Archive for October, 2020

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Motorhead- Orgasmatron

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on October 29, 2020 by 80smetalman

For some reason, when Motorhead albums get mentioned, I never hear anyone mention their 1986 album, “Orgasmatron.” Do people think this album is bad? Having seen them play at Donington to officially release the album, I naturally had to listen to it and though there are some differences to what I had known about Motorhead, the album is okay.

The change is noticeable from the opening song, “Deaf Forever.” One would think that with such a title, it would come in at 800 mph but it’s more like 250, giving the impression that Motorhead were slowing down to a more mainstream metal pace. Saying that, the opener is a decent song, you could say it’s rather melodic for Motorhead.

There is an attempt in the next two tracks to get things back into more familiar territory. You can hear that the band want to just thrash out but unfortunately, the production lets it down. Again, both “Nothing Up My Sleeve” and “Ain’t My Crime” are very palletable but I can get why Lemmy was not impressed with the production on this album, listening to these two tracks alone. He states that producer Bill Laswell took the album to New York and brought it back worse than before it left England.

Not all is gloom with “Orgasmatron.” “The Claw” is the best track on the album because it does mark a return to what we all love about Motorhead. “Mean Machine” carries it on and has the best guitar solo on the album as well as some great power chords. When you hear these two tracks, you definitely say, “That’s more like it!”

Ditto for “Built for Speed” which begins with a cool drum intro. It’s not as speedy as the two previous tracks but the power is there for sure. Lemmy’s vocals are probably the best on this song and there are a couple of great guitar solos. In fact, I might change my mind and say that this is the best track on the album.

Motorhead as we know it returns for definite on “Ridin’ With the Driver.” This is the fastest song on the album. If played live, it would cause mosh pits to open up. It’s just one of those feel good songs. Although slower, “Doctor Rock” does not lack intensity. Some great power chords and guitar hooks cement for me that “Orgamsatron” is definitely a good album.

The title track closes the album and it is what it is, a good closer. Putting it anywhere else on the album would just make it out of place. What I can say about the closer is that it’s what Suicidal Tendencies would sound like if Lemmy was the lead singer. There are some amusing lyrics in between the guitar hooks, like: “I am the God of war and I will cut you down.” It’s a good way to end the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Deaf Forever
  2. Nothing Up My Sleeve
  3. Ain’t My Crime
  4. The Claw
  5. Mean Machine
  6. Built for Speed
  7. Ridin’ With the Driver
  8. Doctor Rock
  9. Orgasmatron

Lemmy- bass, vocals

Michael ‘Wurzel’ Burston- lead guitar

Phil Campbell- rhythm guitar

Pete Gill- drums

“Orgasmatron” was Motorhead’s first studio album in nearly three years. It did reach number 21 in the UK album charts and broke the top one hundred in other countries but that doesn’t really matter to me, I just like it.

Next post: Sword- Metalized

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Great Metal Albums of 1986: Warlock- True As Steel

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2020 by 80smetalman

Another great thing about 1986 was that heavy metal was truly becoming international. In the case of Germany, although it was only West Germany at the time, The Scorpions had already been a worldwide hit and Accept was getting lots of attention. In addition, some great thrash bands were coming out of the country such as Kreator. All of this made it possible for an up and coming German band to step into the metal spotlight, that band was Warlock.

My introduction to Warlock came when I saw them at the 1986 Donington Festival and I was very impressed. It could have been partially down to the fact that fronting the band was this blonde bombshell named Doro Pesch who tingled my 25 year old hormones at the time. Okay, she still does it to my nearly 60 year old ones too but not only that, even then I knew she had a stupendous voice and a great band backing her. I was converted to Warlock that day.

Doro mesmerizes the crowd, Bloodstock 2018

Naturally, Warlock’s performance at Donington made me check out her 1986 “True As Steel” album and the magic they produced on stage shone through on the album. The two songs which still capture my attention all these years later are “Fight for the Rock” and “Love in the Danger Zone,” both were released as singles. I also remember “Fight for the Rock” getting played at the metal club in East London I would venture to on Friday nights.

