Archive for the Heavy Metal and the 1980s Category

Great Metal Albums of 1988: Scorpions- Savage Amusement

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2023 by 80smetalman

Back in the 80s, I used to think that only Led Zeppelin used to go three years or more between albums, however, The Scorpions proved me wrong. Unless you count their brilliant live album, “World Wide Live,” “Savage Amusement” was the band’s first studio album since the colossal 1984 album, “Love At First Sting.” Therefore, the question asked when the album came out was: “Would the four year lay off be a good thing or a bad thing?” My short answer is that it was a good thing.

Things get right down to business with the opener, “Don’t Stop at the Top.” Maybe this song was a wake up call for the band. Perhaps they had spent four years resting on their laurels and realized that if they didn’t put out a new album, they would be forgotten. So, they went back to the studio and recorded this one and used this great opener as their announcement they were back. Right away, with the great soloing by Mathias Jabs and the soaring vocals of Klaus Meine, you wouldn’t have thought they had been away for so long. It’s also the hidden gem on the album.

After being energized by the opener, the album follows with its big single, “Rhythm of Love.” It has a catchy mellow vibe at first but the chorus really rocks. If the opener didn’t convince you, then this one lets you know that the band was definitely firing on all cylinders. They also get Canadian metal queen, Lee Aaron to sing on the track. After the big single, cones another track which was released as single further down the line, “Passion Rules the Game.” It might not have charted but that makes no difference with me, it’s a great Scorpions rocker and like many of the songs on this album, reminds me of my favourite Scorpions album, “Blackout.”

They do change things up a little with “Media Overkill.” 80s sounding effects are used at the beginning but it’s not long into the song where Scorpions normality returns. Okay, there are some weird noises in middle of the song but the song is exactly what you want from the band. “Walking on the Edge” has a great intro with the acoustic guitar and Francis Buchholz’s bass. The track showcases their ability to switch between ballad and hard rocker without breaking a sweat. There are no ballad vibes on “We Let It Rock, You Let It Roll.” It’s the fastest song on the album and just powers its way through its three and a half minute life. Mathias stamps the song with a blistering guitar solo.

“Every Minute, Every Day” is hard for me to describe. While not a bad thing because they definitely make it work, but there seems to be a lot of things going on at once here. Most notable is the rhythm section. Schenker, Buccholz and Rarebell are the glue which holds the song together while Klaus and Mathias work rings around the song. Herman opens “Love on the Run” with some great drumming. It’s another fast song, almost speed metal but the Scorpions were always capable of such feats. “Savage Amusement” goes out with a power ballad, “Believe in Love,” something the band was always good at. Cliche remark but in this case, the track was the best way to end the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Don’t Stop at the Top
  2. Rhythm of Love
  3. Passion Rules the Game
  4. Media Overkill
  5. Walking on the Edge
  6. We Let It Rock, You Let It Roll
  7. Every Minute Every Day
  8. Love on the Run
  9. Believe in Love
The Scorpions

Klaus Meine- lead and backing vocals

Rudy Schenker- rhythm and lead guitars, backing vocals

Mathias Jabs- lead and rhythm guitars, voice box, backing vocals

Francis Buccholz- bass, backing vocals

Herman Rarebell- drums, backing vocals

Additional Musicians:

Lee Aaron- backing vocals on “Rhythm of Love”

Insert further cliche but yes, the Scorpions were well and truly back with “Savage Amusement.” It’s a great album and if they’re going to wait four years before putting out and album, then the wait is worth it.

Next post: Candlemass- Ancient Dreams

To sign the petition to give Bruce Dickinson a knighthood, click the link:

Great Metal Albums of 1988: Lita Ford- Lita

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2023 by 80smetalman

If there was anything wrong with heavy metal in the 1980s, it was that it still had sexist attitudes in some areas. In the case of some bands, female singers and musicians were there to wear short skirts and look good. Female singers were often given some leeway in this regard but I never liked the term ‘female fronted bands.’ In fact, I find it insulting and no band should allow themselves to be branded as such. A good band is a good band no matter the gender of the person in front. Now, to the point and then I promise to get off my soapbox. In the 1980s, female shredders had next to no respect from their male counterparts and sadly, this trickled into the metal fanzone. I’m sure Kelly Johnson of Girlschool fame would back me up on this. Fortunately, that began to change in 1988 when Lita Ford wowed the metal world with her most successful album, simply titled, “Lita.”

