Archive for the Concerts Category

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Exodus- Pleasures of the Flesh

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2021 by 80smetalman

When I heard that Exodus had come out with a new album in 1987, my first thought was to whether they would still astound the world with their extremely fast playing. With their debut album, “Bonded By Blood” and seeing them supporting Anthrax the year before, I was astounded that mortal men could play so fast. A point I made in “Rock and Roll Children.” Therefore, when I got to listen to “Pleasures of the Flesh,” I did so with that thought in mind.

Original album cover

Even before the album came out, there was some turmoil and controversy. First, lead singer Paul Balof was fired from the band and was replaced by Steve Souza. Then there was the controversy of the album cover. The one directly above was the cover the band intended to use and it was the one which appeared in metal magazines when the album was announced. However, it was changed to the cover at the very top of the page. I’m not sure if the change was the record company’s idea because they got cold feet about the original cover or it was something else. I see nothing wrong with the cover.

Now to answer the question: Did Exodus continue to astound the world with extremely fast playing on “Pleasures of the Flesh?” My answer that in the case of the first three songs, the answer is a definite yes. All three of those songs are at the breakneck speed that Exodus was becoming famous for. In addition, Souza’s vocals was able to keep up with the rest of the band. He proved to be a welcome change. However, the band actually slow right down to a more mainstream metal sound on the fourth track, “Brain Dead.” Don’t get me wrong, it’s still an excellent song and it’s good that they change it up a little but in Exodus’s case, it’s almost going totally the other extreme. Maybe they intended it as a shock effect after the furious mosh of the first three songs.

One reason why it might have been a shock trick is that things go back to extreme metal speed on “Faster Than You’ll Ever Live to Be.” This one is probably the fastest song on the album and the band handles it all quite comfortably. Plus there is some cool guitar solos at the end. That has me wondering about the seven plus minute long title track. Was this meant to be their concept song? There are lots of animal sounds at the beginning before it goes into a fast but not too fast intro. While fast in many parts, the speed is not sound barrier breaking and some might say that guitarists Gary Holt and Rick Hunolt are trying to show off what they can do. If that’s the case, they do it very well but what really impresses me is the bass line from Rob McKillop. He does lay down a solid beat while Rick and Gary shred about the place.

Even more perplexing in things Exodus is their brief acoustic instrumental “30 Seconds,” which is actually forty seconds long. I have no complaints about it as it is played well. Again, that only serves to be a brief break in the action as they go back to thrash although, “Seeds of Hate” isn’t as speedy as many of the other tracks. It’s more Metallica “Black Album” speed. Nevertheless, it begins wit a very cool drum roll from Tom Hunting and the song delivers. Then “Chemi- Kill” begins with some way out guitar effects. For me this dispels the myth that Exodus are a thrash band only capable of playing three chords. They can play more, they choose to play those chords very fast. They still do so on this track, except there are some more way out parts in the middle. But Exodus don’t let you forget they are a thrash metal band as the closer, “Choose Your Weapon,” goes out in full Exodus thrash fashion.

Track Listing:

  1. Deranged
  2. Til Death Do Us Part
  3. Parasite
  4. Brain Dead
  5. Faster Than You’ll Even Live to Be
  6. Pleasures of the Flesh
  7. 30 Seconds
  8. Seeds of Hate
  9. Chemi- Kill
  10. Choose Your Weapon
Exodus

Steve Souza- lead vocals

Gary Holt- guitars

Rick Hunolt- guitars

Rob McKillop- bass

Tom Hunting- drums

While my band of choice for making the Big 4 the Big 5 is Kreator, Anthrax’s Scott Ian has insisted that the spot go to Exodus. It’s hard to argue with Scott on this point, especially with albums such as “Pleasures of the Flesh.”

