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Snow: At Last

One of the first bands I really hooked into when I was young was Quiet Riot, their smash hit albums Metal Health and the underrated Condition Critical reached for regularly as I was cutting my metal teeth. With my attention also grabbed by Ozzy Osbourne's first pair of solo offerings, QR's early Japanese only albums became a thing of legend, the mix of Kevin Dubrow's rasping tones and Randy Rhoads' expert guitar work long fuelling my imagination.

Equally legendary and even more elusive was the Snow EP, the self released five tracker from the band of the same name featuring Carlos Cavazo, the guitarist who took Rhoads' place in Quiet Riot when the young sensation joined Ozzy. As QR had also been, Snow were long renowned for their red hot shows on the 'keg-scene', where bands such as Snow, Quiet Riot, London and Van Halen, no less, would take up residence in someone's back yard, a parking lot, or pretty much anywhere and hammer out a mix of covers and originals.

Completed by Carlos's brother and future Hurricane bassist Tony Cavazo, future actor and fight coordinator, and of course drummer, Stephen Quadros and singer Doug Ellison, Snow were viewed very much as one of the sensations of the fledgling LA scene but, much like QR, even with a clutch of impressive demos and an ever growing fanbase, they simply couldn't get a label to take a chance on them. Instead the quartet self financed the Snow EP and continued on as an underground sensation. Carlos was eventually tempted away to the now label signed Quiet Riot where he would achieve mega success and after countless ups and downs, where he still resides, although he's also spent time in numerous other outfits along the way, including Ratt and in essence Snow was over, leaving cult legend status behind them.

Aptly titled At Last, the UK's Escape Music have finally taken the plunge and released the five tracks that made up the near mythical EP and complimented it with (presumably, as it isn't made all that clear in the press blurb), seven demos from the time and, for early purchasers, a bonus live CD that wasn't available for review. Thirty-seven years down the line, has the wait been worth it? Well, even taking into account the near four decades of anticipation, the answer is a resounding yes, the young Carlos Cavazo as fiery and feisty as a hard rock guitarist got in 1980, and again making people ask why his playing hasn't been more celebrated over the years. Combined to Ellison's unusually refined vocal attack they made a killer combination, the singer adding a less macho than expected vibrato, although he can also snarl and shriek when he needs to. With Tony Cavazo and Quadros combining in a looser Van Halen like rhythm section style, the five cuts that made up the EP are killer throughout; the traditional hard rock framework surging keenly with the energy and attitude that would soon set 80s rock alight across the world. If you're looking for a chant-along, then holler to your heart's content with "Hell No", if it's a guitar fuelled inferno you're after (is this where Dokken took there cues?) then turn to "Don't Want Any More", while "Bad Generation" combines thunderous drums to Van Halen like guitars and a hair tossing chorus. Add in the strut of "No Way To Treat A Lady" and incendiary "Crack The Whip" and trying to work out why Snow weren't snapped up on the strength of this EP becomes an even bigger mystery.

The demos don't quite come up to the same standard and yet, there's no denying that there's an infectious bass led groove to (the now ironic) "We're Gonna Make It", while the razor sharp riffing of "Oh Baby" and lower slung early Kiss of "Mannequin Eyes" also hit the mark.

Kudos surely goes to Escape Music for finally getting these long desired songs out there and for gathering together as much Snow material as they could. The sound is, given the age and origins of what we're talking about here, quite marvellous, while with Dave Reynolds handling the liner notes with the band's help, you can be sure to learn some details you never knew. It should have happened long before now, but with the band (with Andrew Freeman on vocals) back out playing shows, it really is a joy to finally hear Snow in all their glory...At Last.

Track Listing
CD 1
1. We're Gonna Make It 

2. Oh, Baby

3. Steal A Kiss 

4. Mannequin Eyes

5. Stop The Music

6. Trying To Survive 

7. Fever 

8. Crack The Whip 

9. No Way To Treat A Lady 

10. Hell No 

11. Don't Want Anymore 

12. Bad Generation

CD 2 (Live)
1. Fire 

2. Shame On You 

3. No Way To Treat A Lady 

4. I Really Don't Care

5. Throw Me A Line

6. Makes Me Cry 

7. Break Your Neck 

8. Don't Want Anymore 

9. Full Auto (Drum Solo) 

10. Crack The Whip 

11. White Noize (Guitar Solo)

12. No More Booze

Added: July 19th 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Escape Music
Hits: 1550
Language: english

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