Archive for the Heavy Metal Category

Great Metal Albums of 1984: Saxon- Crusader

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 14, 2018 by 80smetalman

My trip through all the great albums of 1984 has led me to make many conclusions about the year, the music and certain bands. Here’s another one. It is my belief that Saxon were the best band from the new wave of British heavy metal, (NWOBHM), age not to have made a major impact in America. Sure, I had heard of them and even heard a couple of their songs back when I was in the marines stationed on Okinawa and liked them, but I never got around to listening to them properly until early 1985 when I heard their classic “Princess of the Night” from the outstanding “Denim and Leather” album on a metal compilation album. While I did make up for that mistake afterwards, I still think that Saxon never really got the recognition in America they truly deserved.

Onto Saxon’s 1984 album “Crusader.” The problem is that when any band puts out the album one calls their favourite by that band, all other albums are held in comparison to that one. In my case, all Saxon albums are held up to the light shone from “Denim and Leather” and that’s not particularly fair to “Crusader.” What Saxon did on this album is to take all the great things from the one album and recreate it on this album while at the same time not making it a total clone of the former. I think the objective was achieved on “Crusader.”

I love the way “Crusader” opens. It starts with medieval fanfare with galloping horses and all before going into the big title track. For me, it’s history coming to life through music as the story of crusaders is told in the song. It also helps that that period of history is one of my favourite eras. You know, knights on horses hacking down their enemies with swords, damsels in distress and catapults reducing castles to rubble, I love all that. I do think that if teachers play this song while teaching about it in school, more metalheads would wake up and pay attention and learn about all about the Crusades.

Tired cliche alert: One song doesn’t make or break an entire album. The rest of “Crusader” holds up very well and I do hear all the good things done on “Denim and Leather” on it. It’s just that one track, “Just Let Me Rock” seems to take all of those good things and incorporate them all into one song, although the title track of “Denim and Leather” seems to be the biggest influence here and that’s not a bad thing because Saxon definitely did not simply clone that song. On that thought, “Bad Boys Like to Rock and Roll” sounds like a fusion of the “Denim and Leather” tracks “Rough and Ready” and “Midnight Rider” and again, it’s done very uniquely and played outstandingly. The one song where there is no influence from my favourite Saxon album is the power ballad, “Do It All For You.” Power is the key word in the song and it does belt your eardrums even though it’s a ballad. However, the big clincher on the track is the Biff’s vocals. His best effort definitely shines through here.

I usually view covers of songs with a hint of cynicism and I did so with the cover of The Sweet classic, “Set Me Free.” Another cliche alert: Saxon put their own stamp on it and make the song their own, believe me they do. It’s not often that I like a cover as much, possibly more than the original, but I can’t fault Saxon’s efforts here. The answer, I think to why I like this song and all the other songs so much, is the guitar work of Oliver and Quinn. Both guitarists are simply exemplary on the album.

Track Listing:

  1.  The Crusader Prelude
  2. Crusader
  3. A Little Bit of What You Fancy
  4. Sailing to America
  5. Set Me Free
  6. Just Let Me Rock
  7. (Bad Boys) Like to Rock and Roll
  8. Do It All For You
  9. Rock City
  10. Run For Your Loves

Saxon

Biff Byford- vocals

Graham Oliver- guitar

Paul Quinn- guitar

Steve Dawson- bass

Nigel Glockler- drums

While I might have only highlighted a few songs on “Crusader,” let me just say that all the songs make this album great.

Next post: Motorhead- No Remorse

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://book-fm.cf/print/free-download-rock-and-roll-children-by-michael-d-lefevre-pdf.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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R.I.P. Fast Eddie Clarke

Posted in 1980s, Death, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 11, 2018 by 80smetalman

Fast Eddie Clarke wailing away

I was hoping, I was nearly praying that in 2018, we would get a reprieve on rockers great and small departing this Earth. It seems it’s not going to be the case this year either. First, there was legendary record producer Rick Hall and I’ve just found out that Baby Metal guitarist Mikio Fujioka died on Jan 5 by falling off a balcony while stargazing. Now we lose Motorhead’s great guitarist Fast Eddie Clarke who died of pneumonia.

It would only be repeating others if I went on about what a great guitarist Fast Eddie was. He made up one third of the great Motorhead and contributed greatly to their early success. Eddie’s death now means that we have an entire band passing on in the last two and a half years. Phil ‘Philthy Animal’ Taylor and the great Lemmy himself both died in 2015.

Motorhead- all now wreaking pandemonium in a better place

All that there is left to say is R.I.P. Fast Eddie Clarke and put on a song in his memory.

Great Metal Albums of 1984: Hellion

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 10, 2018 by 80smetalman

Upon further reflection back to 1984, I have come to the conclusion that I seemed to be in the right place at the right time when a particular metal band’s song got played on MTV or their album just happened to be on display when I walked past the record store. In the case of this six song EP from American metal artists, Hellion, I don’t exactly remember which one of those scenarios apply. For some reason, however, their name has stuck in my mind for over thirty-three years. In fact, I went through a period wondering if I was confusing Hellion with Helix but thankfully, I wasn’t.

The debut album from Hellion is another cool stereotypical 80s metal album, plain and simple. Things open with the high energy “Break the Spell” and does its job in getting the metal juices flowing. There is a cool opening riff to the song which helps grab your attention before the fast paced action begins. Lead singer Ann Boleyn stamps her vocal authority on things and it all points to a good time had by all. Any doubts otherwise are cast quickly aside by my vote for best track, “Don’t Take No.” This is a slightly less faced paced ditty but the power behind the melody is attention grabbing. So is the little drum solo at the beginning. Again, Boleyn’s vocals shine and there’s also of course, the obligatory killer guitar solo and that’s why this song gets my vote.

“Backstabber” takes things up a notch with its speedier riffs. On this song, Ann proves she has a very good voice provided she doesn’t try to scream so much. On this track, her voice fits the music very well and a decent guitar solo is heard. Furthermore, the band do a good job in the backing vocals department on it. Another cool intro gets, “Looking for a Good Time” going in the right direction and that leads to a good steady metal tune with all the fore-mentioned elements present. That, in turn, leads to the next track, “Driving Hard,” where the change of tempo does wonders for the song and if the guitar solo was a little longer, it would have been the best one on the album. “Up From the Depths” closes the party with it’s theatrical intro/cool guitar solo intro before it belts out mayhem. Definitely the best song to close the album, the guitar solo makes that clear. If I’ve discovered anything about this album, the songs are definitely arranged in the correct order.

Track Listing:

  1. Break the Spell
  2. Don’t Take No
  3. Backstabber
  4. Looking for a Good Time
  5. Driving Hard
  6. Up From the Depths

Hellion

Ann Boleyn- throat

Alan Barlem- guitar

Ray Schenk- guitar

Sean Kelly- drums

Bill Sweet- bass

After this debut EP, Hellion would disappear for a few years. Wendy Dio would eventually take the band under her wing but that’s for another time. So is the mistake to fire Ann Boleyn and bring in a male vocalist. So, there won’t be any more Hellion posts until I get to 1987 so have a listen to this debut and enjoy.

Next post: Saxon- Crusader

To get Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://book-fm.cf/print/free-download-rock-and-roll-children-by-michael-d-lefevre-pdf.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1984: Helix- Walkin’ the Razor’s Edge

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2018 by 80smetalman

It’s amazing the things that get stored in one’s mind and come out when the mind needs them. Back in the 1980’s, Helix were one of those bands I always wanted to explore more of but never got around to it. They first came to my attention in the summer of 1984 when I saw the video for the single from the “Walkin’ the Razor’s Edge” album, “Rock You.” I made a mental note to buy this album but never did. I did try to look for it but it never made it to my part of South Jersey.

Like with some other metal bands in 1984, while many of them got played on MTV, you had to be in the right place at the right time to catch it. It was the same with White Wolf. Hell, I didn’t even remember which song from this album I had seen the video for until I did a bit of research thanks to Wikipedia and Youtube. Seeing the video for “Rock You” jogged my memory and yes, I remember it now. Looking at it again, it was such a very 80s video but who cares, it’s a good song.

But what about the rest of the album? Some of you might ask. Well, rest assured, let me say once and for all that “Walkin’ the Razor’s Edge” kicks total ass. True, there is a definite 80s vibe to the album and to Helix but no one can ever say that heavy metal is dated. However, I do find it difficult to pick a favourite on here, although I will take the first five songs over the final five, but not by much. “Young and Wreckless,” “Animal House” and “When the Hammer Falls” are definitely the stand out tracks for me. “Feel the Fire” is also a good track that sounds like a Dokken tune. Again, I might prefer the first half of the album, I won’t denounce the second half. “Give Me Good Lovin'” could have been a second single here. So record management, why wasn’t it released as one? The ballad, “(Make Me Do) Anything You Want” was released as a single in Canada and it’s a decent ballad. While the remaining songs don’t totally grab me by the throat, they are good songs and do their job in making the album enjoyable.

What makes the album so good is the band themselves. Brian Vollmer might be trying to act like every other metal singer from the decade in the video but he has a good set of pipes. Brent Doerner and Paul Hackman wield their axes very well all throughout the album, fair dues to them. Doerner is the one who emerges from the water to play his guitar solo in the video but whichever guitarist lays down the solo on “When the Hammer Falls” gets the gong for best solo here. Daryl Gray and Greg Hinz provide a competent rhythm section rock for the rest to build on. As usual, a good band makes a good album.

Track Listing:

  1. Rock You
  2. Young and Restless
  3. Animal House
  4. Feel the Fire
  5. When the Hammer Falls
  6. Give Me Good Lovin’
  7. My Kind of Rock
  8. (Make Me Do) Anything You Want
  9. Six Strings Nine Lives
  10. You Keep Me Rockin’

Helix and their friends

Brian Vollmer- lead vocals

Brent ‘The Doctor’ Doerner- guitars, backing vocals

Paul Hackman- guitars, backing vocals

Daryl Gray- bass, backing vocals

George ‘Fritz’ Hinz- drums

Was Helix Canada’s best kept secret in the 1980s? Possibly but then Canadian bands seemed to get ignored more than their American and British counterparts. Hearing “Walkin’ On the Razor’s Edge” makes me wish I had Youtube back then. I would not have missed this cool album and waited over thirty years to finally get to listen to it.

Next post: Hellion

To get Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://book-fm.cf/print/free-download-rock-and-roll-children-by-michael-d-lefevre-pdf.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1984: Dio- The Last in Line

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2018 by 80smetalman

No further evidence to support the fact that 1984 was the year of heavy metal is needed beyond the fact that Dio had two songs from their second album, “The Last in Line” played on commercial radio. When I first heard the title track played on my local commercial station, I wasted no time in cranking up the volume and breaking out the air guitar. I was working at a parking lot at the time but it didn’t matter one bit if I was the subject of people’s attention. To hear such a song on the radio was completely mind blowing at the time.

The video to the track, “The Last in Line” was cool in my view but it did come in for a lot of criticism at the time. In the eyes of the religious fanatics, scenes of people getting tortured by Satan’s minions was a major problem. Of course, if they bothered to watch the entire video, they would have seen that the protagonist in it does make his escape with the help of Ronnie himself. My conclusion was that it’s a cool video for a great song.

“Mystery” the second single, didn’t do quite as well but I love this song too and the video for it. The video is a more fantasy setting so no one gets tortured in it. After one showing of it on MTV, the vee-jay said “Mystery” was the closest thing to a ballad from Dio. Maybe so, it would be another twelve years before “Angry Machines” and the closer to it, which is a definite ballad. Still, I continue to love “Mystery.”

Now, let me go to the four tracks which some people consider to be filler. I don’t because I consider “Breathless,” “I Speed at Night,” “Evil Eyes” and “Eat Your Heart Out” to all be good tracks. Maybe the heavy breathing before “Breathless” is a little OTT but that intro and Ronnie’s “No No No No No” more than cancel it out. Coming home from visiting my children the other night, I realise that I do speed at night. In some cases, I discovered that I was doing 80 on the motorway, so that song is very true. “Eat Your Heart Out” has a cool intro as well and I love how “Evil Eyes” ends. So, in my mind, these songs aren’t filler.

As for the three songs I haven’t mentioned, well, they are better than the four I just mentioned. “We Rock” would have been used to open their shows on tour for “The Last in Line” had they not had a better show opener from the “Holy Diver ” album. “Stand Up and Shout” is one of the greatest show opening songs ever. But while it might not have opened the show, Dio still had the sense to play it on their next couple of tours. It is a cool song. “One Night in the City” is my hidden gem on the album. I have always loved Ronnie’s ability to tell stories behind the great music and on this one, it’s near perfect. The same can be said for the closer, “Egypt (The Chains are On.)” This too tells a great story behind what is some great music. I don’t quite rate it as good as “One Night in the City” but it does make an excellent closer for the album.

Most people can attest to the great vocals of Ronnie James Dio and he does a superb job on “The Last in Line.” However, the rest of the band needs their credit where due. Vivian Campbell lays down some brilliant guitar solos on here. Why some people call him overrated I’ll never under stand. Jimmy Bain and Vinnie Appice remain the tight rhythm section on this albums as much as they were on the last one. Then there’s the new addition on the album. It was here, keyboards player Claude Schnell joined the band and his contribution to the band is immense. All together, these five men work together and put out a fantastic album.

Track Listing:

  1. We Rock
  2. The Last in Line
  3. Breathless
  4. I Speed At Night
  5. On Night in the City
  6. Evil Eyes
  7. Mystery
  8. Eat Your Heart Out
  9. Egypt (The Chains are On)

Dio

Ronnie James Dio- vocals

Vivian Campbell- guitar

Jimmy Bain- bass

Claude Schnell- keyboards

Vinnie Appice- drums

 

 

The best concert I ever went to in my life happened on this tour. Dio, supported by Twisted Sister was a night I will take to my grave with me as one of the great highs. One of the main contributors to this ecstasy was the fact that it was “The Last in Line” album. Thinking back to when I wrote about this concert in “Rock and Roll Children,” I didn’t highlight just how magnificent a show it was.

Next Post: Helix- Walkin’ the Razor’s Edge

To get Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://book-fm.cf/print/free-download-rock-and-roll-children-by-michael-d-lefevre-pdf.html

 

 

 

 

Happy Metal New Year 2018! Some Big Decisions

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Death, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2017 by 80smetalman

Another year has come and gone and as we enter into 2018 tomorrow, I am faced with some choices for the coming year. Don’t panic, 80smetalman’s Blog will continue on until the very last relevant album of 1989 is posted about and as I’m only in 1984 at the moment, it’s safe to say that there are a few more years left in this engine. However, reflecting upon all the great musicians that have departed this world in the last two years and the passing of my mother in law three days ago, I have come to realize that I’m not exactly a spring chicken myself. Therefore, it’s time to slow down a little.

What I am really talking about is the physical side. Four of the past five years, I have gone to one of the major metal festivals in the UK and hopefully, have entertained you with my accounts of those. The fact that I’m turning 57 this year and family history isn’t on my side with health of the heart, I know that frolicking in the mud and living out of a tent for a few days isn’t something I should be doing much more down the line. That is why and enough of the morbid crap, I have decided to go out in a huge blaze of glory in 2018! I intend to go to both Download and Bloodstock this year and end my festival days on the ultimate high.

The lineups for both are ideal for my departure from the festival scene. Like me, Ozzy says he will be calling it a day after this tour. He will be headlining Download on the Sunday. He won’t be like when I saw him in 1986 when he had come out of his first spell in rehab but seeing him again will be brilliant! Plus, I’ve never seen Guns N Roses or Marilyn Manson before so that will also be brilliant. I only hope that Manson isn’t headlining the Zippo Stage on the Saturday evening when Guns N Roses are doing the same on the main stage. That would be a tough choice. Other bands playing include Black Veil Brides and Bullet for My Valentine, so there’s a lot to look forward to.

Bloodstock is just as good, especially on the Friday. I’ll get to see Suicidal Tendencies again although the stage layout will prevent me getting another high five from Mike Muir. Headlining that night is none other than Judas Priest! Also, I have been told that the festival will be keeping with the precedent set down in 2016 where the headliner of the Sophie Lancaster Stage goes on after the headliner of the Dio stage is finished. So, on the Friday, after getting blown away by Priest, I’ll hop over to the Sophie Stage and get rocked by Doro! On the other two days, Gojira is headlining on Saturday and Fozzy, Devil Driver and Mr Big all playing the Dio Stage on the Sunday. The lineups for both festivals aren’t complete so there may be more surprises in store. Whatever happens, I’ll be ending my festival days with a massive triumph!

Welcome Suicidal Tendencies

 

Fozzy begin

 

Gojira are welcomed by their fans

Like me, I hope that all of you have great things to look forward to in 2018. Thank you all for taking the time to read and comment over the past seven years and I assure, there will more great things to come.

Happy New Year!

Next post: I’ll start 2018 out with one of my favourite 1984 albums, Dio: The Last in Line

 

 

 

Twelve Days of Christmas

Posted in Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 23, 2017 by 80smetalman

My provisions for Christmas

Christmas is nearly upon us and as you can see from above, I’m ready for the festivities with my barrel of The Trooper and my bottles of Motorhead pale ale. I’ll be having a heavy metal Christmas! Reading other posts about Christmas, I have to agree with the premise that there are a lot of versions of the classic carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas. So, I thought it would be cool to share some of those versions I like the most with all of you. After all, Christmas is the time for giving.

Starting with my favourite, I have to agree with my Canadian friends that the version by The McKenzie Brothers has to be the best in my humble opinion.

Being a big Twisted Sister fan, it would be an act of sacrilege not to include their version from their “Twisted Christmas” album. It’s my second favourite. I do like the way all the band contribute to the gifts mentioned.

If “Twisted Christmas” is my favourite Christmas album, my second fave is “I am Santa Claus” by Bob Rivers and Twisted Radio. This version, “The Twelve Pains of Christmas” doesn’t appear on the album but it’s a fun song nonetheless.

I came across this one by Jerry Pate back in the days I had Limewire. I liked it so I downloaded it onto my MP3 and I’m now going to share it with you.

This last one isn’t for the easily offended. This is a dirty version of the carol but it’s done by one of my all time favourite Country singers, David Allen Coe.

So there you have it, my favourite versions of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” I hope you enjoy them and before I go, there is another petition for a knighthood for Ozzy. I didn’t start it but you can sign by clicking the link below.

https://www.change.org/p/knight-mr-john-michael-ozzy-osbourne-for-services-to-music