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

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)

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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

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7 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1985: Laaz Rockit- No Stranger to Danger”

  1. O only just bought this a few weeks ago. It is a lot less trashy than the three to follow. Nothing Sacred is a lot heavier than this one.

    Like

  2. This was the only album I experienced at the time. I shall listen to their next three in due time.

    Like

  3. Wow! I have never heard of them. I thought I had at least heard of every 80’s band…but completely missed these guys.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. A few albums on Spotify, so I’m checking this out!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. […] Source: Great Metal Albums of 1985: Laaz Rockit- No Stranger to Danger | 80smetalman’s Blog […]

    Liked by 1 person

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