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Budgie - Never Turn Your Back on a Friend CD (album) cover




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4.18 | 247 ratings

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4 stars Budgie took a rather anonymous start on their first two albums. While they were two agreeable hard-rock albums, they betrayed too much of their awe for Zeppelin and Sabbath. The third album shows a more mature band that developed a more personal sound: a kind of upbeat rock&rolling metal with high pitched vocals and prominently bobbing bass.

With Breadfan Budgie stretched their legs into more metallic directions. When Metallica covered this song they didn't have to change much but the vocals, everything Metallic is here: speed metal riffs, energy, head-banging beats, epic song dimensions and that tasty rumbling bass. It's an essential metal song that not only made an impression on Metallica but that clearly must have influenced earlier acts like Rush, Judas Priest and even Motörhead in my ears. One of the strong aspects of Budgie are their delicious mellow moments. Also Breadfan has such a moment, in the middle sits a gentle section that makes everything around it rock even harder. It's a trick that reminds me again of Judas Priest, especially of their epic masterpieces.

But there's more to this album then just Breadfan. Baby Please Don't Go is a brilliant bit of boogie bluesy metal, You Know it All a two minute mellow ballad, very warm and beautiful. The acoustic guitars almost sound like an Alice in Chains ballad. The heavy blues rock of You're The Biggest Thing gives plenty more arguments for naming Budgie the first grunge band. They have that defining raw sleazy sound with that plodding pace and heavily pounding drums and bass. It was almost literally copied by grunge pioneers the Melvins and all the famous bands that followed in their trail.

In the Grip of a tyrefitter's Hand has a start/stop power blues chord progression that almost sounds like AC/DC. It's another ominous song. Riding my Nightmare offers chill-out acoustic angel melodies, a bit of a joke maybe but a fine song in that style. Parents is the most ambitious Budgie song ever and their best one here next to Breadfan. It's more then 10 minutes of beautiful mellow melodies and shredding guitar solos. Two years earlier, Budgie was a typical copy-cat metal band. On Never Turn Your Back they have grown into a defining band that produced one of the coolest early metal albums, up there with Zeppelin, Sabbath and Purple's gold platters.

Bonnek | 4/5 |


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