Great Metal Albums of 1983: Y&T- Mean Streak

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on November 28, 2016 by 80smetalman

ytmeanstreak

This is one I have to thank MTV for. Y&T came to my attention in 1983 as a result of seeing the video for the title track of “Mean Streak” on it. While I don’t remember much about that video, (maybe I should Youtube it), I do know that I liked the song and continue to do so after all these years. However, it’s only my favourite Y&T song by default, being the first one I heard from the band. As for as the album “Mean Streak” is full of really good songs.

In regards to the rest of the album, it’s easy in my mind to understand why “Mean Streak” was released as a single. It sounds a bit more melodic than many of the other songs but that’s not what I like about it, I like that catchy riff. It’s also probably why it opens the album because once “Mean Streak” is done and dusted, the more powerful “Straight Thru the Heart” kicks in and batters your ears with its more powerful appeal. The rest of the album follows on from this.

One song on the album that challenges the title track for 80sMetalman’s favourite Y&T song is “Midnight in Tokyo.” This song has it all. A very catchy intro, some pounding power chords, some more tender moments and a cool guitar solo. With all of these things contained in one song, what’s not to like about it? So, why isn’t it my new favourite Y&T song? The answer is down to the fact that I don’t have it on my mp3, so I haven’t been listening to it over the years like I have the title track.

Another really good track is “Hang’em High.” This one does the tightrope act of treading between melody and power and it does a nice job of it. Certainly one to headbang away to while driving in the car or engaged in an activity where music aids rather than distracts. I do like that slow down part with the drum roll in the middle of the song, again, nicely done. “Take You To the Limit” is a cool song as well, especially with the guitar solo at the beginning. After, it becomes a cool power bop. “Sentimental Fool” is definitely not sentimental in the way it sounds. I love the guitar solo on it and “Down and Dirty” closes the album as well as any closing song I know.

Track Listing:

  1. Mean Streak
  2. Straight Thru the Heart
  3. Lonely Side of Town
  4. Midnight in Tokyo
  5. Breaking Away
  6. Hang’em High
  7. Take You To the Limit
  8. Sentimental Fool
  9. Down and Dirty
Y&T

Y&T

Dave Meniketti- lead guitar, lead vocals

Joey Alves- rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Phil Kennemore- bass, backing vocals, Moog Taurus pedals

Leonard Haze- drums, percussion, backing vocals

“Mean Streak” successfully turned my head in the direction of Y&T with this strong power album. That led me to listening to their previous album “Black Tiger,” which is also a true metal album. This begs the question which I will investigate further down the years with this band’s discography. What made them put out something like “Summertime Girls?”

Next post: I can’t be sure when that will be as my computer has to go in for servicing. I wrote this post having to contend with numerous pop-ups. When I return it will be Vandenberg- Heading for a Storm

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles book shop on London

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1983: Saxon- Power and the Glory

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 26, 2016 by 80smetalman

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For a young American living in the sticks of Southern New Jersey in 1983, Diamond Head was probably the best kept secret of the new wave of British heavy metal, (NWOBHM). I only was fortunate to know their existence because I happened to see them live in England that summer. However, if that is truly the case, then Saxon was the best NWOBHM band not to fully get the respect in the US they truly deserved. Their 1983 album “Power and the Glory” is a solid piece of evidence as to why.

It would be a very difficult task for any Saxon album to knock off “Denim and Leather” as my favourite album of theirs, so “Power and the Glory” will have to settle for number two. It is every much the killer as its 1981 predecessor! I have to admit, I’m pretty much impressed with all eight of the tracks on here. Maybe that’s why it’s only number two because “Denim and Leather” has nine.

“Power and the Glory” opens with the title track which is a good song to catch your attention. However, compared to the other tracks on the album, it’s the weakest, not that in any way it’s not a good track, it is. But the others that follow are mind blowing. Some really cool guitar solos from Oliver and Quinn on the tracks “Nightmare” and “This Town Rocks.” On the latter, I am wondering which town they are singing about because back in the mid 1980s, I lived in a town that didn’t. Some might say that about the town I live in now in the UK but those who rock aren’t visible. They just come out whenever a cool band like Hells Bells comes to town. Here I go digressing again. Great songs all here!

Impressing me further is the intro to “Midas Touch.” While Saxon has historically had many songs whose introduction has been a great hook, the one on this track takes the top spot for the album. And like so many Saxon songs, “Midas Touch” isn’t a song with a great intro that descends into mediocrity as the song progresses.