Next post: Candlemass- Nightfall

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Briar- Take On the World

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2021 by 80smetalman

Sometimes it’s a case of being in the right place at the right time when it comes about discovering a new band. I’m sure that was the case with some bands with many of you. In this particular instance, my discovery of British metal band, Briar, came when I saw them support legends Stryper at the Hammersmith Odeon in May of 1987. Stryper were absolutely phenomenal that night and I was sure that my one friend Dave was going to convert right there and then. Furthermore, another friend, Tim, was hit by a flying bible but someone else grabbed it before he realised what happened. Oh yes, I’m posting about Briar. Actually, I don’t remember anything spectacular about them and the song I remember most, “One Foot Back in the Door,” appears on their next album. However, there was something about the band or I wouldn’t have remembered them after all these years.

Their 1987 album, “Take on the World,” opens with the title track and what you get sets the tone for the rest of the album. It’s a straightforward metal tune with some decent guitar and vocal work. It’s a good track to lead off the album but the next track, “Closing In,” is better. The intro is straight to the point but very catchy. It’s a song to bob your head along to while you are driving or sitting down and listening to. However, it does tail off a little in the middle and there could be a little more oomph to the chorus but the guitar solo makes those issues very minor.

“Odd One Out” is a faster paced song which keeps going right to the chorus and that’s my minor complaint about it. The chorus sounds a little lazy but again, this is more me nitpicking because the rest of the song, guitar solo included is very good. The chorus issue goes away on the next track, “Everybody,” in spite of the fact that the lyrics are one of those ‘I’ve heard this before’ type. It’s sung with more passion and there are some good heavy guitar riffs and a cool solo trade off between guitarists Dave Fletcher and Darren Underwood. The two D’s carry that on to the next track, “Always Gonna Love You” with a great lead guitar intro. This is the fastest song on the album, though it’s not near Exodus speed but it’s a good headbanger nonetheless. Especially with another guitar solo trade off.

With expectation building as the album goes on, one might think “Lorraine” would be an extra super track. It’s not bad, there is some good strong riffs on it but it’s more of a plateau than an ascension in metal build up. I don’t know if a single was ever released from the album but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was this track. I think my problem with the track is that there is no guitar solo and I think the inclusion of such would have given it the boost it needed.

Now, as you know, I am a sucker for a great power ballad and “Without You” had the potential to be such. Unfortunately, the track is let down from what I feel is lousy production. The guitar work is very good and maybe it’s time to comment on Kevin Griffiths vocals because while he sounds good on the rest of the album, his vocals are the only thing not adversely effected by the production on this track. Fortunately, all is well because Briar go out on a total high with the closer, “Keep On Running.” It has that 80s, ‘let’s make them think it’s recorded live’ effect on it but in this case, that only makes it sound that much better! There is definitely some oomph to this track and it’s my favourite on the album right down to the fantastic guitar solo. Oh yes, message to Blackie Lawless, Kevin Griffiths plays bass as well as sings lead and proves you can do both effectively.

Track Listing:

  1. Take On the World
  2. Closing In
  3. Odd One Out
  4. Everybody
  5. Always Gonna Love You
  6. Lorraine
  7. Without You
  8. Keep On Running
Briar

Kevin Griffiths- lead vocals, bass

Dave Fletcher- guitar, backing vocals

Darren Underwood- guitar, backing vocals

Dean Cook- drums, backing vocals

Briar came and went unnoticed by most of the metal world but not by me. I urge you to take a second and have a listen to the “Take On the World” album, I can assure you it won’t be time wasted.

Next post: I am taking a bit of a hiatus for the next two weeks or so. Next week, I have a 72 hour shift at work, (I get paid to sleep in) and then I will visit my daughter. Next Sunday, I am going to do something which one would have thought I would have done growing up in America. Unfortunately, it was always one of those things I was meaning to do but never got around to it. I will be going with my two sons to London to watch an NFL game. When I get back from that, Mrs 80smetalman and I are going away for a couple of days. When I do return, I will be taking a leaf out of 2loud’s book and writing my own Cover vs. Original post. Stay safe until then.

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Nuclear Assault- Game Over

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 7, 2021 by 80smetalman

My introduction to Nuclear Assault was in 1986 when I was told they were a spin off of the Stormtroopers of Death. However, it’s only the case of bassist Dan Lilker, who was in S.O.D. Unfortunately, that was my only experience of the band and it wasn’t until 1987 that I heard the album, “Game Over.” More unfortunate was the fact that I never got to see them live until Bloodstock 2015 but I can say that they were definitely worth the wait.

