Archive for Americans

Rest in Peace Alec John Such

Posted in 1980s, Death, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2022 by 80smetalman
Alec John Such

I have just learned of the passing of former Bon Jovi bassist, Alec John Such. He was one of the founding members of the band but left in 1994 siting burn out. The band is said to be heartbroken at the news of his passing. FFI, click the link: https://www.msn.com/en-gb/entertainment/music/bon-jovi-founding-member-alec-john-such-dies-as-band-left-heartbroken/ar-AAY709Z?ocid=mailsignout&li=BBoPWjQ

I feature my all time favourite Bon Jovi song in dedication to Alec.

Rest in peace Alec John Such.

Great Rock Albums of 1988: Cheap Trick- Lap of Luxury

Posted in 1980s, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2022 by 80smetalman

Today’s post comes compliments of 2Loud. The reason for this is because by 1988, I thought Cheap Trick had disappeared into obscurity and I was left to simply enjoy memories of classic albums such as “Dream Police” and “Cheap Trick At Budokan,” Fortunately, 2Loud’s recent series on Cheap Trick alerted me to the many albums I had missed after the 1982 “One on One” album. After reading, 2Loud’s post on the 1988 “Lap of Luxury” album and how successful it was in the US, I had to put it on my list.

Memories of Cheap Trick came flooding back with opening riffs of “Let Go.” Hearing that gave me reassurance that they hadn’t gone anywhere and had not lost their touch. While I try not to let other reviews on albums effect my own, I can’t help agreeing with 2Loud’s point that they were (probably under the record label’s direction) trying to adapt to the pop of the 1980s. That comes through on the second track, “No Mercy.” It’s obvious to me that it’s still Cheap Trick playing the song, Robin’s vocals are too unique, the drums seem to be turned up to synth pop level and while this is no intent against what a great drummer Bun E. Carlos is, it does detract from the song a bit.

Another reason why the album passed me by is that I was already established in England by this time and the album made no headway there. Case in point, the band’s only number one single, “The Flame.” It only reached number 77 in the UK charts and therefore went pretty much unnoticed. That was a damn shame because even though it’s a ballad, Rick Neilsen shows he still can bend the six string to his will with a cool acoustic guitar intro followed by a his best guitar solo on the album. For me, this is the best song on the album.

“Space” sounds very 80s to me with the keyboards but there is the drone of the guitar in the back to make it hard rocking enough. There is another good guitar solo from Rick and I like the backing vocals on it. However, the singles seem to be the best songs on the album because “Never Had a Lot to Lose” is a traditional Cheap Trick rocker. It has the harder guitar with the new wave melody. Robin’s diverse vocal style definitely makes the song but it might have been better if Rick had more of a guitar solo on it but that’s up to debate.

On the other hand, while I can understand why they might have wanted to release the cover of the Elvis classic, “Don’t Be Cruel.” as a single, I wonder if it should be on the album, let alone released as a single. Don’t get me wrong, I like Cheap Trick’s spin on it but in comparison to the rest of the album, it feels a little out of place. Saying that, it’s growing on me a little. Things do go back to normal with “Wrong Side of Love” where I love Tom Petersson’s bass work on it and I’m glad that he rejoined the band when I hear him. Rick’s guitar work is great as well and together, they make “Wrong Side of Love” the hidden gem.

Here’s my one thought of a flaw on the album. It’s simply a case of song order. I think that tracks eight and ten should have been swapped around. To my ears, “All We Need is a Dream,” would have been a better closer. It’s a ballad but the intro stomps it’s authority in a way that tells me that this is the end of the album. Robin’s vocals assist on this point and the way the band all seems to come together on the song just screams “Closer!” All Wound Up” is a good song too but it would have been better placed anywhere from tracks 2-8. Penultimate track “Ghost Town” is best left where it is as it does serve as a great set up to whichever song is going to be the closer. It’s a ballad and Robin nails it with vocals and there’s nothing wrong with an album finishing with two ballads had they swapped those tracks around.

Track Listing:

  1. Let Go
  2. No Mercy
  3. The Flame
  4. Space
  5. Never Had a Lot to Lose
  6. Don’t Be Cruel
  7. Wrong Side of Love
  8. All We Need is a Dream
  9. Ghost Town
  10. All Wound Up
Cheap Trick

Robin Zander- lead vocals, rhythm guitar, synthesizer

Rick Neilsen- lead guitar, backing vocals

Tom Petersson- bass, backing vocals

Bun E. Carlos- drums, percussion

“Lap of Luxury” was the first album where outside songwriters were used. In the case of this album, it worked, at least in the US. I can say that while “Lap of Luxury” will not make me put away all those classic albums from the late 1970s, it’s still a good album and it was great to see that the band was still chugging away.