From the opening track, Lita shows the world that a lady can shred along with the best of men. While some might grumble at the keyboards in the opener, “Back to the Cave,” her guitar solos obliterate any thoughts on that. The same can be said for the track, “Blueberry.” Actually, I’m surprised this was never released as a single because thinking of the 80s singles charts, this song would have done well. There is a strong keyboard accompaniment but in no ways synth pop and a strong bass line. It helped that her rhythm section on the album was Pat Benatar’s. Still, the riffs on the song make it a cool rock song.

Now onto the first of the big singles which made this album so successful. “Kiss Me Deadly” has a vibe which most people, metal or non-metal can dig. You can’t help but to bob your head along to it. Lyrically, we can all identify with having bad days and going to parties on a Saturday night where you didn’t get laid but got in a fight. Actually, neither really happened to me, although a few years earlier, my then girlfriend who would become my first wife nearly broke up with me at a Saturday night party. Still, Lita rocks this song.

In the middle of the album comes one song which was a released as a single and the other the hidden gem, which are the two best songs on the album in my view. The single, “Falling In and Out of Love,” is a great metal tune plain and simple. Again, Lita proves her shredding credentials quite well on this one. A great bassline starts the hidden gem, “Fatal Passion,” before Lita’s guitar kicks in full pelt an of course, another cool guitar solo. Lita is at her best with this one and if anyone back in the 1980s grumbled about keyboards, this song removes any doubt that Lita can’t rock.

On “Under the Gun,” Lita almost goes space rock here. This brings me to another point. While I’ve been rightfully gushing over Lita’s guitar skills and she shreds a plenty on this one, I nearly forgot what a great singer she is and that she’s not afraid to venture into new territories and come out better for it. The album ends with two ballads, the last of which, was the biggest single for Lita. She teams up with Ozzy on the closer, “Close My Eyes Forever” and that was a great move. While Lita takes the lead, Ozzy puts forward his two cents and together make this song a great one. Totally the right way to close the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Back to the Cave
  2. Can’t Catch Me
  3. Blueberry
  4. Kiss Me Deadly
  5. Falling In and Out of Love
  6. Fatal Passion
  7. Under the Gun
  8. Broken Dreams
  9. Close My Eyes Forever

Lita Ford- guitar, vocals

David Ezrin- keyboards

Don Nossov- bass

Myron Grombacher- drums

Additional Musicians:

Ozzy Osbourne- accompanying vocal on “Close My Eyes Forever”

Craig Krampf- additional drums and percussion

Llory McDonald, Mike Chapman- backing vocals

Lita Ford broke through gender stereotypes and proved that a woman can shred. If any Neanderthals out there still think otherwise, then I suggest you have a good listen to the “Lita” album.

Next post: Scorpions- Savage Amusement

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at:

To sign the petition for a knighthood for Bruce Dickinson, click the link:

Great Metal Albums of 1988: Dokken- Beast From the East

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 16, 2023 by 80smetalman

After four successful studio albums, three of which went platinum, Dokken thought it was a good idea to put out a live album. “Beast From the East” was recorded during the band’s tour of Japan in 1988 before they went on the Monsters of Rock tour with the likes of Judas Priest and Van Halen.

What I like about the album is that although, the tour was in support of their previous studio album, “Back for the Attack,” there is a good, healthy mixture from all four albums. Only three songs from that album are on the live album but there is a good selection from the “Tooth ‘N’ Nail” and “Under Lock and Key” albums. There is even one from the first album, the title cut from “Breaking the Chains.” I love the mixture.

First, I’ll start with a nit pick. Having seen Dokken twice, both times during the “Under Lock and Key” tour, they opened with “Unchain the Night,” which they do here. When I saw them, I thought it was a good song to open with. However, it seems less balls grabbing on this album while the second track, “Tooth ‘N’ Nail,” does. Just a small point but I think these songs should have been switched around on the band’s play list.

