Power of Metal.dk Review

Too Hot to Handle
Style: Rock
Release date: 31 January, 2015
Playing time: 61:15

I think it will help to provide some background notes to this review. Quartz were part of the Black Country movement (Birmingham and environs, a.k.a. ‘the birthplace of Heavy Metal’) – a genre-defining location which spawned bands such as Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Judas Priest. The band got off to a flying start in 1977 but success did not always match expectations. After a while keyboardist/guitarist Geoff Nichols left to join Black Sabbath (with whom he would remain for 23 years), the band released a 3rd album and then split up. Now the band is back in (almost) its original line-up. 

So “Too Hot to Handle” is only the band’s 4th album and the first thing I should emphasise is that it’s made up of 2 demos recorded over 30 years ago but which reflect the band’s current formation. One demo contains the entire “Against All Odds” album of 1983, albeit the songs are all slightly different. Besides, Geoff Bate was the album’s singer but here we hear his predecessor and current Quartz vocalist David Garner. The other demo contains 6 tracks seeing the light of day for the very first time. 

A great job has been done in polishing the sound of the whole product but the quality limitations of a demo are still there. This is something that also affects the overall mood. For example if you compare ‘Avalon’ with its previous version, in “Too Hot to Handle” it sounds rougher but lacks some of the melodic touches it had in “Against All Odds”. As far as the previously unreleased songs are concerned, I quite liked them, especially the catchy ‘Right Above Myself’. 

The music is not really Heavy Metal (despite a misleading artwork) and the AOR/Blues Rock designation would suit it better. For comparisons’ sake, it has hints of Foreigner, Samson, early Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin. It’s doubtlessly a style that reflects the band’s roots. 

Back to “Too Hot to Handle”...the songs are well-written with Garner in particularly good form.  But let’s zoom in on the album...‘Tell Me Why’ leans on the Pop side of Rock and has quite a catchy chorus. I liked the guitars and melodies in ‘Revelation’ and ‘Silver Wheels’ is one of the album’s most anthemic songs. ‘Right Above Myself’ has a passion and groove that reminds me of Peter Frampton. 

In a way “Too Hot to Handle” is like a vegetarian dish...healthy and good for you but not as fulfilling as a well done steak. It has some good songs but quality-wise I don’t think it compares to Quartz’ debut. Now I’m curious to hear what would materialise if Quartz prove their mettle with new compositions.


01. Too Hot to Handle *
02. Crack the Sky **
03. Hard Road *
04. Just Another Man *
05. Silver Wheels *
06. Frontline **
07. Love 'Em & Run *
08. Madman *
09. Buried Alive *
10. The Lawman **
11. Tell Me Why *
12. Revelation **
13. Avalon *
14. Right Above Myself **
15. Gold Digger **
16. It's Hell Livin' Without You * 

* (First appeared in the “Against All Odds” album in slightly different versions)
(Previously unheard songs)

Label: Skol Records
Buy the disc: Skol Records
Reviewed by: Chris Galea
Date: 25 January, 2015
Website: www.quartztheband.co.uk