The two mentioned tracks are among the first four on the album which go ripping through at a steady metal pace. If your attention isn’t grabbed after those four songs, then it never will be. Then they change things up a bit on “Midnight in China.” It goes for a more heavy blues sound and has a great guitar solo trade-off between guitarists Niko Arvanitis and Peter Szigeti. This song has an anthem type feel where if played live would be a good audience participation song. Unfortunately, I don’t recall it happening at Donington. It’s the hidden gem on this album.

Things go very fast after with “Vorwarts, All Right.” It accelerates to speed metal proportions and the band pull it off very well. Then after the powerful title track, another anthem type song, comes a song which really intrigues me. I used to wonder what Doro was actually singing about in “Lady in a Rock and Roll Hell.” Part of me was hoping that she was singing out against the sexism that was around in heavy metal at the time, it hasn’t totally gone away. No, it’s about needing a man. Still a good song though and right after comes a genuine power ballad in “Love Song.” Again, it’s done very well. It could be argued that it should be the album closer but after the rather amusing “Igloo on the Moon,” the album is closed out by the instrumental “T.O.L.,” which does close things out nicely.

Track Listing:

  1. Mr. Gold
  2. Fight for the Rock
  3. Love in the Danger Zone
  4. Speed of Sound
  5. Midnight in China
  6. Vorwarts, All Right
  7. True as Steel
  8. Lady in a Rock and Roll Hell
  9. Love Song
  10. Igloo on the Moon (Reckless)
  11. T.O.L.

Doro Pesch- lead vocals

Niko Arvanitis- guitar

Peter Szigeti- guitar

Frank Rittel- bass

Michael Eurich- drums

I think that in 1986, Germany was welcomed as a full on contributor to the heavy metal world. With this album, Warlock would extend its conquests beyond Europe and get the recognition is so richly deserved.

Next post: Motorhead- Orgasmatron

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Great Metal Albums of 1986: Torme- Back to Babylon

Posted in Uncategorized on October 22, 2020 by 80smetalman

When I made to move to the UK, one of the things I was hoping to discover was hot British metal bands who weren’t known in the US. I didn’t have to look far. Actually, in the case of Torme, there were a number of new friends in London who were more than happy to introduce me to the band. They didn’t need to use any persuasion to seem them live when the played at the college I was attending and when that night was over, I was a new Torme fan.

For those who might not know, apologies to those who know I’m covering familiar territory, guitarist Bernie Torme played in Gillan, (yes, that Gillan with the Deep Purple singer) and also a stint with Ozzy. So, he was already well known around the British metal circles. Therefore, it was no surprise that his new band garnered so much interest when their debut album, “Back to Babylon” appeared in 1986.

“Back to Babylon” opens on a good footing with “All Around the World.” That song definitely caught my attention as a good album opening song should. While there is no indication of which song was released as a single, if any, if a song was then my guess it would have been “Star.” It simply has that type of vibe, especially with the chorus “Do you wanna be, wanna be a star.”

If not “Star,” then another possible candidate would have been “Eyes of the World.” The chorus is sung like it could have been a single and there are some catchy guitar hooks and a blistering solo from Bernie at the end. Maybe, that was why it probably wasn’t released as a single, too much guitar work for all the Duranies out there to appreciate.

The next three songs are a combined length of less than eight minutes. However, you know each of them are there. Bernie continues his great guitar hooks on all three songs but the rest of the band show their stuff here. I’m very impressed with the rhythm section Chris Heilman and Ian Whitewood. As for the lead singer, Phil Lewis, listening to his vocals here, I am not surprised that he would go onto front LA Guns. I can now boast that I got to see him perform before he joined that band.

Side two begings with an interesting bass line from Heilman on “Family at War.” Bernie’s acoustic rhythm fits in nicely with it during the verses but then goes heavy at the choruses. It’s another one of those catchy tunes that gets your attention, especially when Bernie applies his guitar hooks in it. However, the anticipated guitar solo never comes, which is a bit of a let down. Nevertheless, it’s still a good song.

