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Great Metal Albums of 1985: Loudness- Thunder in the East

Posted in Uncategorized on May 26, 2019 by 80smetalman

220px-Loudness_thunder

“Thunder in the East” was the big breakthrough album for Loudness in 1985. In fact, it marked the first time a Japanese band broke into the top 100 charts in the US where it would remain for 23 weeks peaking at 74. Therefore, it was a major achievement for Loudness being both Japanese and a heavy metal band. Even more so because except for bands like Ratt, Motley Crue and Bon Jovi, there was very little heavy metal on the radio at this time.

“Crazy Nights,” the big single from the album, was one reason why it was such a major success. Hell, I remember seeing the video for the song played on MTV on one occasion. It is a great song with some great riffs, a catchy chorus- “Rock and roll crazy nights, you are the heroes tonight,” and a cool guitar solo but as I have said 4,217,901 times, one song does not a great album make. Naturally, their are some other amazing tracks on “Thunder in the East.”

Third song in on the album is my vote for hidden gem, the track, “Heavy Chains.” I love how it starts out as if it’s going to be a ballad before the power chords come blasting in. Beneath the power chords, there is a blues feel to it with Akira Takasaki showing why the Western world should take him seriously as a guitarist. Singer Minoru Nihara adds a further dimension to the song with the way he can change the tempo of his voice. Switching from ballad voice to power voice was not a hard chore for him on the track.

The metal continues on after as well. Whether it’s the fast paced “Get Away” where there’s amusing lyrics like “With my switchblade you will die,” to “We Can Be Together” which sounds a little similar to “Crazy Nights” but has enough uniqueness to stand out. The Black Sabbath influence manifests itself on the track “Run For Your Life” with it’s slow blues sounding power chords. Then the speed increases by several hundred miles an hour on “Clockwork Toy” only to even out a fraction on “No Way Out.” A middle ground between the previous two tracks, “No Way Out” is more a solid metal tune with all the ingredients in place. That carries on through the penultimate track to the power ballad closer “Never Change Your Mind.” An interesting but effective way to close out the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Crazy Nights
  2. Like Hell
  3. Heavy Chains
  4. Get Away
  5. We Can Be Together
  6. Run For Your Life
  7. Clockwork Toy
  8. No Way Out
  9. The Lines Are Down
  10. Never Change Your Mind
loudness

Loudness

Minoru Nihara- vocals

Akira Takasaki- guitar

Masayoshi Yamashita- bass

Munetaka Higuchi- drums

The best thing about Loudness’s breakthrough into the US was it proved that heavy metal did not recognize nationalities or borders. “Thunder in the East” was magnificent proof that if the metal is good, people will listen to it, no matter where it comes from.

Next post: Bon Jovi- 7800 Farenheit

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://c-newfreepdf.cf/olddocs/freedownloadonlinerock-and-rollchildren-pdf-1609763556-by-michaeldlefevre 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great Metal Albums of 1985: Helloween- Walls of Jericho

Posted in Uncategorized on May 23, 2019 by 80smetalman

220px-HelloweenWallsofjericho

In spite of the order of the two posts, I have to confess that I first listened to the debut full length album from Helloween, “Walls of Jericho,” before I listened to the self titled EP. However, when an artist released more than one album in a given year, I do try to post them in the chronological order they were released. With all that said, it was the kick ass material on “Walls of Jericho” that led me to go back and check out the EP.

Normally, the very first song I listened to on an album or even from a band does not immediately convert me to them. But when I heard “Walls of Jericho/Ride the Sky,” blast through my speakers, I was immediately captivated by the sound of Helloween. All the great things I said about that EP in the last post were all there on this song. While, “Walls of Jericho” and “Ride the Sky” are two separate songs, the first is a natural introduction to the second, it works that well. Of course, the speeding rhythm of guitar, bass and drums along with the vocals of Hansen and those almost progressive rock sounding long guitar solos blew me away. Combined as one, it remains my all time favourite Helloween song.