If my favourite Saxon album didn’t have such a killer closing track, then I would probably be gushing over the closer on “Power and the Glory.” I have to put “Denim and Leather” totally out of my mind so I can sing the praises of “The Eagle Has Landed.” It works in so many ways, as a closer and as a song in itself, great song. I have to say that I think Biff and the boys were on top form when they made “Power and the Glory.”

Track Listing:

  1. Power and the Glory
  2. Redline
  3. Warrior
  4. Nightmare
  5. This Town Rocks
  6. Watching the Sky
  7. Midas Touch
  8. The Eagle Has Landed
Saxon

Saxon

Biff Byford- vocals

Graham Oliver- guitar

Paul Quinn- guitar

Steve Dawson -bass

Nigel Glockler- drums

Some might argue that with all the great metal, especially (NWOBHM) albums that were out in 1983, it’s easy to see why Saxon’s “Power and the Glory” might have been overlooked in the US. No excuse I say and I wish it didn’t take me another two years before I started listening to Saxon in earnest. This album deserves to stand with all the other ones that were around in that year.

Next post: Y&T- Mean Streak

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1983: Diamond Head- Canterbury

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2016 by 80smetalman

diamond_head_canterbury_cover

It is quite possible that my mind is well and truly going. My memories from when I saw Diamond Head at the 1983 Monsters of Rock Festival at Donington Park in England, I thought that this band played some really hard metal. However, when I listen to their 1983 “Canterbury” album, which was released two months before their Donington appearance, I find myself asking, “Is this the same band?” The “Canterbury” album isn’t that straight forward in your face metal I remember from when I saw them all those years ago. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a cool album and there are a couple of hard tracks on it, however, the album takes a more progressive rock, artsy direction.

The first two tracks are definitely in the progressive vein but still decent tracks. For some reason, the opener, “Makin’ Music” reminds me a little of the opening track from Pat Travers’ live album. Things go gradually harder with the tracks that follow. The first metal track in the sense of the word for me is “One More Night.” That song does knock your socks off. I could say the same thing for the next track as well but the vocals remind me too much of early U2. I don’t want to insult lead singer Sean Harris but he does sound like Bono a little on it. One could say that this track might be what U2 would sound like if they went metal, as if. Then again, maybe I think too damn much.

Thoughts of U2 ┬ádon’t disappear immediately on the very next track. They linger for the first half of “Knight of the Swords” but they do go away when Brian Tatler lays down his best guitar solo on the album. For me, that alone makes it the best track on the album. You know all this thinking about U2, I have to remember that back in 1983, they were good in my eyes and ears as they were with many others. So, the comparisons shouldn’t be seen as a harsh criticism. After “Knight of the Swords,” things go more melodic hard rock with “Ishmael.” It’s an okay song but I don’t find it anything to get too excited about. With “I Need Your Love,” Diamond Head goes kind of new wave/metal. It is a good track to bop your head along to and it hosts the second best guitar solo on it, so pluses all around. The title track closes the album and this is definitely an artsy progressive rock tune. It begins with a piano to which Harris sings a ballad like tune for the first two and a half minutes. While the song doesn’t go crazy power metal after, it does pick up the tempo. There is some fine musicianship on it and it turns out to be a good way to end the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Makin’ Music
  2. Out of Phase
  3. The Kingmaker
  4. One More Night
  5. To the Devil His Due
  6. Knight of the Swords
  7. Ishmael
  8. I Need Your Love
  9. Cantebury
Sean Harris and  Brian Tatler who made up Diamond Head

Sean Harris and Brian Tatler who made up Diamond Head

Sean Harris- vocals

Brian Tatler- guitars

Additional Musicians:

Colin Kimberly- bass

Mervyn Goldsworthy- bass

Duncan Scott- drums

Robbie France- drums

Jamie Lane- drums

Chris Heaton- keyboards

Back in the early 1980s, Diamond were the best kept secret of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, (NWOBHM). While Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Saxon to name some had established themselves as big names in the US, most Americans never heard of Diamond Head. One such person, when reading my Donington t-shirt thought that because the name Diamond Head was on it, the concert had taken place in Hawaii. I put him right on that one. “Canterbury” might not have been the metal album one would expect from Diamond Head, but it’s still good album nevertheless.

