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Sunday Old School: Avenger

It seems to be a common sentiment that since the Midlands, Birmingham in particular, produced many of Britain's best heavy metal bands, it must have also been the hotbed of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. While it did produce such excellent groups as Diamond Head and Cloven Hoof, the north east of England had perhaps just as many great names to their name, including such heavyweights as Venom, Raven and Tygers of Pan Tang. Speaking of both the Midlands and the north east, it was from the ashes of Leicester based band Blitzkrieg that another of Newcastle's heavy hitters emerged, who go by the name of Avenger.

Avenger was born when Brian Ross, Mick Moore and Gary Young, all former members of Blitzkrieg, decided to continue writing music together in 1982, along with guitarist Steve Bird. They would make their recording debut for the Neat Records compilation, "One Take No Dubs," for which they contributed the song, "Hot 'n' Heavy Express." This was to be their only recording with Bird, who quit shortly afterwards due to hearing problems. Nevertheless, the recording impressed the label enough to offer Avenger the opportunity to release their first single, which was released in October 1983 under the title, "Too Wild To Tame."

Shortly after the single was released, the band engaged in a trade of sorts when Brian Ross quit to become the lead singer of another Newcastle based group, Satan, whose singer Ian Swift would then joing Avenger. With the new vocalist in tow, the band entered the studio to write and record their debut album, "Blood Sports," which surfaced in 1984. It didn't blow away the critics, but loyal NWOBHM listeners enjoyed it overall.

Only a year later, the band released their sophomore album, "Killer Elite," which produced a music video for the song, "Under the Hammer." It was also generally better received by critics and fans than the previous full length release and allowed the band to tour in the United States for the first time. The trek was the first trip by the band to feature new guitarist, Greg Reiter and also saw the drum duties being handled by Darren Kurland, however Avenger would call it a day in 1986, merely four months after returning to the United Kingdom, blaming the lack of support from their record company.

In the meantime, several record labels re-released their back catalogue, while the band were also featured on the home video, "Metal City" in 1987, along with Venom, Warefare and Saracen. Eventually, in 2005, Young, Swift and Moore decided to resurrect the group, bringing session musician Liam Thompson and former Tygers of Pan Tang guitarist Glenn Howes into the fold. They embarked on tours across the United Kingdom and Europe, performing with the likes of Y&T, Twisted Sister and Saxon, before making their long awaited return to the studio to record a third album, "The Slaughter Never Stops" in 2014, which was met with a generally excellent reception. Now using the name Avenger UK, the group are still going strong today, continuing their legacy as one of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal's most overlooked, but nonetheless endearing bands.

Avenger - "Enforcer"

Avenger - "Death Race 2000"

Avenger - "N.O.T.J."

Avenger - "Under the Hammer"

Avenger - "Revenge Attack"

Avenger - "Run For Your Life"

Avenger - "Race Against Time"

Avenger - "Flayer Psychosis"

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.

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