The Hand of Doom
I have to hand it to Shadow Kingdom Records---they really unearth some gems. In addition to those Ritual albums and those Dragonslayer demos that they put out (some of the all time best New Wave of British Heavy Metal), and their continued re-release of classics from (the GODS) Manilla Road as well as Pagan Altar, they found a lost gem from a late seventies German outfit called Hand of Doom, which is a ton of fun.
The music on Hand of Doom's album Poisonoise can be compared to a lot of things: Deep Purple (albeit simpler), the early King Diamond band Black Rose, Mercy (of Sweden), and of course lots of the blue collar bands from the NWOBHM, such as Last Flight, Mythra, Bashful Alley, etc.
What most distinguishes Hand of Doom is the distinct and exceedingly bizarre personality of the lead singer Andeas "Iggi" Rossner. His flailing histrionics, rolled "Rs" and bombastic personality are what take this album out of the world of simple and good hard rock and give it a touch of menace and a gallon of crazy. Imagine a singer in 1979 who has the oblivious troll lunacy of Attila Csihar (!) and the off-kilter semi-musical swagger of Hank from Turbonegro. If you think I exaggerate, check out the wild and emphatic conclusion of Heavy Mad Head and the horror storytelling of They Who'll Creep At Night. Rossner demands your attention like a child that has eaten far too many Whoppers, and if you buy into his gruff, high octane madness, you'll like this album.
Because Poisonoise is at the edge of hard rock, a lot of what the band does is provide a chugging, energetic backdrop for the singer's antics ... but there are some exceptions. There's a lot of good bass playing throughout the album, and the twin guitar explorations in (closer) The Lights of the Blind show a melancholic and thoughtful side that compares to stuff like Gaskin and Wishbone Ash. Apparently, the rest of the band had some ideas other than just standing behind their larger-than-life frontman. In any case, the musical complexity of this last song provides a richer concluding experience than I expected and is a very enjoyable color shift.
Overall, Poisonoise is a solid, hard rockin' heavy metal party that is made distinct by the lunacy and personality of the lead singer.