Archive for June, 2019

Great Metal Albums of 1985: Helix- Long Way to Heaven

Posted in Uncategorized on June 30, 2019 by 80smetalman

220px-Helix_LongWayToHeaven

Helix’s “Long Way to Heaven” album was another one I happened to discover by chance in 1985. One day in the summer of said year, I happened to be in my local record store and happened to spy a copy the Canadian metal magazine “Metallion” on the shelf. Seeing it was not Motley Crue magazine, erm “Hit Parader,” I bought it. On the cover was the band Helix and that’s how I discovered they had a new album out.

helix

This was the actual magazine I bought in 1985. I can’t believe I found it online! 

Today, most people would consider “Long Way to Heaven” to be more hard rock than metal but back in 1985, I never worried over these things. In an era taken over by synth pop on the radio, it was good to hear some power chords and this album has plenty of it. On the other hand, I can understand why some wouldn’t call this a metal album. The opening song, “The Kids are All Shakin,'” is very heavy on the Foreigner influence. The song reminds me of “Hot Blooded,” to a small extent. Not that I’m complaining. The second song, “Deep Cuts the Knife” is my vote for best song on the album. It starts out with a cool acoustic intro and lures you into thinking it’s going to be a ballad before it goes nuts with the power chords. Listening to it more carefully, there is some fine musicianship on the song.

It’s with the next two tracks where the mythical border between hard rock and metal gets somewhat blurred in regards to “Long Way to Heaven.” These are both straight forward metal tracks and they definitely pick up the pace of the album, the title cut especially. Don’t be fooled by the following track, “House on Fire,” either. Yes, it may have a progressive sounding intro but it the song simply cooks and by the time it’s over, one is assured that Helix are still playing some cool metal. It has a cool guitar solo on it as well.

“Christine” starts the second half of the album out with the same heavy metal determination in which the first side ended. Then the track, “Without You  (Jasmine’s Song), changes things up a little. It starts out with a blinding guitar solo but then mellows a bit as if it’s going to be a power ballad, then goes heavy again. One must be on their toes for the change ups in the tempo but Helix pull it off very well. It gets my ‘runner up’ vote for best track on the album. The clunking bass followed by some power guitar lets you know that “School of Hard Knocks” is going to be nothing but a metal tune. The big stamp is put on by the way the guitar solos its way out of the song at the end. The last two tracks are simply power rockers and the closer “Bangin’ Off-A_The Bricks,” does its part ending closing the album an a high, especially with the guitar solo and Brian Vollmer’s little rap after it.

Track Listing:

  1. The Kids Are All Shakin’
  2. Deep Cuts the Knife
  3. Ride the Rocket
  4. Long Way to Heaven
  5. House On Fire
  6. Christine
  7. Without You (Jasmine’s Song)
  8. School of Hard Knocks
  9. Don’t Touch the Merchandise
  10. Bangin’ Off-A-The Bricks
helix

Helix and their friends

Brian Vollmer- vocals

Paul Hackman- guitar, vocals

Brent ‘The Doctor’ Doerner- guitar, vocals

Daryl Gray- bass, vocals

George ‘Fritz’ Hinz- drums

I am forever grateful to the Gods of metal for not letting this album pass me by in 1985. They do work in mysterious ways. Helix could be one of the most underrated Canadian bands of all time, which “Long Way to Heaven” gives witness of. As for “Metallion” Magazine, that would be the only copy I would ever buy but that issue has stuck with me for thirty-four years. More will be explained in a post in the near future.

Next post: Overkill- Feel the Fire

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://spdfrk-ks.gq/ibook/read-books-online-for-free-without-downloading-of-book-rock-and-roll-children-by-michael-d-lefevre-p%C3%A5-dansk-chm.html

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1985: The Best of Hanoi Rocks

Posted in Uncategorized on June 27, 2019 by 80smetalman

Best_of_Hanoi_Rocks_Cover

When I first discovered that Hanoi Rocks had released a greatest hits album in 1985, I nearly brushed it aside. I mean, how could it be a greatest hits album when “Up Around the Bend” wasn’t on it? That was the first Hanoi Rocks song I had ever heard and it was the springboard into further investigation of the band. Seeing them live in 1984 had a lot to do with it as well but they did play the CCR classic which got my attention that night. But it was that live performance which convinced me that I would be rather silly if I refused to buy an album because one song wasn’t on it.

