Genre: N.W.O.B.H.M./Heavy Metal / Hard Rock
Country: Great Britain
Label: Blood & Iron Records
Black Rose formed in 1976 in Cleveland, in the heart of the industrial north of England. That year Steve Bardsley, while being a student, he enlisted his classmates, Mark Eason (drummer) and Marty Rajn (bass) and created ICE, the early formation of Black Rose. The change in the name, which as we had guessed wrong it was not inspired by the homonymous album of Thin Lizzy, happened around 1980. A year later, some significant changes were made to the lineup of the group, whose core consisted of the two remaining original members Bardsley & Rajn. The band became a quartet with the addition of Kenny Nicholson (guitar) and his friend drummer Charlie Mack (on a proposal by Nicholson) after a live gig of the latter in the small town of Saltburn. Mark Eason had already lost interest for the band and Mack’s quality left no room for them to let him slip through their fingers (later Mack joined Samson). This is essentially the first official line up of Black Rose. Initially they recorded a demo of 6 songs (which wasn’t scheduled to be released and only exist in the collection “Aftershock” of High Rollers Records, 2013), while in the same year (1981) they recorded “Ridin Higher” and “No Point Runnin'” for the legendary collection “Roxcalibur”, which was released in early 1982. The fact that the label Guardian Records ‘n’ Tapes released this collection asked money for the bands in order to include them (money which they gave of course), is why it seemed partly logical for the band to release its first single with the same label; however “No Point Runnin'” (with “Sucker For Your Love” on the second side) was printed by Teesbeat. For the 7 inch release, we have already talked about in the ‘Tributes’ column and you can read here. With just a single release and once again lineup changes (Mick Thompson took Marty Rajn’s place and in the case of Charlie and Kenny, Mal Smith took over the drums and Chris Watson the guitar) and Bardsley being the only unique original member, the released the song “Knocked out” with Neat’s collection entitled “One Take No Dubs”. With these and a few live gigs in their country, 1983 arrived and the demo release “Knocked Out”, containing, besides the same titled track, the songs “Love on the Line”, “Dead and buried” and “Red Light Lady”.
The same year they released their first 12 inch via Bullet Records (Le Griffe, Traitors Gate, Pretty Maids, etc.). The following year finally came the moment of releasing their first full length, via Bullet again. Unfortunately for them, the audience then shifted to different branches of the hard sound while the whole N.W.O.B.H.M. movement gradually started to faint. “Boys Will Be Boys” portraits a band that had improved its early rough and raw sounds (as part of the idiom of course, do not expect anything extreme) in compositions level but on the other hand, they flirted openly with glam / hard rock. The American sound was dominant everywhere in the whole spectrum of rock and Black Rose was also affected. Of course Def Leppard’s success, who were born inside the whole movement of N.W.O.B.H.M., acted as a catalyst for even partially transforming Black Rose. The structure of many pieces in this collection reminds us of Def Leppard from Sheffield and the effort of Black Rose to sound more commercial or even to try to appeal to a wider audience. A positive point is that the compositions do not sound silly; they have a dynamic even when they’re departing from Heavy Metal and move into more rock trails. The production is decent and does not sound outdated, although there is a slight difference in sound, since the tracks included in the EP have a rougher sound than the first 10 of the album. The value of the collection is low when you consider that it contains the entire album “Boys Will Be Boys”, bonus tracks from the second side of the single “Liar” and the whole homonymous 12 “EP (1983). Add the 20 page booklet with lyrics, photos of the group and then you’ll have a full and satisfying package.