Great Metal Albums of 1987: Tesla- Mechanical Resonance

My sister Dawn wrote reviews on heavy metal albums when she was in college back in 1987. She was nicknamed “Dawn the Destroyer” for her hard criticism of many albums. In the early part of the year, she sent me a clipping of her review of Tesla’s debut album, “Mechanical Resonance.” To be fair, she didn’t destroy the album but she didn’t sing its praises either. In fact, she called it a corporate produced album as there seemed to be songs for everyone on here. That review has always influenced me when listening to it and I’m afraid it will influence my post here.

“Mechanical Resonance” leads off with “Ez Come Ez Go” and my first thought was that this must be the MTV single for the album. It has a catchy vibe and is rather melodic metal. Plus, I love how it opens with the bass before the guitars and vocals kick in. However, it wasn’t released as a single, which I find strange. If there is any song which sounds like corporate produced metal, it’s the second track, “Cumin’ Atcha Live.” All the heavy metal cliches are found on the song. It begins with guitar solo and then there is this live feel to the song even though it’s not recorded live. Then comes the guitar solo trade off in the middle, all the things you might expect all in one song. This wasn’t a single either.

From what else I remember from Dawn’s review was that she says that there is a song for thrash metal fans. While there isn’t anything I could call thrash, the closest to that label would be “2 Late 4 Love.” This is the hardest pounding song on the album but again, I wouldn’t call it thrash. Another contender for the thrash label could be “Rock Me to the Top.” It’s medium fast but not fast enough to be called thrash. This song is more in the Judas Priest vein and that isn’t a bad thing. Lead singer Jeff Keith tries to scream like Robert Halford on it but as we all know, there is only one Rob!

Corporate inspired albums would also have a token ballad or two on them. “Gettin’ Better” begins with an acoustic guitar but that’s all as the song goes into straight ahead metal mode for the rest. That leaves, “We’re No Good Together.” On the first half of the song, it is a total ballad and while I’m listening, I wait in anticipation for the screeching guitar solo. However, at that bridge in the middle, the song just increases in speed making the second half of it a real belter of the song. When the guitar solos do come, they aren’t ones I associate with a ballad but are cool metal finger board smashing. This track also was not released as a single, therefore it gets my vote for hidden gem.

The two songs which were released as singles are two of my favourite tracks on the album. “Modern Day Cowboy” has a slight Dokken feel to it. Not a bad thing but Tesla do make it their own song. Well, they did write it. Perhaps, the corporations had this song a single because it incorporates everything the band does well on the rest of the album. The guitar solos are just fantastic. The other single is “Little Suzi” and I like it because it has a bit of the Southern Rock boogie swagger vibe to it. Judging from the video, I hope Tesla had as much fun recording it as it looks in the video.

Another piece of corporate metal evidence my sister puts forward is that there is a keyboard song for the Rush fans. I think that song would be “Changes.” There are keyboards in it but the piano intro is quite tastefully done. However, other than that, the song sounds nothing like what Rush was doing at that time. It goes hard and heavy with some pounding guitars and while there are keyboards in the song, they take a definite back seat. I will say that I think the second half of the album outshines the first, probably because of the two songs and “Changes.” However, the last three songs also hold their own as well, “Love Me” in particular. Therefore, to me, “Mechanical Resonance” is simply a good, enjoyable metal album.

Track Listing:

  1. EZ Come EZ Go
  2. Cumin’ Atcha Live
  3. Gettin’ Better
  4. 2 Late 4 Love
  5. Rock Me to the Top
  6. We’re No Good Together
  7. Modern Day Cowboy
  8. Changes
  9. Little Suzi
  10. Love Me
  11. Cover Queen
  12. Before My Eyes

Jeff Keith- lead vocals

Frank Hannon- guitars, keyboards, mandolin, backing vocals

Tommy Skeoch- guitars, backing vocals

Brian Wheat- bass, backing vocals

Troy Luccketta- drums, percussion

One aspect of Tesla which I hadn’t recognized until recently is that Frank Hannon and Tommy Skeoch are a very underrated guitar duo. Their guitar work on “Mechanical Resonance” is absolutely mind blowing in places. As for the album being a corporate produced affair, if that is the case, then the corporations did something right.

Next post: TNT- Tell No Tales

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16 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1987: Tesla- Mechanical Resonance”

  1. Skeoch is the real deal and you’re right him and Hannon made a great tag team. I caught Tesla live twice back in 90 and 92 and they delivered.
    I have to add that just now I shot ladano a message telling him that new Tesla tune that justt came out is quite good.
    I always found these guys the opposite of corporate rock and they were what you got on stage and off which is a bunch of hill billies not worried about looks and throwing down a sound that was not peppered with studio trickery at the time.
    Wonder what Dawn would think of it?

    My 2 cents Sir! lol

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love this album. It was unlike the other rock that was out there as it was more raw and not the glam rock that was other there. I saw the open for Def Leppard in 87 and they were awesome (not as good as Lep, but still great).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I heard these guys a lot at a buddy’s place in high school. Great stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tesla’s first four albums are Championship winning albums. Hannon and Skeoch showcased awesome composing and merging of so many different styles into the Tesla sound. And who can forget their lead breaks. Guitar hero stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve said before, this is one of my favourite Tesla albums if not my favourite. It was my first! I went in order with this band.

    Liked by 1 person

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