Archive for the Uncategorized Category

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Track Listing:

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

Kevin Griffiths- lead vocals, bass

Dave Fletcher- guitar, backing vocals

Darren Underwood- guitar, backing vocals

Dean Cook- drums, backing vocals

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

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

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

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Nuclear Assault- Game Over

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

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

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

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

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

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

Track Listing:

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

John Connelly- guitar, vocals

Anthony Bramante- lead guitar

Dan Lilker- bass

Glen Evans- drums

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

Next post: Briar- Take On the World

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

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Manowar- Fighting the World

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

With each album from Manowar I listen to, the more I think that Kerrang Magazine should apologize for calling them a joke band in a 1986 issue. Manowar are definitely not a joke band, they are as serious as any other metal band in the world. True, their image may be over the top but that doesn’t stop their music from being as good as it is. When I listened to the 1987 album, “Fighting the World,” I did so with these thoughts in mind. By the time the album finished, I was in no doubt that they were never a joke band.

According to sources, the single released from the album was “Blow Your Speakers” and I must say that it is a fantastic song. The true heavy metal power railing against commercial radio stations who refused to play heavy metal. It is my favourite track on the album and when I listen to it, I do want to blow my speakers with it. Here’s the weird thing, over a decade ago, I picked up a compilation album and the Manowar song on the album was the title track. So, you can see why I found this a little confusing. If anything, I’m surprised it wasn’t released as one because it is that good. It also was an inspiring song when I wrote “Rock and Roll Children,” because by 1987, it seemed that heavy metal was fighting the world.

Right after the two opening songs comes the hidden gem, “Carry On.” I think several bands who came later drew influence from this song. The intro is something right out of a Strativarius song and then after that acoustic intro, you get a song which could have inspired both The Darkness and the Black Veil Brides. It is a very enjoyable song which you can’t help to move your head along to. It also has a great guitar solo from Ross the Boss. Some might say that the repetition of the chorus “Carry on, carry on, forever carry on” might drag on a bit at the end but it doesn’t bother me.

Very interesting sound effects such as police sirens begin the track, “Violence and Bloodshed.” This is a very fast paced song with some more interesting sound effects at the guitar solo. “Defender” starts with a spoken word from a father to his son. The father isn’t there but he charges his son with the task of defending the helpless to the end. The background music is very suspenseful and sounds great with the words. Eric Adams sings the response of the son saying he will take up the task. The guitar and bass comes in harder but still has that gloomy feeling before going into what could be Ross’s best guitar solo on the album. After that, the spoken voice and Eric’s vocals join together with the chorus “Ride like the wind, fight on, you’re the defender.” It is a cool concept song.

Sandwiched between two minute and a half tracks, the first an instrumental, is “Holy War.” The track starts with the clapping thunder of where the instrumental left off. After a slow build up, it explodes into the fastest song on the album. It does slow down a little for the second verse but the energy cannot be held in and just explodes again. While we get another great guitar solo, my ears are more tuned into the rhythm section, especially Joey DeMaio’s bass. Closing the album is “Black Wind, Fire and Steel.” While it’s rather fast paced, the melody of the song makes it perfect for the closer. The background guitar during the verses gets my attention as does how it all comes together as it winds down to the end.

Track Listing:

  1. Fighting the World
  2. Blow Your Speakers
  3. Carry On
  4. Violence and Bloodshed
  5. Defender
  6. Drums of Doom
  7. Holy War
  8. Masters of Revenge
  9. Black Wind, Fire and Steel
Manowar

Eric Adams- vocals

Ross the Boss- guitar, keyboards

Joey DeMaio- bass

Scott Columbus- drums

Not that I ever thought it in the first place, but “Fighting the World” put to rest any thought that Manowar were a joke band. They play their metal as good as anyone else. Kerrang should be ashamed and it could be why it has basically sucked since the mid 1990s.

Next post: Nuclear Assault- Game Over

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

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Dio- Dream Evil

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 29, 2021 by 80smetalman

After what many people thought was the flop of Dio’s third album, “Sacred Heart,” (I never thought it was), all eyes were on the band for their fourth album, “Dream Evil.” The question on everyone’s minds was to whether they could return to the level of their first two fantastic albums. For most people, “Dream Evil” was an improvement on “Sacred Heart,” me included. That left the next question as to how it compared to “Holy Diver” and “The Last in Line.”

