Bristol Archive Records Blog

Posts Tagged ‘stormtrooper’

Charity Gig / Special Event

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

Plus the Andy Fox rockshow
In aid of ‘Save the Children’

Three of Bristol’s most legendary heavy rock acts are getting back together for a special charity show, offering local fans the opportunity to see them on stage for the first time in decades. Stampede and Lautrec will be joined by the city’s pioneering New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) act Stormtrooper at the Exchange on Saturday, March 11th. Helping to recreate the authentic vintage Bristol rockin’ vibe, the Andy Fox Rock Sound System will be pummelling eardrums with carefully selected classics.

Staged in aid of Save the Children, the gig comes hard on the heels of the commercial and critical success of Bristol Archive Records’ latest compilation The Bristol Heavy Rock Explosion. This was described admiringly by Classic Rock magazine as “a welcome antidote to the simplistic official narrative” of Bristol music.

Stampede were one of the most musically accomplished melodic rock bands to come out of Bristol. Founded in 1981 by vocalist Reuben Archer and his talented guitarist stepson Laurence, they signed to Polydor and played the prestigious Reading Festival, where they recorded a live Official Bootleg album. This was followed by the excellent Hurricane Town. After a long period of inactivity, Stampede reunited in 2009 and released a new album, A Sudden Impulse. Back in December, they played at the Hard Rock Hell NWOBHM festival with fellow Bristolians Jaguar.

Formed way back in 1977, Lautrec was Reuben and Laurence’s previous band. They toured with Saxon and are fondly remembered for the single Shoot Out the Lights/Mean Gasoline. The band also initially featured the young Clive Deamer – later of Portishead and Radiohead – on drums. A demo of Mean Gasoline can be found on The Bristol Heavy Rock Explosion.

Stormtrooper were one of the unsung greats of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. They’re now finally receiving the appreciation they so richly deserve following the belated release of the ‘lost album’ Pride Before a Fall on Bristol Archive Records. Indefatigable band founder Bob Starling went on to form the classy Hunted in the 1990s. Their Fallen Angel collection has also just been released by Bristol Archive Records.

Tickets for this unique one-off show are available now from The Exchange website and Bristol Ticket Shop, priced £8 in advance, £10 on the door.

Brofest 2017

Sunday, November 20th, 2016

We are thrilled to announce that STORMTROOPER are to reform and play Brofest next year. It is always incredibly exciting when you get involved with a band from the late 70′s and they come together as friends and a gang again. In many ways it makes the concept of the Bristol Archive Records all worth while. ‘Let’s Rock’!15056441_1221341827908906_5388848701028838243_n

Album of the week – Stormtrooper

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

Stormtrooper: Pride Before A Fall
Melodic Heavy Metal (NWoBHM)
Album of the week
In the past three or four decades of hard rock and heavy metal, there have been a great many bands, thousands probably, that had a fleeting existence, little recognition, perhaps never casting a shadow in a recording studio, or simply got lost in the corridors of history. Here’s Bristol’s Stormtrooper, one of those bands that rose like a Fourth of July bottle rocket only to disappear into the dark black foogy bogs of English heavy metal history. They had a single of some consequence, Pride Before A Fall, that peaked at eleven. They even did some recording for an album that never saw publication. Those recordings have been rediscovered and packaged as Pride Before A Fall The Lost Album by Bristol Archive Records.
There’s plenty of albums, lost or otherwise forgotten, the tapes sitting in a dusty cardboard box in somebody’s dank basement. Largely, most of those boxes shouldn’t be opened as the band is not worthy of remembrance or the recordings suck so bad that no amount of clever remastering can save them. But this is not the case for Stormtrooper. On all accounts, from their talent to creativity to the songs, this band should have had its day.
The larger reference for Stormtrooper is the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Obvious influences include peers like Maiden, but also Zeppelin as well. Yet, their melodic heavy metal goes beyond twin guitar harmony and a galloping pace. No, they added more than subtle progressive rock influences to their tunes. You can hear some Rush-like nuances in their sound and arrangements (often from their use of the Moog). Yet, one of the keenest features, or element, is the bass lines of Colin “Boggy” Bond. Not only are they present and persistent in the mix, they remind me of jazz bass, like Bond should be playing in a fusion band of some kind. Much the same could be said for Bob Starling’s guitar work. Though he could do his share of neo-classical widdling, his lines are smooth, fluid, and liberating. At times he reminds me of a more sophisticated Todd Rundgren, but with all the same passion.
Put all these variables together and you some creative and inspired songwriting, found in the epic tales of Battle of the Eve, After Battle, and Confusion, all mammoth melodic metal tunes with those prog nuances. Alternatively, Stormtrooper can slip into a classic hard rock groove with If It Takes A Man A Week and In The State In The City. Both songs are straight forward rockers with some quick pacing and groove. Suffice to say, Stormtrooper was well-rounded in their musical approach. They carefully reflected the NWoBHM trend, yet still twisted it to their own style when adding the progressive rock flavor. Probably something missing at the time.
Now found once again, and hopefully not forgotten once more, Stormtrooper’s Pride Before A Fall The Lost Album offers a modern resurrection of truly original melodic heavy metal in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal tradition. Easily recommended.

Stormtrooper LP version

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

News: we are delighted to have licenced the Stormtrooper album to Hi Roller Records in Germany. They will be releasing the LP version, the exact release date to be confirmed.

Stormtrooper Interview – Vents Magazine

Friday, May 27th, 2016

Can you talk to us more about your album “Pride Before A Fall”?