Fortunately and quite obviously, the speed metal party doesn’t end with the one song. “Reptile” is a belter while the “Guardians” goes at about 600 mph yet somehow keeps it’s melody. It’s astounding really. This one-two punch keeps the album boiling over very nicely. “Phantoms of Death” is the bastard child of speed and progressive metal as there is evidence galore of both on this track. Definitely love the long guitar solo on it.

Side two of the album explodes with the speed of “Metal Invaders.” Another almost thrash song with Hansen melodically barking the lyrics until he slows down at the chorus. However, the song continues to be fast and furious throughout, even during the guitar solo. If there was any one song that applies to the power metal label attributed to Helloween, then that song is “Gorgar.” Thanks to modern technology, (Google) I have discovered that Gorgar was actually a pinball machine. Wow, I thought it was the name of some demon in German lore. Now I get what they mean with “Gorgar will eat your money.” Still, it’s power metal at its best! With “Heavy Metal (Is the Law),” the band go for a live sound. It works because if I ever do get to see Helloween live, I would hope they would play it. The album closes with the best possible song for the role, “How Many Tears.” All of the things in this closing track sums up all the great things from the rest of the album. The power, the speed, the vocals and long guitar solos are all included in the package making it a great way to end a great album.

Track Listing:

  1. Walls of Jericho
  2. Ride the Sky
  3. Reptile
  4. Guardians
  5. Phantoms of Death
  6. Metal Invaders
  7. Gorgar
  8. Heavy Metal (Is the Law)
  9. How Many Tears

hellow

Helloween

Kai Hansen- vocals, guitar

Michael Weikath- guitar

Marcus Grosskopf- bass

Ingo Schwitzenberg- drums, percussion

Note: I was supposed to see Helloween live in 1988 but circumstances beyond my control prevented it. More detail will be divulged in given year.

It has been said that Helloween were the founders of power metal and I can easily see from listening to “Walls of Jericho” why the idea has ground. However, for me back in 1985, I did not know of categories like that and simply enjoyed metal in all it’s glorious forms, Helloween for sure.

Next post: Loudness- Thunder in the East

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://c-newfreepdf.cf/olddocs/freedownloadonlinerock-and-rollchildren-pdf-1609763556-by-michaeldlefevre 

Great Metal Albums of 1985: Helloween

Posted in Uncategorized on May 19, 2019 by 80smetalman

220px-HelloweenHelloween

Continuing on back tracking the great albums of 1985 which I didn’t learn about til a year later when I was fully immersed in thrash, the debut EP by German band Helloween definitely caught my attention. At that time, any metal that was played fast was called thrash and whether you agree or not, Helloween was lumped into that category. However, it didn’t take most people long to realize that the metal this band played was certainly not thrash. While the label hadn’t yet been officially coined, Helloween were speed metal.

Not wanting to get into the semantics of speed metal, thrash metal or power metal which has been said that this album redefined the latter, I just appreciate the album. The don’t blink or you’ll miss it power riffs in the songs are attention grabbing enough. But what sets Helloween apart from say Celtic Frost or Voivod is the melodic vocals of Kai Hansen. Those vocals are just fantastic and though he can scream, he even does that with melody. Definitely, he’s an underrated vocalist. What is also unique about Helloween is the long almost progressive rock sounding guitar solos on the songs. Again, something you don’t find on traditional thrash record but it sounds so good on this album.

Some might argue that songs titled “Murderer,” “Warrior” and possibly “Victim of Fate” are titles you would expect to find on a Venom album. Those persons are probably not as well versed in metal as they would believe themselves to be. Many mainstream metal bands have songs with similar titles and Helloween is no different. Then again, who really cares about titles when all five songs are played so well. However, the standout for me has to be “Victim of Fate.” That song does it all with the cool intro, the already mentioned melodic vocals and the prog like guitar solo. In addition, there is a spooky sounding whispering part compliments of Hansen which adds a further dimension to the song. It’s the best one in my book and that takes nothing away from the other four.