In short, I have to agree with what most people and critics thought, “Dream Evil” was a better than “Sacred Heart” but did not quite reach the bar set by those first two albums. While I don’t normally score albums, I leave that to some of you, on a scale of 1-10, I would have given “Holy Diver an 11, “The Last in Line” a 10 and “Sacred Heart” and 8. Therefore, I have to give “Dream Evil” a 9 and now I will explain why.

First, let me focus on the not positive. All three of the previous albums have really throat grabbing opening songs but while “Night People” is a decent opener, it is not as throat grabbing. However, it does the job of keeping my attention. Then we come to the title track and that is also a decent song which keeps me listening but still it doesn’t totally ‘WOW’ me either. Since, I am focusing on the not positive first, I have to skip to the closing songs. “Faces in the Window” is a good penultimate track so I shouldn’t call it not positive, silly me. I won’t say that “When a Woman Cries” isn’t a good closer, it is probably the best choice for the role on this album, it doesn’t reach the bar set by one of the best album closing songs of all times, “Egypt, The Chains Are On” from “The Last in Line” album. I realize that was a very hard standard to measure up to.

Let’s move onto the very positive. Coming after the title track are my two favourite songs on the album, “Sunset Superman” and “All the Fools Sailed Away.” While I don’t want to engage in a debate with Lana on her review of this album as she didn’t quite fancy either song, I really like them. However, I can understand her point on “Sunset Superman” as Ronnie seems to spend the last two minutes of the song repeating the title. For a lot of singers, that would become boring after a minute but Ronnie was one of those singers who could have spent three minutes singing: “I’m going to decapitate your hamster with a spoon” and his voice still would have had me hooked. As for “All the Fools Sailed Away,” I had the experience of hearing it performed live at Donnington 1987 and it was mind blowing. The recorded version almost lives up to the live version and it’s one of those songs which just moves me into belting out the chorus. Plus, the keyboard’/guitar solo tradeoff in the middle of the song is very nicely done.

Like with “All the Fools Sailed Away,” they played “Naked in the Rain” and though hearing live was brilliant, the studio version, while not as dynamic is still a good listen. “Overlove” is a good fast paced song which further demonstrates the band’s versatility. Furthermore, I love how Craig Goldy’s guitar work brings in the song. Then we come to the second single, “I Could Have Been a Dreamer.” This is another great song to sing along to and it sticks in you mind long after it finishes. That could be why the last two songs aren’t as memorable for me.

Track Listing:

  1. Night People
  2. Dream Evil
  3. Sunset Superman
  4. All the Fools Sailed Away
  5. Naked in the Rain
  6. Overlove
  7. I Could Have Been a Dreamer
  8. Faces in the Window
  9. When a Woman Cries
Dio

Ronnie James Dio- lead vocals

Craig Goldy- guitar

Jimmy Bain- bass

Claude Schnell- keyboards

Vinnie Appice- drums

What I hated about the MTV video version of this song was they cut the solos out of it.

One comparison I didn’t make, which a lot of people were talking about in 1987 was comparing and contrasting the guitar work of Craig Goldy on “Dream Evil” vs that of Vivian Campbell on the previous albums. I never did because I thought both were very good guitarists on Dio albums. So, like I said earlier, “Dream Evil” was an improvement on “Sacred Heart” but not to the standard of the first two. Then again, that was a hard bar to clear. It is still a very good solid album from Ronnie and the boys.

Next post: Manowar- Fighting the World

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

Great Rock Albums of 1987: The Smiths- Strangeways, Here We Come

Posted in 1980s, films, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 25, 2021 by 80smetalman

A great perk of my job working with adults with Autism is that in the house I predominately work in, when the service user who requires 95% of my attention goes on a home visit, my evenings at work are quite leisurely. Such was the case last week. I was searching the Sky Movie channels looking for a film to watch when I discovered a film called, “Shoplifters of the World.” Reading the info, I gave it a watch and it was pretty good.

From the film: Shoplifters of the World

Set in Colorado in 1987, the film is about fans of British new wave rock band, The Smiths who are lamenting the band’s break up. As a result, one devoted fan breaks into the local radio station and pulls a gun on the deejay, who is a total metalhead, and demands he plays a bunch of songs by his favourite band. As the story develops, the Smiths fan and the metalhead deejay form a bond as the station draws a large crowd of the band’s fans in support. On a side note, I love how the deejay relates his story of how is wife walked out on him while he was listening to “Master of Puppets.” He was so engrossed in the album, he didn’t even notice her leave. Anyway, the film ends with a mutual appreciation between the gunman and deejay, which is what music is supposed to do. I recommend this film.

