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 made simply so the band could refer back to them to remember how their songs went. That they weren’t meant to be heard by the public explains their informal feel and lo-fi recording. However, beneath all that murk are heavy-ass songs with doomy riffs a la Sabbath and instrumental sections that go on way longer than they should (unless of course 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 fingers constantly overpower the rudimentary 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, which 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 ended Martin Weaver took up with heavy-prog band Dark, who made one album called Round The Edges.