Track Listing:

  1. Starlight
  2. Murderer
  3. Warrior
  4. Victim of Fate
  5. Cry For Freedom

hellow

Helloween

Kai Hansen- guitar, vocals

Michael Weikath- guitar

Markus Grosskopf- bass

Ingo Schwitchtenberg- drums

Another band stayed beneath my radar in 1985 although I would discover Helloween a year later. While to most people, thrash metal or speed metal wasn’t a thing in 1985, there were some great albums from bands waiting to spring forth upon the world. Helloween was one of them.

Next post: Helloween- Walls of Jericho

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to: http://newbooklovers.com/14510967/rock-and-roll-children.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1985: Voivod- War and Pain

Posted in Uncategorized on May 16, 2019 by 80smetalman

220px-Voivod_-_War_&_Pain

It’s probably me but once again I’m in contradiction with Wikapedia. They say that the debut album, “War and Pain,” from Canadian thrash artists Voivod was released in 1984. I don’t remember seeing or hearing anything about it til 85. Anyway, I never got around to hearing them until 1986 when I saw them live twice that year. My impression of them at the time was that Voivod were so bad that they were actually good! I have maintained that thought about them for many years so with this post, I’ll ask the question: Was that earlier assessment of them correct?

The criticism of heavy metal and thrash in general has always been that the musical ability of those who play such music is limited. Musicians can only play four chords and the singer screams. Yes, I know that it was a total fallacy. As for thrash, it gets even further cast into that mold. I remember one person describing thrash stating the guitars sound like a vacuum cleaner and the vocals like a dog barking. Funny thing is that Voivod come pretty close to that with this album but somehow, it is still very enjoyable.

Probably the best way to describe “War and Pain” is erratic. All of the songs sound like they are just all over the place with the members just doing their bit at will. This is especially the case with guitarist Denis ‘Piggy’ D’Amour who seems hell bent on massacring his instrument. He pounds those chords to death only slowing down to throw in a solo when needed. Surprisingly, his solos are pretty good, at least to my ears. If it’s not the guitar work of D’Amour causing mayhem, then it’s the drumming of Michel ‘Away’ Langevin who like his fellow band member, seems hell bent on destroying his instrument. In this case, he is determined to put his sticks through the skins of his drums. As for singer, Denis ‘Snake’ Belanger, his vocals don’t sound like a dog barking but his voice is nowhere near melodic. While he doesn’t scream, his yells are blood curdling. With all this mayhem, full marks should go to bassist Jean-Yves ‘Blacky’ Theriault who manages to keep a steady beat while all around him is madness.

With all of this metal madness thrashing about, it’s hard to me to pick a favourite track. They’re all one big thrash metal free for all but yet at the same time, they are all likable songs. After a few listens, I have to pick the title track because it does have a near mainstream metal sounding intro before going into the madness. Other standout tracks are “Blower” and “Live for Violence.” The latter has a drum solo in the middle and it makes that track stand out a bit more. “Black City” can be included here too.

Track Listing:

  1. Voivod
  2. Warriors of Ice
  3. Suck Your Bones
  4. Iron Gate
  5. War and Pain
  6. Blower
  7. Live for Violence
  8. Black City
  9. Nuclear War

vv

Voivod

Denis ‘Snake’ Belanger- vocals

Denis ‘Piggy’ D’Amour- guitar

Jean-Yves ‘Blacky’ Theriault- bass

Michel ‘Away’ Langevin- drums

To answer the question, Voivod were not bad. It seemed back then that they just wanted make lots of noise in a good way. While “War and Pain” is not for the feint hearted, it is a good way to release lots of pent up aggression and have a thrashing good mosh.

Next post: Helloween

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to: http://thebestbooks.co/14510967/books1172-x1s11955063-1xs46517a60.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1985: Celtic Frost: To Mega Therion

Posted in Uncategorized on May 14, 2019 by 80smetalman

220px-To_Mega_Therion_-_Celtic_Frost

Not being content with treating the world to their EP, “Emperor’s Return,” in 1985, Celtic Frost decided to unleash a full length LP onto the world in the form of “To Mega Therion.” In Greek, the title means “The Great Beast,” which is what this album is, a great beast but in a very good metal way.

