Somewhere in the nobands land between heavy metal chauvinism and Anglophilic post-punk snobbishness stand The Reds®, that rare species of American group (Philadelphia in this case) with the spirit to go to extremes, the smarts to get there, and a sense of the rock and roll tradition that got them to the starting gate. Consider a singer combining Ian Curtis' tortured monotonic cant and the grandstanding primal scream of Cheap Trick's Robin Zander, and a guitar-bass-drums axis capable of taking on the manic panic of vintage Stooges and the rapier thrust of classic Blue Oyster Cult.
"Stronger Silence" — recorded in early 1980 but stuck in limbo during the bust-up of the groups one-LP romance with A&M, and a long frustrating search for a better deal — is championship heavy metal, a potent expression of rage and defiance that works you over good, but leaves you coming back for more. There's certainly no arguing with the opening volley of "The Danger" or powerful uppercuts like the hyper-tensive funk-up "It's Not The Same Thing" or the drill-press bamalama of "I Don't Know."
If The Reds® have a battle ahead of them with British audiences, it is because they cater neither to the Motorheadbangers or the PIL-heads, but chart a daring course between the two, an extreme in itself.
• DAVID FRICKE • MELODY MAKER