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Heavy Metal Kids: Hit The The Right Button...Plus

Formed in the early 70's British outfit Heavy Metal Kids were an underrated band that never really rose above cult level status. Looking back their first three albums, the self titled debut (1974), Anvil Chorus (1975) and Kitsch (1977), revealed a band that was somewhat ahead of their time, as they successfully fused their high energy rock and glam sound with tongue in cheek humor and the theatrical stage antics of orignal front man Gary Holton. The band which always seemed to be teetering on the brink of collapse did exactly that by the end of 1978, but not before a series of lineup changes, (with the most notable one being keyboardist Danny Peyronel's exit for an all too brief stint in UFO) and Holton's dismissal for 'substance' related issues made national headlines. The group never really cracked the big time, and Holton who ended up quitting the music business all together, went on to pursue an acting career but sadly never made it out of the 80's succumbing to a heroin overdose in 1985.

Fast forward to the new millennium and the band's long silence is broken by the 2003 release of a brand new studio effort entitled Hit The Right Button. Comprised of original members Peyronel, bassist Ronnie Thomas and drummer Keith Boyce, along with guitarists Marco Barusso and Marco Guarnerio, Hit The Right Button was a solid return to form for the veteran band in that it not only proved to be their best album sonically, but also their most cohesive sounding record to date.

The most noticeable difference here on this Angel Air reissue is that in addition to manning his regular place behind the keyboard's Peyronel also stepped in and did a great job taking over the lead vocalist duties. Ok…so he's not Gary Holton and maybe the diehard's might have something to quibble about, but once you hear how he asserts himself on the radio friendly anthems "Girl Of My Dreams", "Wildlife" and the title track, any doubts as to whether or not he's the right man for the job are quickly forgotten. Likewise slower tracks "I Walk Alone" and closing ballad "Voices" bring out further elements of his unique sounding voice. Duo Italian guitarists Barusso and Guarnerio also do a splendid job throughout of keeping the infectious hooks and melodies coming at you on tracks like the punchy NYC tribute "Viva New York", "Crool World" and the gritty, bluesy swagger of "Whiskey". Tacked on as an added bonus for this reissue are four classic Kids songs recorded in Milan and London in 2004.

Ultimately while Hit The Right Button might not have much in common with the bands classic sound from the seventies, it does emphasize that this Peyronel led version of the band is certainly worthy of taking the group into the present and beyond by bringing a fresh approach to the table, which I think at this stage of the game is all we can really ask for.

It took over twenty years to get a fourth record from Heavy Metal Kids but Hit The Right Button proved to be a true return to form and then some. If you missed this one when it originally hit the shelves back in 2003 then here's your chance to check it out. The band is also rumored to be working on a brand new album as we speak, so the future is looking bright indeed. Here's hoping that both this reissue and the new forthcoming album goes a long way towards them finally get some of that long overdue recognition they so rightfully deserve.

Track Listing
1) Message
2) Girl Of My Dreams
3) Blow It All Away
4) Hit The Right Button
5) Wildlife
6) N.Y. Streetlife
7) Viva New York!
8) I Walk Alone
9) Crool World
10) Whiskey
11) A Hundred Skeletons
12) Gotham City
13) Voices
14) Chelsea Kids (Live)
15) She's No Angel (Live)
16) The Cops Are Coming (Live)
17) Delirious (Live)

Added: March 23rd 2010
Reviewer: Ryan Sparks
Related Link: Angel Air Records
Hits: 1748
Language: english

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