Trampled Underfoot - s/t. 1998 USA
CD reissue: 2003 Steelheart (Italy)
Trampled Underfoot were an obscure metal band from Charlotte, North Carolina, who were lead by guitar instructor Kyle Harrison. Contrary to what one would think knowing this tidbit, the album is actually a really fine melodic heavy metal album, with some added complexity, along the lines of mid 80s Iron Maiden or Savatage. There's a few "lookee what I can do" moments of shred, but they are placed tastefully, so fortunately this isn't a guitar hero album, which are often boring to anyone but students of the instrument. The songs are well written, the tones are heavy (in an 80s way), and the vocals are fantastic*. An interesting moniker the band chose, but unfortunately there are no links musically to Led Zeppelin's hard rock staple.
One reason the album is so obscure, is the only release it obtained initially was via Pony Canyon in Japan (first scan), which would have guaranteed it to be an expensive import for most fans at the time (and still not in Discogs as I write this). And 1998 was not a good year commercially for this kind of metal anyway. 5 years later, the Italian label Steelheart picked it up for wider distribution. But with the band in mothballs and metal not quite in "nostalgia mode" yet, the audience was predictably light, and into the mists of obscurity Trampled Underfoot went to be discovered at a later date. And it will be, mark my words. I have to say the Japanese cover is more alluring.
* - An interesting footnote here. Based on internet comments from singer Shawn Perlata,he states that he only sang on three of the songs. He goes on to note that the singer on the other vocal tracks was a gentleman named Rod Hendrix. Hendrix himself is not listed anywhere in the credits of the Steelheart CD, and Perlata is the only person photoed and credited with vocals. Bizarre.