Dan Lilker talking to the crowd, Bloodstock 2015
Nuclear Assault in full assault

Dan Lilker’s time with the Stormtroopers of Death and Anthrax (Dan was cofounder with Scott Ian) comes through straight away on the album. Like with S.O.D., the albums begins with an instrumental. “Live, Suffer, Die,” is a short sharp shock of moshing thrash for the full minute and eight seconds of the song. Those influences carry on over the next four tracks as each of them are serious hard core thrash. While all of those tracks are good, the one which sticks out is “Betrayal,” probably because of the lyrics singing about a back stabbing whore. This is definitely a song about being cheated on and it proves you don’t need to sing about such subjects in a ballad. However, I also love the guitar solo in “Radiation Sickness.”

“Hang the Pope” might only be forty-six seconds long but it is still an amusing song. I don’t know how those of the Catholic faith feel about lyrics calling on people to go to the Vatican and hang the pope until he’s dead but it is a very amusing, explosive song. Things appear to slow down on the intro of “After the Holocaust” but it is probably the fastest song on the album and that is saying something. The guitar solo from Anthony Bramante is amazing. Then as a break in the action, we get the twenty-two second long “Mr. Softee Theme.” For the non-American readers, Mr. Softee is an ice cream company whose vans drive around the streets selling ice cream. Maybe the Mr. Softee company should have used Nuclear Assault’s version for their trucks. It would have been less annoying.

Things go back to full speed thrash on “Stranded in Hell.” It is on this track I get to appreciate the drumming of Glenn Evans and I will say now that Dan Lilker is a very underrated bass player. He really comes through on “My America.” The closer is a real paradox. While all of the other songs are less than four minutes, several less than three, “Brain Death” is over seven minutes. It starts like it’s going to be a slower metal song with the acoustic intro which is a little hypnotic if you listen closely and the pace only picks up a little when the acoustic guitar goes electric. It is at the two minute mark when the song explodes into full thrash glory, though it’s instrumental part in the middle slows down again and goes on for several minutes before going out in a thrash speed flurry.

Track Listing:

  1. Live, Suffer, Die
  2. Sin
  3. Cold Steel
  4. Betrayal
  5. Radiation Sickness
  6. Hang the Pope
  7. After the Holocaust
  8. Mr. Softee Theme
  9. Stranded in Hell
  10. Nuclear War
  11. My America
  12. Vengeance
  13. Brain Dead

John Connelly- guitar, vocals

Anthony Bramante- lead guitar

Dan Lilker- bass

Glen Evans- drums

Calling Nuclear Assault an Anthrax or S.O.D. spin off is inaccurate. Sure, there are heavy influences from both of those bands on the album, “Game Over,” but the album also proves that they are their own band capable of their own brand of thrash.

Next post: Briar- Take On the World

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1987: WASP- Inside the Electric Circus

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 22, 2021 by 80smetalman

Let me start with a debate I unintentionally started on Mike Ledano’s blog a few years back. He posted about a new album from former WASP guitarist Randy Piper. After reading the review and listening to the sample track and then remembering when I saw WASP perform at Donningtion 1987, I was of the mindset that Blackie Lawless fired the wrong guitarist. Believe me, that comment created lots of debate with one person in particular stating that Blackie indeed fired the right guitarist because Randy Piper was a screw up.

The whole debate actually started before the recording of the album, “Inside the Electric Circus.” Prior to recording, Blackie Lawless made the transition from bass to rhythm guitar and consequently fired Piper and in came Johnny Rod on bass. So the big question was for this album, did the transition pay off?

Thinking back to their previous album, “The Last Command,” which I found to be a bit average except for three very kick ass songs, I find “Inside the Electric Circus” to be a big improvement except for the fact that there aren’t any songs which transcend the ionosphere. However, the bulk of this album holds up and there is very little I would call filler. In fact, I have been finding rather difficult to find a standout track. There just seems to be a bit more oomph to the album.

