (3:29)
  5. Live for Today (4:27)
  6. Remote Control (3:40)
  7. Hard Road (4:17)
  8. Diamond Lil’ (3:02)
  9. Shoot You Down (4:01)
  10. Riding With the Angels (4:12)