Next post: Saxon- Power and Glory

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishingroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1983: Manowar- Into Glory Ride

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 16, 2016 by 80smetalman

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The more I listen to any album by Manowar, the more perplexed I become at the fact that Kerrang Magazine called them a joke band. Maybe it was because they appeared to have fun when they made their music or possibly it was down to the fact that in the magazine’s view, the world wasn’t quite ready for Viking metal. I’ve never considered Manowar a joke then or now and the funny things is that I can listen and enjoy them after all the these years while in my opinion, Kerrang has basically sucked since the mid 1990s and I no longer read it. Saying that, I shouldn’t slag them off too much because Kerrang Radio did interview me about “Rock and Roll Children” in 2011.

One of Manowar’s albums I still enjoy listening to is their 1983 offering, “Into Glory Ride.” While it’s a small fraction below their debut album, “Battle Hyms” it’s a whale of an album nonetheless. Nearly all of the songs have the melodic high notes sung by Eric Adams accompanied by some very inventive guitar playing by Ross the Boss. Listening to the album today, I can’t help thinking that bands like Hammerfall and Gloryhammer listened to “Into Glory Ride” and thought to themselves, “Hey, these guys have something here.” Because I am convinced that both of those bands were influenced by Manowar and this album particularly.

“Warlord,” the opener is the only more straightforward metal song on here, well as straightforward as Manowar can get but it’s still a good way to start out the album. The rest of the album, all six other songs are well over five minutes and sound more progressive or viking like. The best example of this is on my favourite track, “Gates of Vahalla.” This song is rife with great vocals and Ross the Boss fingering his guitar all the way through, all seven minutes and eleven seconds of it. We can’t take anything away from the rhythm section though because Joey DeMaio and the newly acquired Scott Columbus do a brilliant job here as they do on all the songs. Only “Hatred” is longer by twenty seven seconds and while it’s a cool song, I think Adams screams a bit too much on it. Also I love the intro on “Revelation (Death’s Angel.) This one is power metal at its best.

Track Listing;

  1. Warlord
  2. Secrets of Steel
  3. Gloves of Metal
  4. Gates of Valhalla
  5. Hatred
  6. Revelation (Death’s Angel)
  7. March for Revenge (By the Soldiers of Death)
Manowar

Manowar

Eric Adams- vocals

Ross the Boss- guitar, keyboards

Joey DeMaio- bass

Scott Columbus- drums

Maybe the mainstream world wasn’t ready for viking metal or power metal in 1983. I know I would have been but sadly, it would be nearly three more years before I actually listened to any Manowar. I’ve more than made up for that since, this album and “Battle Hyms” especially.

Next post: Diamond Head- Canterbury

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London.

 

Great Metal Albums of 1983: Bernie Torme- Electric Gypsies

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 12, 2016 by 80smetalman

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For most musicians, being kicked out of a band usually spells the end for their music careers. One would have been forgiven for thinking that would have happened to guitarist Bernie Torme when he was fired by Ian Gillan from his band. It seems somebody forgot to tell that to Bernie because in 1983, he was back with a new band, sometimes referred to as the name of this album, “Electric Gypsies.”

Back in the 1980s, not many Americans heard of Bernie Torme. I only learned of him when I saw this album on a catalog, though I never bought it, silly me. It wasn’t until I got to England in 1986 when a new found friend introduced me to Bernie Torme and eventually this album. I have been grateful to this friend ever since.

“Electric Gypsies” is one hell of an album, plain and simple. With a good rhythm section behind him and bassist Everton Williams also providing vocals, Bernie Torme just shows what he can do with the guitar and so many rocking ways. “20th Century” is a pure metal tune that just belts your eardrums from the very first note. However, the next track is my all time favourite, “Lightning Strikes.” It starts out with a soft progressive metal before it gets down to business with some heavy chords. This is the first song where Bernie truly goes to town with the guitar. Hell, he doesn’t go to town, he goes to the city and countryside and a few other places with it. He just lays down the jams on this one.

I like the funky vibe on the two songs after, “Too Young” and “Call of the Wild.” Both songs have a real catchy hook on them with the added bonus of Bernie’s soloing, especially on the latter of the two. “D.I.S.E.” is nearly a speed metal track but it’s pulled off rather well. Then comes “Presence.” It starts out like it’s going to be a hippy more progressive song with a very eerie but nice sounding melody to the acoustic guitar. I still find myself wanting to lay back and absorb myself into the song wishing I had something to smoke. This is the first half of the song but even then things don’t get that much harder. Bernie’s solo is captivating with Frank Noon doing some excellent drumming in support, a very interesting song to say the least.

