Ah, Britain's third-tier hard rock and heavy metal talent...who would remember you were it not for the catalog-unearthing expeditions undertaken by those relic-seeking gnomes residing within Castle Music's dusty, labyrinthine vaults? Of course, as has often been the case before, Castle adopts a very liberal interpretation of the term "anthology" when compiling 2004's Satan's Serenade: The Quartz Anthology -- glossing over two albums' worth of material (1980's Stand Up & Fight and 1983's Against All Odds) as if it never existed, and hoping that an admittedly impressive cache of rarities and singles will make up for the lapse. In the label's defense, few bands possessed as confusing and uneven a discography as Birmingham's Quartz, whose greatest claim to fame in the end may have been introducing multi-instrumentalist Geoff Nichols to future employers Black Sabbath. But we digress; what one does find on Satan's Serenade is Quartz's impossible to find and rather uneven debut album (first released eponymously in 1977 and later reissued in a brown paper bag two years later with the inconspicuous title Deleted), their avowedly lousy 1979 Live LP, and assorted live and studio outtakes -- some of them already featured in 1996's ill-titled Resurrection odds'n'sods disc. Within this chaotic smorgasbord, disc one will unveil at least one essential heavy metal standard in very first track "Mainline Riders" (listen closely...it's the mother of "Heaven and Hell"), which, along with solid first LP rockers like "Street Fighting Lady," "Devil's Brew," and "Pleasure Seekers," excuse the band's unexplainable forays into pop fluff ("Sugar Rain," "Little Old Lady"). Also present are a few worthwhile rarities -- see the very Sabbath-like "Wildfire," the Queen-sounding "I Can't Let Go," and the convincingly tough hard rock singles "Can't Say No" and "Back in the Band." Disc two contains more of these rare outtakes (but fewer interesting ones) preceded by an extended version of the aforementioned live album (adding the song "Belinda"), all of which elicits few moments worth mentioning, unless they be on-stage versions of the above-mentioned highlights. In summary, Satan's Serenade boils down to a rather disappointing collection of already disappointing material, and will probably only satisfy serious hard rock and metal collectors.
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AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2