Great Metal Albums of 1986: Quiet Riot- QRIII

When I first heard Quiet Riot’s fifth album, (3rd album released mainstream), I literally thought, “What the hell?” Like several other metal bands in 1986, Quiet Riot believed they would have more commercial success if they added a bit of synthesizer to their music. This could have been pressure from the record label or a knee jerk reaction to the fact that their previous album, “Condition Critical,” didn’t do as well as the stellar “Metal Health.” In any case, I have always thought “QRIII” was a step in the wrong direction for the band.

The pressure to achieve commercial success through the adding of synthesizers took away the power that took Quiet Riot to stardom. I’m not saying that the album is a total stinker, the songs are at least listenable, even to a metalhead like me, who in 1986, was looking for more power chords. That’s the thing, I believe that if they hadn’t used the synths and just relied on the kick ass metal that got them to where they were, “QRIII” would have been a far superior album.

Let me give an example and the perfect one is “Down and Dirty.” It starts with a Carlos Cavazo guitar solo which makes you think, “That’s more like it!” but then the guitar goes to more of a reggae sound. Normally, I don’t have a problem with this but in the case of “Down and Dirty,” it takes away the power this song could have provided. Saying that, Carlos does deliver a cool solo in the middle. That’s the theme of most of the album, many of the songs start like their going to be pure metal mania, only for the synths to take over and they lose that power. Even the synth-less “Put Up Or Shut Up” isn’t powerful enough to make a significant dent. The one thing that saves the album for me is Carlos Cavazo. When allowed, the power chords on the intro of some songs whet the appetite before the synths dampen it and his solos are as good as any.

While the particular song doesn’t do much for me, I did love the video for the single, “The Wild and the Young.” The theme of the video was very important in 1986 as it was a strike back against holier than thou types war against heavy metal. The video depicts an oppressive society where music is banned and musicians are rounded up and sent to camps. At the time, many metalheads, me included, actually worried that something like this could happen. So, full kudos to Quiet Riot there!

Track Listing:

  1. Main Attraction
  2. The Wild and the Young
  3. Twilight Hotel
  4. Down and Dirty
  5. Rise or Full
  6. Put Up or Shut Up
  7. Still of the Night
  8. Bass Case
  9. The Pump
  10. Slave to Love
  11. Helping Hands
Quiet Riot

Kevin DuBrow- lead vocals

Carlos Cavazo- guitar, backing vocals

Chuck Wright- bass, backing vocals

Frankie Banali- drums, percussion

Additional Musicians:

John Purdell- keyboards

Bobby Kimball- backing vocals on “Still of the Night”

Debra Raye, Michelle Rohl- backing vocals on “the Pump”

James Whitney and the Bible Chorus Choir- backing vocals on “Slave to Love”

“QRIII” was a valiant attempt by Quiet Riot to be more commercially appealing. Unfortunately, it failed on two fronts. It didn’t regain them the stardom they once enjoyed and it alienated their loyal metal following. Still, the album isn’t terrible.

Next post: RATT- Dancing Undercover

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12 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1986: Quiet Riot- QRIII”

  1. I’m in the minority here, I really like this album. Maybe it caught me at the right time, but I didn’t mind a little toned down QR. They needed to change it up a little and yes, this is a little too much synth, but I was okay with the change.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like the first two songs, but most of the album just doesnt click with what I want out of the band.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Amen, 100%. I think this album was desperate. Look how they ripped off Kiss’ wardrobe from the previous year!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The last time I seen QR live which was a ways back in 2006 they opened with Put Up or Shut Up which I thought was a slick move.
    Yeah this one alienated me back in 86 but it had some moments but not enough moments..

    Liked by 1 person

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