1985’s Fear No Evil is the second full-length studio album by the NWOBHM band, Grim Reaper. The cartoonish artwork of an anthropomorphized Death crashing a motorcycle through a church window tells you almost everything you need to know before you’ve even pressed play. The only thing missing is him throwing the horns.
This is pure, energetic, unapologetic Heavy Metal. Its crunchy and satisfying like Metallica, Clean and Melodic like Maiden, and the perfect mixture of tasteful basic songwriting with OTT ‘80s cheese. As an album, there’s no ballads, no experiments, no let-up at all. It might sound like its going to be samey, but instead its actually driven, focused and committed to a singular goal. Think of the one fastest, best song on an ‘80s Accept, Saxon or Priest album. Then imagine an album where every song is that! Imagine Tygers Of Pan Tang’s Spellbound if every song was ‘Gangland’ and ‘Blackjack’ and the momentum killers were gone. That’s the sort of thing you can expect here.
Steve Grimmett’s charismatic, powerful, controlled, and very spirited vocals make this feel like the work of absolute superstars. He’s one of the most criminally overlooked and under-mentioned singers in the genre for his talent-to-fame ratio. Augmented by a rock solid rhythm section, some tasty riffs and crucially, Nick Bowcott’s enjoyable solos (with feel as well as just shred), this is some seriously confident, competent and enjoyable Heavy Metal music.
Highlights include the brilliant Title Track (my “this is the song you should use to test if the band are for you” choice), the catchy “Let The Thunder Roll” with its excellent guitar lines, and “Matter Of Time” which has a sort of Thrashy feel to it.
Apart from the intro to ‘Final Scream’ feeling grating upon repeat listens, this is practically flawless. If you like their contemporaries such as your early Saxon, Maiden, Diamond Head et al, and even your mid-period innovators like Priest, Motorhead and Dio-era-Sabbath, then this is something you’re likely going to really love. Their debut album See You In Hell is more famous these days, but they weren’t a one hit wonder by any measure and you should absolutely pick this album up if you are interested in the band. Its powerful, catchy, melodic, heavy enough to satisfy, and consistent from beginning to end. Seriously, check this out!