The seventies was a very healthy time for rock bands and in my opinion there would be hardy any undiscovered gems out there that might be discovered that could be equal to the many classic acts that are now well aware to the fans of that genre. The competition was strong and most of the bands played with a conviction and clarity that much of todays bands lack in an abundance. Epitaph were a German band with a British vocalist, to help break the English and American markets I can only assume, and they produced some good hard rock music but failed to make any impact on the rock world, at least at mainstream level. Though Outside The Law is a decent album Epitaph had their obvious short comings. While the guitar work on the album is pretty decent and similar of Thin Lizzy, like the Nightlife album (released during the same year as this recording) but with more bite and a more sonic pace, and a little boogie like The Allman Brothers. The recording is minimalistic and the vocals suffer and lack any dynamic that could bring the album up a step, something which could have raised Outside The Law to a more professional level and more acceptable to a wider audience. The vocals of Cliff Jackson are indeed amateur but his guitar playing, twinned with second guitarist Klaus Walz is action packed as they run off flurries of notes, the intro track is "Reflextion" is a fine display of their talent as is "Tequila Shuffle" but "Woman" has the most cheesy lyrics in typical generic rock and roll fashion. Musically it is sound but the words are pretty pathetic and thoughtless. A typical line would go something like this " Woman, What are you doing with my...Life" and so on. But it is not only flying guitars and dodgy lyrics, some subtle piano work is featured the laid back "In Your Eyes" which is a nice contrast to the more blistering work on the other tracks. These guys could write good tunes, there is no denying that but I can only guess that record label interference and poor management never helped matters. Soon after they finished this album their record label Billingsgate went bust and left the band high and dry and without any money for their efforts. With a little hint of psyche and a splash of prog Outside The Law is good hard rock album slightly spoiled by a lazy and unforgiving production which gives Epitaph a garage rock band sound. Which is defied by the uninspired lyrics that jump up here and there. Epitaph are certainly an interesting obscurity if nothing else.
Cliff Jackson (lead guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals)
Klaus Walz (lead guitar)
Bernd Kolbe (bass, vocals)
Achim Wielert (drums, percussion)
1 Reflexion 6:55
2 Woman 4:16
3 Big City 5:53
4 In Your Eyes 2:50
5 Outside The Law 6:07
6 Tequila Shuffle 4:58
7 Fresh Air 9:01
Pretty killer hard rock album from this band from Germany, with an English vocalist. Duel lead guitar attack really puts this sucker over the top, and reminds me a bit of a more heavy Wishbone Ash. Certainly a must for the hard rock freak.
Rip from CD 256@ (full artwork included)