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5 stars Budgie from Wales, England is a co-founder of the heavy metal genre, though their own musical pallet would also include blue-eyed soul, funk, folk and progressive. 'Bandolier' from 1975 isn't often seen as one the classic albums of the band, but I think it is my favorite. To be honest, I'm a bit amazed by how the obvious quality of this record has been denied by so many. 'Breaking All The Houserules' is great hardrock opener with that 'May Blitz' type of heavy psych influenced early metal. 'Slipaway' is a beautiful folk-ballad with some amazing dreamy guitar parts. 'Who Do You Want For Your Love?' has a cool funky opening, but evolves in a well-composed heavy metal song with some of my favorite riffs. Surely, bassist and singer Burke Shelley is one of my favorite performers of the genre. On side two the band fires two songs that are more on the 'Blue Oyster Cult' scale of metal, more poppy and less experimental. 'Napoleon Bona Part 1 & 2' is than one of the most progressive tracks the band ever recorded; with a strong melodic & psychedelic opening section and some fierce riffs. For me this is an extremely enjoyable record belonging in the wider definition of collectible progressive music.
Report this review (#196988)
Posted Saturday, January 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars In need of Trill

Recorded in 1975, "Bandolier" offered the first indications that the inspiration was starting to become harder to find for Budgie. The album as whole remains a solid, guitar driven affair, but there is an underlying feel of going through the motions to a number of the tracks. By this time, the Spinal Tap like challenge of retaining a drummer was becoming a feature of the line up, with "Syco" Steve Williams taking over from Pete Boot (who had lasted for just one album).

The opening "Breaking all the house rules" is an enjoyable but rather anonymous rock and roll number which does not seek to break out of its all too orthodox framework. "Slip away" is the album's now traditional soft acoustic number, the song being rather longer than previous such tracks, perhaps an indication of the band's struggle to come up with new material. "Who do you want for your love" sounds more like a Bad Company song that a Budgie one, the shuffling blues being over-lyrical and rather prosaic.

The second side of the album is somewhat brief, but does end on a high. "I can't see my feelings", which opens the side, is another Wishbone Ash like blues rock song with little to distinguish it from the many other such numbers recorded around the same time. "I ain't no mountain" is a decent cover version of an Andy Fairweather-Lowe (Amen Corner) song, which sees the band venturing into significantly more commercial territories than they would have explored on earlier albums. The two part Napoleon Bona Part 1 & 2 (Bonaparte, get it?) which closes the album is by far the best track here. It sets out as a gentle acoustic number before bursting forth as a driving rock anthem featuring some fine lead guitar soloing. The underlying riff is similar to that on Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant song", the atmosphere of the track being similarly appealing.

In all, a rather disappointing entry in the Budgie discography, but an album which is certainly worthy of investigation for its fine closing song.

Report this review (#197494)
Posted Tuesday, January 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars An exciting and balanced record.

Bandolier was my first meating with Budgie and is still my favourite '70 hardrock record. The riffs are even more relaxing than in the earlier In For The Kill and Never Turn Your Back To A Friend records. Their sound is very balanced and Burke Shelly's sang gets better and better.

Breaking all the House Rules is not only a brilliant chosen title, but also an excellent starting track. It shows the talent of good song writing and rhythms to fell in love with. After these seven minutes of nice rhythm-building budgie shows their softer side in Slipaway. Other highlights on the record are Who do you want for your love and Napoleon Bona part 1&2.

The metal roots in this record are limited to Napoleon Bona part 2; the other songs are more blues and (hard-)rock orientated with many excellent riffs.

A record worth four stars, but don't expect a progressive record. It's just very good hardrock!

