Personnel: Tony Bourge (guitar); Ray Phillips (drums).
One of the most underrated metal acts of all time remains the U.K. trio Budgie. Although they managed to enjoy some chart success back home in England back in the '70s, the group remains little more than a curiosity stateside -- although some of their songs are unwittingly quite familiar to metalheads the world over, due to Metallica's 'appreciation' of the group (Budgie's ""Breadfan"" remains a live staple for Metallica). If you're new to Budgie, a fine place to start is the ten-track import collection from 1998, The Very Best Of Budgie. While Tony Iommi remains one of metal's all-time riff kings, Budgie has provided their fair share of molten heavy riffs, many of which are on display here -- tops being the aforementioned ""Breadfan,"" as well as ""In for the Kill."" Also included are such strong album cuts as ""In the Grip of a Tyrefitter's Hand,"" ""I Can't See My Feelings,"" and ""Zoom Club."" The only criticism of The Very Best Of is the omission of any tracks from their classic first two releases, 1971's Budgie and 1972's Squawk, which just happen to be their best albums from front to back. Regardless, for fans of heavy metal circa Black Sabbath's early-'70s output, Budgie's The Very Best Of is highly recommended. ~ Greg Prato