LATEST

TSA – Heavy Metal World

For the Western listener who grew up on Deep Purple, AC/DC or Iron Maiden this release or band may not sound “musically challenging”. However, when the historical context is taken into consideration with the tough socio-political situation in 1980s Poland, it is then that one can really admire and understand this band.

Alcoholism, bad drains, long queues, peeling plaster, overcrowded homes and buses, polluted air, heavy falls of soot and chemical dust, unmade pavements, sub-standard service, endless delays and arguments with petty officials” (Norman Davies, God’s Playground) – this more or less describes everyday life in Poland during Communist rule in the 1970s and 1980s. Hardly any food or consumer products were available in the stores and yet CD sales plummeted and concert halls were always filled up with passionate Polish youth. The 1980s in Poland experienced a rock and heavy metal music boom. One of the most popular bands of that time was TSA.

TSA’s self-titled debut album sold 250,000 copies. That’s a lot not only for that time period but it is an even larger number for today’s album-sale standards. Recording conditions in 80s Poland were not great; it was hard to find a proper studio in order to record your album, get permission to record (from the censorship office) and even harder to find a rehearsal space. For this reason, many Polish bands were really “live” bands rather than recording bands at that time. Other than a select few state-funded alternative music festivals (Jarocin Festival, Metalmania or Rock Jamboree), most concerts took place in Houses of Culture. Such venues were located in every district and were available for every citizen. This was the socialist state’s attempt to expand its control into the suburbs and countryside by promoting state-funded culture. Despite the state’s attempt to promote its own approved form of music and culture, these venues laid the foundations of Poland’s rock, punk and metal boom as these were the only places rockers could find musical instruments and perform their music.

It is in such an environment that TSA’s music was born. By the mid-1980s, TSA was probably the most popular band in Poland with one year totalling of 300 concerts performed by the energetic group. The demand for this band was so huge that sometimes they played three gigs per day. Even if the state’s mission was to promote socially acceptable and socialist culture, hard rock and heavy metal could be heard on the state-run Polish Radio. Their 1984 album Heavy Metal World included four hit songs which received regular play: “Alien”, which was dedicated to the band’s fans who always supported them, and is a powerful song about a lonely person; “Heavy Metal Świat”, which is considered as the band’s anthem is more than that as it describes the heavy metal “world” which the Polish youth escaped to from everyday mundane realities; as well as “Ty, On, Ja” and “Kocica”. Both “Alien” and “Heavy Metal Świat” debuted at first place on the charts.

Although there is also an English version of the album with English lyrics, it is the Polish version which really reveals the authentic TSA sound. In 2015, 31 years after its release, Heavy Metal World wins the test of time by still sounding relevant. For the Western listener who grew up on Deep Purple, AC/DC or Iron Maiden this release may not sound “musically challenging”. However, when the historical context is taken into consideration with the tough socio-political situation in 1980s Poland, it is then that one can really admire and understand this band. It is then that the lyrics of their songs such as their sing-a-long anthem “Heavy Metal Świat”, “Alien” or “Ty, On, Ja” are most impressive. It is then that one can understand that this is not just an Eastern European band copying music trends which were already created in the West. No, the music on this album – and every TSA album – is clearly influenced by the band member’s surroundings and environment in Poland. If you want to go on a historical heavy metal ride behind the Iron Curtain, then I recommend you start with this album (as well as their self-titled full-length).

TSA with its original line-up is performing in London on 23rd May at The Garage. All the details are here. The band is also reissuing their sold out 2004 album Proceder via Metal Mind Productions.

TSA - Heavy Metal World

Track listing:
1. Kocica
2. Ty, On, Ja
3. Biała Śmierć
4. Alien
5. Maratończyk
6. Koszmarny Sen
7. Piosełka
8. Heavy Metal Świat
9. TSA Pod Tatrami

TSA on Heavy Metal World were:
Marek Piekarczyk – Vocals
Andrzej Nowak – Guitars
Stefan Machel – Guiatrs
Janusz Niekrasz – Bass
Marek Kapłon – Drums

TSA 1980s

More TSA:
Official Website
Facebook

 

Dom
About Dom (1284 Articles)
I started this website in 2011 because I always had a burning passion of sharing music and keeping people informed about what's going on in the metal and rock worlds. If I am not sitting in a dark room in front of a computer, listening to some obscure music (or Whitesnake), then I am usually found at a concert or a festival interviewing bands (or drinking beer).

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.