Report this review (#199226)
Posted Thursday, January 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars The consistently emphatic sound of Budgie continued with this 1975 release. Bandolier points towards an even more riff driven sound, the down side is an expected shortening of the tracks length, this album clocks in at 34 odd minutes, but that was not unnecessarily unusual with LP's for the time. The album starts off with ' Breaking All The House Rules', a catchy song but for me too repetitive for seven minutes.' Slipaway' follows and is another great laid back song from the band. This area of ballads always a strength for Budgie. Shelley's vocals are stretched to the max re pitch and some great guitar work from Bourge. The band returns to some hearty blues on ' What Do You Want For Your Love?' before breaking into some serious metal riffs. A more simply defined angle to their music from 1975 onwards.The final track ' Napoleon..' is probably the highlight on Bandolier but overall I would have to recommend this release for die hards only. Two stars.
Report this review (#201093)
Posted Friday, January 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Sadly this album starts to slip away from the fine experiences provided by the earlier records. I am very pleased with the last song, having really funny name for a quite dramatic hard rock suite. The problem with many tunes is the lack of interesting content and sound realm which doesn't appear as neat as the repetition would demand. This problem is in my opinion present in the first song already, and many of the tracks aren't very powerful compositions. Playing dynamics are also weaker than with the previous records line-up's. Maybe enthusiasm was more productive than experience. The album cover is really pretty, have to mention.
Report this review (#201804)
Posted Thursday, February 5, 2009 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
2 stars Following all the house rules!

Bandolier was a large improvement over the early Budgie albums from the production perspective. Also the vocal and instrumental skills of the band had matured a lot since they begun in the very early 70's. However, while the execution has improved the quality of the songs is much lower here. Only one song here is very good and a further one is decent but the rest are quite forgettable or even worse. Budgie are still very much the Led Zeppelin clone they always were and always will be.

The opening track is a straightforward Blues rocker that rambles on for over seven minutes without anything out of the ordinary happening at all. The second track is a nice acoustically driven ballad with good vocals and a decent melody. I detect a slight jazzy feel in this one! It is nothing too impressive or particularly memorable, but it is actually one of the better songs on this album. Who Do You Want For Your Love is another overlong track with a running time of six minutes. This one is a funky semi-ballad that, again, rambles on without introducing anything particularly interesting over and above a few expected tempo changes. It reminds a bit of the Canadian band Triumph. I Can't See My Feelings is too a pretty straightforward Hard Rock song and I Ain't No Mountain is a Blues standard. There is nothing progressive about these songs.

The only song that is really worth hearing here is the closer Napoleon Bona Part 1 & 2. This is a lovely song with a slightly progressive sound and feel to it. It begins with a lovely acoustic part with strong vocals and a jazzy feel, it then builds and introduces a pretty good and heavy riff. This is clearly the best song on this album.

In general, this is not a very good album and it is certainly not Prog by any means. Don't be fooled by the relatively long tracks as they are pretty basic Blues rockers for the most part. If you are new to Budgie, I would not start with this album. The previous In For The Kill is a much better choice.

Report this review (#257173)
Posted Monday, December 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Unfortunatly, many people don't share the same views of this album as I do. This is really the last one in the Budgie collection that is needed, besides their 2006 comeback. The music here is much more pop oriented than their previous two records, but the Progressive roots are always there and intact on some of the longer pieces. An underrated gem.

1.Breaking All the House Rules - A new and inventive look on the Budgie sound. Burke Shelley, bassist and vocalist, is in fine form on both his respective parts. Tony Bourge releases and excellent riff on this song, as he drives through a totally bluesy set of chords that are clean and fresh. Drumming from newbie Steve Williams is excellent, as his snare sound is excellent. Lyrics, as usual with Budige tracks, are not so great, but the title is very inventive. (9.5/10)

2.Slipaway - Not the greatest of tracks under Budgie's belt, but this one is different from the others. It actually has a steady beat and clean. The acoustic soundscape from Bourge is jazzy at times, and Shelley's vocals are in fine, soulful falsetto. The song is very fresh sounding when looking at other ballad's. An odd gem that has yet to be found. (7.5/10)

3.Who Do You Want for Your Love? - A totally groovy track, full with some of the best harmonica the band has to offer. The slow intro leading into the soulful vocals of Shelley is excellent, with the slightly jazz-tinged guitar playing from Bourge is in excellent condition. Williams drumming is very steady, clean, and always fresh. The songs lyrics aren't my favourite off of the album, as they always remind me of the debut album's lyrics, which to say, are terrible, but they always seem grooving with the song. An extremely catchy track. (9.5/10)

4.I Can't See My Feelings - Probably the weakest of the bunch, it's total pop that is uninteresting. The song has a steady, yet bland and uniteresting riff, and beat. Shelley's vocals are very good though, and a nice cowbell is wasted. Nothing particularly great on this track besides some excellent cowbell. (6/10)