In spite of the fact that “Up Around the Bend” gets left out, “The Best of Hanoi Rocks” includes three other tracks from that album, “Two Steps from the Move.” Great songs like the ballad,”Don’t You Ever Leave Me,” “Million Miles Away” and “Underwater Word” do appear on the album. “Back to Mystery City” has the title cut and the very entertaining “Malibu Beach Nightmare.” Knowing what I know now that I didn’t know then, these two albums were possibly the strongest in the Hanoi Rocks discography. Therefore getting them together on one album was a no brainer.

Listeners are treated to two live recordings on this best of album. At the time, I didn’t know what a huge song “Tragedy” was and it was only after hearing the studio version of said song that I got why they would have put a live recording of it here. The other live recording was also taken from the same album “Tragedy” appears on, the first album, “Bangkok Shocks, Saigon Shakes, “Hanoi Rocks.” “11th Street Kids” is also a cool tune, though I don’t hold it with the same esteem as I do “Tragedy.” Another if I knew that back then surprise comes in the form of “Taxi Driver,” which appears on the “Self Destruction Blues” album. It would be a long time before I discovered that the album was originally a collection of B-sides from 1981 and 82, good song though. Two of the remaining songs come from the “Oriental Beat” album and “Lost In the City” is the only non live track from the debut album. In conclusion, what you got is a full complement of the four years Hanoi Rocks was kicking ass with some cool metal.

Track Listing:

  1. Two Steps From the Move
  2. Don’t You Ever Leave Me
  3. Malibu Beach Nightmare
  4. Lost in the City
  5. Motorvatin’
  6. Underwater World
  7. 11 Street Kids
  8. Oriental Beat
  9. Until I Get You
  10. Back to Mystery City
  11. Million Miles Away
  12. Taxi Driver
  13. Tragedy
hanoirocks

Hanoi Rocks

Michael Monroe- lead vocals, harmonica, saxophone

Andy McCoy- lead guitar, backing vocals

Nasty Suicide- rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Sam Yaffa- bass

Gyp Casino- drums on tracks 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13

Razzle- drums on tracks 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 10, 11

A great thing about listening to “The Best of Hanoi Rocks” before the most of their other albums was that it got me to listen to those albums. While Hanoi Rocks never made the big time so to speak, they were loved by many metalheads, including me.

Next post: Helix- Long Way to Heaven

To download Rock and Roll Children for free, go to: https://spdfrk-ks.gq/ibook/read-books-online-for-free-without-downloading-of-book-rock-and-roll-children-by-michael-d-lefevre-p%C3%A5-dansk-chm.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1985: Laaz Rockit- No Stranger to Danger

Posted in Uncategorized on June 24, 2019 by 80smetalman

laaz

Not all thrash bands from around the San Francisco area in 1985 made it to the big time. Laaz Rockit was one of these. I only heard of them when I was lent this 1985 album, “No Stranger to Danger” and I know I really liked this album at the time. So, this post might be an investigation as to why this band didn’t go further. One would have thought that having war scenes painted on their guitars would have been enough to gain attention.

Like Metallica, these boys were just young kids when they formed three years earlier. Founding members vocalist Michael Coons and guitarist Aaron Jellum were 17 and 18 respectively when they met and formed Laaz Rockit. Unlike Metallica, I wouldn’t have called them a thrash band, even back then. While there are some great power chords on “No Stranger to Danger,” the songs are just too melodic to be called thrash. If anything, they sound more like Helloween. Coons’s vocals sound very similar to those of Kai Hansen. I stated when I visited the two Helloween albums of 1985, that they were given credit for creating power metal, Laaz Rockit could be given an assist for it.

