Saturday, 31 March 2012

Soldier: arguably Northampton's greatest ever rock band are back

Way back in the late 1970s there was a movement. A movement that shaped the world of music forever. A movement that toughened rock 'n' roll, toned down the blues elements and sped it up like nothing before. A movement snappily titled New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. It included legends like Motorhead, Def Leopard, Saxon and Iron Maiden to name only four. It was the foundation for more extreme bands Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer, Metallica and metal as we know it today. And one of the lesser known bands from the roots of NWOBHM were a group of Northamptoners that went by the name of Soldier.

Starting in 1979, Soldier experienced many line-up changes over its mere four years in existence but the members never let that stop them. Ian Dick's band saw themselves gigging Europe, getting supported by Radio 1 and Kerrang!, featuring on humongous metal compilations and even reaching #3 in the Italian charts. Recorded on compensation money for a motorbike accident, Sheralee is their biggest hit; a heavy mix of raucous rhythms and anthemic choruses by some of the most talented musicians ever to grace the county. The start of that guitar solo sounds so much like Muse's Plug In Baby it's unreal before Ian Dick absolutely destroys it Angus Young/Phil Campbell style. If anyone was to make a "Driving Songs from Northampton" album, that's track one sorted.

And there the story ended. Going their separate ways in 1983, Soldier were forgotten in the midst of musical history forever. Well, not quite forever. In 2004, after twenty years apart, original members Garry Phillips, Ian Dick and Steve Barlow started reforming, recruiting drummer Alex Smith to release their Infantrycide EP however, due to Garry's respiratory problems, very little gigging could take place. 2012 will see Soldier return to the road, 2012 will see the recording and release of a brand new Bedlam album, 2012 will see more metal harmonies thanks to a second guitarist Miles Goodman, 2012 has already seen shows at The British Steel Festival in London and Northampton's King Billy. 2012 is the year that Soldier come back for good, bigger and better than ever before. And New Wave Of British Heavy Metal won't know what's hit it.

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