The New Wave of British Heavy Metal, which exploded at an underground level in the late '70s, by 1980 was at its very peak, with bands like Iron Maiden and Saxon even reaching the top 5 in the U.K. album charts.
It was during this year that major label MCA got in on the action by signing notable bands such as Tygers of Pan Tang and White Spirit, both of whom issued debuts on the label in 1980.
The next band MCA had their eye on was Birmingham's Quartz, and for good reason. The band were proteges of fellow Birmingham heavy metallers Black Sabbath, with Tony Iommi himself having even produced Quartz' self-titled 1977 debut (now a relative rarity in any format).
Three years later, as 1980 dawned the band were at their peak levels of creativity when MCA issued their second LP and the album being reviewed "Stand Up and Fight."
Wow! I've been an avid fan of the NWOBHM for some time now and I can't believe I had never heard these guys up until 2010, when the always reliable Metal Mind Poland reissues this gem in a lush gatefold-LP style digipak and complete with a 24-bit digital remastering job.
It's rare that you find an album which rocks so hard from beginning to end, but this one does. There is not one weak track or moment of filler to be found here.
The band's sound still has remnants of classic '70s heavy metal ala Rainbow/Deep Purple (vocalist Mike Taylor even sounds somewhat reminiscent of the latter's Ian Gillan), but combined with the rawer, faster contemporary sounds of your Saxon. The title track, "Stoking Up the Fires of Hell," and "Questions" all feature a fast, aggressive sustained attack that will get your head banging in no time. But every song again smokes, with brilliant riffs galore and a crisp production courtesy of Derek Lawrence (who had cut his teeth producing some early Deep Purple records).
All in all, this LP should have made these guys a household name among heavy rock fans but like most obscure NWOBHM, it didn't. Hopefully with this outstanding reissue these guys will get the credit and reputation they've long deserved. I can't recommend this album highly enough to any fans of heavy metal in the raw, bad ass early '80s British style.