There are a few throwbacks to the better tracks on “The Last Command.” I do get a “Wild Child” vibe on “Restless Gypsy” and though it’s not as phenomenal as its predecessor, “Restless Gypsy” is still a brilliant track. It is on this track where I have to conceded that Blackie didn’t fire the wrong guitarist because Chris Holmes delivers a killer solo on the track. My question is why don’t I remember him playing any solos like that at Donnington? Likewise, I can feel a “Blind in Texas” vibe to “Shoot From the Hip.” Going back to the debut album, I can hear a “I Wanna Be Somebody” vibe on “Easy Living.” On the other hand, the intro on “95-Nasty” has a opening riff that reminds me a little of AC/DC’s “For Those About to Rock, We Salute You.” And now I can say that I have a favourite track, It’s “I’m Alive” due to its Heart’s “Barracuda” vibe with a couple of killer guitar solos. I think I need to apologize to Chris Holmes.

Track Listing:

  1. The Big Welcome
  2. Inside the Electric Circus
  3. I Don’t Need No Doctor
  4. 95-Nasty
  5. Restless Gypsy
  6. Shoot From the Hip
  7. I’m Alive
  8. Easy Living
  9. Sweet Cheetah
  10. Mantronic
  11. King of Sodom and Gomorrah
  12. The Rock Rolls On
WASP

Blackie Lawless- lead vocals, rhythm guitar

Chris Holmes- lead guitar

Johnny Rod- bass, backing vocals

Steve Riley- drums, backing vocals

To answer the original question, I think that the transition of Blackie to rhythm guitar and the adding of Johnny on bass did pay off on “Inside the Electric Circus.” While they stuck to the formula of their previous album, they did it better on this album. I saw the results at Donnington as I was surprised as to how much better they were than when I had seen them the year before. Even though I can’t remember any great solos from Chris Holmes, he definitely plays them on the album.

Next post: The Smiths- Strangeways, Here We Come

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Anthrax- Among the Living

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2021 by 80smetalman

Anthrax’s 1987 album, “Among the Living,” which was the follow up to the fame launching “Spreading the Disease” album was one that caught a lot of people off guard. Many people assumed that after the success of the slightly more melodic predecessor, they would continue the same way with the new album. Boy, was everybody wrong! If anything, “Among the Living” was the thrashiest album to date.

This is evident with the very first song, the title track where they do quote the previous album title in the lyrics. This track beats you around the head with two very large blunt objects. It is just hard and heavy, just the way any thrash metal fan would expect. However, Joey Belladonna still has his highly melodic voice, blowing the myth that thrash singers all sound like barking dogs out of the water. If anything, the title track fulfills the speculation of what Joey would have sounded like if he was the lead singer in the Stormtroopers of Death.

Listening to the album again these past few days has brought a paradox to my insane mind. Back in 1987, I accepted the title track as a great opener to the album. However, all three times I saw Anthrax live in the past decade, they opened with the second song on the album, “Caught in a Mosh” and it is a great song to open a show with. Believe me, it gets people moshing but here’s the thing, even though Anthrax opens their live shows with it, it still doesn’t sound out of place being second on the album. God, I better stop thinking about this or my head might do a “Scanners.”

Ian and Bello proving that age has little effect on metal. Bloodstock 2016

Another concern, at least for the record company was that a return to a more hardcore thrash style might not be a successful venture. Album sales and the consensus from many in the metal world that this is Anthrax’s best album shoot that down. Although, I am still partial to “Spreading the Disease” but I admit I’m mental. However, further proof is the fact that in February, 1987, while watching the famous UK show, “Top of the Pops” in the student bar, I had the satisfaction to see Anthrax break into the top 40! Okay, it only got to 34 but it was a slap in the face to all the pop loving trendies.

Yet a further element which sets Anthrax apart from many other thrash bands is that their songs are about topical issues. “Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)” is an anti drug abuse song inspired by the tragic death of John Belushi. It is also “nice fukin’ life” spelled backwards. However, Scott Ian still gets asked by the less informed why he wrote a song about the National Football League. I agree with Scott here, listen to the song you asshole! “Indians” is about how badly the Native Americans have been treated throughout the centuries since Europeans came to the Americas. Then there’s my vote for hidden gem, “A Skeleton in the Closet.” This song is about former Nazis who were allowed to come to the West undetected and live among the populace as if nothing happened in their past but are still being hunted by those who won’t forget the holocaust.

