NWOBHM footnotes Prowler finally achieve the full package

Forty years on, the Chris Tsangarides-produced Reactivate becomes a debut album for Essex rockers Prowler

Prowler: Reactivate cover art
(Image: © Cherry Red)

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The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal spawned plenty of global superstars and hugely influential, if commercially underachieving, figures. Prowler didn’t come close on either front, not least because the Essex quartet didn’t get to release a full album in their original ’75-’82 lifespan. 

Forty years on, Cherry Red Records have attempted to rectify that. Prowler aren’t pushing the envelope. High-octane opener Gotta Get Back To You sounds like a close cousin of Iron Maiden’s Running Free, and elsewhere their reliance on tightly wound riffs has a strong Saxon vibe about it as twin guitars lace Prisoner’s breathless assault. 

Although the late, legendary Chris Tsangarides produced the original 1980 tracks, the low budget is reflected in a low-fidelity finish. 

Yet none of that detracts from the sinewy hard rock punch these songs pack, and more recent re-recordings, included here retain much of the original vim.

Johnny Sharp

Johnny is a regular contributor to Prog and Classic Rock magazines, both online and in print. Johnny is a highly experienced and versatile music writer whose tastes range from prog and hard rock to R’n’B, funk, folk and blues. He has written about music professionally for 30 years, surviving the Britpop wars at the NME in the 90s (under the hard-to-shake teenage nickname Johnny Cigarettes) before branching out to newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent and magazines such as Uncut, Record Collector and, of course, Prog and Classic Rock