Next post: Tracy Chapman

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

Note: I have been told that “Rock and Roll Children” is available as an e-book but this hasn’t been made known to me.

To sign the petition to give Bruce Dickinson a knighthood, click the link; https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Great Rock Albums of 1988: Survivor- Too Hot to Sleep

Posted in 1980s, films, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 30, 2022 by 80smetalman

Sometimes I wonder if there is some sort of mathematical link between my liking an album and its chart success because I really like this album “Too Hot to Sleep” by Survivor. However, the album was not a successful album chart-wise. Survivor proved to me in 1984, with the “Vital Signs” album that they didn’t need the “Rocky” films to achieve success. It was further cemented with their previous album, “When Seconds Count.” So, I can’t figure for the life of me why this album did so poorly because I really like it or maybe that’s the reason.

“Too Hot to Sleep” borders on being heavy metal on some tracks. That was made clear on the opening track, “She’s a Star.” When I heard those power chords, I thought, “Wow, this is good!” Another point is the fact that Frankie Sullivan nails some really cool guitar solos on many songs, including the one already mentioned. Hell, looking at the video, he looks like he could be a metal guitarist. Actually all three members look pretty metal in that video. On the other hand, Survivor didn’t completely abandon the melodic rock formula which brought them fame. “Desperate Dreams” is living proof of that fact.

Like with their previous album, the title track is one that does it for me. It has that hauntingly cool acoustic guitar intro followed by the dependable vocals of Jimi Jamison and supported by keyboard work from Jim Peterik and of course a killer solo from Frank. He really goes mad at the end. The only thing needed was to turn up the guitars an octave or so higher.

“Didn’t Know It Was Love” stays in traditional Survivor territory. It reminds me of “High On You” from the “Vital Signs” album and I’m more than a little surprised that it didn’t make a dent in the singles charts. It’s a song meant for such things. Meanwhile, “Rhythm of the City” is a straightforward rocker with a great rhythm guitar riff. This song is definitely close to metal and out of all my blubbering about the guitar playing of Frankie, he’s at his best on this one. One way to describe this track is to think of “Burning Heart” from “Rocky IV” as a metal tune. No doubt, this one gets my vote for hidden gem. Talking about “Burning Heart,” “Here Comes Desire” is a song which is closer to that. It has a definite swagger to it, especially with Jim tinkling the ivories on it and a great guitar solo from Frankie.

The track that did have some chart success is the ballad “Across the Miles.” Jimi’s vocals are the key to this one although he is backed up well by the other two. “Tell Me I Am the One” is more in the 80s pop vein but the backing vocals are good and Frankie keeps it from becoming a total pop song. Things go more rock on “Can’t Give It Up.” The band is spot on with this one with some nice little guitar hooks and you get double the prizes, a good guitar solo and the song is taken out with some keyboard wizardry from Jim. The album goes out with authority with the almost power ballad like “Burning Bridges.” Was the title a metaphor of things to come? Who knows? But it does end the album well.

Historical facts I understand these days which I couldn’t fathom back then was Survivor replaced bassist Stephen Ellis and drummer Marc Droubay with studio musicians. On the tour for “When Seconds Count,” Stephen developed a stomach ulcer and was unable to play on many of the tour dates. Marc was becoming more disillusioned with the band’s shift to more pop and was eventually dismissed from the band. That’s the strange thing, I wouldn’t call “Too Hot to Sleep” a pop album, more melodic rock inching towards melodic hard rock.

Track Listing:

  1. She’s a Star
  2. Desperate Dreams
  3. Too Hot to Sleep
  4. Didn’t Know It Was Love
  5. Rhythm of the City
  6. Here Comes Desire
  7. Across the Miles
  8. Tell Me I’m the One
  9. Can’t Give It Up
  10. Burning Bridges
Survivor

Jimi Jamison- lead and backing vocals

Frankie Sullivan- guitar, backing vocals

Jim Peterik- keyboards

Additional Musicians:

Peter-John Vettesse- keyboards

Bill Syniar- bass

Mickey Curry- drums

Ian Lloyd- backing vocals

Tommy Shaw- backing vocals

Rory Dodd- additional lead vocals on “Across the Miles”

Survivor would take a hiatus after “Too Hot to Sleep” although Jimi Jamison would tour under the band’s name resulting in legal disputes. It’s a damn shame this album didn’t take off because this whole album has been a hidden gem for me.

