Hot off the Press

Picture | Eternal Dark/Heavy Metal Ears

by Justin Gaines
– Senior Columnist/News Editor —

Picture Eternal Dark Heavy Metal EarsThe New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) scene may have gotten most of the attention from fans and the press (and rightly so) back in the early ‘80s, but the heavy metal sound and spirit were certainly not confined to the UK. Sweden, Germany, Denmark and even France got in on the act, and in the Netherlands it was the band Picture that carried the heavy metal banner. Picture was in many ways the Dutch answer to Saxon, starting with a simple hard-charging sound and developing a more anthemic, more melodic metal approach over the course of their early career.

Originally released in 1983, Eternal Dark was Picture’s fourth full-length album, and their first to feature vocalist Pete Lovell, who remains the band’s frontman to this day. It was also the first Picture album to feature two guitarists. Both of these factors gave Eternal Dark an added dimension over the band’s previous albums. It’s a powerful, melodic, heavy metal album that delivers full-on, raise your fist and sing along metal anthems from the very start. “Eternal Dark,” “Make You Burn,” “The Blade,” “Down and Out” – honestly there’s not a single track on Eternal Dark that doesn’t get the blood pumping and heads banging. It’s just a classic example of the European heavy metal sound in the 1980s.

The Picture back catalog was reissued back in 2001 on the Pseudonym label, but those reissues disappeared quickly and have become very expensive in recent years. The reissue specialists at Divebomb Records remedied that earlier this year when they reissued the first four Picture albums on a pair of deluxe 2-on-1 releases. The Eternal Dark reissue also features the band’s second album Heavy Metal Ears. Not only was it Picture’s second album, but it was the second full-length album they released in 1981. Heavy Metal Ears is a rougher, simpler album, sounding like the Saxon and Iron Maiden self-titled debuts with a heavy dose of Motorhead aggression. It’s still a totally fun, totally rocking album though, with some memorable tracks like the title track and “Unemployed.”

Both Eternal Dark and Heavy Metal Ears have been remastered, and the booklet features original cover art for both albums, as well as lyrics, vintage photos and an informative band history essay. It’s a nicely put-together reissue all around, and it gets this cult classic album back in fans’ hands.

Now that the early Picture albums have been reissued, there’s no excuse for fans of classic heavy metal not owning these vintage gems. If your tastes run to bands like Iron Maiden, Diamond Head, Overdrive, Mad Max, Pretty Maids and Saxon, you need to have some Picture in your collection!

Genre: New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM)

Rinus Vreugdenhill (b)
Laurens Bakker (d)
Pete Lovell (v, tracks 1-10)
Ronald Van Prooijen (v, tracks, 11-19)
Chris Van Jaarsveld (g, tracks 1-10)
Henry Van Manen (g, tracks 1-10)
Jan Bechtum (g, tracks 11-19)

Track Listing
21. Eternal Dark
22. Griffons Guard the Gold
23. Make You Burn
24. Battle for the Universe
25. The Blade
26. Flying In Time
27. Into the Underworld
28. Tell No Lies
29. Power of Evil
30. Down and Out
31. Heavy Metal Ears
32. Spend the Night With You
33. Unemployed
34. I’m Just a Simple Man
35. Funky Town
36. Out of Time
37. Night Tiger
38. No No No
39. Rock & Roll/Under Your Spell

Label: Divebomb Records


Hardrock Haven Rating: 9.5/10