While I won’t dissect each track, I will point out that at least according to the fan noise, two of the tracks from “Back For the Attack” get the most applause from the Japanese fans. I do think that “Dream Warriors” and “Kiss of Death” are played very well. In fact, I’ll put my head in the lion’s mouth and say that “Kiss of Death” sounds a lot better on this live album than the studio version. Speaking of that album, when I reviewed it not long ago, I declared the instrumental, “Mr. Scary,” to the the best song on that album. They play it live here and totally nail it! George is a beast on the guitar.

While you get some great live songs through the album, I really dig the live version of “Into the Fire,” the best is saved for last as all the songs are from Dokken’s first three albums. You get, “It’s Not Love,” Breaking the Chains,” my all time favourite Dokken song, “You Just Got Lucky,” and the great power ballad, “Alone Again,” which I love the alternative intro on and end with “In My Dreams.” If I had been at the show, I would have left the arena on a total high after that. The album ends with a studio cut, “Walk Away,” the video of which was performed on the Santa Monica Mountains in California, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Man, the music along with the views must have been breath taking.

Track Listing:

  1. Unchain the Night
  2. Tooth ‘N’ Nail
  3. Dream Warriors
  4. Kiss of Death
  5. When Heaven Comes Down
  6. Into the Fire
  7. Mr. Scary
  8. Heaven Sent
  9. It’s Not Love
  10. Alone Again
  11. You Just Got Lucky
  12. Breaking the Chains
  13. It’s Not Love
  14. Walk Away

Don Dokken- lead vocals

George Lynch- guitar

Jeff Pilson- bass, backing vocals

Mick Brown- drums, backing vocals

Maybe Dokken knew what we all knew about the “Back For the Attack” album, that it wasn’t as good as the first three albums, which was why only three songs from that album appear on “Beast From the East.” It was a good move on their part because the tracks from those albums, plus the fact that the three from the mentioned album are played very well, is why this is such a good live album.

Next post: Lita Ford- Lita

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at:

Two points: First, I am going on a client holiday at work so the next post won’t be for a week. Second, apologies to Destroyer of Harmony, I did not intentionally delete your comment on the Kingdom Come post. It’s my stupid mobile phone, I was trying to respond to it.

To give Bruce Dickinson a knighthood, click the link:

Great Metal Albums of 1988: Kingdom Come

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2023 by 80smetalman

My introduction to German band Kingdom Come came through a compilation album I got in 1989. While they did gain some notice in the UK, what I didn’t know was that they actually had made some considerable headway in the US. This debut album of theirs made it to number 12 in the rock charts. Listening to the album, I can fully understand why.

There is no question that Kingdom Come was heavy influenced by Led Zeppelin. It is crystal clear on songs such as “17” and “Loving You” and it can be heard on many of other tracks as well. Even if the Led Zep influence isn’t immediately clear in the riffs, what is clear is the fact that lead singer, Lenny Wolf, sounds like a clone of Robert Plant. On the track, “Pushin’ Hard,” he even does that little stutter that Plant used to do on some Zeppelin tunes. In fact, if you were not to have read what I’ve just written and listen to the song first time, you would think that Robert was singing on it.

What I’m not going to do is compare the other individual members of Kingdom Come to those of Led Zeppelin. Lead guitarist, Danny Stag, is not Jimmy Page and this is not a negative dig at Danny. He can shred and he proves it on such songs as the bluesy ballad “What Love Can Be,” though again, the Zeppelin influence can be heard here as well. He really jams out on the already mentioned “17” and I have to give credit where due to the rhythm section on this one. Johnny B. Frank should have been given more notoriety as a bass player.

Onto the single, the song which appeared on the compilation album, which I will cover in the 1989 tour, “Get It On.” Again, the LZ influence can be heard, Lenny’s vocals make it nigh impossible not to think otherwise. But there is some great riffing by Danny and rhythm guitarist Rick Steiner who also plays keyboards. Everything about the song leads me to understand why this was picked for the single, it ticks all the boxes. However, me being me, it’s not the best song on the album. That award goes to the preceding track, “The Shuffle.” This one is a solid straight ahead rock track, which ticks all the boxes for me.