All of these songs are done with the full ear pounding power of Anthrax. Each song has drum fills, pounding bass and a rhythm guitar which can change speed at the drop of a hat. Dan Spitz produces some good solos along with the mosh parts and it is his efforts on “A Skeleton in the Closet,” which makes it my hidden gem. However, in spite of all the hardcore, thrash and speed metal all rolled into one, Joey Belladonna sings through these songs as if it’s just another day at the office. There are also some nice little surprises along the way, for example, the acoustic intro to “A.D.I./Horror of it All.” With all of these element in place, it is little wonder these songs are so good.

Track Listing:

  1. Among the Living
  2. Caught in a Mosh
  3. I Am the Law
  4. Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)
  5. A Skeleton in the Closet
  6. Indians
  7. One World
  8. A.D.I./Horror of It All
  9. Imitation of Life
Anthrax

Joey Belladonna- lead vocals

Scott Ian- rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Dan Spitz- lead guitar, backing vocals

Frank Bello- bass, backing vocals

Charlie Benante- drums

Anthrax proved with “Among the Living” that you don’t always have to compromise your principles to be successful. With this album, they came back harder and faster and for that, the album was very successful.

Next post: Metallica- The $5.98 EP/$9.98 CD Garage Days Revisited

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Samson- Joint Forces

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 26, 2020 by 80smetalman

Even as early as 1986, the British heavy metal band, Samson, was already becoming known as “the other band Bruce Dickinson was in.” No prizes for knowing Bruce was in Samson before leaving to join Iron Maiden. In fact, I probably should have been posting Samson albums in the previous years leading up to 1986. I blame my crap memory. If anyone’s interested, I could visit those albums after the tour of 86 is done before moving onto 1987.

Guitarist Paul Samson wasn’t going to throw in the towel after Bruce’s departure and continued the band and lead singer Nicky Moore proves to be a capable replacement on Samson’s 1986 album, “Joint Forces.” In spite of the fact that I had heard of Samson before coming over to Britain, I never listened to them until I saw them open for none other than Iron Maiden. It was a result of that concert, I finally got around to listening to Samson. That was the problem in 1986, so much good metal and not enough time to listen to it all.

Starting with both ends of the album, the opening and closing tracks lay down the framework to what is a great album. “The Chosen Few” is a very fast paced song which grabs your attention from the start, the closest track to thrash. Then, while the contradiction may not work on other albums, the closing power ballad, “Reach Out to Love” is the perfect way to end the album. I don’t remember if they played the song when I saw them but if I was to go back in time and Samson was playing in the US, my cigarette lighter would have been held aloft all throughout the song.

That leaves the songs in between and let me say that there is no let up anywhere on the album. I like the reggae/metal feel to “No Turning Back” and “Tell Me” is a real power rocker. Paul really lets go with the guitar on this one. “The Russians are Coming” is a short but sweet speedy rocker. It’s a good dig at then president Ronald Reagan’s paranoia that the Russians were going to invade America at any moment and it has a cool guitar solo from Paul. However, of all these tunes, my favourite has to be the mid tempo, melodic metal jam, “Burning Emotion.” For me, this track embodies everything Samson does well on the album.

Track Listing:

  1. The Chosen Few
  2. Tramp
  3. Burning Emotion
  4. No Turning Back
  5. Tell Me
  6. Tales of the Fury
  7. That Ain’t All
  8. Power of Love
  9. The Russians are Coming
  10. Reach Out For Love
Samson

Nicky Moore- vocals

Paul Samson- guitar

John Mccoy- bass

Chris Shirley- drums

Whether Samson was Bruce Dickinson’s other band or not seems a mute point. What I know is that I missed out on a great band in Samson, something I need to rectify.

