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Girlschool - "Legacy" (CD)

Girlschool - "Legacy" CD cover image

"Legacy" track listing:

1. Everything's The Same (3:15)
2. From The Other Side (3:36)
3. I Spy (3:47)
4. Spend Spend Spend (3:33)
5. Whole New World (3:41)
6. Just Another Day (3:48)
7. Legend (3:45)
8. Still Waters (3:03)
9. Metropolis (3:18)
10. Don't Mess Around (2:35)
11. Zeitgeist (4:15)
12. Don't Talk To Me (2:26)

Bonus Tracks:
13. I Spy (Ronnie James Dio) (4:09)
14. Emergency (2:43)
15. London (2:50)

Reviewed by on September 11, 2009

"'Don’t Mess Around' is the perfect girl power tune, and the guest bass performance by Lemmy on 'Don’t Talk To Me' makes an already awesome track nearly perfect. "

About thirty years ago something happened that forever changed the world of metal music. Sure, you’re probably thinking it was the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, but within that movement was something else that did for metal what Gloria Steinem did for the feminist movement.

An all female band named Girlschool entered the stage, and rather than relying on their looks or overt sexuality, they answered the call with kick ass drums, hardcore tunes, and such incredible guitar riffs that musicians like Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister couldn’t believe it was a female pulling the strings.

Still, Girlschool beat the odds, and their brand of fun, almost poppy metal became the formula that would be copied by the likes of Joan Jett, Doro, and Lita Ford, just to name a few. Eventually they even gained the respect of names like Lemmy and Ronnie James Dio, and over the years toured and worked with these and other figureheads of the industry.

As the metal scene changed, Girlschool spent years not really putting out anything new, and relying on compilation discs and live performances. But, in 2007 something happened that forever changed the group, and inspired the release of "Legacy." Kelli Johnson, the face behind those incredible guitar solos, died from cancer. Eventually the position went to Jackie Chambers, but for "Legacy," there are some impressive guest performances by Fast Eddie Clarke, Phil Campbell, and JJ French. Also making appearances are Ronnie James Dio and Lemmy himself, though surprisingly, he doesn’t appear in the cover of Motorhead’s "Metropolis."

Long-time fans will be impressed by the cleaned up versions of Girlschool’s classic hits "Emergency" and "London," and it’s interesting to hear the two versions of "I Spy" on the album – the first being Girlschool, and the second by Ronnie Dio. The "Metropolis" cover isn’t anything special really, and admittedly sounds a bit odd being performed by a girl band, but the guitar solo is stellar.

The rest of the album is all new stuff, and with the exception of "Spend Spend Spend," which seemed to me like the female response to Motley Crue’s "Chicks = Trouble," even down to similar riffs and subject matter, everything else is classic edgy but fun Girlschool music. There’s nothing melodramatic or slow about this album, and even the weakest link, "Just Another Day," will bring back memories of mullets and black wristbands.

That’s not to say that "Legacy" sounds aged and tired. Girlschool sticks to a formula of fun tunes that make you want to shout along and pump your fist. "Don’t Mess Around" is the perfect girl power tune, and the guest bass performance by Lemmy on "Don’t Talk To Me" makes an already awesome track nearly perfect.

The only flaws to be found on this one are so brief you can almost overlook them. There’s just a split second in "Legend" where Kim McAuliffe’s vocals go just a tad flat, but considering that her voice is so unchanged from thirty years ago, you can’t even complain. The intro to the next song, "Still Waters," also has a couple measures where it seems the ladies are a bit out of sync, but they quickly get it together to pull off a solid tune.

If you’re a fan of Girlschool, this is the perfect addition to your collection, especially because of the warm sentiment it extends toward one of metal’s most underrated but influential female performers. If you’re too young to have known them in their heyday, but you like kick ass female bands, "Legacy" is a great way to initiate yourself into the band that started it all.

Highs: Guest performances by Lemmy and Ronnie James Dio make a great album stellar.

Lows: Slight missteps on "Legend" and "Still Waters," with some flat vocals and a measure or two where instruments are out of sync.

Bottom line: A great tribute to one of metal’s finest female performers, and an awesome collaboration between Ronnie James Dio, Motorhead’s Lemmy, and the girl band that paved the way for the maidens of metal.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)