One track which doesn’t sound so much like LZ is “Now Ever After.” True, Lenny still sounds like Robert but the vibe from this song is more Whitesnake than anything else. It’s more a typical 80s rock tune, though it’s done well. The bassline is further proof that Johnny should have been given more notice as a bass player. This leads me to my a nit pick about the album. I think it would have made a better closer than “Shout It Out.” For me, the lyrics and the spirit behind them as well as how the song fades out just says closer to me. However, if this track wasn’t on the album, then “Shout It Out would be the right song for the job.

Track Listing:

  1. Livin’ Out of Touch
  2. Pushin’ Hard
  3. What Love Can Be
  4. 17
  5. The Shuffle
  6. Get It On
  7. Now Forever After
  8. HIdeaway
  9. Loving You
  10. Shout It Out

Kingdom Come

Lenny Wolf- lead vocals

Danny Stag- lead guitar

Rick Steier- rhythm guitar, keyboards

Johnny B. Frank- bass

James Kotak- drums

Now that I have listened to the album in earnest and read a little of the history behind it, I am surprised that after such a good debut album, Kingdom Come didn’t go onto great glories. This debut shows that they could have been more of a household name, at least in the metal community.

Next post: Dokken- Beast From the East

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at:

To sign the petition for a knighthood for Bruce Dickinson, click the link:

Great Metal Albums of 1988: Battlezone- Warchild, The Best of

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2023 by 80smetalman

After two albums which went by with little notice, drink and drugs and lots of infighting, the band Battlezone, fronted by former Iron Maiden lead singer Paul Di’Anno, decided to call it quits. However, before they did, the put out a “Best of” album. Normally, I would scoff at bands who put out such an album after just two studio albums but it is different in this case. Battlezone’s first album, “Fighting Back,” escaped my attention. Therefore, with this album, I got to go back and listen to many of the songs which were on that album and some of them were quite good. One of these was “The Land God Gave to Cain.” This is a six minute long rocker, which is about a post nuclear holocaust. Paul drives the point home with some good vocals and there is a cool acoustic interlude in the middle of the song which accentuates his vocals really well. However, the power chords come in and really drive things home.

Very few songs from the two studio albums fail to make it on here. Therefore, I get to reminisce over the great songs from the album I did listen to, the second one, “Children of Madness” and got a good introduction to the debut album. It’s the songs from the first album which come first and then the songs from the second follow with a bonus track at the end, “To the Limit.” While not a bad thing, I can help thinking that maybe they should have arranged it the way its done on Youtube with the songs interwoven. That really made me concentrate more when listening to the album.

What you do get is seventeen good songs. I got to experience songs like “Welcome to the Battlezone” and reminisce over familiar ones such as “I Don’t Wanna Know,” Metal Tears” and I like “Whispered Rage” even more. As for the bonus track, it starts with some cool guitar riffs which sound even cooler once the rhythm section kicks in. Paul’s vocals are as good as always and the guitar solo tradeoff is done very well. Plus there is a cool drum solo after the guitar solo which gives it a more African feel.

Track Listing:

  1. Fighting Back
  2. Welcome to the Battlezone
  3. Warchild
  4. The Land God Gave to Cain
  5. Too Much to Heart
  6. Voice on the Radio
  7. Rising Star
  8. Rip It Up
  9. I Don’t Wanna Know
  10. Nuclear Breakdown
  11. Touch of Heat
  12. Whispered Rage
  13. Children of Madness
  14. Metal Tears
  15. It’s Love
  16. The Promise
  17. To the Limit

Paul Di’Anno- vocals

John Wiggins- guitar

Pete West- bass

Steve Hopgood- drums (tracks 8-16)

Bob Falck- drums (tracks 1-6)

Graham Bath- guitar (tracks 8-16)

John Hurley- guitar (tracks 1-6)

The easy answer to if you want to check out Paul Di’Anno’s Battlezone, get this “Best of” album. It has all the best songs you need to hear from them. Still, I wonder if it hadn’t been for all the rock related issues, how far they might have gone.

Next post: Kingdom Come

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at:

To sign the petition to have Bruce Dickinson knighted, click the link:

Original vs. Cover vs. Cover: The Boys Are Back in Town

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 5, 2023 by 80smetalman

Unfortunately, I am not ready to post the intended next post which was Paul Di’Anno’s Battlezone “Best of” album. Owing to a busy week and the fact that the album is seventeen songs long, I wasn’t able to give the number of listens I give an album before I go to post. Instead, I thought I would treat you to an Original vs. Cover post but I am adding an extra cover. The song in question is the Thin Lizzy classic, “The Boys are Back in Town.” Will either cover be better than the original? And which of the two covers is the better one? Have a listen and judge for yourself.

