Style: hard rock, British
Home: Britain (deceased/disbanded)
Members: Ian Stuart ~ vocals/guitar
Stigger ~ guitar/vocals
For what one might expect coming from IS he - yet again - shows us that our expectations are to be disappointed. Sometimes he'll do good on our expectations but other times, more often than not, he blows them all away. A small much hated minority will probably be upset at this as IS is the unofficial lyricist laurette of the skinhead movement & the father of its boots & braces hard rock/punk look, but that's not the image or ideology shared here. IS came to fame singing & writing for the the Stooges-esque punk band Skrewdriver before getting into & becoming an out-spoken advocate of British Nationalism & Nazi-bred racialism that soon took over his work. Skrewdriver went from being another noisy British punk band to one of the first & certainly the most famous neo-nazi punk/rock bands in the world ... which led to even more fame & getting banned from performing in numerous places, even if on the other hand they were also activists against communism & putting the average person back in charge of their country. But, it's the negatives that outway the positives for most people, preventing them from seeing the bigger person or bigger message. Lost underneath what many people will consider a perverse ideology is a poet as great as any other in rock music. Knowing his role in the skinhead movement one might expect an album laced with racist ideology & hate filled spewing along the lines of G.G. Allin. But, the truth couldn't be more opposite. IS sings of everything but. Dylan probably refers to race more in his entire career than IS does on The Reaper. If there's hate of anything it's hate of people who won't let him be himself (i.e. "Hands Of A Stranger), which for him is cause of rebellion, & those who judge others who judge (i.e. "Judge"). Or, as he says in "Living On The Edge" in the game of life "They say that one man is a savior & the next day he falls/no one can tell me how to lead my life." As for Allin similiarities, outside of their fringe element identities & untimely deaths it's as poor a pairing as Frank Yankovic & Tupac Shakur. Unlike Allin's blasphemy for the sake of it & his noisy overdriven punk IS cared about the music & putting together enjoyable songs that honored the music forms of the past that best work towards telling his story. IS also knew that the worse the music the less people would be interested in listening. IS was not afraid of exploring different musical styles over his short career & ventured with different ad-hoc bands into folk rock & rockabilly, while with WD he finds himself with lo-fi 80's hard rock. But, even where it's production fails IS turns out another great straight from the gut basic rock album with nothing to fall back on but his lyrics of social insight, which is why anyone should & would turn to an IS album. Though, having given all that small print ... The Reaper might be IS's lyrically simpliest albums, as if he was just looking to sing a bunch of straight ahead rock songs versus sharing a message. This is where one returns to not meeting expectations. The poetic quality he often displays is toned down here for straight ahead rock. IS is famous for writing about the working class, the Reds, capitalism & other topics, with race being something that is just one of many topics. But, here he stays away from political songs for much more basic ideas, common to any other musician but abnormal for IS. "Bright City Lights" tells the story of Billy who has a hit record & becomes a star as "Billy had what it took" until alcohol brings his life to an end, while "A Friend Is A Friend" basically lists what a best friend is. IS may not be ranting against the government here, but he is still a man of moral convictions & laces his songs with advocating moral solitude. It ends with the interesting "Wishing Well" that features guitarist Stigger from Skrewdriver on vocals turning in something that could be found in the Dio catalog. This was the first of two albums with WD. 1991 would also see him release albums by the rockabilly tinged Klansmen, a solo album & folk songs with Stigger called Patriotic Ballads. The Klansmen is an overtly racialist band so WD the other side of the coin. The next year he'd continue his prolific output with four more albums & an unfinished Skrewdriver album before he'd be killed at age 36 ending just over a decade of under-appreciated music.