And after thinking about various things (I had another idea floating around but I forget what it was), I settled. This year I will listen to 50 records that fit into the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal.
So what is the NWOBHM? From the wikipedia page it would seem that it was a tougher take on those great heavy metal records of the 70s - Sabbath and their ilk. But to me going in, I will think along the lines of Spinal Tap until I hear otherwise.
I'm following this list which hit the spot as beyond Iron Maiden, I've never even heard of any of these groups - some of them are rare, so I may have to resort to downloads but in general I'm trying to buy them. That's the rules.
And so to Iron Maiden. They seem to emerge fully formed and all the Spinal Tap type sounds are in place - those high pitch speedy guitar solos and running drums. Track 3 is the business: Murders In The Rue Morgue. Someone call the Gendarmes! I'm not sure how accurate it is with regard to the source text, but it's a pretty insistent number that's almost borderline funky. It's quite a strange sound for me - at times it felt like a blueprint for music that 14 year old boys should like. Relatively complex, heavy on the riff aspect, the drums are kind of supporting everything rather than being heavy and up front. But after a few listens it settles down and I'm starting to get it. It kind of chugs along at this quite high tempo for some time. And then with "Prodigal Son" it all settles down, and they're playing something that's really quite beautiful and sounds a little bit like 90s indie almost, all jangle guitars and a kind of up beat melody.
I kind of wanted them to go a bit heavier and darker but it's always quite light. So something like "Twilight Zone" starts of with a riff, and then it lightens up a bit when I'd prefer something a bit more oomphy. But you know what - this isn't the best record in the world, but it's not too bad. Once you get over that it sounds a little cliched, it really starts to open up.
So here's the Rue Morgue (live no less) and roll on the rest of the list: