Bronze age relics Bronz were the once future kings of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal

By on April 9, 2019

We’re revisiting this full episode from June 30, 1984 — complete with vintage commercials! — to take another look at Bronze Records relics Bronz, the once future kings of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal.

Watch their video for “Send Down An Angel” — which features celebrated British actress Emma Thompson playing several roles,  including groupie/girlfriend, landlady, policewoman, record label exec and concert promoter — on Night Flight Plus.

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Bronz — you’ll note the band’s name actually had no “e,” which isn’t what we’d typed up originally in the chyron — were, as it turned out, a short-lived rock quintet who recorded for Gerry Bron’s Bronze Records.

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Everything we’ve read about the band and their 1983 album Taken by Storm seems to have been a calculated move by Bronze Records to make a big impact on fans of the then-new New Wave of British Heavy Metal sound, which was quite popular at the time via European rock acts like Def Leppard, Samson, Saxon and Iron Maiden, who we told you about in our post about the documentary, Iron Maiden and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal.

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As we said above, Bronz’s video — which features the band members acting out a scenario in which they ditch one shitty record company (Duke Sharquee’s “Wripoff Records”) before being discovered and signed to a second one, who treat them a lot nicer — features an early on-screen appearance by actress Emma Thompson.

At the time, Ms. Thompson was just beginning to appear on British-made television shows like The Young Ones,” and the comedy variety series Assaulted Nuts.”

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Bronz’s true origins can be traced all the way back to a small village called Box, in Wiltshire, in the west of England, just northeast of Bath (also home to Roland Orzabal of Tears for Fears and Peter Gabriel).

Despite Led Zeppelin famously playing a memorable early show there, Bath isn’t generally known as a haven for heavy metal.

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In 1976, bassist Paul Webb and guitarist/keyboardist Chris Goulstone co-founded the band — as Wurzel Land — and relocated to London, where they reconfigured their lineup with various musicians.

The band opened for Magnum, Angel Witch, Diamond Head, Anvil and others at venues like the Marquee on Wardour Street and the Music Machine.

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They were also added to the bills of several UK “free festivals,” playing at Glastonbury in ’76, and at the Stonehenge Free Festival in ’77 and ’78.

Sometime in the early ’80s they’d asked the deejay at a famed local watering hole called the Funny Farm to play their demo tape over the club’s sound system.

On that particular night, as luck would have it, someone heard the tape and told his boss, Gerry Bron, who had apparently passed on signing them twice before.

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Read more about Bronz, Gerry Bron and Bronze Records below.

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Gerry Bron had formerly been employed by Black Sabbath’s label, Vertigo Records.

He’d left that job to continue working with another Vertigo band, Uriah Heep, at his own recording studio, the Chalk Farm-based Roundhouse, and also set up up his own label, Bronze Recordds, as a home for their future recordings, securing a manufacturing and distribution deal with Island Records.

Bronze had already achieved a lot of success with heavy metal and progressive rock acts like Colosseum, Juicy Lucy, Tony Hazzard, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, Osibisa, Deep Purple, Motörhead, Girlschool, and many others.

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By 1980, Bron was focused intently on achieving commercial success, honing in on what he thought would sell a ton of records.

He hadn’t yet found the label’s own classic NWOBHM band when he decided the third time’s a charm, apparently, signing Bronz after stipulating that Webb find someone else to take over as their frontman.

Lead singer Max Bacon entered the picture at this point, leaving the Manchester band Nightwing in order to join Bronz, who made their debut as Bronze signees at the Marquee, playing with Motörhead, another Bronze act.

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Bronz — whose lineup had by now solidified with Bacon, Webb, Goulstone, second guitarist Shaun Kirkpatrick and drummer Carl Matthew — began working with AC/DC engineer Mark Dearnley and together they honed in on a bombastic Album Oriented Rock (AOR) keyboard/guitar-driven sound which filled out their heavy metal side with classy synths and string arrangements.

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All total, four producers — Gerry Bron, Richard Bron (their manager), Ritchie Cordell and Glen Kolotkin (the latter two had just collaborated on Joan Jett & the Blackhearts’ I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll) — worked with Dearnley and the band on their debut album, Taken by Storm, which was released in 1984.

Their lead-off single, “Send Down an Angel,” quickly climbed into the Top Ten of the UK’s rock singles chart, and helped push the album — which Kerrang! called “a very fine debut” — into the Top Twenty on the rock album charts.

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The band promoted the album’s release around the UK before they embarked on a three-month U.S. tour which included many dates in 30,000 seat stadiums opening for Ratt, who were one of the biggest bands in the land that particular summer.

Bronz were also one of the first of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands to get regular video airplay on MTV in both American and Europe.

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Unfortunately, there were financial problems back home in London with Bron’s Bronze Records, which ultimately led to the Bronze age coming to an end and Bronz’s break-up prior to the release of a planned second album.

Watch this full episode from June 30, 1984 — complete with vintage commercials! — on Night Flight Plus!

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.