Thin Lizzy

I can still remember back in 1977 this song blasting through my AM radio. I rocked to it then and more than 45 years later, it still rocks. There’s not much more about this classic which hasn’t already been said.

Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi’s cover of the song was known to me via the “Make A Difference” compilation album. For those not in the know, the album featured artists covering songs from ones who left the mortal plain. I did find Ozzy’s rendition of “Purple Haze” quite interesting. Anyway, Bon Jovi covered the Thin Lizzy classic.


While they never became a household name like Thin Lizzy or Bon Jovi, English metal band, Briar, covered the song on their 1988 “Crown of Thorns” album.

My Verdict:

The original wins this one hands down. For a song to be so well known after so many years says a lot about the band which recorded it. This song was a crowning achievement for Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy. As for the covers, my opinion on that score hasn’t changed. Briar wins out easily. Their hunger to make it big is reflecting in the way they record the song and I do like the echoing guitars as the song makes its exit. It was also good to give Phil a shout out at the beginning.

Have a listen to all three and let me know your thoughts. Remember dissent is always welcome on 80smetalman.

Next post: Paul DiAnno’s Battlezone- Warchild, The Best of

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at:

To sign the petition to have Bruce Dickinson knighted, click the link:

On another note, the petition to have Ozzy knighted as reached 35,000 signatures.

Great Metal Albums of 1988: Armoured Saint- Saints Will Conquer

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 2, 2023 by 80smetalman

Like Riot, Armoured Saint was another great metal band from the 1980s who never got to the level of stardom they should have achieved. The major advantage Armoured Saint had over Riot in regards to my loyalty is that I’ve seen Armoured Saint live, twice. Although the first time I was too drunk to fully appreciate them. However, they totally kicked ass when I saw them at Bloodstock 2015 and their 1988 live album, “Saints Will Conquer,” reminds me of just how good this band is live.

“Saints Will Conquer” was recorded live in Cleveland in October of 1987. From the outset, the mentioned intensity comes through with the opener, “Raising Fear.” It does what any good concert opening song should do, it gets you on your feet and pumping your fist in the air. “Nervous Man” carries that intensity forward and takes it further. The guitar solo is absolutely mind blowing. Then comes the good full speed metal on “Chemical Euphoria.” Three songs in and I have come to the conclusion if they had played this exact set of songs, these days, I would have been reaching for an oxygen mask by now. Still, it’s too bad that I didn’t get to see it in 1988 as the then 27 year old me would have been able to keep up no problem.

I love the power chords which open the track, “Book of Blood.” While slower and clunkier, the power chords and vocals of John Bush and a cool bass line from Joey Vera make this probably the best song on the album. On things pertaining to John, he does show his skills as a frontman as he gets the crowd participating on “Can U Deliver.” Some might say that what he says to the crowd is somewhat predictable but he does it with flair. If I was in the audience, I would be trying to deliver, especially with that drum solo from Gonzo Sandoval near the end.

Speed metal goes full frenzy on “Long Before I Die.” Great guitar work from Dave Prichard adds a further dimension. Some cool speed riffs bring in “Madhouse” and in case anyone is wondering, it’s not a cover of the Anthrax classic. It’s its own speed metal bash. Closing out the album is the only studio recorded song, “No Reason to Live.” This was an unreleased song from the band’s 1983 demo and it’s probably the closest they ever came to a power ballad. The song is slower and more bluesy but the guitars are cool, John sings it with marvelous conviction and the rhythm section is spot on. So, what’s not to like?

The album has been criticized for not representing Armoured Saint’s early era well. Missing from the album is their famous “March of the Saint” from the debut album and their radio hit, “Isolation.” I’ll give 200 80smetalman points to anyone who knows a reason why these two tracks weren’t on the album. I know that the band nailed both of these when I saw them live so it doesn’t figure why they’re not here. If they were, it would have made a great album even greater.