“Front Line” is more a traditional straight forward, no frills metal song. It’s definitely one to head bang to. I think this might be my song for the album. The next track, “Arabia,” is a very interesting one. It starts with Arabian sounding music mixed in with a news report about Beirut. Then it turns into a cool power rocker which hosts a cool bass line and some intricate guitar work. Though, I’m not sure about the middle of the song where it goes a bit out there with the echoing voices, but a great guitar solo comes in and things go back to what they should be. “Mystery Train” is a cool closer with an intro that gives that ‘impending doom’ feel which stays throughout the entire song, I have to give full credit to Lewis’s vocal efforts here.

Track Listing:

  1. All Around the World
  2. Star
  3. Eyes of the World
  4. Burning Bridges
  5. Hardcore
  6. Here I Go
  7. Family At War
  8. Front Line
  9. Arabia
  10. Mystery Train
Bernie Torme (I can’t find a picture of the entire band)

Bernie Torme- guitar

Phil Lewis- vocals

Chris Heilman- bass

Ian Whitewood- drums

Special guest musician: Colin Towns- keyboards

Torme showed me that there were cool bands in the UK beyond the established NWOBHM ones. This album has me questioning as to why Torme wasn’t more successful but I will always be grateful to my British friends who introduced me to this band.

Next post: Warlock- True as Steel

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Great Metal Albums of 1986: Vinnie Vincent Invasion

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on October 19, 2020 by 80smetalman

Alice Cooper was making his big comeback with his “The Nightmare Returns” tour in 1986. Supporting him was a band whose guitarist had a stint with the legends, KISS. No prizes here, the man was Vinnie Vincent and his band was called Vinnie Vincent Invasion who were making their debut with this self titled album.

Vinnie Vincent

Here’s where some might question my sanity but I have always liked this album. I know of some who don’t. Admittedly, it’s not quite up there with some of the more classic album which came out in that year but it’s still a good album in its own right. My introduction to it came when I was in London where a local heavy metal club played the first two tracks quite a bit. The guitar riffs on “Boyz Are Gonna Rock” blew me away at the time, actually, they’re still quite good. Although now, with a more informed ear, I suspect that Vinnie was trying to copy some of the other guitar greats around at the time like Malmsteen.

It’s probably because the first two tracks introduced me to the album is why I consider them the two best tracks on it. “Shoot U Full of Love,” with the innuendo in the title is a straight up metal song and Vinnie does lay down a cool solo on that one. On the other hand, the attempt at a power ballad in “No Substitute” fails to connect with me but that shortfall is compensated by the next track, “Animal.” This is a good power rocker, though I think that Vinnie overdoes it a little with the Yngwie type shredding.

If they had cut out the silly harmonizing at the beginning of “Twisted,” the song would have stood on it’s own. The song drifts towards the territory of speed metal here and I’m impressed with the backing vocals here. Even Vinnie’s guitar solo sounds more like a speed metal solo. Then it’s on to “Do You Wanna Make Love,” which has a strong resemblance to a song from Vinnie’s former band. If you close your eyes and listen to the first few notes of this one, you might think it’s “Lick It Up.” I will go out on a limb and say that Vinnie’s guitar solo is better on this one.

“Invasion” takes an interesting turn on “Back on the Streets.” It goes for a more blues feel and credit where due, I think the band pulls it off. It was the second single from the album but since “Boyz Are Gonna Rock” is the best known track, “Back on the Streets” is my pick for hidden gem. Then, they go back to more traditional metal with “I Wanna Be Your Victim.”

Here’s where I go controversial. I think the album would have been great with nine tracks. Nothing wrong with “Baby-O” but it’s more filler than thriller. As for the closer, “Invasion,” it fulfills it’s role as closer very well as it would sound out of place anywhere else on the album. However, that annoying three minute loop at the end does my head in. I’m glad I heard this album on cassette as it doesn’t end on vinyl until you pick the needle up.

Track Listing:

  1. Boyz Are Gonna Rock
  2. Shoot U Full of Love
  3. No Substitute
  4. Animal
  5. Twisted
  6. Do You Wanna Make Love
  7. Back On the Streets
  8. I Wanna be Your Victim
  9. Baby- O
  10. Invasion
Vinnie Vincent Invasion

Vinnie Vincent- guitar, vocals

Robert Fleishman- vocals

Dana Strum- bass, backing vocals

Bobby Rock- drums

Note: Mark Slaughter appears as singer in the video for “Boyz Are Gonna Rock.”

Vinnie Vincent proved that he could survive without KISS, even if he did look more like a lady. There will be a future post on those lines. Anyway, I think this was a good album for 1986, although some might not agree. In any case, I’m sad that I missed Vinnie with Alice. That must have been a wild show.

Next post: Torme- Back to Babylon

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Great Metal Albums of 1986: Alice Cooper- Constrictor

Posted in Uncategorized on October 14, 2020 by 80smetalman

1986 marked the return of Alice Cooper. Just a year earlier, he was written off as a ‘has been’ by many people in the music industry. An article about him in “Hit Parader” (Motley Crue Magazine), read like an obituary. However, he did appear on Twisted Sister’s single “Be Cruel to Your Skool” from their album, “Come Out and Play.” Something was telling me back then that it was premature to write Alice off.

Thus in late 1986, his album “Constrictor” was released. Those, like me, who were around during his former days of glory in the 1970s snapped it up. Younger fans may have been reluctant, especially with all the stories of his ‘drunk period’ in the early 1980s. Then there was his well known kick ass live shows, which helped. The “Nightmare Returns” tour for the album is considered one of his best.

So, the question was: Did “Constrictor” live up to the hype of the return of Alice Cooper? My answer is yes. While he would come out with even better albums after, this one was the springboard for future glories. What I like about “Constrictor” was that he put aside the punk ventures on early 80s album and his so-called disco album, “From the Inside.” Note: I have never considered that album disco, it’s one of my favourite Alice Cooper albums. On this album, he goes for a more 80s metal sound which delighted me at the time and continues to do so.

What I also like about the album is that even with the more metal sound, Alice maintains his sense of humour with the lyrics. He proves that heavy metal can still be fun. “Thrill My Gorilla” is proof of that. “Teenage Frankenstein” does so as well and it has cooler guitar riffs at the beginning. My choice for best song on the album. Speaking of cool riffs and a great guitar solo, check out “Life and Death of the Party.”

Like with “Teenage Frankenstein,” Alice doesn’t abandon his passion for horror in his lyrics. There are songs containing blood spilling like “Simple Disobedience.” On the other hand, when I first heard “The Great American Success Story,” I thought it was going to be a rip at the 80s yuppie culture. Actually, it was supposed to be used in the film, “Back to School,” starring Rodney Dangerfield. Unfortunately, it wasn’t and that was a shame because “Back to School” is a pretty funny film. Sum 41 parody it in their video for “In Too Deep,” but that’s me going off track again.

Another smart move by Alice on this album is putting together a great band for the album. Kane Roberts shines on guitar everywhere on the album with both some power riffs and shredding guitar solos. Kip Winger on bass was also a good move on the album and unknown Dave Rosenberg plays the drums very well on here. Putting all of the above together, it does make “Constrictor” a good album.

Track Listing:

  1. Teenage Frankenstein
  2. Give It Up
  3. Thrill My Gorilla
  4. Life and Death of the Party
  5. Simple Disobedience
  6. The World Needs Guts
  7. Trick Bag
  8. Crawlin’
  9. The Great American Success Story
  10. He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask)

Alice Cooper- lead vocals

Kane Roberts- guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, backing vocals

Kip Winger- bass, backing vocals

David Rosenberg- drums

Donnie Kisslebach- bass

Paul Delph- keyboards, backing vocals on “He’s Back”

Tom Kelly- backing vocals on “He’s Back”

Beau Hill- backing vocals

I’m surprised Steven Lukather didn’t play on the album.

I’m going make a bold declaration here. I think that “Constrictor” did for Alice Cooper what “Done With Mirrors” did for Aerosmith. The album didn’t propel Alice back to superstardom but it did put him back on the map and on the road to it. He was past is drunk days.

