Grim Reaper

Rock You to Hell

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Although Grim Reaper was never in a class with Judas Priest or Iron Maiden, the band was definitely underrated -- its three albums were solid examples of British fantasy metal. Produced by Max Norman, Rock You to Hell was the last of the three and is easily recommended to anyone who fancies metal that is forceful yet melodic. This 1987 album came at a time when MTV was in love with pop-metal hair bands, like Bon Jovi and Poison, and thrash was the rage in the metal underground -- Grim Reaper was neither pop-metal nor thrash, and the British wisely stuck with the type of fantasy metal they were known for. More melodic than most thrash, but a lot heavier than pop-metal, testosterone-driven tracks like "You'll Wish That You Were Never Born," "When Heaven Comes Down," and "Waysted Love" demonstrate that melody and brute force can be a powerful combination. Some of the tunes underscore Grim Reaper's interest in the occult and horror movies -- like "Night of the Vampire" -- but the lyrics come across as comic rather than disturbing. While Slayer and Deicide took their fascination with the occult so seriously that their songs really could be genuinely disturbing, Grim Reaper is more entertaining than anything.

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