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Breaker

Coffee Breaker Concert (Auburn Records)

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Waaay back in '83, the book of metal was still being written -- Mötley Crüe had just released Shout at the Devil, and nobody had even heard of Metallica. Somewhere between those two, Breaker could have added a chapter, but it stayed in Cleveland, cultivating a loyal following in the Rust Belt and Germany.

A reissue of a long-out-of-print WMMS Coffee Break show, Coffee Breaker Concert doesn't exactly rip and rule by today's standards. But Breaker circa '83 sounds better than most of the L.A. scrubs featured in the 1988 documentary Decline of Western Civilization II: The Metal Years. Ian Shipley plays hard-charging bass, obliterating the band's cheesier tendencies (testicle-popping high notes and wail-away guitar solos). Even at its low points -- the off-key call-and-response of "All or Nothing" probably isn't how they'd like to be remembered -- it's a fascinating historical document. At best, it's the sound of Northeast Ohio wrathchildren out to invade your home and kick your ass.

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