Neither of these releases are in any way essential

Bitch was the first band ever signed to Metal Blade and the ‘Damnation Alley’ EP was the label’s second release.

Perhaps in recognition of the Blade’s 30 year anniversary, both Bitch’s first releases have been repackaged and resissued. I can’t think of any other reason to do this, because the material here has dated badly, and I can’t think of a reason to have this unless it’s a desire to own one of the most absurdly lewd metal albums ever. Just take a look at that cover.

If you’re unfamiliar with Bitch, again, just look at the cover. You know what they’re going to be like, and if you know your rock history you’ll know that the PMRC wanted them stopped. Any band fronted by a leather-clad dominatrix called Betsy Bitch just had to represent the complete amoral dereliction of society. Until you actually listen to the songs, and realise that 15 year olds who’ve never had sex could write lyrics less cheesy than these. The music itself is passable and Betsy’s wail is rather impressive, and the barebones production makes them sound like a garage-ish, punkier version of Warlock but the songs are so ridiculously sleazy even W.A.S.P.’s early stuff pales in comparison. “Gimme a Kiss” is embarassingly terrible. “Heavy Metal Breakdown” is laughably bad. “Make it Real (Make it Rock)” is awful. And yet there are rough diamonds to be found. “Save You From the World” is a catchy fist-pumper that builds from a balladic intro that rips off “House of the Rising Sun”. Betsy’s at her very best here, although after spending four songs setting herself up as a cold-hearted sex deviant the lyrics ring pretty hollow. “World War III” is a reasonable rocker too, but seems totally out of place on an album full of songs about S&M.

Curiously, ‘Damnation Alley’ has better songs and better production, despite being released first. “Saturdays” is virtually a pop song and the title track, despite the lyrical cheese, has a dark, driving metal riff. Still, there’s “Live for the Whip”, full of Betsy’s orgasmic yowling, which probably made someone decide that Bitch would work better as a cartoon than a serious metal act, hence the sleazy, overtly sexual direction of Be My Slave.

Neither of these releases are in any way essential. There are better bands playing pubs in your town on Tuesday nights.

1. Right from the Start
2. Be My Slave
3. Leather Bound
4. Riding in Thunder
5. Save You from the World
6.  Heavy Metal Breakdown
7. Gimme a Kiss
8. In Heat
9. Make it Real (Make it Rock)
10. World War III
11. Saturdays
12. Never Come Home
13. Damnation Alley
14. He’s Gone
15. Live for the Whip
16. Let’s Go