The last two songs bring “Electric Gypsies” out on a real high. “I Can’t Control Myself” is a party song and livens things up following its more somber predecessor and that leads to “Go Go” closing the album out. This was truly an overlooked album.

Track Listing:

  1. Wild West
  2. 20 Century
  3. Lightning Strikes
  4. Too Young
  5. Call of the Wild
  6. D.I.S.E.
  7. Presence
  8. I Can’t Control Myself
  9. Go Go
    Bernie Torme and his band

    Bernie Torme and his band

    Bernie Torme- guitar, vocals

  10. Everton Williams- bass, vocals
  11. Frank Noon- drums

Do you think that Ian Gillan ever regretted firing Bernie Torme? Probably not but for Bernie, it gave him the opportunity to put out a kick ass album in 1983. Have a listen.

Next post: Manowar- Into Glory Ride

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

Rest in Peace Leonard Cohen

Posted in Books, Death, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on November 11, 2016 by 80smetalman
Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen

With already so many great musicians, actors and producers going to the great gig in the sky this year, I was hoping that we could get through the rest of 2016 without any more sadness. I was wrong. It has come to my attention via my son of the passing of Canadian born novelist, poet and singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen. The exact details of his death are not known but a statement from his son states that Leonard died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Los Angeles.

Personally, I never owned any of his records though I often heard his name mentioned in many musical circles. Anyone who has heard the song “Hallelujah” will have heard him, even if they didn’t realize it was him singing. His work both musically and literary explored many topics including sexuality, politics, religion and relationships to name a few. Therefore it saddens me to read of his passing. May he Rest in Peace.

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1983: Riot- Born in America

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 9, 2016 by 80smetalman

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Looking back, I had heard of Riot about the same time as I did Hanoi Rocks. The difference being that I never saw Riot live and therefore it would be several more years before I actually listened to anything from them. I do feel like I missed something there. I have already reviewed two of their previous offerings, “Fire Down Under” and “Restless Breed,” both of which were damn good albums. Now that I have listened to their 1983 album, “Born in America,” I can say that album too is just as good.

“Born in America” is another straightforward, in your face metal album from Riot. There are no frills, just great songs. The first two set the album off in totally the right direction. Things appear to slow down with “Wings of Fire.” The song suckers you into believing it’s a ballad for the first minute then Kapow! The song goes into another metal frenzy. (Note: I was going to say ‘Wham’ but that word shouldn’t be used on any 80smetalman post.) I love the guitar solo on “Running From the Law,” another good song.

Next comes “Devil Woman” and yes, it’s a cover of the Cliff Richard single. Admitting my sad teenage years, I liked Cliff’s version when I heard it in 1976. Back then, that was probably the hardest song on AM radio. Riot takes the song and raises it to its full potential. Great power chords with some cool guitar soloing and Rhett Forester’s voice sounds a hell of a lot better on this song than Cliff Richard, sorry Cliff.

In spite of my high praise for “Devil Woman,” it is not the high point of “Born in America.” It’s simply the climax. All of the songs that follow are superb starting with my favourite, “Vigilante Killer.” The ones that follow on are just as good. All have the trademarks of what makes good heavy metal but it would be unfair to the songs if I were to mention any one of them without mentioning the others. They’re all that good and that makes the album fantastic.

Track Listing:

  1. Born in America
  2. You Burn in Me
  3. Wings of Fire
  4. Running From the Law
  5. Devil Woman
  6. Vigilante Killer
  7. Heavy Metal Machine
  8. Where Soldiers Rule
  9. Gunfighter
  10. Promised Land
Riot

Riot

Rhett Forester- vocals

Mark Reale- guitars

Rick Ventura- guitars

Kip Leming- bass

Sandy Slavin- drums

“Born in America” would mark the end of Riot as it was known here. All except Mark Reale would leave the band leaving him to eventually recruit other names for the band. But that wouldn’t happen for another five years in heavy metal history. Forrester would have some solo success but again, that’s a story for later. Since “Born in America” was such a cool album, it can be safely said that Riot definitely went out on a high with it.

Next post: Bernie Torme and the Electric Gypsies

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.80smetalman.wordpress.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes And Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London