When it was released in April 1981, Blitzkrieg's "Buried Alive" (backed with their legendary namesake tune, "Blitzkrieg") was considered one of the best-ever single releases to emerge from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. But the band soon dissolved, with singer Brian Ross moving on to front Satan before reviving the Blitzkrieg name with an almost totally new lineup four years later. Released shortly thereafter, Blitzkrieg's full-length debut, A Time of Changes, offered a much more refined, but ultimately not nearly as exciting update to the group's original barebones energy. It also contained many of the commercial idiosyncrasies and over-utilized clichés which had begun infiltrating heavy metal as it became more popular in the early '80s. Song titles like "Armageddon" and "Hell to Pay" only hint at the sophomoric, Spinal Tap-like subject matter they contain, all of which further emphasize the album's competently executed but utterly formulaic content. Examples include the prototypical, mysterious-sounding synthesizer intro ("Ragnarok"), which gives way to that most dated and feared of '80s metal devices, the piercing falsetto shriek, followed by the ever-popular galloping anthem ("Inferno"). "Pull the Trigger" is a semi-convincing commercial metal single, the somewhat overwrought title track has its moments, and much of the remaining material ("Vikings," "Saviour") smacks of early Manowar. And to the dismay of those hardcore fans wanting to hear the original version of the track so famously covered by Metallica, the 1985 version of "Blitzkrieg" is hardly worth the price of admission. Its original riff (a clever perversion of Dutch prog rockers Focus' "Hocus Pocus") is also given a "new and improved" treatment which effectively annihilates the original's inimitable groove. In short, A Time of Changes is for New Wave of British Heavy Metal fanatics only, and the simply curious would do well to pick up Metal Blade's '79 Revisited two-disc set instead.
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