Ray Gunn’s sole release, 1987s Ray Gunn, is a bit of a lost Seattle classic. While grunge was bubbling under and approaching critical mass, the city was probably best know for producing some decent metal bands like Metal Church, Queensrÿche, and The Accüsed, and given how many dudes you’d see around in leather (or denim) jackets and big hair you’d have been forgiven for thinking that it was metal that was going to put the Seattle on the map. But it wasn’t to be, and dozens of bands came and went. One of these was Ray Gunn.
The metal displayed on Ray Gunn is a movement away from the hair metal of that was topping the charts. It doesn’t go as far as thrash, but falls more in to the realm of NWOBHM (♣) bands like Iron Maiden – soaring and powerful vocals, driving rhythms, and shredding guitars. Every now and then they sneak a more radio-friendly jam in, like the closing track “R.M.A.”, but even these are decent, especially the guitar work.
Ray Gunn is a bit of a collectible these days – a private press release that was likely produced in limited quantities. (♠) Copies show up for sale here and there, and some of these are still in shrink which probably implies something about how this sold back in the day. It’s too bad, really, because it’s a very good 1980s metal album, both musically and from a production standpoint – songs like “I Don’t Know” are as good as much of what was filling the FM airwaves at the time, but for whatever reason these guys never got their break.
(♣) New Wave Of British Heavy Metal
(♠) They hype sticker on the shrink specifically referred to it as “Limited Edition”, but without telling us specifically how limited.