Track Listing:

  1. Raising Fear
  2. Nervous Man
  3. Chemical Euphoria
  4. Book of Blood
  5. Can U Deliver
  6. Long Before I Die
  7. Madhouse
  8. No Reason to Live
Armoured Saint

John Bush- vocals

Dave Prichard- guitar

Joey Vera- bass

Gonzo Sandoval- drums

Phil Sandoval- guitar

You know what? I’m not going to get all bent up over what songs didn’t get on this great live album. “Saints Will Conquer” confirms how great Armoured Saint is live, no matter what songs they play.

Next post: Paul Di’Anno’s Battlezone- Warchild, The Best of

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at:

To sign the petition to have Bruce Dickinson knighted, click the link:

Great Metal Albums of 1988: Riot- Thundersteel

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 26, 2023 by 80smetalman

In most cases, bands who try to be all things to all people on an album, usually fail on all accounts. People like putting things into nice little pigeon holes and if they can’t then it’s ignored. However, in the case of Riot’s “Thundersteel” album, they did that very thing successfully. The band intentionally took parts of everything metal had to offer in the 1980s, put it all together on one album and the result was a smashing album.

Riot took a long break in the mid 1980s. “Thundersteel” was their first album since the 1983 “Born in America” album and maybe that worked to their advantage when recording the album. The reason for the band’s five year inactivity isn’t known but Riot was one band that always seemed to be one album away from achieving superstardom, which always seemed to allude them. So, it can be speculated that since Riot had no label put on them, there was no pressure on them to sound a certain way.

What Riot did was pay attention to what was going on in the metal world and take all the best pieces of everything and put it on the album. The album kicks off with a very thrash metal sounding title track which definitely gets the blood pumping and lets you know that in no uncertain terms, Riot are back. An example of doing things right on the album comes in the form of the second track, “Fight or Fall.” Unlike some bands who might stick a ballad after the thrash metal, (yes, fools) “Fight or Fall” is a very strong power metal song and I do emphasize the power.

Next comes not only the best song on the album and proof that Riot knew exactly what they were doing, “Sign of the Crimson Storm.” Not only is it the best song on the album, it’s my second favourite Riot song of all time. Number one goes to “Swords and Tequila” from the “Fire Down Under” album. On this track, Riot successfully combine power and progressive metal. You get power chords and melodic parts together and Tony Moore’s soaring vocals add the right kind of spice to it.

You get speed metal on “Flight of the Warrior” only slowing down for the choruses. The rhythm section is spot on here and shows you can have a bit of fantasy with some speed and that speed carries on with “On Wings of Eagles.” The chorus isn’t as melodic as its predecessor but it doesn’t have to be as the drums and guitar riffs totally beat you to death. Then we come to the hidden gem, “Johnny’s Back.” A groovy bass line starts it off and then Riot show why they are considered by many as a power metal band. There’s power galore in this tune from start to finish and a very interesting guitar solo from Mark Reale.

After six songs, one might be wondering if Riot incorporate everything, where’s the token ballad? Well, the closest they come is on the very soft acoustic intro on “Bloodstreets.” However, that intro is short lived as things go into early Judas Priest territory and I think Riot would have made Priest proud on this one. They stick to that formula with penultimate track, “Run For Your Life.” In fact, Tony Moore’s vocals are very similar to Rob Halford’s on this one. “Thundersteel” closes with a very progressive “Buried Alive (Tell Tale Heart)” which is the longest track at over eight minutes. It starts with a funeral and then some more spoken words backed up by a cool lead guitar riff. All right, if I haven’t done so in the past, I will add Mark Reale to my list of great under appreciated guitarists. The song goes way out there in the progressive concept world. It’s a take on Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell Tale Heart” and Riot put a good metal spin on it, making it the perfect closer.

Track Listing:

  1. Thundersteel
  2. Fight or Fall
  3. Sign of the Crimson Storm
  4. Flight of the Warrior
  5. On Wings of Eagles
  6. Johnny’s Back
  7. Bloodstreets
  8. Run For Your Life
  9. Buried Alive (Tell Tale Heart)


Tony Moore- vocals

Mark Reale- guitar

Don Van Stavern- bass

Bobby Jarzombek- drums

And because I didn’t put this one on the post when I posted about the “Fire Down Under” album, I’m including it now.