The first three tracks are in the vein of power metal with good guitars and vocals to be had a plenty. The most impressive guitar work of those three songs is on the third track, “Town to Town.” It boasts a cool guitar solo. They do go more, but not totally, thrash on “Backbreaker.” On “Stand Alone,” they do go straddle the thrash-power metal dividing line quite gracefully. The rhythm is fast, not as fast as its preceding track, but fast and Coons delivers a good vocal performance along with some rather impressive guitar licks. “Spared From the Fire” is almost progressive metal with the acoustic intro and the melodic vocals and even when the more powerful chords kick in, the progressive sound doesn’t go away. My vote for best song on the album.

A definite return to more power metal is present on the remaining tracks which includes another cool guitar solo on “Tonight Alive” and  “Wrecking Machine” goes slightly more thrash. Here’s where my Swiss cheese memory gets in the way. It’s been so long since I heard the album on vinyl, I don’t remember if the two live tracks at the end were actually on the album or if the version I listened to on Youtube were from a later re-release with these live tracks as a bonus. I fear it could be the re-release as both songs go more thrash metal. I rule that it doesn’t matter because both of the tracks are really good and end the album on a definite high note, pun intended.

Track Listing:

  1. Dreams Die Hard
  2. I’ve Got the Time
  3. Town to Town
  4. Backbreaker
  5. Stand Alone
  6. Spared From the Fire
  7. Off the Deep End
  8. Tonight Alive
  9. Wrecking Machine
  10. Erased (live)
  11. Prelude (live)

lr

Laaz Rockit

Michael Coons- vocals

Aaron Jellum- guitar

Phil Kettner- guitar

Victor Angello- drums

Willy Lange- bass

Is Laaz Rockit one of the best bands not to have made the big time? Is “No Stranger to Danger” the best little known album of 1985? I won’t give a definite “yes” to either question I can say that the band and the album are definite contenders for that vote. Give the album a listen and judge for yourself.

Next post: The Best of Hanoi Rocks

To download Rock and Roll Children, click the link: https://spdfrk-ks.gq/ibook/read-books-online-for-free-without-downloading-of-book-rock-and-roll-children-by-michael-d-lefevre-p%C3%A5-dansk-chm.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1985: Y & T- Open Fire

Posted in Uncategorized on June 19, 2019 by 80smetalman

OpenFireY&T

After several successful studio albums, Y&T put out a live album, “Open Fire” in 1985. The benefit of hindsight, this proved to be a good move for the band. It is one of Y&T’s most successful albums of all time and I quite like it.

While “Open Fire” was recorded in a number of different venues, there seems to be a continuity with the songs on the album, which makes me think that these songs might have been played live in the order they appear on the album. The exception being what is probably their best selling single, “Summertime Girls.” The version which appears on this album is the studio version which would appear on their next studio album. So, I have to ask, “Why?” That leads to my next minor gripe about “Open Fire,” the absence of my favourite Y&T song, “Mean Streak.” I think that if you put that song where “Summertime Girls” was, it would have made the album even stronger.

The album opens well enough with the title cut. It’s a decent opener for a live album and I would have tuned my ear if I had been in the audience when it was played live. Sad fact is, I have never seen Y&T live. Some people I know said they saw them when they opened for Rush early in the year and weren’t impressed. This album makes me wonder otherwise.

Getting back on track, it’s the second song, “Go For the Throat,” which really gets things rocking. This is just one big power song with the crushing guitars and pumping bass. Also the way they end the song live is very cool. Again, if I’d been there live, I would have been up on my feet at this point. The next two tracks prove the musicianship of the band. There’s a cool solo on “25 Hours a Day” and a really cool acoustic intro on “Rescue Me.”

Since I’ve already discussed “Summertime Girls,” I’ll skip to the final three songs. With its very bluesy guitar solo intro, “Forever” makes you quickly forget about “Summertime Girls.” It’s only a few seconds before the pace is picked up again and it ends like it begins, with some powerful guitar playing. Then comes the very amusing “Barroom Boogie” which begins with a very cool drum roll. The album ends with a very nice power ballad in “I Believe in You.” Thinking about it, there are only eight songs on “Open Fire” so maybe “Mean Streak” was played as an encore.