Next post: Vinnie Vincent Invasion

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Great Metal Albums of 1986: Possessed- Beyond the Gates

Posted in 1980s, Death, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 11, 2020 by 80smetalman

On that evening in November, 1986, in Camden Town, London, after moshing and stage diving to the English Dogs and Voivod, headliners for the evening, Possessed, hit the stage. The band made its appearance with the demand from lead singer and bassist, Jeff Becerra, “Let’s see some blood!” They then went into a mad frenzy of thrash metal which only seemed to increase in speed the longer they were up on stage. And sometime into their set, they got to see some blood when a would be stage diver dove from the stage, only for the crowd to part causing the diver to hit his head on the floor. His head was cut but he seemed otherwise all right.

Listening to the many thrash albums from 1986, I have discovered a recurring theme in most of them. It seems the first track is a mellow, acoustic or classical sounding instrumental, intent to lure you into a false sense of security before blasting your brains with fast powerful chords. It’s the same case with Possessed’s album, “Beyond the Gates.” The opening track is very melodic before “The Heretic” comes in to pulverize your ear drums.

“Beyond the Gates” is somewhere in between the albums by the English Dogs and the Cro-Mags. With this album, you get eleven songs in just over thirty-six minutes although the opener and closer are both instrumentals each lasting exactly one minute and twenty-three seconds. In between that you get nine mad, thrash songs.

Several interesting points come to mind when listening to “Beyond the Gates.” The first is on the track, “Tribulation” where guitarists Mike Torrao and Larry LaLonde trade off guitar solos in a way comparable to King and Hanneman. BTW, if the name Larry LaLonde sounds familiar, yes, he is the guy who would later go onto play in some obscure band called Primus.

Another point is while most songs are pure unadulterated thrash, the track “Phantasm” shows that the band can slow it up when needed without losing any intensity. This bears fruit on my choice for song of the album, “No Will to Live.” It is the longest track on the album at nearly seven minutes long but the way Possessed changes things up throughout the song definitely holds your interest. Even to the point where Jeff Becerra changes his tempo in his vocals. What makes this song unique is that the mosh instrumental part and guitar solo trade offs are saved until the final minute bringing the song to a very cool end.

What I didn’t know at the time was that this was Possessed’s second album. The reason why I hadn’t heard of their debut album, “Seven Churches” at the time was that it had been banned from major record stores on account of the cover showing an upside down cross. If I had known, I would have bought the album just for that.

Track Listing:

  1. Intro
  2. The Heretic
  3. Tribulation
  4. March to Die
  5. Phantasm
  6. No Will to Live
  7. Beyond the Gates
  8. The Beasts of the Apocalypse
  9. Seance
  10. Restless Dead
  11. Dog Fight

Jeff Becerra- bass, vocals

Mike Torrao- guitar

Larry LaLonde- guitar

Mike Sus- drums

Originally, “Beyond the Gates” was heavily criticized for its ‘muddy’ production. I don’t hear it but that’s me. However, these days, it’s being looked upon as a great album that got overlooked and it has even been said that it connects the dots between thrash and death metal. I can agree with that.

Next post: Alice Cooper- Constrictor

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Great Metal Albums of 1986: English Dogs- Where Legends Began

Posted in Uncategorized on October 8, 2020 by 80smetalman

If you remember, I mentioned that I saw Voivod twice in 1986. The first time in New York with the Cro-Mags and Venom. The second time was at the Electric Ballroom in Camden Town, London. Voivod was the middle of the three bands on the night. Up first was a local English band called the English Dogs.

To make a long story short, I was very impressed with the English Dogs that night. Their kick ass brand of thrash had me going down to the floor for a bit of a mosh and although unlike the New York gigs, I was able to get to the stage for a dive. Though I didn’t actually stage-dive until Voivod’s set. But that’s beside the point, the English Dogs were brilliant that night, at least from what I remember. One thing I do remember was that they seemed to be on stage for quite a long time for an opening band, not that I complained about it.