In Riot’s case, maybe the five year layoff was a good thing because they came back with a blinder of an album in “Thundersteel.” While it still didn’t propel the band to superstardom, it’s still a great album.

Next post: Armoured Saint- Saints Will Conquer

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at:

To sign the petition giving Bruce Dickinson a well deserved knighthood, click the link:

Great Metal Albums of 1988: Megadeth- So Far, So Good, So What

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 23, 2023 by 80smetalman

After a couple of lite metal albums, I thought I would go full on thrash with Megadeth’s “So Far, So Good, So What” album. Just like in 1986, what is now known as ‘The Big 4,” put out cool albums in 1988, although I won’t say they were pivotal in the careers of any of the Big 4 bands. And though it’s not intentional, having covered the albums of the other three bands, Megadeth is the last of the group whose album I’m writing about. I did the same in 1986 and I swear it just happened that way.

Megadeth went through some lineup changes following their previous blockbuster, “Peace Sells But Who’s Buying” album and this one. Drummer Gar Samuelson and guitarist Chris Poland were dismissed from the band for disruptive behaviour. Dave Mustaine claimed that Poland was selling the band’s equipment in order to score drugs. Samuelson was replaced by the band’s drum technician, Chuck Behler, although Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo considered joining the band. Mustaine would go through a few guitarists before sticking with Jeff Young. Apparently, Slash was considered.

“So Far, So Good, So What” begins with a lot of fanfare on the instrumental “Into the Lungs of Hell.” I like this song because it shoots down the Duranie belief that heavy metal musicians can only play three chords. It opens with a medieval sounding intro and goes a bit progressive at some points with the guitar even venturing into Joe Satriani territory. However, it retains the aggression which Megadeth has been known for. That aggression increases on “Set the World Afire.” It begins with a fast and furious intro slowing down to some cool riffs and the always sinister voice of Dave. It’s the first song he wrote after being fired from Metallica.

One song which has been the focus of much debate is the cover of the Sex Pistols classic, “Anarchy in the UK.” Some say that this was evidence that Dave was running out of fresh ideas while others praised the band’s cover of the song. I agree with the latter, it’s a great cover of a classic and bringing in Sex Pistols guitarist, Steve Jones, to play on it was, in my view, a stroke of genius. Megadeth go a bit concept on “Mary Jane,” which is a song about a witch who was killed by her father and cursed so that if anyone disturbs her resting place, they would suffer instant death. There does seem to be a lot happening at once in the song, the lead guitar in the background borders on distracting but that improves when that goes and the band gets down to business.

If you have ever been pulled over by the cops, then you might appreciate the theme of “502.” It’s the California code for drink driving, something Mustane would get busted for in March of the following year. It’s a fast paced speed metal song with some good guitar work. This is one you can play when driving down the highway at 90mph. If you don’t have a car, then it’s also good for a mosh pit. “In My Darkest Hour” was written in response to the death of Cliff Burton. The mood is set with the gloomy acoustic guitar intro followed by some harsh power chords. This song would have fit well on Metallica’s “Black Album” but Dave’s sinister voice puts the Megadeth stamp on it. The rhythm guitar on this song is very catchy, hypnotic even and it gets my vote for song of the album, especially with the guitar solo.

“Liar” is directed specifically at Chris Poland and Dave’s belief that he was selling equipment for drugs. It does have a cool guitar riff trade off at the beginning and the rhythm section really shines on it. I do love the line, “Your girlfriend got herpes” and the guitar solo which follows the line “You fuckin’ liar.” Bassist David Ellefson lays down a great bass line on the closer “Hook in Mouth.” The line is backed up with some cool thrash metal riffs and a guitar solo tradeoff. Pure thrash and the best way to end this album.

Track Listing:

  1. Into the Lungs of Hell
  2. Set the World Afire
  3. Anarchy in the UK
  4. Mary Jane
  5. 502
  6. In the Darkest Hour
  7. Liar
  8. Hook in Mouth


Dave Mustaine- lead vocals, guitars

David Ellefson- bass, backing vocals

Jeff Young- guitars

Chuck Behler- drums, percussion

Additional Musicians:

Steve Jones- guitar on “Anarchy in the UK”

It has been said that “So Far, So Good, So What” is largely overlooked in regards to other Megadeth albums. I admit that I am guilty of this as well, so I am glad that I went back and had a great thrash out.