The movie had me doing more research into The Smiths and it might have been a good thing, as their 1987 album, “Strangeways, Here We Come” had totally passed me by that year. Maybe I was listening to too much metal then. Listening to the album now, it has slowly grown on me but it took a couple of listens for it to be so. The first two tracks are decent enough, a smooth light indie pop sound but then the band tries to stretch out a bit on the track “Death of a Disco Dancer,” for me it falls flat. If I listened to this track too much, the title could be changed to “Death of 80smetalman” because it is a song to slit your wrists to and this is coming from someone who listens to Pink Floyd’s “Animals” album.

Fortunately, that is the low point on the album as things drastically improve with the next two tracks. My favourite track on the album, “Girlfriend in a Coma” coming just after. The following track, “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before,” carries things on. Then it appears that the album might be venturing back into “Death of a Disco Dancer” territory with “Last Night I Dreamt That Someone Loved Me.” It starts as if it’s going to be a slow, gloomy song but it then picks up. I think this song would have sounded even better with the use of power chords.

Since “Girlfriend in a Coma” was single, then by rules of 80smetalman, “Unhappy Birthday” is the hidden gem on the track. It’s a mid-tempo straight ahead rock tune and there is some good guitar work from Johnny Marr. Although he’s not a (insert great guitarist here), his work on this song is good. “Paint a Vulgar Picture” has a very impressive intro and is good, upbeat song and Johnny actually plays a guitar solo on it. Also, it might drag on a little too long. There is a rockabilly beat to “Death At One’s Elbow,” and is well done. However, the remaining track is unremarkable in my view but does the job of ending the album.

Track Listing:

  1. A Rush and a Push and the Land Is Ours
  2. I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish
  3. Death of a Disco Dancer
  4. Girlfriend in a Coma
  5. Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before
  6. Last Night I Dreamt That Someone Loved Me
  7. Unhappy Birthday
  8. Paint a Vulgar Picture
  9. Death at One’s Elbow
  10. I Won’t Share You
The Smiths

Morrisey- lead vocals, piano, handclaps

Johnny Marr- guitar, keyboards, harmonica, marimba, harmonium, additional vocals, handclaps

Andy Rourke- bass, keyboards, handclaps

Mike Joyce- drums, percussion, handclaps

Thanks to a good film, I got to experience an album that passed me by back in the day. The Smiths would break up after “Strangeways, Here We Come.” While not their best album, it’s still good in places and worth having a listen to. But definitely watch the film.

Next post: Dio- Dream Evil

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Track Listing:

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

Blackie Lawless- lead vocals, rhythm guitar

Chris Holmes- lead guitar

Johnny Rod- bass, backing vocals

Steve Riley- drums, backing vocals

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

Next post: The Smiths- Strangeways, Here We Come

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

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Metallica- The $5.98 EP/$9.998 CD- The Garage Days Revisited

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2021 by 80smetalman

To mark the occasion of their appearance at the 1987 Donnington Festival, Metallica’s UK label, Vertigo, suggested they release new material. However, initial songwriting attempts with new bassist, Jason Newstead, resulted in one demo and then James Hetfield broke his arm in a skateboarding accident. (I forgot about that incident but I remember while on tour, a roadie played rhythm guitar so the tour could carry on.) Anyway, the band decided that instead of trying to write new material, they recorded covers of some of their favourites. Thus, “The $5.98 EP/$9.98 CD- The Garage Days Revisited” was born.

Up first is a cover of Diamond Head’s “Helpless.” Listening to this, if I hadn’t heard of Diamond Head before, I would have thought that this was a Metallica original. Basically what Metallica do here is increase the song to Metallica level and it’s true to what Metallica were doing at the time. Next comes “The Small Hours” which is a cover of a Holocaust tune. Admittedly, I have no experience of Holocaust, that will be rectified, but there is that Metallica “Thing That Should Not Be” aura to it. It’s just slow crunching guitar at the start before speeding up in the middle and a cool guitar solo from Kirk.

In the middle of the order is the cover of the Killing Joke tune, “The Wait,” which was left off the British pressing in order to comply with UK laws regarding the length of EPs. When I hear this song, I definitely think that it would have been a perfect fit if put on the “Master of Puppets” album as I definitely get that vibe on it. I can bang my head along with it much longer than its four minute and fifty-five second length. That’s a minute and fifteen seconds longer than the Killing Joke’s version!

