TKO – In Your Face (1984/2008 reissue)

TKO – In Your Face (1984/2008 reissue, Tribunal/Divebomb Records)

  1. I Wanna Fight
  2. Run Out Of Town
  3. Give Into The Night
  4. End Of The Line
  5. Working Girl
  6. All I Want To Do
  7. Don’t Give It Away
  8. I Can Do Without You
  9. So This Is Rock ‘N Roll
  10. Danger City
  11. I Wanna Fight*
  12. Run Out Of Town*
  13. Give Into The Night*
  14. End Of The Line*
  15. Working Girl*
  16. All I Want To Do*
  17. Don’t Give It Away*
  18. I Can Do Without You*
  19. So This Is Rock ‘N Roll*
  20. Danger City*

(* Bonus tracks – 2001 remixes)

Band Lineup:
Brad Sinsel – Vocals
Adam “Bomb” Brenner – Guitars
Evan Sheely – Bass
Gary Thompson – Drums

Producer: Rick Keefer
Remix Producer: Rick Keefer

Total Time = 1:14:37

TKO MySpace page
Divebomb Records
Divebomb Records MySpace page
Tribunal Records

TKO is another one of those bands that I discovered during hours of reading Rock magazines when I was a kid. Somewhere along the line, I saw an ad for the band’s second album, IN YOUR FACE, and I thought it looked cool. Take a look at the cover, every 12 year old in 1984 thought that Brad Sinsel looked cool standing over a topless chick in boxing gloves. The band’s name and the album’s image were genius to me when I was a young metalhead but the topless girl is probably what won me over! I never ended up buying the album but I did enjoy a dubbed cassette copy I acquired from a trader. Fast forward to the digital age and IN YOUR FACE has been reissued by various labels over the years…..all unofficially. Tribunal/Divebomb Records has worked closely with lead singer Brad Sinsel to finally release this album, and TKO’s debut LET IT ROLL, officially on CD.

TKO released their first record, LET IT ROLL, in 1979. Shortly after it’s release, their label (Infinity Records) was bought out by MCA and eventually folded. The band was without a record deal and the members went their separate ways. Lead singer Brad Sinsel brought in new members Adam “Bomb” Brenner, Evan Sheely, and Gary Thompson to form the “new” TKO and the band began writing and recording IN YOUR FACE in 1980 with the album being finished in ’81. The problem was TKO couldn’t get a record deal because the new album was too heavy for the current music market…..before Heavy Metal really took off in the States. Rock was dead in ’81 and Disco was still king! Without a deal, the three new members eventually left (Brenner for a solo career and Sheely & Thompson to Q5) and were replaced again. TKO ended up with their elusive record deal releasing IN YOUR FACE on Combat Records in 1984…..three years after it was originally recorded.

The Music:
IN YOUR FACE is a heavier album than it’s predecessor, the debut LET IT ROLL. Even though it was written and recorded in ’80/’81, the album sounds more like the Metal released in 1984. Gone are the keyboards and organ, although I do detect some on a couple of songs, and the guitars are turned up. Adam Bomb has a very sleazy dirty guitar sound and the duo of Sheely and Thompson are a solid rhythm section. Brad Sinsel’s vocal style changes on IN YOUR FACE, it’s more in your face! On LET IT ROLL, Sinsel has vocal style that sounds a lot like Roger Daltrey (The Who) and Michael Lee Smith (Starz). On IN YOUR FACE, there is more power and aggression to his voice, more Metal. What is remarkable about the album is that it was recorded three years before it was released and easily holds it’s own alongside other albums released in 1984 like KISS’ ANIMALIZE, Black ‘N Blue’s debut, Ratt’s OUT OF THE CELLAR, and Quiet Riot’s CONDITION CRITICAL. You can hear a NWOBHM influence on a lot of the album and, if you take the recording year (1981) into consideration, that was the midpoint of the NWOBHM era. Listening to the album now, it’s obvious that TKO was ahead of the game in the early ’80s but suffered due to a lack of a record contract. All that lost momentum probably cost the band their cut of fame and fortune.

In addition to the original album, a 2001 remix of the record is included as bonus tracks. The 2001 remixes were done by original producer Rick Keefer. From what I understand, these remixes were taken from the master tapes that were still in Keefer’s studio and the tapes had to be baked in order to make them useful for remixing. To my ears, the remixes sound inferior to the original album: everything sounds louder, the vocals are way up in the mix and the keyboards I detect in some songs get pushed way out in front at times. The songs don’t sound as heavy they sound more processed.

The Package:
Just like they did with the LET IT ROLL reissue, Tribunal & Divebomb Records got founding member Brad Sinsel involved in the project. For me, there is more credibility to a reissue project like this when the band is contacted for input and permission to re-release the material. Like I mentioned before, various labels over the years have released this album on CD but never with involvement from members of the band, although IN YOUR FACE was reissued on another label years ago with Adam Bomb’s permission. I believe there was a legal issue between Sinsel, Adam Bomb, and that other label over who actually owned the rights. Tribunal/Divebomb was able to get one of my favorite Rock writers, Martin Popoff from Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles, to write a quick band/album history for IN YOUR FACE just like he did with LET IT ROLL. Add lyrics to all the songs, pictures of the original vinyl, and the the 2001 album remixes and you have a solid package that is well worth buying.

Favorite Songs: Just like LET IT ROLL, it’s hard to pick a few favorites because I like the whole IN YOUR FACE album. If I had to choose a few standout tracks they would be ‘I Wanna Fight’, ‘Run Out Of Town’, ‘End Of The Line’, ‘Working Girl’, and ‘Don’t Give It Away’.

8 comments on “TKO – In Your Face (1984/2008 reissue)

  1. Totaly underrated record only loved by some guy from the METAL FORCES magazine from the UK in the early 80s(and i remember he loved LEGS DIAMOND and ANGEL too very much). I like this album too and its great you reviewed it steve.

  2. Hey

    Where can I find the TKO lyrics… I was looking for that, but I couldn’t find it.

    Do you have one?????

    See you….

    Great Blog!!!!!

  3. Iv’e done some work with Gary Thompson, and had the distinct honor of seeing TKO in 2001 at the EMP in Seattle (as they were being placed into a display). Thier talent as musicians was fantastic, and the music they played together was ahead of it’s time and very well put together. I have this album and recommend it to any who consider themselves a Metal lover…..

  4. I am definitely an “old school” metalhead. While searching for good music, I too, would consider how a band looked on the album cover(yes 33 1/3) and the cassette. I took chances if they looked cool. This was before Headbangers Ball so where I lived-Alabama-we didn’t hear about the metal bands until much later.
    I was lucky most of the time. I discovered TKO this way, as well bands like TNT, Heaven, Britny Fox, Hurricane, Mama’s Boys, Raven, etc.

  5. I had the chance to meet TKO’s guitarplayer Adam Brenner some years ago (2005), while he was touring with his band Adam Bomb. I didn’t know about TKO at the time, but later on I found out. Nowadays Adam still plays a lot in Europe, and besides his own songs he plays a tko classic like give in to the night, i wanna fight and so on.
    He’s a hard working musician who still knows how to handle the guitar and create a good live atmoshpere.

  6. I was wondering about Evan. I new him personally when I was in my early 20’s. He wanted us to date but I didn’t cause of children and what I was going to do since I was having a hard time. I have always thought. Remember Lois and Bruce.

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