Track Listing:

  1. Open Fire
  2. Go For the Throat
  3. 25 Hours a Day
  4. Rescue Me
  5. Summertime Girls
  6. Forever
  7. Barroom Boogie
  8. I Believe in You
YANDT_BAND2010

Y&T

Dave Meniketti- vocals, guitar

Joey Alves- guitar, vocals

Phil Kennemore- bass, vocals

Leonard Haze- drums, vocals

Note: The 1980s practice of holding cigarette lighters in the air, never took off in the UK.

As far as live albums in 1985 go, most of my attention was diverted to The Scorpions and “World Wide Live.” While not on the same level, “Open Fire” turns out to be a pretty good live album. I’m now regretting having not seen them live.

Next post: Laaz Rockit- No Stranger to Danger

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rock-Children-Michael-Lefevre-2010-11-16/dp/B01N2GFIGK/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=rock+and+roll+children+by+michael+d+lefevre&qid=1560708055&s=books&sr=1-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1985(4): Manowar- Hail to England

Posted in Uncategorized on June 16, 2019 by 80smetalman

220px-ManowarHailtoengland

Sometimes I don’t know weather to thank Wikipedia or to curse them. One thing I can say about it is that maybe I should have paid more attention to the year an album was recorded back in the day, then I wouldn’t have had so much problems with historical accuracy in this vein.

See, I didn’t get around to listening to Manowar until 1986 after I saw them live. They were brilliant that night from what I can remember by the way. Anyway, after listening to their first two albums on recommendation, I finally got around to their third album, “Hail to England.” For some reason, I had it in my mind that the album came out in 1985 and it was only until I did a little background research on Wikipedia, that I discovered that it was released in 1984. It just passed me by. However, while “Hail to England” isn’t as phenomenal as its two predecessors, it’s still too good of an album not to visit.

What is very noticeable almost immediately on the album is the very strong bass line. It comes through on many of the tracks and it does add a ‘creeping doom’ feel to the songs. Therefore, I am of the belief that Joey DeMaio is a better bass player than what some people might give him credit for. Even on faster songs like “Kill With Power,” his thumping bass can be heard in the background moving things along nicely though the best track for this is the one before it, “Each Dawn I Die.” On the other hand, guitarist Ross the Boss is allowed to shine on “Black Arrows.” One of my friends at the time described it as Ross’s own version of Van Halen’s “Eruption.” I don’t know about that but what has always tickled me about that track is lead singer Eric Adams’s brought pronouncement of “Death to false metal!”

Even with the heavier bass, Manowar do not stray too far from the formula which brought them so much success with their first two albums. The opener, “Blood of My Enemies,” the title track and “Army of the Immortals” are  classic Manowar offerings. These track remind you that Manowar were American musicians still hung over from the NWOBHM era of the early 1980s with influences of Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden present in all of the songs. This is definitely the case on the “Army of the Immortals” track where Eric Adams sounds like Bruce Dickinson on much of the song but there are short bursts of where he sounds s little like Rob Halford. You have to give him credit for vocal versatility here. With all that said, the album ends on a very good high with the nearly nine minute long closing track, “Bridge of Death.” It seems that the band took everything they brought to the table and laid it down on this track. The drumming, heavy bass, guitar solos and high melodic vocals makes sure you will return to the album after listening to it the first time.

Track Listing:

  1. Blood of My Enemies
  2. Each Dawn I Die
  3. Kill With Power
  4. Hail to England
  5. Army of the Immortals
  6. Black Arrows
  7. Bridge of Death
manowar

Manowar

Eric Adams- vocals

Ross the Boss- guitar, keyboards

Joey DeMaio- bass, pedals

Scott Columbus- drums

No matter what year “Hail to England” came out, it’s still a good album. Maybe not as good as “Battle Hymns” or “Into Glory Rid” but still good. Another thing I learned from Wikipedia was that Manowar had an album at the end of 1984 called “Sign of the Hammer.” How I missed this one, I’ll never know. So, I’ll have to bend the rules again and post about it some time in the future. The thing that continues to puzzle me about Manowar is how Kerrang could have called them a joke band.

