Surely one of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal's most gimmicky acts (alongside Ethel the Frog), the sarcastically named Handsome Beasts arguably obtained far more notoriety in their time because of frontman Garry Dallaway's enormous girth than their actual music. The former was of course immortalized on the hilarious cover image gracing their 1981 debut album, Bestiality (featuring a buck-naked Dallaway and a perplexed looking pig), while the latter was inevitably overshadowed by the band's self-deprecating antics, and never did fit in completely with the N.W.O.B.H.M. sound, anyway. Formed as far back as 1972 and consisting of Dallaway, bassist Steven Hough, drummer Pete Malbasa, and guitarist Phil Aston (one of many that would cycle through the group) by 1980, Handsome Beasts had gradually built their reputation by playing clubs and pubs throughout the British Midlands; their hard-rocking fare, amusing song subjects, and Dallaway's powerful, soulful voice helping them become quite the crowd-pleasers. Keen to associate the group with the wildly hyped N.W.O.B.H.M. movement, their management team decided to found the Heavy Metal label with the express purpose of releasing Handsome Beasts' first singles (1980's "All Riot Now," 1981's "Breaker" and "Sweeties") and eventually the aforementioned album, which featured guitarist Paul Robins. Bestiality also made it onto Kerrang! magazine's "Top 30 Kuts" chart in early 1982, but then quickly faded from sight, along with the band, as both their management and Heavy Metal Records chose to focus their attentions on other up-and-coming acts. Handsome Beasts did carry on, however, breaking up and making up under several different lineups well into the new millennium, releasing 1990's The Beast Within, 2004's 04, and taking part in occasional nostalgia tours with other N.W.O.B.H.M. bands like the Tygers of Pan Tang. Sadly, vocalist Garry Dallaway suffered a fatal heart attack on August 20, 2006, but the band carries on with his self-appointed successor Simon Hall handling vocals.
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