Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Budgie - In For The Kill

Budgie
In For The Kill


Released 1974 on MCA (CD reissue on Repertoire)
Reviewed by Dog 3000, 06/04/2004ce


1. In For The Kill
2. Crash Course In Brain Surgery
3. Wondering What Everyone Knows
4. Zoom Club
5. Hammer And Tongs
6. Running From My Soul
7. Living On Your Own

Burke Shelley - bass & vocals
Tony Bourge - guitar
Pete Boot - drums

After two solid albums produced by the great Roger Bain ("Budgie" 1971 and "Squawk" 1972), Budige self-produced their third album ("Never Turn Your Back On A Friend" 1973) and suprisingly managed to get an even bigger, heavier sound. Then their 4th album "In For The Kill" manages to get even heavier still! This is the most monumental-sounding Budgie album of all -- I can't speak to the original vinyl mix, but the CD reissue rumbles from the lower levels like few records do. The bass drum and bass guitar sound positively gynormous, I think there's some subsonics going on here or something! Another positive post-Bain development was the use of a lot more overdubs, particularly for Tony Bourge's guitars. This really helps flesh out their sound, which did occasionally sound a bit anemic in the guitar department on the first couple of releases. Also, Pete Boot is probably the most "metal" of the many drummers the band ever had.

The album begins with Tony Bourge making the Cry of the Warbudgie on his guitar before the chromatic bottom-heavy riff kicks in. It's a soaring masterpiece of heavy metal sounding exactly like the futuristic landscapes depicted on many Budgie album covers, where budgie-headed men and machines fight their groovy sci-fi battles. But it's pleasantly not "violent" as the title would suggest (seems to be a coloquial way of saying "keep on point, don't give up": "When I was born I was given a will / now the meaning of life is I'm in for the kill.") About 2 minutes in there's some phased guitar bits and a brief drum solo that leads into an abrupt flip-the-channels transition to a midtempo headbanger stomp riff that rocks very hard, but in a completely different way from the opening riff. Section two lasts about half the length of the song before more phased guitars and another drum fill take us back to the original Warbudgie riffola. One of the best Budgie tunes ever, and not surprising that Van Halen used this dynamic over-the-top shriek & shred as their opening number in their early club days.

Next "Crash Course" is a remix of the single from their very first album. I suspect that their record sales and general popularity had never built up to their expectations, so they figured they'd run their best under-3-minute nugget up the flagpole one more time. On the one hand it's a redundency, but on the other hand the mix here is decidedly more bottom-heavy so it is something of an improvement over the original version (though unless you played them back-to-back you might not be able to tell the two mixes apart.) *

"Wondering What Everyone Knows" is their latest acoustical "fooled-ya!" ballad. Only unlike some of their earlier "light moments" this one's a complete song with bass & drums and the whole band (even conga overdubs.) Overall it has a melancholic 70's bummer vibe, and the "very British" melody on the bridge sounds to me like something Andy Partridge would have come up with in his neo-psych years!

"Zoom Club" is another mighty classic, only seconds shy of 10 minutes in length and relentlessly pounding away the whole time. Tony Bourge's overdriven guitar strums spasticly alternating with volume-knob-twiddling effects. The jammy bit in the middle is actually sort of aggro-funky, if being run over by a tank could be considered "funky." The lyric is about the gypsy life of the modern rock musician (i.e. "being on the road"): "Zooo-ooo-ooo-ooom along / Zooo-ooo-ooo-ooom a song / Move on . . . music . . . man!"

"Hammer And Tongs" is a Zeptastic blues number, with shades of "Dazed And Confused." Only it sounds six tons fatter and riffs way more convuluted than any Zeppelin blues number would (though on the downside it's not much for atmospherics.)

"Running From My Soul" is a shorter bluesy number, this time recalling for me stuff like Grand Funk's "Time Machine" or "Mr. Limosine Driver" -- only not so cheap and shoddy sounding (let's face it, Budgie had Grand Funk beat in every instrumental, vocal and production department -- and I do dig the Funk a lot!)

"Living On Your Own" begins with a dramatic overture-like passage before slipping into a life-affirming slab of melodic metal. One of the cool things about Budgie is that Burke Shelley is a fairly thoughtful and sensitive bloke, not just another bare-chested oaf hollering at the ladies. A fair number of their songs are jokey / hoaky, but they've also snuck in a few serious big-brotherly-advice kind of songs such as this one (about moving out of your parent's house) and also the more ballad-like epics "Parents" and "Young Is A World" from their previous two albums. No dumb escapist odes to the glory of youth these, they're songs about growing up and facing the world. And I'll take big brotherly advice from Burke Shelly over Ozzy or Mark Farner anyday!


* Lately it occurs to me that since I've got these two Budgie albums on CD that the differences between the sound of the two versions of "Brain Surgery" may be due to differences in the digital remastering for CD release. Alls I can really say is the version on this Repetoire CD sounds phat, and theversion on their first album reissued on Roadracer sounds kinda thin.


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