Girlschool is a rare all-female heavy metal band that, despite never having attained superstar status, has produced good music for over three decades. Lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist Kim McAuliffe and bassist Enid Williams formed the British band in 1978, soon adding lead guitarist Kelly Johnson and drummer Denise Dufort. Johnson passed away from spinal cancer in 2007 and has been replaced by Jackie Chambers.
They reached their commercial peak in the early ’80s with a string of successful albums in their home country, proving they could hang with the best male metal bands of the era. Their aggressive brand of in-your-face, pulse-pounding rock was emblematic of ’80s metal. On the other hand, it also had melodies that made Girlschool’s sound more accessible than many of their contemporaries.
Their sales and commercial appeal declined in the mid-to-late ’80s but the band has remained active in the studio and on the road down to the present day. At times they’ve expanded to a five-member unit but now their basic four-person configuration has returned to re-record the band’s most successful and arguably most creative album, 1981’s Hit and Run.
They wisely do not attempt to reinvent the wheel but rather make it just a little heavier. The sound is not as raw as on the original but it contains a fair degree of finesse. McAuliffe’s rhythm guitar is a little more prominent. It all adds up to a being a modernized version of this classic album rather than a complete overhaul.
The intensity and sledgehammer power of the music is still present. “C’mon Let’s Go” is a frenetic invitation to a mosh pit. “I’m Your Victim” is a prime example of ’80s high-speed metal. ZZ Top’s hard-rock classic “Tush” gets revved up into a heavy-metal classic. And such tracks as “Yeah Right,” “Hit and Run,” and “Future Flash” deliver a smooth ride through the collective mind and music of Girlschool.
This is not music for candlelight and wine, but rather for Jack Daniels and headphones. If you are into heavy metal and have yet to get into Girlschool, then Hit and Run will be a treat.