Next post: Iron Maiden- Somewhere In Time

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Loudness- Lightning Strikes

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on November 8, 2020 by 80smetalman

Supporting Saxon on the night of the first ever concert I attended at the Hammersmith Odeon was Japanese metal greats, Loudness. While it was my first time seeing Saxon, unfortunately, I have to admit it was my only time, I had seen Loudness a year earlier with Motley Crue and in my opinion, Loudness blew the Crue away. And while they didn’t blow Saxon away, they were as good as they had been a year earlier.

My anticipation on their next album, “Lightning Strikes,” was just as intense as my anticipation of seeing them live again. After the phenomenal “Thunder in the East,” I couldn’t wait to hear how Loudness would follow it up. Was it as good as its predecessor? To be honest, it was always a difficult task to follow up that album but I must say that “Lightning Strikes” comes pretty close.

They kept the format the same, using the single as the opening track. Finding hard not to compare and contrast, “Crazy Nights” is my all time favourite Loudness song but “Let It Go” is very good. The difference is that Loudness go for more a melodic hard rock sound on the new single, which caught me momentarily off guard but after a good listen, I can say “Let It Go” is definitely a good song.

What the band attempts to do and does it quite well is to create the feeling of the previous album on the new one. “Dark Desire” is a power jam while “1000 Eyes” has an introduction which reminds me a little of the track “Heavy Chains” off “TITE.” It’s still a great track and then comes the hidden gem, “Face to Face.” There is no attempt for melodic hard rock here, it’s almost thrash but Loudness pulls it off. Each member of the band contribute something here. Minoru Nihara shows he can sing at that speed and Akira Takasaki rips a blinder of a solo but it’s the rhythm section which impresses me here. Solid bass chords from Massayoshi Yamashita and frantic drumming from Muneteka Higuchi combine to make it the gem.

After “Who Knows” closes the first side in a way that makes you can’t wait to hear the second side, which opens with a very experimental sounding “Ashes in the Sky.” It is a very interesting track to say the least and I applaud Loudness for not being afraid to explore new territory. Akira does shine on the song with an acoustic intro backed with some power chords and a great guitar solo. It too is a hidden gem but not as big as “Face to Face.”

A second thrash type tune is found on “Black Star Oblivion.” The tempo races but it is here and the following song, “Street Life Dream,” where Akira plays his two best guitar solos. While “Street Life Dream” isn’t thrash, there are good power metal chords to be had. This brings me to the closer, “Complication.” I think it closes the album really well but I have since discovered that “Who Knows” closes the Japanese edition of the album. I can’t see how that would work.

Track Listing:

  1. Let It Go
  2. Dark Desire
  3. 1000 Eyes
  4. Face to Face
  5. Who Knows
  6. Ashes in the Sky
  7. Black Star Oblivion
  8. Street Life Dream
  9. Complication
Loudness

Minoru Nihara- lead vocals

Akira Takasaki- guitar

Massayoshi Yamashita- bass

Maneteka Higuchi- drums

Like I said earlier, Loudness’s 1985 album, “Thunder in the East” was a tough act to follow. However, I think that “Lightning Strikes” does a good job of coming very close.

Next post: Waysted- Save Your Prayers

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Saxon- Rock the Nations

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 4, 2020 by 80smetalman

October 11, 1986 was my first time attending a concert at the famous Hammersmith Odeon in London. No prizes for guessing who the headline band was or I wouldn’t be writing about it now. The support act will get the treatment in the next post but that night, I was excited about finally getting to see NWOBHM stars, Saxon and they didn’t disappoint.

An additional bonus on the night was that Saxon were on tour for their latest album, “Rock the Nations.” While I might have been there to hear some of my favourites from earlier years like “Wheels of Steel” and “Princess of the Night,” (they played both), the new material they played that night was just as good and of course, I had to get the album.

According to some critics, (I never pay attention to them anyway), “Rock the Nations” sounded cliche-ridden and sighted the departure of bassist and key song writer Steve Dawson as the reason why. Having only just started exploring Saxon in detail at the time, I didn’t know the internal politics of the band and for me, the album had everything I liked about Saxon in it.