5.I Ain't No Mountain - My favourite of the bunch. The song is a blues workout of simplicity, but is always fresh and interesting. Shelley's vocals are excellent and always go well with the steady beat of Williams. Bourge's guitar playing is very simplistic on this song, but it's just a fun party tune. The breakdown and slow section is possible one of my Budgie favourites, with the steady beat always there, just more intense. An odd classic, to say the least. (10/10)

6.Napoleon Bona - The most progressive of the bunch. The acoustic guitar is excellent on this song, as Bourge plays with such passion and is almost classical in structure. Shelley sounds alot like Geddy Lee here, as his tone sounds very much like the early days of Rush (1974-1975). The more electric chorus sections are excellent, with some added soul from Shelley and his increasing interest with the lyrics. An intense song of change. (9.5/10)

Though not the best of Budgie's work, it's somewhere in the middle. Some letdowns, and some excellent songs. I have to give a 4 stars, as the band is really rocking on some of the tracks. You definatly should check it out, if your interesting in Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Rush.

Report this review (#356068)
Posted Friday, December 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars Opening with the barnstorming Breaking All the House Rules, Bandolier kicks off well, but unfortunately Budgie were never the most consistent of bands and this is only underlined by Slipaway (A Parrot Fashion Ball), a horrible experiment in mixing acoustic soft rock with a little bit of blue-eyed soul. This is followed up with a similarly limp track in the form of What Do You Want For Your Love, which captures Burke Shelley doing an unconvincing Robert Plant impersonation in a horrible funk-tinged soft rock piece, reminiscent of a bad cover of The Crunge from Led Zep's Houses of the Holy with only a rather generic guitar solo or two to remind us that we're still at the edge of metal territory.

The album perks up on the second side with I Can't See My Feelings (featuring some honest to goodness cowbell), but slumps again with the simplistic singalong I Ain't No Mountain. The closing Napoleon Bona Parts 1 and 2 is padded out with uninteresting acoustic filler (such as the overlong intro) and doesn't stand up to Budgie epics from previous albums.

The bottom line is that on this album Budgie watered down their distinctive proto-speed metal sound with all the other influences third-string hard rock groups from the mid-1970s were dabbling in, with the result that the album ends up sounding anonymous, cliched, and at points downright dull. By the end of the decade Budgie would be regularly blown out of the water by far heavier and far more distinctive groups like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden; they should be remembered for more influential and important albums than this one.

Report this review (#545914)
Posted Saturday, October 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I only knew Budgie when they released this album in 1975 as one song from this album (I Ain't No Mountain) was featured in local cassette compilation titled as Rock Vibration. The song really blew me away at first listen as I liked the riffs as well as guitar solo. My first impression was that this band was more into the kind of Led Zeppelin music in its simpler form. But that song really created curiosity to me as I wanted to know who the band was until I finally knew that this song was taken from Bandolier album - the band's fifth album. Pity me, I was not aware there was this band until they produced their fifth album! Looking back finally I salute the band as they released their album every year - it's a very productive. The band itself was already established in 1967 and it reached recording deal with MCA for their first five albums.

The way I see the band's music is somewhat like a power trio with practically simple composition and straight forward in style. So, it's basically not a prog band. 'Breaking All the House Rules' (7:23) opens the album in a style that represents a trade mark of Budgie music where the straight composition of three instruments : bass, guitar and drums featuring vocal. 'Slipaway' (4:02) continues the style of previous track. The fourth track 'I Can't See My Feelings' (5:54) was quite known and covered by Iron Maiden as B side of their single. In fact, I would say that Iron Maiden developed their style heavily influenced by Budgie. Look at the ending track 'Napoleon Bona Part 1 & 2 ' where the rhythm section was then followed by Iron Maiden in most of their songs.

Overall, this is a good album of straight rock music. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#811041)
Posted Monday, August 27, 2012 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars Budgie first came to my ears with their big Box set, the definitive anthology, 'An Ecstasy Of Fumbling', featuring a massive 29 tracks taken from albums during 1971-1982. This lead me to chack out some other Budgie albums and the first on my list was one that was recommended to me by Budgie fans, 'Bandolier'. This is perhaps their most popular album, certainly featuring some of their best songs and coolest guitar riffs, though it is inconsistent in terms of quality songs. The band revel in riffs that lock in with outstanding rhythmic 70s classic rock. 1975 was one of the great years for Prog and 'Bandolier' features the classic incarnation of the band; bassist/singer Burke Shelley and guitarist Tony Bourge, along with drummer Steve "Syco Steve" Williams, arguably their proggiest lineup before they turned to hard rock and AOR.