Next post: Y&T- Open Fire

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://c-newfreepdf.cf/olddocs/freedownloadonlinerock-and-rollchildren-pdf-1609763556-by-michaeldlefevre 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1985: Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force- Marching Out

Posted in Uncategorized on June 9, 2019 by 80smetalman

220px-MarchingOutLPversion

Yngwie Malmsteen’s debut album, “Rising Force” wasn’t the blockbuster that Ratt’s “Invasion of Your Privacy” was. Still Yngwie’s debut caught enough attention that many, like me, were very interested to hear what his second album would sound like. While, unlike Ratt, there wasn’t the pressure on him to deliver an album as great as the first, that might have been a good thing because the second album, “Marching Out” is better than the debut because Yngwie doesn’t have to ‘play it safe’ and stretches out much more.

“Rising Force” mainly focused on the great guitar playing of Yngwie Malmsteen with all but two songs being guitar instrumentals. It is nearly the reverse on “Marching Out” where just three of the songs are such while the majority of the album is more of a traditional format. This is a very good thing because we get more of Jeff Scott Soto’s excellent vocals. When I made my post on underrated musicians two years ago, Jeff Scott was definitely in my top five when deciding on the vocalist.

The guitar instrumentals are very strategically well placed on “Marching Out.” On cassette and vinyl, one of them opens each side of the record and the third, the title cut, is the album closer. That frees up all the other songs to go in between. Right after the acoustic instrumental opener, “Prelude,” comes the single from the album, “I See the Light Tonight” and that sets the pace for the rest of the album. It stamps its foot and lets you know that this album is going to be different.

Songs on the album vary from classical sounding what would later be known as progressive metal to straight forward power metal tunes. The single and its successor, “Don’t Let It End” are great powerful tunes making use of Yngwie’s guitar and Solo’s vocals. (I was tempted to write Solo’s solos.) “Disciples of Hell” starts out as if it’s going to be an acoustic instrumental but then explodes into a power rocker with a great classically sounding guitar solo. After which comes my all time favourite Yngwie Malmsteen song, “I’m a Viking.” It is more of a progressive rock songs and it has been slated for juvenile sounding lyrics but I love them. I mean who can’t find amusement in lyrics such as: “I am a viking, I’ll walk all over you and by my sword you will die.” I also love the power behind the lyrics from both Soto and Malmsteen and it is a great guitar solo. Side one is absolutely brilliant.

Side two of “Marching Out” doesn’t slack off either. Yes, it opens with an instrumental reminiscent of “Rising Force” but that only sets the tone for the rest of the album. Maybe Yngwie just wanted to let people know he still produced the guitar magic. That magic continues on the intro of “Anguish and Fear” before it becomes a cool power rocker and proves once and for all that Yngwie can play great solos on traditional metal tunes. That power only increases on “On the Run Again.” Again, some criticize the supposedly juvenile lyrics because the song is about a man on the run from the law but they are okay with me.  After that is the more progressive sounding “Soldier Without Faith.” Jens Johansson starts things off well with the keyboards here before Yngwie’s guitar work comes in. It reminds me a lot of “As Above, So Below” from the debut album but it’s not a carbon copy and is unique in its own right. The penultimate track, “Caught in the Middle” is a power rocker but has a cool keyboard solo form Jens. It leads great to the closing instrumental which gives you time to reflect on what a great album “Marching Out” really is.

Constantly singing the praises of Yngwie and Jeff Scott, it’s easy to overlook the contributions from the other three musicians on the album. The keyboards of Jens Johansson don’t appear as much on the second album but are excellent where they do appear. Also, on “Marching Out,” Yngwie handed over the bass duties to Marcel Jacob who, along with drummer Anders Johansson, make a very powerful rhythm section. They make singer and guitarist sound that much better.

Track Listing:

  1. Prelude
  2. I See the Light Tonight
  3. Don’t Let It End
  4. Disciples of Hell
  5. I’m a Viking
  6. Overture 1383
  7. Anguish and Fear
  8. On the Run Again
  9. Soldiers Without Faith
  10. Caught in the Middle
  11. Marching Out
yngie

Yngwie Malmsteen

Yngwie Malmsteen- guitar, backing vocals, Moog Taurus

Jeff Scott Soto- vocals

Jens Johansson- keyboards

Marcel Jacob- bass

Anders Johansson- drums

“Marching Out” for me was a progression from the debut “Rising Force” album because it showed that Yngwie could do more than just solo his way through an album. Although he does solo very well. The sad thing was that soon after, he and Soto would part company which is a shame because they did work well here. Then again, I have heard lots of reports on how Yngwie doesn’t play nice with others. That’s something for me to explore further.