Yeah, it’s an album that unfortunately never saw the light of day. We had ‘Pride Before A Fall the single’ released on Heartbeat Records in 1980, and it did quite well, we made two further visits to studios in Bath and Bristol and recorded a cross section of our stuff that we thought would secure us a record deal, 10 tracks in all. Heartbeat were based in Bristol as well, but they were primarily a punk and new wave label. They mainly produced singles and unfortunately passed on the idea of releasing an album. So we had to look further afield. We had no manager. We were musicians, we had no management skills and we found it difficult to promote the band and our music outside of Bristol. And just two months after we recorded our last two tracks, things fell apart and our 5 year journey came to an end.


How did this album get lost in the shuffle and how did you find it?

Bob and I paid for the studio sessions and the masters. The band were given cassettes at the time, we should have had access to the 2″ masters that were kept at the studios and copies of the 1/4″ tapes. The 2″ masters were destroyed when the Studios closed in the late 80′s. And we had no idea what happened to the 1/4″ tapes. About five years ago I was approached by a German label, they were aware of the band through the single and heard a couple of other tracks I had uploaded to YouTube from one of the old cassettes. On the strength of that alone they were very keen in releasing an album. We sent them what we could, but they kept asking for better quality raw material which we didn’t possess at the time. I also felt a bit precious about my songs and dealing with a company in Germany wasn’t an ideal situation regardless of how much money they were offering up front and things just petered out.

Enter Mike Darby and Bristol Archive Records?

Yeah, I got a call out of the blue from this bloke who had the original 1/4″ tapes which contained 4 tracks from the first session at Crescent Studios in Bath. He had got them from Simon Edwards who owned Heartbeat records. I was astonished! He asked if we had anything else, I said we did but I didn’t know if it could be salvaged. Within a couple of days of that telephone conversation by pure coincidence Bob was clearing out his attic and came across a pile of unlabelled 1/4″ tapes. We borrowed an old reel to reel player, and amongst other things they contained 4 tracks from the missing second session from Crescent Studios and a further two tracks recorded as SAM Studios in Bristol. Mike Darby picked up the tapes along with an acetate and a cassette I had. And we waited with anticipation. The restoration and remastering incidentally was carried out by the same guy that engineered the original session at SAM 35 years earlier! The results were incredible it was like stepping back in time, I swear they sounded better than they did all those years ago. And only one track from the three sessions didn’t make it. We now had a brilliant album and a locally based Record company we could work closely with. Happy days.

How was the recording and writing process?

We didn’t have a lot of money and we needed to get things done quickly. The songs were supposed to be and to a certain extent still are demos. The album was recorded in just two Saturday mornings and one Sunday afternoon. I’d say out of the nine tracks only two were second takes and one of those was because of a technical issue! The rest were all first takes. I think maybe Bob overdubbed a little feedback on one track and we had a bit of wind and thunder added on another track. But it was basically a live recording in a studio environment. Apart from a little tidying here and there, there’s not a lot more we would have done to them anyway, In fact I love the spontaneity and urgency found in the tracks. The songs were written over a 5 year period with two different vocalists. I was a little bossy when it came to writing. The longer tracks I wrote, were quite complicated and I would present them to the band in sections at rehearsals sometimes over a period of several weeks. No internet then! There are a couple of tracks on the album born out of Bobs riffs, I would then frame them musically and Paul or Nigel would do their thing and write the lyrics. I was quite lucky to be given a free rein, I’m sure they would have kicked me if I’d got it wrong though.

The album plays with different styles – does one tend to shine the most depending on the lyrics’ theme?

As I said the songs were written over a period of time and obviously as a writer and as musicians we were evolving and improving all the time. Our musical tastes were heading in different directions as well. And subsequently our music is not easily categorised. That’s why this album is so brilliant. It’s so diverse but nothing is out of place. There are commercial songs and songs with such weird time signatures and structure it would take a good musician a month to work them out and there’s everything in between. It’s got everything. But as a collection it really holds together, because of our approach and delivery. I love every aspect of it.
What role does the 70s plays in your music?

To answer that question I really need to go back to the 60′s melody was everything then, I loved The Beatles and The Beach Boys. But The Kinks and The Small Faces, combined attitude with melody, which was something at a tender age and coming from a rough neighbourhood I latched onto. The first band I ever saw was Montrose with Sammy Hagar in 1974 and a little later that decade Zeppelin and Rush. All three bands had an affect on my thought process when it came to writing.

Any plans to hit the road?

We are all doing different things musically now, but if the album does well who knows?

Anything else happening next in Stormtrooper’s world?

Yeah, we have a dozen or more songs from the Stormtrooper days that didn’t make it to the studio, and we are at present rerecording them. We’re also trawling through live recordings of the band with a view of putting out a live album. It all depends on how ‘Pride’ is received, but the recordings deserve to be released one way or another and I’m sure they will.

Interview conducted with ‘Boggy’ Bond – Bass – STORMTROOPER
(Taken from the forthcoming Interview in Vents Magazine)

Stormtrooper’s press guy speaks

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

Here’s what Stormtrooper’s press guy had to say about the forthcoming ‘Pride Before A Fall’ album to be released in August via the Bristol Archive Records imprint:
“It’s a little bittersweet. Such a shame that the band didn’t pick up the recognition that they deserved. But it’s a killer record. I was a bit surprised to hear the more proggy aspects. The album spans from Rush to Dio to Zepplin and back again, great stuff!”
You can order in advance now from the record shop