This leads to an interesting discovery when I first listened to the English Dogs’ album, “Where Legends Began.” Yes, there is some great thrash on this album. Loud, aggressive, just the way you want it, especially with songs two through four. The opener is an melodic intro, something which was done a lot on thrash albums at the time. However, there are songs which could be considered rather melodic, almost progressive, not what I would expect from a punk/thrash crossover band. In contrast to the Cro-Mags whose album had seventeen songs in thirty-three minutes, “Where Legends Began” has just nine songs which cover forty-five minutes. However, both bands do their thing very well.

The fifth song, “Calm Before the Storm,” starts out with an acoustic guitar intro. Now, I know some thrash bands do this to lure the listener into a false sense of security before assaulting their eardrums. However, while there are some good heavy parts in “Calm Before the Storm,” it doesn’t go a full thrashing mosh pitch but stays fairly melodic. However, it should be no surprise that it’s done very well. Well enough to make it my favourite track on the album.

Side two starts with “Flashback,” which is more of a mainstream metal song. The best comparison I could give is it sounds similar to Metal Church and again, that’s not a bad thing. “A Tomb of Travellers Past” goes back to more familiar territory. It’s a faster song which invites people out for a bit of a mosh. The same can be said for “Middle Earth” even though my first thought was that with a title like that, it must be a more progressive song, it’s not. There are power chords galore on this one. However, the closer, “Epilogue,” does take the album out in a more melodic fashion but it’s a great way to end it.

No matter what the song was, what caught my ear in each one was the guitar playing of Gizz Butt. He can solo to thrash, metal or even to progressive metal and the solo fits the song perfectly. Then I had a read at the man’s biography and found out that he was in Prodigy during their most successful period. I can understand why and I realize just how out of touch I was with music in the 1990s.

Track Listing:

  1. Trauma
  2. The Eye of Shamahn
  3. Enter the Domain
  4. Premonition
  5. Calm Before the Storm
  6. Flashback
  7. A Tomb of Travellers Past
  8. Middle Earth
  9. Epilogue

Ade ‘Adie’ Bailey- lead vocals

Gizz Butt- guitars and backing vocals

Mark ‘Wattie’ Watson- bass and backing vocals

Andrew ‘Pinch’ Pinching- drums and backing vocals

It’s amazing really how much a band can surprise you. I was never so surprised when I heard the album “Where Legends Began” after seeing the English Dogs live. It just goes to show.

Next post: Possessed- Beyond the Gates (They headlined that evening in London)

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Rest in Peace Eddie Van Halen

Posted in Uncategorized on October 6, 2020 by 80smetalman
Eddie Van Halen

I can’t believe it! Another reason to say that 2020 definitely sucks. Guitar god Eddie Van Halen has lost his battle with cancer and has passed away today. Words can’t express my sorrow and shock. His contributions to the music, especially heavy metal are so well known, they don’t need me simply repeating it here. My condolences go out to his family and to all my fellow metalheads who will be saddened by his death.

Rest in peace Eddie

These are my two all time favourite Van Halen songs to share:

Great Metal Albums of 1986: The Cro-Mags- The Age of Quarrel

Posted in Uncategorized on October 4, 2020 by 80smetalman

Like Voivod, my introduction to the Cro-Mags came when I saw both bands together in New York in 1986. BTW, Venom was the headliner that night so one can imagine what a massive mosh the evening was. So much so, that one mad individual executed a balcony dive into the crowd. What I remember from the Cro-Mags’ performance was an onslaught of thrash to the extreme, I spent most of their set in a mosh pit.

What I didn’t know back in 1986 was how much of an influence their debut album, “The Age of Quarrel,” would have on the East Coast post punk scene in the late 1980s. Many hard core bands in the 1990s would cite this album as a major influence. Actually, I can see why, “The Age of Quarrel” is just one massive hardcore thrash album. Fifteen songs on an album that lasts just over thirty-three minutes! Some of these songs go so fast, that if you’re not careful, you might miss them.

While “The Age of Quarrel” has influenced many a hardcore act which came after, I get the feeling that the Cro-Mags, themselves, were influenced by the likes of Suicidal Tendencies and their fellow New Yorkers, Stormtroopers of Death. I hear snippets of both on the album whether it’s speeding blink and you miss it jams like “Show You No Mercy” or where they slow it down a little on “Malfunction.” However, both of those influences blend in very well on my choice for best track, “Street Justice.” “Face the Facts” comes a close second.