Next post: Manowar- Hail to England

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://c-newfreepdf.cf/olddocs/freedownloadonlinerock-and-rollchildren-pdf-1609763556-by-michaeldlefevre 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1985: Ratt- Invasion of Your Privacy

Posted in Uncategorized on June 6, 2019 by 80smetalman

220px-RattInvasion

Of all the bands who put out their second album in 1985, the band whom the most was expected from was Ratt. After all, in 1984, they exploded onto the metal world with their extremely successful “Outta the Cellar” album. Many an ear, including mine, was tuned for the follow up album. Even Motley Crue, sorry Hit Parader magazine had an article can they survive the ‘sophomore jinx?’ All that remains here is to answer the question, did Ratt’s second album, “Invasion of Your Privacy,” live up to expectations?

To look at the positive, “Invasion of Your Privacy” did produce two top 40 singles in the form of “Lay It Down” and “You’re in Love.” Both are good songs and I must confess that after 34 years, I can’t decide for sure which of those two singles I like better, musically that is. I hear one and decide on that one, and then hear the other and decide I like that one. However, while the two songs are on a musical parallel, I have always preferred the video to “You’re in Love” because it opens with then president Ronald Reagan not getting the girl in the film “Santa Fe Trail.” Oh, the things which amuse my mind. Then again, the part at the end with Groucho Marx and Marilyn Monroe from the film “Love Happy” is quite funny too.

Funny videos aside, what those two singles also do for the album is to give it a strong start, positioned at tracks one and three. The track in between, “Never Use Love,” provides a very strong bridge between those two giants with the best guitar solo on the album. Furthermore, the two singles anchor the two tracks following “Lay It Down,” both good tracks. “Closer to My Heart” is the closest to a power ballad Ratt get on the album as the song starts out with a slow acoustic intro before getting heavier. It also has the high pitched guitar solo which is synonymous with many power ballads. Having heard the album on vinyl, one can safely conclude that it lives up to expectation to this point.

Unfortunately, the first three tracks on the second side, tracks six, seven and eight if you have a CD, are more filler than thriller. They’re not terrible tracks. I mean I have never had the inclination of switching off the turntable or flipping past them but they do not measure up to the first five tracks. Of the three, “What You Give Is What You Get” is the strongest of the three but only just. But there is a happy ending! The final two tracks bring things back to what the album was on the first side. Both are really good tracks and do their part in making you remember that this album is actually good.

Another great thing about “Invasion of Your Privacy” in 1985 was that it was on the PMRC’s hit list. Tipper Gore and Co complained of the sexually suggestive lyrics in the songs. I even quote such in “Rock and Roll Children” with the lyrics from “Lay It Down” which goes “Under the sheets you will find me.” I bet that had the Washington wives throwing up in their Cornflakes.

Track Listing:

  1. You’re In Love
  2. Never Use Love
  3. Lay It Down
  4. Give It All
  5. Closer to My Heart
  6. Between the Eyes
  7. What You Give Is What You Get
  8. Got Me On the Line
  9. You Should Know By Now
  10. Dangerous But Worth the Risk
RATT_BAND

Ratt

Stephen Pearcy- lead vocals

Warren De Martini- guitars, backing vocals

Robbin Crosby- guitars, backing vocals

Juan Crocier- bass, backing vocals

Bobby Blotzer- drums, percussion

I guess this means I have to answer the question: Did Ratt survive the sophomore jinx with “Invasion of Your Privacy?” The short answer is yes. There are many good tracks on here that follow the successful formula behind their mammoth debut album. However, while they survived, the album doesn’t take them further. In fact, after this album, people like my sister would begin to start calling the band ‘Rutt.’ However, that is a story for another day.

Next post: Yngwie Malmsteen- Marching Out

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://c-newfreepdf.cf/olddocs/freedownloadonlinerock-and-rollchildren-pdf-1609763556-by-michaeldlefevre