The album opens with the dynamic 'Breaking all the House Rules', a terrific sledge hammer attack of crashing riffs and very well executed vocals. The structure of the song detours into many directions and even changes feel in the middle sounding like a different song until it returns to the main riff.

'Slipaway' is next with gentle acoustics, followed by Bad Company sounds on 'Who Do You Want For Your Love' with a bluesy shuffle. There is more blues with 'I Can't See My Feelings' that has nice guitar licks but is nothing special really. After these rather lacklustre numbers it hots up with the wonderful cover by Andy Fairweather-Lowe from Amen Corner, 'I Ain't No Mountain'.

They save the best for last with the outstanding 'Napoleon Bona, Pts 1 & 2' that begins very slowly with gentle guitar and ambient swirls. Shelley's vocals are quiet, sounding like a bluesy version of Geddy Lee. When the distorted guitars crunch in with the chugging riff the song really picks up, especially the way the riff descends strangely giving it a dark feel. The lead break is always amazing, and Bourge blasts away with speed trills up and down the scales and high end string breaking bends. At 6 mins in there is a weird effect that muffles the sound and then it releases for more lead work.

Not many would disagree that the best Budgie stems from the early 70s years with "Squawk," "In for the Kill", "If I Were Britannia" and of course 'Bandolier'. These are the proggy innovative Budgie years, and 'Bandolier' is certainly one to hunt down for sheer hard rock riffing excellence with prog elements sprinkled thereabout.

Report this review (#874397)
Posted Monday, December 10, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars An under-rated influential band. How can you not like Budgie headed humanoids riding on horses in space suits on the cover!

For those not familiar with Budgie, the main guys are Burke Shelley on bass and Tony Bourge on guitars with various drummers. They are sometimes credited (along with Sabbath and others) as being at the beginnings or influenced the Metal genre. To me I always thought of them as hard rock (out dated term I guess) and blues with elements of prog along with bits of funk thrown in. They are also compared to Rush quite a bit as they are a heavy power trio with the bass player doing the vocals with a higher pitched range. However, Budgie came along before Rush did.

Now for their fifth studio album, Bandolier.

The first track, Breaking All the House Rules, is a straight forward hard, semi-blues type rocker with a few twists and turns along the way. It sounds like they were having fun with this one.

Next up Slipaway, a ballad that has become somewhat of a staple in Budgie albums and they are always well done with intriguing melodies. Burke's vocals have a nice way of weaving in and out of the song.

Who Do Want for Your Love is next. This song has a rather catchy, slow funky start which transitions into a heavier beat. There is some good guitar work in this along the way. I like this one.

I Can't See My Feelings is another hard rock song with some blues/funk tendencies. Burke and Bourge have a good chemistry of writing where the songs at times can sound or morph into two songs in one. This is evident in most of their albums.

I Ain't No Mountain is song that sounds like something T-Rex could have done, another hard rock blues/funk blend. Still fun to listen to.

Now the prize of the album, Napoleon Bona Part 1 and 2. Budgie also shows humor in most of their albums with some of the song titles and lyrics. This starts off slow and dreamy then turns heavy with some killer riffs. It is not hard to see where Budgie influenced some later bands like Metallica and Judas Priest. The song takes some nice twists along the way. The favorite of the album! Worth the price of admission.

I picked this album to review as it was my only exposure to Budgie back in the 70's (in 8-track no less). I have recently rediscovered them through a co-worker/friend who has a massive album and CD collection. He has them all and with the exception of one or two albums, I like every one of them including their 2006 album, You're All Living in Cuckoo Land (only Shelley from the original line up).

I give this one 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 (half star for fond memories). For anyone who has not heard Budgie, any of the 70s albums are worth listening to (Bourge would leave on the 80s albums). Never Turn Your Back on a Friend is their most 'proggy' and highest rating here in PA, but most of their albums have some prog tendencies mixed in. Squawk and In For the Kill are also excellent.

Man, I have forgotten how much I like this band! Thanks Wes!

Report this review (#1484908)
Posted Tuesday, November 10, 2015 | Review Permalink

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