Some heavy metal ‘purists’ at the time pooh-poohed thrash bands like the Cro-Mags stating that it was just one chord with a lot of screaming. True, I won’t class lead singer John Joseph with the top vocalists, nor would I include lead guitarist Doug Holland with the great shredders but what these five can do when they get together is just mind blowing. Each member of the band performs their roles superbly and the result is just over a half hour of mad hardcore thrash. Saying that, Harley Flanagan does lay down some cool bass lines, especially on “Do Unto Others.”

Track Listing:

  1. We Gotta Know
  2. World Peace
  3. Show No Mercy
  4. Malfunction
  5. Street Justice
  6. Survival on the Streets
  7. Seekers of the Truth
  8. It’s the Limit
  9. Hard Times
  10. By Myself
  11. Don’t Tread On Me
  12. Face the Facts
  13. Do Unto Others
  14. Life of My Own
  15. Signs of the Times
The Cro-Mags

John Joseph- vocals

Parris Mitchell Mayhew- rhythm guitar

Doug Holland- lead guitar

Harley Flanagan- bass

Mackie Jayson- drums

The thrash scene in New York back in 1986 was starting to turn lots of heads, it definitely turned mine. There were a lot of cool bands coming out as was the case in San Francisco. The Cro-Mags, with this debut album was definitely the tip on the spear.

Next post: English Dogs- Where Legend Began

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Great Metal Albums of 1986: Voivod- Rrroooaaarrr

Posted in Uncategorized on October 1, 2020 by 80smetalman

I saw Canadian thrash metal Voivod twice in 1986. The first time, they supported the Cro Mags and Venom in New York and the second was as the middle act between the English Dogs and Possessed in Camden Town, London. My conclusion from those two concerts was that Voivod were so good because they were so bad. If I was a non-metalhead, I would have thought the band ticked all the stereotypical boxes of heavy metal bands; the singer screams instead of sings and the rest of the band can only play three chords. However, I am a metal head and can appreciate the joyful noise Voivod makes.

What seeing those two live performances didn’t do was to put me off listening to their albums. When their second album, “Rrroooaaarrr,” came out, I had to give it a listen. By this time in 1986, I was looking for the thrash and with this album, Voivod definitely deliver it: starter, main course and dessert!

In spite of what I’ve just said about the headache inducing thrash they were known for, there is some melody on the album. The most melodic song on the album happens to be “Slaughter in a Grave.” This is the best technical song as lead singer, Snake, does try to sing more instead of just shouting the song and full marks, guitarist Piggy does rip a couple of good solos. However, even though the title of “Slaughter in a Grave” must have turned the heads of the PMRC, one can’t ignore any song which is titled, “Fuck Off and Die.” As a 25 year old, the title really amused me and even though I am now eight months away from the big 6-0, I still find the title amusing. What’s more is the fact that it’s not just an amusing title, the song itself is a great hardcore thrash party and that’s why it’s my favourite of the album.

Here’s another point about “Rrroooaaarrr,” while it’s not an album I would play around my two year old grandson, there is lots of swearing, the lyrics aren’t all swearing or themed on violence or gratuitous sex. Another misconception aimed at heavy metal, especially thrash. For example, I think “Horror” and “Build Your Weapons” are anti-war songs. But like every song on the album, the pounding chords of the music can sometimes mask the lyrics. That’s what is good about this album.

Track Listing:

  1. Korgull the Exterminator
  2. Fuck Off and Die
  3. Slaughter in a Grave
  4. Ripping Headaches
  5. Horror
  6. Thrashing Rage
  7. The Helldriver
  8. Build Your Weapons
  9. To the Death!

Snake (Denis Belanger)- vocals

Piggy (Denis D’Amour)- guitars

Blacky (Jean Yves- Theriault)- bass

Away (Michel Langevin)- drums

Anyone looking for thrash metal in 1986 didn’t need to look far if they had the album “Rrroooaaarrr” from Voivod. This is thrash at its purest and it still hold up today.

Next post: The Cro Mags- The Age of Quarrel

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