“Rock the Nations” opens with the title track and makes it no secret that this is a Saxon album. Critics might have called it cliche but to me it was typical Saxon. If they wanted to pick on any track and they do, it’s the first single, “Waiting for the Night.” First, I can’t fathom why it was called a sappy ballad because I find it a radio- friendly, mid-tempo metal song. The other so-called sappy ballad is the closer, “Northern Lady.” Yes, it’s a ballad but in no way is it sappy. It’s a power ballad to the max with a great guitar solo. Furthermore, being married to a northern lady, it holds a special place for me in my metal heart.

Singles and ballads aside, there are some real cookers on this album. “Battle Cry” and “We Came to Rock” are great ones but if you want full on power chords and great solos, then you must listen to “You’re No Angel.” That track is the power rocker and its successor, “Running Hot,” gives it a one-two punch. “Empty Promises” walks the tightrope between all out power rock and the more radio friendly melodic metal. Actually, I thought this one would have made a better single.

This leads me to the hidden gem and the one track that’s definitely different. I’m talking about “Party ’til You Puke.” Something I did more times than I’d like to admit back then. There is a jazz feel on the song, mainly down to the fact that the band got some pianist named Elton John, (you might have heard of him), to tinkle the ivories on it. But while it has a jazz feel, there is enough power chords on here to let you remember that it’s still a Saxon metal song. The guitar work here says it all!

Track Listing:

  1. Rock the Nations
  2. Battle Cry
  3. Waiting for the Night
  4. We Came to Rock
  5. You’re No Angel
  6. Running Hot
  7. Party ’til You Puke
  8. Empty Promises
  9. Northern Lady
Saxon

Biff Byford- lead vocals, bass

Graham Oliver- guitar

Paul Quinn- guitar

Nigel Glockler- drums

Paul Johnson- bass (doesn’t not actually play on the album)

Elton John- piano on “Party ’til You Puke”

Those same critics once said “Rock the Nations” will be an album quickly forgotten by the Saxon faithful. I have never forgotten this album. I’ve always considered it Saxon’s “Welcome to England” present for me.

Next post: Loudness- Lightning Strikes

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Musical Memories of 2018

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2019 by 80smetalman

Because of all the sad memories of 2018 in the previous post, I thought it would be a fitting tribute to recap all the great moments in music I experienced in the said year. After all, I managed to get to both Download and Bloodstock this year as well as seeing Slayer’s farewell tour and discovering a few new artists to boot. So, I hope you will have a listen and reflect back on what a great year 2018 was musically.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little trip through the previous year. One thing I found a little disappointing was that I was at all the live concerts shown in the post and I haven’t been able to find me in any of the crowd shots, oh well. As we now progress to 2019, I do have a great idea for this year. Not only would it be amazing on a musical front but it could help strengthen goodwill between Israel and Lebanon. My idea is that Orphaned Land embark on a world tour with Slave to Sirens in support. I would move mountains to see that gig. Again, I wish you all a Happy New Year!

Next post: ZZ Top- Afterburner

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2018: Tragedies and Triumphs

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 30, 2018 by 80smetalman

We are all reflecting on 2018 as the year comes to a close. For me, the year has been a roller coaster of triumphs and tragedies. The tragedies being losses in my own personal life as well as some in the music and entertainment world. Although it happened in 2017, the effects of the passing of my mother in law were felt for several weeks into the new year. Then, when I thought Mrs 80smetalman and I had gotten over it, my mother died in early March. Losing both mothers barely two months apart is something I would not wish on any couple. After putting that behind us, my wife’s aunt suddenly died. No one was really expecting it but it was not the way anyone wanted to see the year end.

Like 2016 and 17, 2018 has had its share of people we love from the music world departing this world, including two I only just found out about. Those were Matt ‘Guitar’ Murphy from The Blues Brothers and former Jefferson Airplane/Starship lead singer Marty Balin. Saying that, the list I found them on did not include Huntress lead singer, Jill Janus, which I’m a little peeved about. Here’s a list of some of the others who passed on.

Vinnie Paul

Bruno Sammartino

Blues Brothers with Aretha Franklin

It’s rather ironic that Aretha Franklin and Matt Murphy, they played husband and wife in the Blues Brothers film, both died in 2018.