Normally when an album, even some thrash metal ones, has as short intro song as its opening track, it’s usually some ballad like acoustic sort of thing. This is not the case with “To Mega Therion” as “Innocence and Wrath” is simply a short sharp belter designed to wake you up and say, “Hey, this album is here and you’re going to listen to it” and it does it successfully. Furthermore, it prepares you for the second track, “The Usurper,” which is one of the strongest tracks on the album. The thrash party carries through the next track, “Jewel Throne,” another good all out thrash mad song. I do really like the mosh part with guitar solo included, before slowing down a little for “Dawn of Megiddo.”

“Dawn of Megiddo” highlights the band’s black metal Black Sabbath influence. This song proves that the melding of thrash and Black Sabbath can be done and furthermore, it sounds absolutely magnificent. It is exactly the reason why this track gets my vote for best track on the album.

Contrasting “To Mega Therion” with “Emperor’s Return,” I can safely say that the production on this album is far superior. My evidence in point is the only track from the EP, “Circle of the Tyrants,” which appears on the album. While it sounded okay on “Emperor’s Return,” it sounds a lot better on the LP. It also makes the other tracks sound so good. The musicianship of the band has a little to do with it too. Tom G. Warrior takes on double duties on guitar and lead vocals and does both with finesse. The rhythm section of Steiner and St. Mark do a super job as well. Another great example of this is the track “(Beyond the) North Winds.” This song shows why Celtic Frost were so widely mentioned in thrash circles in the mid- 1980s.

Track Listing:

  1. Innocence and Wrath
  2. The Usurper
  3. Jewel Throne
  4. Dawn of Megiddo
  5. Eternal Summer
  6. Circle of Tyrants
  7. (Beyond the) North Winds
  8. Fainted Eyes
  9. Tears in a Prophet’s Dream
  10. Necromantical Screams

celtfors

Celtic Frost

Tom G Warrior- guitar, vocals

Dominic Steiner- bass

Reed St Mark- drums, percussion

What I love about writing this blog is the fact that I get to go back in time and reminisce about bands I was heavily into in the 1980s but haven’t listened to them in recent years. Celtic Frost was certainly one of those bands and the album, “To Mega Therion,” was a reason why I love doing it.

Next post: Voivod- War and Pain

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://c-newfreepdf.cf/olddocs/freedownloadonlinerock-and-rollchildren-pdf-1609763556-by-michaeldlefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1985: Celtic Frost- Emperor’s Return

Posted in Uncategorized on May 9, 2019 by 80smetalman

220px-CelticFrost_Emperor'sReturn

Following up on what I said on my previous post, Megadeth wasn’t the only band who got my attention in 1986 to the point I had to check out their 1985 albums. Another band who definitely caught my ear was Swiss black/thrash metal trio Celtic Frost. The band’s name alone was a valid reason for checking them out. When I did, I discovered that they had put out an album and an EP before that in 1985. They must have been very busy lads that year.

I thought I’d break everyone in nice and easy by visiting the EP first. “Emperor’s Return” is a five song, twenty-one minute long head pounding mayhem of an album. On the other hand, if I had been producing this record, I would have begun things with the second track, “Morbid Tales,” because that song is a belter. It’s pure ferocity reminds me why I got into thrash to begin with. It’s faced paced riffs combined with harsh but appropriate vocals and a blistering guitar solo would have been a better way to start things off. This doesn’t take anything away from the actual opener, “Circle of Tyrants” because that is a cool track. It just would have sounded better second or third. Saying that, no matter where you put it, “Dethroned Emperor” would have sounded great. I love how it starts with the slower Sabbath sounding riffs, especially the intro, before eventually increasing in speed. Vocalist Tom G Warrior is no Ozzy or Dio but his vocals are what is needed here. Speaking of intros, the screeching one on “Visual Aggression” may only appeal to the most tuned of ears, like mine, but the song does belie the title. It’s aggressive! The way thrash ought to be played. “Suicidal Winds” does not close the album in some sort of catchy melodic way. It pounds you into submission one more time, daring you not to give the EP a listen in the future.

