Bitches Sin

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Constantly hampered by fluctuating lineups and an inconsistent creative direction, not to mention their family-unfriendly name, Cumbria, England's promising Bitches Sin failed to leave much of a mark…
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Constantly hampered by fluctuating lineups and an inconsistent creative direction, not to mention their family-unfriendly name, Cumbria, England's promising Bitches Sin failed to leave much of a mark amid the hustle and bustle of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal shuffle, but also notched just enough quality singles to save themselves from utter oblivion. Bitches Sin were assembled from the remnants of several defunct pub rock bands in the early part of 1980, and initially featured vocalist Alan "Cocky" Cockburn, guitar-playing siblings Ian and Pete Toomey, bassist Perry Hodder, and drummer Bill Knowles. Interestingly, rather than fighting for attention with the countless other NWOBHM bands clogging the live circuit, Bitches Sin focused on recording instead, and thus, by August of that year, they were already shopping a surprisingly accomplished seven-song cassette demo entitled Twelve Pounds and No Kinks to interested record labels and radio stations. The strategy worked, and independent Neat Records decided to take a chance on the group in 1981, pairing its songs "Always Ready" and "Sign of the Times" for a 7" single release, and including another energetic track, "Down the Road," in their Lead Weight compilation. But Bitches Sin weren't so sure about Neat, apparently, and so they handed their soon to be signature song, "Strangers on the Shore," to the label's arch rivals, Heavy Metal Records, who included it in their Heavy Metal Heroes collection. Sadly, with the exception of an equally successful session for BBC Radio's Friday Rock Show broadcast in October of 1981, the acclaim received by "Strangers on the Shore" -- still regarded as a NWOBHM standard -- proved to be the highlight of Bitches Sin's career.

The problems that led to their downfall began when the Toomey brothers replaced their original bandmates with vocalist Tony Tomkinson, bassist Dave Newsham, and drummer Tony Leece prior to the BBC session -- then broke in yet another rhythm section, comprised of Martin Orum (bass) and Mark Biddiscombe (drums) while recording the band's debut album, 1982's Predator. When the record came in for a critical bashing due to its mediocre new songs and substandard reworkings of early material, the Toomeys blamed their label, and so, come 1983, they'd been dropped by Heavy Metal Records, and were scrounging together new demos with yet another revised Bitches Sin lineup. That year's No More Chances EP was financed and released by the band itself, but even though both it and 1986's belated sophomore long-player, Invaders (re-recorded and released in 1988) contained occasional flashes of inspiration past (mostly in the shape of recycled old tracks), Bitches Sin were living on borrowed time. Compounded by a virtually nonexistent on-stage following (except in Holland, oddly enough), the Toomeys and assorted hired guns were forced to eat their fill of humble pie for several years, until finally grinding to an ignominious halt circa 1989.