Listeners familiar only with Bernie Tormé
's career among the greatest metal guitarists of his (or any other) generation might well be in for a major surprise as this disc slaps onto the player. Or maybe they won't. Recorded for the most part during 1977, as the very first incarnation of his eponymous band threw itself into the then-emergent punk sound, Punk or What
combines a wealth of often brilliant (if occasionally schizophrenic) demo recordings with the band's debut contributions to the semi-seminal Live at the Vortex
live album, to paint a portrait of a band that had a far greater grip on its future and its past (an excellent cover of "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere") than it did on its punky present. Put it this way, it was no surprise whatsoever when Tormé
turned up in Ian Gillan
's band. He'd been auditioning for it for two years! That said, Tormé
's songwriting throughout this collection is powerful and bold, and the tempos were certainly fast and deceptive enough to keep the most discriminating punk audience happily pogoing all night long.