Jason Newstead gets to show off his bass skills on the penultimate track, “Crash Course in Brain Surgery,” a cover of a Budgie classic. I remember when I saw Metallica and Donnington 87, James introduced Jason as ‘the new mother fucker.’ Was there animosity already? I won’t venture a guess but Jason does lay down a solid bass line here, which compliments Kirk’s guitar solo very well. Metallica took a 70s hippy song and brought it into the late 80s.

Ending this five song Metallica party is my favourite song, “Last Caress/Green Hell,” two Misfits tunes combined together. The reason I like it is that any lyrics which stuck it to the anti- rock establishment was cool in my book and “I killed your baby today” and “I raped your mother today” definitely qualifies. I’m surprised there wasn’t any outcry from the religious zealots in the US over it. Still, the fast thrash pace adds to the fun. At the end, there is some riffs to the Iron Maiden classic, “Run to the Hills,” which I also remember them doing at Donnington. Maybe not necessary but it brought back good memories.

Track Listing:

  1. Helpless
  2. The Small Hours
  3. The Wait
  4. Crash Course in Brain Surgery
  5. Last Caress/Green Hell
Metallica

James Hetfield- lead vocals, rhythm guitar

Kirk Hammett- lead guitar

Jason Newstead- bass, backing vocals

Lars Ulrich- drums

What I didn’t know was that “The $5.98 EP/$9.98 CD- The Garage Days Revisited” was out of print from 1989- 2018 and was considered a collector’s item. Those who had this should consider themselves lucky. While this wasn’t a Metallica album in the proper sense, it was a great bridge between “Master of Puppets” and their next album “And Justice for All.”

Next post: WASP- Inside the Electric Circus

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

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Anthrax- Among the Living

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Track Listing:

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

Joey Belladonna- lead vocals

Scott Ian- rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Dan Spitz- lead guitar, backing vocals

Frank Bello- bass, backing vocals

Charlie Benante- drums

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

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

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

Great Metal Albums of 1987: King Diamond- Abigail

Posted in Uncategorized on September 11, 2021 by 80smetalman

King Diamond’s 1987 album, “Abigail,” is my joint favourite concept album of all time. The concept of the album is very easy to follow and the music behind it is just superb. I have to give full marks to guitarists Andy LaRocque and Michael Denner who both do a spectacular job on it. The rhythm section of Timmi Hansen and Mikkey Dee are just as brilliant and of course, the album wouldn’t be what it is if it wasn’t for the vocals of King Diamond. For this post, I will convey how each song tells the story of Abigail.

Track Listing:

“The Funeral”- The album opens with the funeral of Abigail LeFey who was still born on July 7, 1777. The priest conducting the service says that seven silver spikes should be driven through her body and asks, “Who will be the first?”

“Arrival”- the album advance nearly 70 years into the future. It is now 1845 and Jonathan LeFey, along with his bride to be, Miriam Natias, are set to move into the home which Jonathan inherited. On the way there, the coach gets stuck and seven horsemen arrive to warn them not to go to the home. Jonathan’s refusal is accented by King Diamond’s falsetto- “Get out of my way, I don’t believe a word you say.” The guitar solo which opens the song is really cool too.

“A Mansion in the Darkness”- Jonathan and Miriam move into their new mansion. There’s a great guitar solo in the middle of the song.

“A Family Ghost”- on the first night, Jonathan meets the ghost of Count de la Fey, who is a deceased relative. The Count takes Jonathan down to the crypt where the casket of the still born Abigail rests. The Count tells Jonathan that Abigail is going to possess Miriam and he must kill her to prevent that. More great guitar soloing from Andy LaRocque.

“The 7th Day of July 1777”- The story informs us of what exactly happened on the date which this track is titled. On this day, The Count discovers that his wife has been unfaithful to him and is pregnant as a result. Therefore, The Count pushes The Countess down the stairs where she breaks her neck and dies thus causing her baby to be still born. The Countess’s body is cremated and the baby, who is named Abigail, is put into a casket and left. There is some pounding bass and more soloing. King Diamond’s vocals make the account of the murder quite eerie sounding.

“Deadly Omens”- The story returns to 1845 where Jonathan and Miriam get several omens. The church bells ring but no one is inside the church at the time. Plants die and there is a bad stench in the house. The final omen is the discover of a cradle. Both Jonathan and Miriam deny bringing it with them. Keyboards accompany the song which go great with the guitar and yes, there are more guitar solos. In fact, I think Denner and LaRocche do a trade off.