Another aspect of thrash albums of the mid 1980s, was the album covers. I remember many an interesting album cover in the design of the one here. Not all of them featured scantly clad women either. What makes this cover stand out is that it reminds me of Succubus creatures in the computer game Diablo only the ladies here don’t have bat wings. Still, I wonder if the designer for the game got the influence for them here.

Track Listing:

  1. Circle of Tyrants
  2. Morbid Tales
  3. Dethroned Emperor
  4. Visual Aggression
  5. Suicidal Winds

celtfors

Celtic Frost

Tom G. Warrior- guitar, vocals

Martin Ain- bass

Reed St. Mark- drums

In 1986, I welcomed Celtic Frost into my life. Their EP “Emperor’s Return” whetted my appetite for thrash metal, as did many other albums. I only wished I had heard them in 1985.

Next post: Celtic Frost- To Mega Therion

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://c-newfreepdf.cf/olddocs/freedownloadonlinerock-and-rollchildren-pdf-1609763556-by-michaeldlefevre 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1985: Megadeth- Killing is My Business And Business is Good

Posted in Uncategorized on May 6, 2019 by 80smetalman

Combat_KIMB

If I follow my normal rules, then I shouldn’t actually post about the debut album from Megadeth until I got to 1986 because that was when I first heard about Megadeth and their album, “Killing Is My Business and Business Is Good.” But rules are made to be broken and I like to, as they say in baseball terms, throw the odd curve ball once in a while. Besides, by the time I heard this album in the following year, I was already so engrossed with speed and thrash metal, this album just fitted right. However, if I had first heard the album in the appropriate year, I would have been blown away by how it somehow remains a little melodic without losing any of its ferocity. In 1985, Megadeth were what I call pioneers into a new frontier along with many others.

While nowadays, starting with a piano intro before blasting away into some serious metal is par for the course, however, when Megadeth did it on the opening track of the album, it was something different back then. When I first heard it, I was a little intrigued as to where this was going but that curiosity was quickly satisfied.

Talking about “Killing is My Business and Business is Good,” well it’s just one big eight song long thrash party. I have always found it hard to rank any of these songs as they were all stand out tracks at the time and still are today. If I had to choose a favorite, it would have to be “These Boots” because of how it destroys the more popular version by Nancy Sinatra in the 1960s. That’s just how my warped mind works.

Instead of breaking down the album by tracks, I am forced, okay not really forced, to look at the playing behind those tracks. When recording this album, Dave Mustaine stated that he wanted something harder and faster in order to out do his rivals Metallica. He was still rather bitter about being fired by them. He got what he wanted in the making of this album. All of the songs are brutal but Dave proves that he can sing, thus silencing critics of thrash who say that thrash songs’ vocals sound like a dog barking. Furthermore, Megadeth also demolish the belief that guitars on thrash songs sound like multiple vacuum cleaners. The guitars are just fine here and the solos are even better. What you get here is an album that is a standard bearer of all things to come both with the band and speed metal in general.

Track Listing:

  1. Last Rites/Loved to Deth
  2. Killing is My Business and Business is Good
  3. The Skull Beneath the Skin
  4. These Boots
  5. Rattlehead
  6. Chosen Ones
  7. Looking Down the Cross
  8. Mechanix

megadeth

Megadeth

Dave Mustaine- lead vocals, rhythm and lead guitar, piano

Chris Poland- lead guitar

David Ellefson- bass, backing vocals

Gar Samuelson- drums, timpani

Here’s another case of I wish I knew then what I know now. In 1985, I had never heard of this band nor this great album. Even when I did, little did I know that Megadeth were to go onto achieve great things. Looking back, “Killing is My Business and Business is Good” made for a fine start.

Next post: I think I’ll stick with the theme of thrash bands who I discovered in 1986 but had albums in 1985. Celtic Frost- Emperor’s Return

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://c-newfreepdf.cf/olddocs/freedownloadonlinerock-and-rollchildren-pdf-1609763556-by-michaeldlefevre