Birmingham heavy metal band QUARTZ is writing material for a new album, tentatively due in 2015. In addition, the group is putting the finishing touches on a compilation featuring previously unreleased studio material from the '80s, to be released later this year via Skol Records.QUARTZ came out of the British hard rock hotbed of Birmingham to join the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal movement in the late '70s. With a lineup that included John Bonham associate Mike Hopkins and future BLACK SABBATH keyboardist Geoff Nichols, they were actually founded under the name BANDYLEGS but changed when Jet Records showed interest in the band. They signed a contract with the label and toured with both AC/DC and BLACK SABBATH before beginning work on their first album. The tour with BLACK SABBATH turned out to be quite fruitful, as they gained a tour manager (Albert Chapman) and a big fan in SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi. Iommi took over the production duties on their eponymous debut, drafting QUEEN's Brian May into the sessions to play some guitar. The album was important to the emerging scene, and they joined DIAMOND HEAD and DEF LEPPARD in being one of the first bands to make heavy metal faster and less plodding. QUARTZ stayed relevant to the genre for their short time together, but by 1983 their irreconcilable differences split the band apart. Time has eroded how important the band was to the genre at the time, but fans of that period in heavy metal history know QUARTZ's place in the scheme of things. QUARTZ was among one of Birmingham's greatest rock bands and all NWOBHM fans still holds tracks like "Satan's Serenade", "Wildfire" and "Street Fighting Lady" close to their hearts. Over their career QUARTZ toured heavily — playing the Reading Festival three times ('76, ''77 and '80) — and touring as support to the likes of UFO, IRON MAIDEN, SAXON, GILLAN and RUSH. The band released four albums. QUARTZ recently teamed up with Gabriel Management (which represents such acts as CRYSTAL VIPER, SACRED STEEL and SATAN'S HOST) in order to help the band improve and increase its presence and status. Sanctuary Records released an anthology double-CD set from QUARTZ in 2004.
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