Marty Balin

The only decent shot I got of Jill Janus and she has her back to me

Ed King

Fortunately, there were many triumphs in 2018 as well. The best of those was becoming a grandfather, thus ensuring a third generation of metalheads in the LeFevre family. In addition, two weeks ago, I got to see my daughter receive her master’s degree, a proud moment.

Grandfather and grandson

Needless to say, there were a lot of musical highs in 2018 as well. In February, I was invited to the album launch party for the band Black Emerald. A band I had seen at Bloodstock in 2013 and impressed me so much, I wrote a post as to why they should be signed. Someone must have read it because this year saw the release of Black Emerald’s debut album, “Hell Can’t Handle All of Us. I have listened to the album several times now and it’s brilliant. I hope this is the dawning of great things to come for this band.

Although my trip to the US, was due to tragic circumstances in March, I still got to experience what I called “America’s best kept secret” in the form of blues guitarist and singer Hannah Wicklund and her band the Steppin’ Stones. This was another album from this year that I enjoy more with each listen.

Hannah Wicklund

Hannah wasn’t the only lady in rock to turn my head in 2018. Not long after, I got to experience Lebanese metal maidens Slave to Sirens. Last report I heard, they are working on a full length album and I will definitely be picking it up when it comes out.

Slave to Sirens

No year would be complete without going to a music festival or two. In June, I went to the Sunday at Download where I was awed by the likes of Iglorious, Shinedown, Black Veil Brides, Marilyn Manson and Ozzy himself. I was also introduced to up and coming new band, Puppy but the best part for me was after a more than thirty year wait, I got to see German thrashers, Kreator. It was definitely a day to remember.

Mille leads Kreator onto the stage

Ozzy’s kick ass show

One festival wasn’t enough so in August, I went to Bloodstock for the full three days. Each day brought both the expected and unexpected. On the Friday, Suicidal Tendencies, Judas Priest and Doro all performed as well as I thought but I was further impressed by Kamelot and Feed the Rhino. Likewise on Saturday, Gojira proved they earned the headlining slot but I was also wowed by Orden Organ, the pirate metal of Alestorm and Sophie Lancaster Stage headliners Orphaned Land. I am currently listening to Orphaned Land’s new album, “Unsung Prophets and Dead Messiahs” and so far, I’m very much liking what I am hearing. However, you can’t forget Sunday, which could have been called Scandinavian Day as most of the bands were from Sweden or Finland. Still, Fozzy was brilliant as always and Mr Big showed they could play Bloodstock and Devil Driver was one big mosh pit. On the other hand, I was very grateful for my introductions to Amaranthe and Nepalese metalers Underside. This was a great way to end my festival career.

Feed The Rhino welcome everybody to Bloodstock

ST comes on stage

Doro on the Sophie Stage

Levermann and Kersting leading from the front.

Alestorm on stage with a lot of flying inflatable objects.

Orphaned Land

A shot of the entire band

Amaranthe won me over

Underside show that you can rock in Nepal.

Late in the year, AC/DC tribute band Hell’s Bells made their annual trip to Stroud and were as good as always but the year ended with seeing Slayer, Anthrax and Lamb of God in Cardiff. This is supposed to be Slayer’s farewell tour and it was a great night for them to go out on.

Obviously, I got closer to the stage for Hell’s Bells

Anthrax in Cardiff

Lamb of God

Slayer appear!

Yes, 2018 was a year of triumphs and tragedies for me. The important thing is that I got through it with many great memories. Likewise, 2019 is also looking very promising. On the personal side, both of my sons are getting married this year. My younger one in February and my eldest is getting married in December. While I have retired from going to three day festivals, I think I will go to Bloodstock on the Sunday with the Scorpions headlining that day and Dee Snider playing as well. However, the band I want to see most that day is Queensryche. I’m already looking forward.

So, I wish all of you a very happy 2019! I look forward to continuing my tour through the golden decade of heavy metal as well as talking about relevant events and I look forward to reading what you all have to say in 2019.

Next post: I think I’ll put on some of the music from the bands I mentioned here.

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://c-newfreepdf.cf/olddocs/free-download-online-rock-and-roll-children-pdf-1609763556-by-michael-d-lefevre.html