Archive for Ain't It a Sin

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Envy- Ain’t It a Sin

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2022 by 80smetalman

Before I launch into the album, I thought I’d share another photo of my metalhead granddaughter Juliana.

Ain’t she cute?

Once again, I have to thank my sister for sending me a track on a cassette from a band which would have totally passed me by in 1987. In fact, this post reminds me of two things which was wrong with music back in the 1980s and the first one is probably true today. My last post was about the phenomenal “Hysteria” album from Def Leppard, which received accolades worldwide. Like the album or not, it was a huge success. However, for every Def Leppard there must be at least 100 bands like Envy, who in 1987, had an album just as good but didn’t get the commercial break. This is why I feel it’s even more important to post about their only album, “Ain’t It a Sin.”

The only track from the album that made my sister’s tape was the opening title cut and it’s good. After all, it has stuck in my memory for more than thirty years. However and this is no criticism of my sister, there are better tracks on the album. If there was any track which screams, commercial single, it’s the second one, “I Believe in You.” It has that catchy melody after opening with a keyboard intro that lures you into thinking it’s going to be a ballad but the guitars kick in right after obliterating any such thoughts. If I had seen Envy live, I would have been at the front banging my head and flashing the horns along to it. Oops, it was the 80s, so at the song’s conclusion, I would have held my cigarette lighter aloft. This is the track of the album.

Right after, things get serious with the much harder song, “Heartache.” That sets the tone for practically the remainder of the album as the next few tracks really rock, which brings me to the other thing wrong with music and particularly metal back in the day. Envy is led by the sister combo of Rhonni and Gina Stile. Rhonni handles the vocal duties and does a brilliant job. However, it is Gina on guitar that really steals the show on the album and that was the black eye for heavy metal back then. With the exception of Lita Ford, female shredders were overlooked. Even Kelly Johnson of Girlschool fame didn’t get the recognition she deserved. This was a damn shame because Gina Stile can totally shred and does so on each and every song. Some of her best efforts are on “Lie Here Waiting.” Even her rhythm guitar riffs are exceptional as highlighted on the track, “Wait On You.” She shreds on that track as well.

Gina Stile

I keep asking myself, why didn’t “Ain’t It a Sin” make a bigger impact and Envy become a household name in the metal world? This is the big question, especially since the album was produced by none other than Dee Snider, yes, that Dee Snider. One clue could lie in the record label. The name ATCO rings a bell but I never heard of ATCO/Wounded Bird Records. So maybe the band wasn’t marketed properly or simply it could be down to the fact of an over saturated metal market. In either case, it’s a shame because this is one hell of a fine album.

Another great thing about this album is that it doesn’t tail off at the end. The finish is just as strong as the start. One track which could have been a second single is “I See the Light (Let Me Rock and Roll).” This has a catchy vibe that would have been good for commercial radio but not losing it’s hard rock edge. Once again, Gina shreds magnificently.

Yet another plus is that unlike on many albums, the penultimate track isn’t the least strongest track. In fact, it’s hard to discern which track should get that dishonour because the tracks are that good! “I’m Not Your Lover” is a brilliant track and though they shine on every track, the rhythm section is brilliant here. And the closer, “Hurt Me,” might start out like it’s going to be a ballad but it changes into a rocker, though I do like the acoustic guitar accompaniment.

Track Listing:

  1. Ain’t It a Sin
  2. I Believe in You
  3. Heartache
  4. Lie in Waiting
  5. Wait On You
  6. You’re So Hot
  7. All the Reasons
  8. I See the Light (Let Me Rock and Roll)
  9. I’m Not Your Lover
  10. Hurt Me
Envy

Rhonni Stile- lead vocals

Gina Stile- guitar, backing vocals

Bill Spencer- bass

Danny Kapps- drums

Additional Musicians

Alan St. John- keyboards

Arthur Stead- keyboards

Taylor Dane- backing vocals

I put the title track in for Dawn. May I ask a favour of all of you out there? Could you all go on Youtube and have a listen to the great, forgotten album which is “Ain’t It a Sin” by Envy? I am sure you’ll like it and even if you don’t feel free to comment either way. However, I am confident you will because the big sin is the fact that the album didn’t make the headway it should have.

Next post: Testament- The Legacy

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