Wicked Lady – Psychotic Overkill and The Axeman Cometh (Guerssen Records)

Although virtually unknown outside of record collector circles, Wicked Lady were among the first wave of metal acts to emerge from the late-‘60s British music scene. Most people don’t know of the Northampton trio because they never released any albums. The archival four-track recordings on Psychotic Overkill and The Axeman Cometh were only made for the band to use to remember how their songs went. This explains their informal feel and lo-fi recording. However, beneath the murk are heavy-ass songs with doomy riffs a la Sabbath and instrumental sections that go on way longer than they should (unless you’re stoned, in which case they’re not long enough), despite some interesting moments of technical flash. Singer and axeman Martin Weaver showcases a wide palette of weedy guitar sounds and his nimble finger-work constantly overpowers  the rhythm section. He’s lucky he’s a good guitar player since he’s not much of a singer or lyricist. Sample lyric from “Passion”: “Let’s talk deep desire/Tell me that you love me/ And I won’t throw your Grandma on the fire.” Clearly young Marty was still learning the finer points of courtship. The best song is “I’m A Freak” from Psychotic Overkill. It suffers from the same maladies as the rest of their material, but also predates the fast’n’loud sound of Motorhead by about three years. After Wicked Lady, Martin Weaver took up with heavy-prog band Dark, who made an album called Round The Edges.