Next post: Riot- Thundersteel

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at:

To sign the petition to give Bruce Dickinson a knighthood, click the link:

Great Metal Albums of 1988: Europe- Out of This World

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2023 by 80smetalman

If you thought Stryper had toned down their hard rock sound with the “In God We Trust” album, then you might really think Europe had gone even softer with their “Out of This World” album. I do not debate the ‘lite metal’ tag which was placed on them with this album. Then again, Europe were never a metal band as we would think of today. But that was the 1980s for you, where anything with a power chord was branded metal. Sorry if I keep repeating myself on that point.

“Out of This World” opens with one of their most noted hits, “Superstitious.” This melodic almost power ballad hit number one in several countries. If they had never recorded “The Final Countdown” this song would have been the one people would have identified most with the band. They do liven things up with “Let the Good Times Rock.” This track puts the metal in the tag which was placed on them. It shows that Europe could really rock out if they weren’t too caught up in chasing hits. Guitarist Kee Marcello puts his stamp all over the song as he just jams away with some cool solos and riffs. It was released as a single in the UK but only got to #88 in the charts.

With the album opening with all four singles, the next track is “Open Your Heart.” It starts off as a ballad but then rocks out more in the chorus and trades off back and forth throughout the song. I do like Marcello’s guitar work on the ballad parts. It is most noteworthy here. The fourth single, “More Than Meets the Eye” was only released in a few countries. This is an up-tempo rocker but the guitar is turned down too much and the keyboards turned up too much. In some places, it sounds that Europe were trying to attract the synth pop fans but it does rock enough on the rest of the song to not become a danger. Also, only four songs in and I’m getting quite impressed with the guitar work of Kee and rather impressed by the bass work of John Leven.

Getting past the singles, the search for the hidden gem begins. “Coast to Coast,” while a decent power ballad, isn’t it. This one puts the ‘lite’ in the tag given to the band. “Ready or Not” has that potential and it’s great that Europe haven’t forgotten they were a metal band with this one. Some might call it filler but I think it gets the blood pumping again after so many ballads. It also has another cool guitar solo for me to like.

When I hear the piano intro on “Sign of the Times,” my first impression is, “not another power ballad,” but it’s not the case. While not a total metal-fest, it’s a nice melodic rock song. It keeps the blood pumping. “Just the Beginning” proves that you can use keyboards effectively in a good metal song. They compliment the guitar, bass and drums very well. I do like Ian Haugland’s little drum roll.

It only took five songs to get to the hidden gem, “Never Say Die.” Okay, I am the first to admit there’s a bit of a “Rock the Night” vibe to it but that was my favourite track from “The Final Countdown” album. Each member of the band gets to shine on it and I particularly love how the keyboards solo goes straight into the guitar solo. Great work Kee and Mic! The rock-fest carries on with “Lights and Shadows.” This is yet another song which proved that Europe had the tools to rock when they wanted to. Further proof is with penultimate track, “Towers Callin.'” This song has a definite rock swagger to it with a strong bass line and another cool guitar solo. I won’t complain that the album closes out with another ballad because the piano on “Tomorrow” has a haunting effect which makes it a good way to end the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Superstitious
  2. Let the Good Times Rock
  3. Open Your Heart
  4. More Than Meets the Eye
  5. Coast to Coast
  6. Ready or Not
  7. Sign of the Times
  8. Just the Beginning
  9. Never Say Die
  10. Lights and Shadows
  11. Towers Callin’
  12. Tomorrow


Joey Tempest- lead vocals, rhythm guitar and piano on “Tomorrow”

Kee Marcello- guitar, backing vocals

Mic Michaeli- keyboards, backing vocals

John Leven- bass

Ian Haugland- drums, backing vocals

I honestly believe that if Europe weren’t so busy trying to chase hit singles, then the ‘lite’ to their tag of ‘lite metal’ would not have been applied. While there’s nothing wrong with the singles, I have always liked “Superstitious” and I highly rate “Let the Good Times Rock,” I think they were too singles obsessed because the more metal sounding deeper cuts are quite good.

Next post: Megadeth- So Far, So Good, So What

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at:

To sign the petition for a knighthood for Bruce Dickinson, click the link: