Archive for the Rock Category

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Loudness- Hurricane Eyes

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 1, 2021 by 80smetalman

While I was enjoying the sounds of Vow Wow in the UK during 1987, over in America, Loudness had put out another album titled “Hurricane Eyes.” It still amazes me how two bands from the same country got more appreciation in one country or another. Anyway, news of Loudness’s new album did reach me in the UK.

My initial reaction to “Hurricane Eyes” was that Loudness had come back harder and heavier than their charting previous albums “Thunder in the East” and “Lightning Strikes.” While “Thunder in the East” leaned towards melodic metal and “Lighting Strikes” did have song songs bordering on thrash, “Hurricane Eyes,” while not thrash, goes more in that direction. The first two tracks send that message loud and clear. Both tracks are quite heavy and I love how Munetaka Higuchi’s drum solo ushers in the album. It lets you know that Loudness are serious. Furthermore, Akira Takasaki rips a blinding guitar solo on the second track.

Track three, “Rock and Roll Gypsy” is a little more melodic proving that the band hasn’t abandoned what they had done on “Thunder in the East.” However, it is complemented by some hard pounding rhythm and full marks must go to Masayoshi Yamashita for his bass work on this track. Then on the track, “In My Dreams,” I ask myself, “How could have this cool power ballad escaped my detection?” This is a belter of a power ballad with the soft guitars followed by power chords on the chorus and a great guitar solo. However, while Minoru Nihara proves he is the great singer I always thought he was on the entire album, he particularly shines on this track as does the rest of the band.

Naturally, after a great power ballad, they must go back to more furious metal, which the band does on “Take Me Home” and continues it on “Strike of the Sword.” These are two tracks to get the blood coursing through your veins. I can almost envision a mosh pit forming on “Strike of the Sword.” Though things might seem to slow down on the next three tracks, it is only slightly. Besides, Akira’s guitar solo intro on “Rock This Way” definitely grabs your attention. What the song lacks in speed, it makes up in power chords. I want to rock their way. Then we get the mid tempo “In This World Beyond,” which gives me memories of their colossal “Crazy Nights.” Munetaka plays some heavy drums on this one. More melodic metal is the penultimate track, “Hungry Hunter” but closing the album out is the ballad “So Lonely.” While not as brilliant as “In My Dreams” in the power ballad stakes, it does take things out in the right mind.

Track Listing:

  1. S.D.I.
  2. This Lonely Heart
  3. Rock and Roll Gypsy
  4. In My Dreams
  5. Take Me Home
  6. Strike of the Sword
  7. Rock This Way
  8. In This World Beyond
  9. Hungry Hunter
  10. So Lonely
Loudness

Minoru Nihara- vocals

Akira Takasaki- guitar

Masayoshi Yamashita- bass

Munetaka Higuchi- drums

Refamiliarizing myself with “Hurricane Eyes” after so many years, I can say that the album has grown on me. While I don’t think it quite comes up to the dizzy heights of their previous two albums, I like the direction the album was taking the band at the time. This turned out to be a real power rocker.

Next post: Desmond Child

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

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Frehley’s Comet

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on November 26, 2021 by 80smetalman

When I think back to 1987 and the years following, I have to thank my sister Dawn for introducing me to many of the bands I would enjoy in the late 80s and 90s. Every few months or at the very least, Christmas and birthdays, she would send me a compilation tape of metal bands she was listening to at the time. Montrose from the last post was one of them and if it hadn’t been for Dawn, I might not have known that former KISS guitarist, Ace Frehley, had put his own band together and made the band’s self titled album, “Frehley’s Comet.” So, thank you Dawn and also her metal sister, the late Stacy Kroger as she helped put the tapes together too.

On the not so upside, when Dawn introduced the tracks from the album she recorded on the tape, she said that she wasn’t impressed with the album. However, the songs she recorded were the two best tracks on the album, “Into the Night” and my personal favourite, “We Got Your Rock.” It could be argued that the latter track should have been the opener as it’s a grab you by the balls type rocker that would start most albums in the right frame. Plus the lyrics, “If it’s rock and roll you came for, it’s rock and roll you’re gonna get. We got your rock, right here!” would make me believe that this is going to be a great album.

Now, there is nothing wrong with the actual opener, “Rock and Roll Soldiers.” When I first heard, I thought it was about Ace finally overcoming his alcoholic demons and getting back to serious rock and roll. Apparently, it’s about a car crash he had in 1983. Whichever is right, this biographical account of Ace was a good way to start the album and it is punctuated at the end with the line, “If the devil wants to play his card game now, he’s gonna play it without an Ace in his deck.” That’s a great line!

Ace Frehley

While I wouldn’t call any of these tracks filler, some tracks are definitely stronger than others. Three of the strongest tracks have already been mentioned, although I probably haven’t sung the praises of “Into the Night” enough. This was released as a single and did hit number 27 in the rock charts. What I love about it is that Ace really rips a guitar solo on the song. Then again, he does it on most of the others. One thing I learned about this album is that Ace co-wrote the second track, “Breakout,” with former KISS bandmate, Eric Carr. You can hear the KISS influence in that song so I shouldn’t be totally surprised. However, I hear that when Ace plays it live, he dedicates it to Eric’s memory. Class act, Ace!

Critics, (what do they know), slated the album stating that Ace allowed himself to be swayed into using keyboards on some of his songs instead of the straight up guitar album he did on his 1978 KISS “Solo” album. While I see what they are saying, I don’t think the keyboards ruin the album. Besides, I like the keyboard intro on the very amusing “Dolls.” I can’t help thinking it’s about a certain type of doll used by lonely men. “Calling to You” is a strong track which takes me back to KISS’s stellar 70s days. What really intrigues me is the closer, “Fractured Too.” One might think that an instrumental from a renown guitarist in the 1980s would have him soloing all through the track like a Malmsteen or a MacAlpine but he doesn’t. Actually the song is rather tender and ends the album very well.

Track Listing:

  1. Rock Soldiers
  2. Breakout
  3. Into the Night
  4. Something Moved
  5. We Got Your Rock
  6. Love Me Right
  7. Calling to You
  8. Dolls
  9. Stranger in a Strange Land
  10. Fractured Too
Frehley’s Comet

Ace Frehley- lead and backing vocals, lead guitar

Todd Howarth- rhythm and lead guitar, lead and backing vocals, keyboards

John Regan- bass, backing vocals

Anton Figg- drums, percussion

I usually don’t disagree with my sister but I liked Frehley’s Comet more than she did. This album was just as good, maybe better than what his former band was doing at the time. One last note, while Ace was the key player on the album, it wouldn’t have been nearly as good without the contributions from the rest of the band.

Next post: Loudness- Hurricane Eyes

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

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Montrose- Mean

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 24, 2021 by 80smetalman

There is a problem when a band doesn’t put out an album for eleven years, people tend to forget about them. That seemed to be the case with Montrose. Back in the early 1970s, they had a few good albums but their last album before this 1987 album, “Mean,” was in 1976. As for me, I didn’t hear of Montrose until the early 1980s and only because a Marine buddy was into them. Later on, when Sammy Hagar achieved widespread acclaim in the rock world, I discovered that he was in the band in the early 1970s. However, with Sammy’s solo success and then joining Van Halen, I, like so many others, assumed that Montrose had become extinct. Therefore, the “Mean” album came as a pleasant surprise.

It has been said that “Mean” is more in the glam metal fashion and different from the Montrose of the early to mid 1970s. While that’s probably true, I’ll have to listen to a Montrose album or two for confirmation, all I know is that when listening to “Mean,” I very much like what I hear. One thing Ronnie Montrose hadn’t forgotten to do was wail on a guitar. He does it very well throughout the album. Furthermore, the rest of the band are able to keep up with him.

“Mean” starts off with the best track on the album, “Don’t Damage the Rock.” This is a high energy rocker and Ronnie dominates with his guitar. But Johnny Edwards turns in a great vocal performance as well. Fortunately, even though the opener is my favourite track, the rest of the album doesn’t deteriorate after it. Linking past with present, when I hear “Pass It On,” I can easily imagine Sammy singing on the tune as it fits his style. However, Edwards is his own singer so while the song reeks of Sammy, Johnny delivers a sound vocal performance and Ronnie’s guitar adds flavour to it as well.

While I wouldn’t call it a Ronnie solo album, he is the principal component to the album. His guitar stamps it’s authority with its acoustic intro on “Hard Headed Woman” and some great guitar work on “M for Machine” and “Ready, Willing and Able.” But what I found interesting about the album is that it comes out smoking on the first three songs, levels off a bit on the middle three songs and goes out on a big high on the final three songs. “Man of the Hour” is a great rocking song, which any 80s heavy metal band would have been proud to have recorded. A cool guitar riff heralds in “Flesh and Blood.” This song could out-Kiss KISS. It sounds exactly like what KISS would have done back in the 1970s, except Ronnie plays a blinder of a guitar solo. Maybe they should have taken note here instead of chasing trends. “Stand” is an excellent closer.

Track Listing:

  1. Don’t Damage the Rock
  2. Game of Love
  3. Pass It On
  4. Hard Headed Woman
  5. M is for Machine
  6. Ready, Willing and Able
  7. Man of the Hour
  8. Flesh and Blood
  9. Stand
Ronnie Montrose

Ronnie Montrose- guitars

Johnny Edwards- vocals

Glenn Letsch- bass

James Kottack- drums

Note: The only photos of Montrose I could find on the net are back when Sammy was in the band.

“Mean” would be the only album put out by this line up. The other members would go onto to other bands and create history there while Ronnie would attempt a solo career. This begs the question: If the band had stuck around, could they have gone onto the achieve greatness? This album suggested that they could have.

Next post: Frehley’s Comet

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

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Shy- Excess All Areas

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2021 by 80smetalman

Back in the 1980s, Kerrang had section in the magazine called “Wimpwire,” where they would feature a “softer” metal band. It is here that I discovered the band Shy. Upon hearing their album, “Excess All Areas,” I tended to agree with Kerrang placing them in the section. There is a heavy keyboard sound on most of the songs but at the same time, there are power chords to be heard. Unlike some metal bands who tried to incorporate keyboards and synthesizers at the time, Shy does it very well.

Let’s start with the not so positive, it’s not really a negative. “Excess All Areas” is definitely a product of it time. There was the let’s turn up the keyboards a little more in the misguided belief that it would be more commercial successful. However, with the benefit of historical hindsight, we know that the idea didn’t work well with a lot of bands. Metalheads thought such bands were trying to go synth pop while the trendies heard the power chords and thought it was too metal. That is my conclusion as to why Shy didn’t get the recognition it deserved.

What I like about Shy was that they were really good musicians. I know I mentioned the keyboards but keyboardist Paddy McKenna plays them very well. His keyboard intros on the tracks “Emergency,” “Talk to Me” and the power ballad, “Just Love Me” are absolutely phenomenal. Furthermore, his work on the other tracks are no less such. The same can be said for guitarist Steve Harris, (no it’s not the bassist from another band playing guitar here). He plays a blinder of a solo on “Can’t Fight the Nights,” most notably but he too shows what he can do elsewhere on the album. Lead singer Tony Mills has the pipes for sure. He doesn’t have to go falsetto or anything like that but he just gets down to business on the songs. Roy Stephen Davis is more than capable on bass and the same for drummer Alan Kelly. The pair of them do form a formidable rhythm section.

Don’t get me wrong, while I said that the album has that, ‘dated effect” and while most don’t stand out, the songs are all decent. One song which really does is “Break Down the Walls.” Everything I said about the band counts double on the track. You get good, dependable vocals, a steady rhythm section, cool keyboard fills and some power chords and a brilliant guitar solo. That’s definitely the track and the fact Don Dokken co-wrote it with the band might have helped. Other good tracks is their cover of the only Cliff Richard song I like, “Devil Woman,” “Young Heart” and “Under Fire,” which is the hardest rocking track on the album. My conclusion that Shy had it in them to really rock out but bowed to the commercial pressure of the time because there was the potential for this album to have been colossal.

Track Listing:

  1. Emergency
  2. Can’t Fight the Night
  3. Young Heart
  4. Just Love Me
  5. Break Down the Walls
  6. Under Fire
  7. Devil Woman
  8. Talk to Me
  9. When the Love is Over
  10. Telephone
Shy

Tony Mills- vocals

Steve Harris- guitar

Paddy McKenna- keyboards

Roy Stephen Davis- bass

Alan Kelly- drums

Another band that seemed to have vanished into obscurity after the 1980s but there must have been something about Shy for me to remember them after all these years. They definitely had the tools to make it bigger but “Excess All Areas” made them a product of the time.

Next post: Montrose- Mean

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

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Candlemass- Nightfall

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 19, 2021 by 80smetalman

80smetalman’s Hypothesis: As metal began to fragment into sub-genres, many of those bands who are associated with some of those sub-genres got their start in 1987. A couple of weeks ago, I stated that Helloween’s “Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I” album was my introduction to power metal. While I can’t say that Swedish band Candlemass’s album, “Nightfall,” was my launch into doom metal, (I listened to too much Black Sabbath for that to be the case), I can agree that they might have progressed what Sabbath started and helped make doom metal what it has become today.

What you get with “Nightfall” is total foreboding doom metal. Like many doom metal albums, it starts off with an short instrumental which grabs your attention. In fact, there are four instrumentals on “Nightfall,” including the closer but while the opener, “Gothic Stone” is less than a minute, the other three are just over two minutes long. Each of them play a crucial part on the album and except for the closer, obviously, they herald in the next track. The opener brings in the track “The Well of Souls” which, if anyone wanted a perfect example of what doom metal sounds like, it is that one.

Some pretty good guitar work on “Codex Gigas” sets up my favourite track on the album, “At the Gallows End.” It’s not total doom metal as there are some lively parts on the song but it does have the doom and gloom sound overall. Plus, lead singer, Messiah Marcolin does an excellent job and there is a great guitar solo from Lars Johansson. Furthermore, the rhythm section is particularly tight on this track.

Another element of doom metal which features on the album is the long songs. Except for the instrumentals, the other songs all clock in at over five minutes in length with two over seven minutes. Each song has that pounding melancholy beat with the guitars and pounding bass and thundering drums. Full credit must be given to the rhythm section here as they are able to keep that vibe going on every song beginning to end. However, it’s not all the same beat on every song. “Dark are the Veils of Death” changes things up throughout the whole of the seven minutes it lasts for. The track sounds like it could have been on any early Black Sabbath album which is a compliment to the true originators of doom metal. The difference being that Messiah Macrolin has a total different vocal style to Ozzy, likewise, Lars Johansson’s lead guitar is different to Tony Iommi but that doesn’t matter for what they bring to this album works for Candlemass.

Track Listing:

  1. Gothic Stone
  2. The Well of Souls
  3. Codex Gigas
  4. At the Gallows End
  5. Samarithan
  6. Marche Funebre
  7. Dark Are the Veils of Death
  8. Mourners Lament
  9. Bewitched
  10. Black Candles
Candlemass

Messiah Macrolin- vocals

Lars Johansson- lead guitar

Mats Bjorkman- rhythm guitar

Leif Edling- bass

Jan Lindh- drums

Additional Musicians:

Mike Wead- rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar, keyboards

If I had never picked up a Black Sabbath album before 1987 and first heard “Nightfall” by Candlemass, I would have concluded that I had a very fine introduction to doom metal. While that wasn’t the case, I think that with this album, Candlemass stamp their name on the doom metal moniker in fantastic form.

Next post: Shy- Excess All Areas

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

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: Black N Blue- Nasty Nasty

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 10, 2021 by 80smetalman

Another example of the reverse effect of being in Britain as opposed to the US. While officially, Black N Blue’s album, “Nasty Nasty,” came out in America in 1986, it didn’t come to my attention in the UK until May 1987. Unlike Helloween, however, Black N Blue were much easier to categorize if you were into things like that. They were total glam metal. Being under the wing of Gene Simmons had a lot to do with that.

Any album which starts with someone hocking a loogey is okay with me. Saying that, it’s not just a gimmick for the title track which opens the album, the song “Nasty Nasty” is good on its own. A real good sleaze rock song before the term was officially coined in the music world. The heavy KISS influence comes with the next track, “I Want It All, I Want It Now.” As the song begins, the beat has me expecting Gene Simmons to start bellowing “Oh Oh Oh Oh Yeah!” like he does on my all time favourite KISS song, “I Love It Loud.” However, the song stands on its own very well and KISS influence or not, it’s a good fist bumping anthem. Only the second song on the album but it gets my vote for hidden gem.

According to metal history, Black N Blue went back to a more harder sound with “Nasty Nasty” after “Without Love” failed to get the commercial success it was hoped for. The first two tracks bear testimony to the harder rock edge although the third track, “Does She or Doesn’t She,” resembles the more melodic metal of the previous album. Still, it’s an okay song. They do go back on heavy metal track on “Kiss of Death.” This is a real rocker and I love Tommy Thayer’s guitar solo on it, though I am not to sure about the bit at the end where the tempo changes and fades out that way.

“Twelve O’ Clock High” goes almost to speed metal sound with it’s fast and furious guitar riffs but the jury is still out on Jamie St James’s vocals on it. He’s a good singer but it sounds like his voice isn’t made for high falsetto parts. It’s much better on the next track, “Do What You Wanna Do” where he keeps his vocals to the normal level and the song is much better for it. It’s just as ferocious as the previous track but Tommy rips a blinder of a guitar solo on it, his best on the album. Repeating myself from when I posted about their last album, it is no wonder KISS eventually scooped him up.

Next we come to the power ballad “I’ll Be There For You,” which was originally intended to be called, “Promise the Moon.” The record company forced the title change as they needed a single from the album. Well, everything about “I’ll Be There For You” has all the components of a great radio-MTV song but it didn’t get anywhere. Damn shame as it’s not a bad song and I do like the keyboard intro. The album closes out with two more straight rockers. “Rules” is a cool song, it would have been the hidden gem if it hadn’t been for “I Want It All, I Want It Now.” “Best in the West” is recorded live, which seems to be the thing back then but it is a cool rocker to end things with.

Track Listing:

  1. Nasty Nasty
  2. I Want It All, I Want It Now
  3. Does She or Doesn’t She
  4. Kiss of Death
  5. Twelve O’ Clock High
  6. Do What You Wanna Do
  7. I’ll Be There For You
  8. Rules
  9. Best in the West
Black’n Blue

Jamie St. James- lead and backing vocals

Tommy Thayer- lead guitar, backing vocals

Jeff Warner- rhythm guitar

Patrick Young- bass

Pete Holmes- drums

Additional Musicians

John Purdell- keyboards

Peter Criss and Ron Keel- backing vocals on “Best of the West”

Mark Ferrari- guitar on “Best of the West”

Black n Blue went harder for their album “Nasty Nasty” and they got a good hard rocking album. It’s still a shame that they didn’t go further.

Next post: Exodus- Pleasure of the Flesh

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

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Helloween- Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part I

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2021 by 80smetalman

Back in 1987, there weren’t so many subgenres of heavy metal. Sure, there was glam metal and there was thrash. Anything in between was considered simply to be mainstream metal. While all these subdivisions normally send my head into a spin, in the case of Helloween and their album “Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part I,” the term ‘power metal’ fits perfectly. Some called them thrash back then because they did play faster than mainstream metal bands such as Iron Maiden or Judas Priest. However, they weren’t in the same area as Slayer or Anthrax either. Plus, their image would have been more in line of what is considered the traditional heavy metal look. Therefore, I can say that this album was the first power metal album I listened to.

After short introductory opener in line with their previous album, “Walls of Jericho,” the album goes speeding through the next three tracks. The question of how new singer, Michael Kiske, would sound on the album is quickly answered. He was brought on board because Karl Hansen stepped away from vocal duties as he found it difficult to sing and play guitar at the same time. On a separate note, that explains why good shredders such as Dave Mustaine and Mille Petrozza demoted themselves to rhythm guitar. Anyway, those songs cast aside any worry that Kiske wouldn’t be up to the job as his vocals are just superb. Another positive from Karl stepping down from vocals is his being able to solely concentrate on guitar results in some great solos, especially on “Twilight of the Gods” where he and Michael Weikath do a cool guitar solo tradeoff.

Helloween must have recognized that we the listeners needed a short break after those opening songs as things slow right down for the ballad, “A Tale That Wasn’t Right.” It’s a decent power ballad but not totally mind blowing. The band do everything right here, vocals, bass line and a cool guitar solo but it doesn’t catapult it into greatness as far as great power ballads go. However, following “A Tale That Wasn’t Right” is the best song on the album, “Future World.” Lyrically, it sounds like a song for kid’s show and with some of the laser sound effects in the middle, it sounds like it even more. But with the great power chords and massive guitar solos, it is a phenomenal song.

What I hate about listening to the album on Youtube is the fact that the only the cut for video portion of “Halloween” is played. Therefore, eight minutes are cut from this thirteen minute long blockbuster. Fortunately, I have that full length version of this great song elsewhere, which makes up for it. Even though “Halloween” is so long in length, the constant changes in tempo and swirling guitar solos as well as the power chords make it no less interesting. The other good thing is that after such a long song, the album goes out very appropriately with a closer that is less than two minutes long.

Track Listing:

  1. Initiation
  2. I’m Alive
  3. A Little Time
  4. Twilight of the Gods
  5. A Tale That Wasn’t Right
  6. Future World
  7. Halloween
  8. Follow the Sign
Helloween

Michael Kiske- vocals

Karl Hansen- guitar, backing vocals

Michael Weikath- guitar, keyboards and backing vocals

Marcus Groskopf- bass, backing vocals

Ingo Schwichtenberg- drums

I figure that if “Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part I” was my introduction to power metal, then I have had a great introduction. Thank you Helloween.

Next post: Black n Blue- Nasty Nasty

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

Another Book to Add to Your Reading List

Posted in Books, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on November 5, 2021 by 80smetalman

Anthrax bassist Frank Bello has written a book about his time in the band which is called, “Fathers, Brothers and Sons.” His book is truly written from the heart book not only tells about his time with Anthrax, which he has been a full member of since 1985, but also what his life was like before Anthrax, growing up without a father. FFI: click on the link https://www.newjerseystage.com/articles/2021/11/04/frank-bellos-memoir-fathers-brothers-and-sons-surviving-anguish-abandonment-and-anthrax-is-released/

It’s on my reading list.

Anthrax: I think Frank is on the far left. Bloodstock 2016

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Vow Wow- V

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on November 4, 2021 by 80smetalman

Shortly after my arrival on British shores in 1986, I was introduced to Japanese metal band Vow Wow. By 1987, I was definitely hooked on them and I had arrived at the conclusion that after hearing first Loudness when I was in the States and then these guys in the UK, Japanese metal was something to take seriously. Now, I am not going to compare and contrast these two bands because they have totally different metal styles and I enjoy listening to both bands. I also realize that I said pretty much the same thing when I reviewed Vow Wow’s previous album, “III.” So, I might be an old man whose mind is going but I doubly stand by it, especially after listening to their album, “V.”

Like I wrote when I visited their last album, Vow Wow incorporates keyboards in their music and do so very effectively. Keyboardist Rei Atsumi doesn’t get the credit he deserves because he is really excellent at his craft. He plays superbly on the second track, “Somewhere in the Night.” On the other hand, Vow Wow can definitely rock and the opening track “Don’t Tell Me Lies bears witness to that. The rocking first track and the more melodic second track fuse together very neatly on the third one, “The Girl in Red.” It is very melodic in parts and very hard rocking in others. Kyoji Yamamoto, (the World War 2 buff in me wonders if he is a descendent of the great Japanese admiral), produces some cool guitar hooks and nails the solo. But he does that throughout the album.

One really hard rocking track, which might have been better as the album opener, is “Breakout.” The pounding chords at the beginning give me much to wonder. However, it does slow down to a more bluesy beat in the middle but the power chords do not relent. Kyoji does play a rather impressive guitar solo on it. Actually, I think this track would have been good in any position on the album. What it does is provide a great gateway to the album’s ballad, “Cry No More.” I’m not sure if it was or not but it should have been released as a single, I think it would have broken into the charts and if not, then it’s down to the Duranies of the UK. If I had owned this album, (I listened to a friend’s copy), I would have used this song to put my then girlfriend and future first wife into a romantic mood. This song definitely hits all the spots in that department with the vocals if Genki Hitomi combined with some intimate piano work from Rei but there are just enough power chords for the males not to think it had gone wimpy.

“Same Town” is a mid temp rocker which has some more excellent keyboard work Mr. Atsumi. It sounds like they use a choir towards the end. Magnificent drum rolls from Toshihiro Niimi begin the bluesy “Born to Die.” Genki’s vocals sound make the song sound like it would be perfect as a movie opener but I never heard any movie opening song that had a ripping guitar solo like this one does. Maybe they should use it for a film. I want to suggest either of my two books but I already have a song in mind should they ever decide to make “Rock and Roll Children” into a film. Therefore, it has to be my other novel, “He Was Weird.” Actually, that might fit!

Things chug along nicely with “Waited for a Lifetime.” This is more a straight ahead rocker but there is an interesting sound of the guitars sounding a little like chimes. It’s Neil Murray’s bass which keeps the song chugging along. The rocking party continues with “Don’t Leave Me Now.” This is the first track with backing vocals and they can be heard through Yamamoto’s guitar solo. “War Man” is the perfect closer for “V.” While it might not sound like one at first, the choir sounding backing vocals make it that perfect choice. Before the song goes out, the members do get to show their individual wares like a great keyboard solo followed by a great guitar solo. What more can you ask for? Like with “III,” Vow Wow save the best for last.

Track Listing:

  1. Don’t Tell Me Lies
  2. Somewhere in the Night
  3. The Girl in Red
  4. Break Out
  5. Cry No More
  6. Same Time
  7. Born to Die
  8. Waited for a Lifetime
  9. Don’t Leave Me Now
  10. War Man
Vow Wow

Genki Hitomi- vocals

Kyoji Yamamoto- guitar

Rei Atsumi- keyboards

Neil Murray- bass

Toshihiro Niimi- drums

I’d like to hear what the ladies think of this song.

After hearing two albums from Loudness and then two albums from Vow Wow, all of the brilliant albums, I can safely say that Japanese metal bands weren’t something to be taken lightly. Both bands wowed many people back in the 1980s.

Next post: Helloween- Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I

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