“The Possession” – Miriam discovers she is pregnant and Jonathan realizes that the count was right. He accuses Abigail of possessing Miriam and thinks about getting a priest to do an exorcism. There is some really good rhythm guitar work on this track.

“Abigail”- Abigail through Miriam admits that she has taken possession of her. Miriam momentarily gains control and suggests that Jonathan pushes her down the stairs like the Count did to the Countess. Jonathan pretends to agree to this and when Abigail regains control of Miriam, suggests they go down to the crypt so she can be reborn. This is my favourite track on the album. I love how King Diamond’s high vocals sing, “I am alive, inside your wife. Miriam’s dead, I am Abigail.” There are more guitar solos and a nice little keyboard solo at the end.

“Black Horseman”- When Jonathan is distracted, Miriam pushes him down the stairs. Miriam gives birth but dies in labour, the last thing she sees is the baby’s yellow eyes. The black horsemen arrive at the mansion and see the horrific sight of Abigail eating her previous body. The horsemen take the baby to a hidden chapel, bury her and drive seven silver spikes through her so she can’t be reborn as described in the opening track. I love how the guitars work together on this track and once again, I find myself singing the praises of Michael and Andy but again, you can’t deny the rhythm work of Timmi and Mikkey.

King Diamond

King Diamond- lead vocals

Andy LaRocque- guitar

Michael Denner- guitar

Timmi Hansen- bass

Mikkey Dee- drums

Roberto Falcao- keyboards

Andy LaRocque

Quite a number of critics agree with me that this is one of the greatest heavy metal concept albums of all time. It was my favourite but in 1988, another great concept album came out and I can’t decide which one I like more. King Diamond and his band put out a blinder of an album with “Abigail.”

Next post: Anthrax- Among the Living

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

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Joe Satriani- Not of This Earth

Posted in Uncategorized on September 8, 2021 by 80smetalman

Joe Satriani was one of those artists where I heard their second album before their first one. Therefore, I have always found myself comparing his debut, “Not of This Earth,” to his iconic second album, “Surfing With the Alien.” That’s not really fair to the debut album because it does stand out on its own. However, in 1987, I heard the name Joe Satriani and I learned that he was a guitar instructor to some of the greats. Does Steve Vai and Kirk Hammet ring any bells? Therefore, with the benefit of hindsight, I can say that it would have been a tragedy for music if Joe hadn’t recorded any music of his own.

When he recorded “Not of This Earth,” Joe stated that he didn’t just want to make a guitar album but one which incorporated many types of music. That’ is exactly what he does and the proof of the pudding is in the music. One track where he does this so well is “The Snake.” While like on all of the tracks, there is plenty of guitar to be had, there is also a very noticeable clunking bass line which complements the guitar very well. The intros on both tracks one and three could have been used in suspenseful segments in films. There is an air of foreboding on both of those intros but they lead the way for the rest of the song to blow your mind. In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say that track three, “Rubina,” sounds very classical. Then again, with all of his knowledge and experience, he could play guitar to any form of music and make it sound brilliant.

For those who want to hear Joe play like a metal guitarist, then the track, “Memories,” is the one. He really lays down the jams on the guitar here but again, if you listen closely, you can hear the acoustic guitar and bass in the background, which both work well with the song. After two rather short but interesting tracks, we get “Driving At Night,” which sounds like a taster to what is to come for the next album. The we get to the song which stands out for me, “Hordes of Locusts.” This is the most metal sounding track on the album, especially with the crunching rhythm guitar and bass in support while Joe just jams away on the guitar. He really makes the guitar scream on this one. Plus, there are guitar parts which sound like a deejay scratching, it’s simply amazing! That is followed by some more guitar string bending and then the closer, ” The Headless Horseman” makes me wonder if I am really being chased by him. Maybe it’s good that the closing track is less than two minutes.

Track Listing:

  1. Not of This World
  2. The Snake
  3. Rubina
  4. Memories
  5. Brother John
  6. The Enigmatic
  7. Driving At Night
  8. Hordes of Locusts
  9. New Day
  10. The Headless Horseman
Joe Satriani

Joe Satriani- guitars, keyboards, bass, percussion

Jeff Campitelli- drums, percussion, DX, whistle

John Cuniberti- vocals (he gives a sinister laugh at the beginning of “The Headless Horseman”), percussion

Do I regret listening to “Surfing With the Alien” before this debut album? Not really, on the one hand, it would have better prepared me for the second album if I listened to “Not of This Earth” first. But I can say that after being blown away by the second album, this one came as a nice surprise.

Next post: King Diamond- Abigail

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