Next post: Bonfire- Fireworks

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

To give Bruce Dickinson his well deserved knighthood, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Guns ‘N’ Roses- Appetite For Destruction

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2022 by 80smetalman

Welcome to the final post of the tour through 1987. Since it is the final post of another great year for metal, I thought I would go out in a blaze of glory, cue Guns ‘N’ Roses and “Appetite for Destruction.” This iconic album became a standard bearer for metal for the remaining years of the 1980s. People the world over love this album and my fear is that when I go into the meat of the album, there is not much I can say about it that hasn’t already been said.

In regards to what I’ve written about the album being a standard bearer for the last few years of the golden decade of metal, it did get off to a slow start in 1987. Some American critics dismissed the album at first, they felt stupid after, and even my sister originally branded them ‘Motley Crue rip offs and sexist pigs.’ British critics were kinder to the album although the more conservative, metal hating British tabloids weren’t. They put forward stories that the band did horrible things to poodles, (I’m not making this up.)

They did come to the UK in the summer of said year and played some gigs at the Marquee Club in London. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see them as I was getting married a week later and my future Mrs and I were flat hunting. Friends of mine did go and not only did they have a great time enjoying the kick ass show, they went for a curry with the band after. God, I’m jealous! My friends described it as a great night, Many years after, one of them, Dave, went on some seminar and was asked about one great thing he did, he responded that he had a curry with Guns ‘N’ Roses. He’s not sure if many people actually believed him.

Like I said, what can I say about “Appetite for Destruction” which hasn’t been already said over the many years? Songs? Not one of the tracks on the album can be considered ‘filler.’ All of them are monster tracks. Sure, there’s the singles. The most notable of those are “Sweet Child o’ Mine,” “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Paradise City.” I love the harmonizing at the beginning of “Paradise City” and the way the guitars just get down and dirty after. “Welcome to the Jungle” is a just an in your face power rocker. Then there’s the most noted of the three, “Sweet Child o’ Mine.” Even thirty-five years on, Slash’s guitar solos on the track just totally blows me away.

For years, I’ve considered “Mr Brownstone” the hidden gem. The problem is that the track isn’t exactly hidden. It was released as a single, at least according to Wikipedia, but it didn’t have the chart success as the other three singles. In any case, it is my favourite track on the album. It’s just total sleaze metal here and what I like best is the fact the drug references totally got under the skin of the Reagan Administration. Another great point on the album for me is the closer, “Rocket Queen.” It actually sounds like two songs in one where the guitar tempo just completely changes and it does so in a fashion which takes the album out superbly. But whichever song on the album you like most, it will be a good choice.

Now let’s talk about musicianship. Sorry Dawn, I can’t agree with the Motley Crue rip offs label because GNR are much better musicians. The guitars of Slash and Izzy Stradlin could have been considered state of the art back then. While I would be the first to admit that Axl Rose has a huge ego, his vocal ability can’t be faulted, at least not by me and of course, Slash, Axl and Izzy are supported by a great rhythm section of Duff and Steven. It’s no wonder this band became a symbol for metal in the closing years of the decade.

Track Listing:

  1. Welcome to the Jungle
  2. It’s So Easy
  3. Nightrain
  4. Out ta Get Me
  5. Mr. Brownstone
  6. Paradise City
  7. My Michelle
  8. Think About You
  9. Sweet Child o’ Mine
  10. You’re Crazy
  11. Anything Goes
  12. Rocket Queen
Guns ‘N’ Roses

W. Axl Rose- lead vocals

Slash- lead, acoustic, slide and talk box guitars, backing vocals

Izzy Stradlin- lead and rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Duff ‘Rose’ McKagan- bass, backing vocals

Steven Adler- drums

There should be no debate that “Appetite for Destruction” marked a major turning point for metal. While I never thought the sleaze went anywhere, I won’t debate those who say that the album brought it back to metal. On a personal note, like this iconic album, 1987 marked a major turning point for me. I started the year an angry young man but thanks to one woman, I found new direction in my life. It turned out to be a good year for Guns ‘N’ Roses and me.

Next post: A Movie You Should Definitely Check Out

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

To sign the petition to give Bruce Dickinson a knighthood, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Dream Death- Journey Into Mystery

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2022 by 80smetalman

Here’s another album my sister passed onto me, probably because she wasn’t impressed with it. After my Wrath post, she stated on Facebook that the album was given to her to review for her college newspaper and she disliked it so much that she said the band should have paid her to listen to it. Dawn was never into thrash so that is enough circumstantial evidence to suggest that she didn’t like Dream Death’s “Journey Into Mystery” album.

What I found was cool about the record when I took it out to play was that it was blue. I never saw a record coloured other than black before then so I really liked the light blue see through record. If it wasn’t so much trouble, I would go up into my attic and get it for all to see. In addition, when reading the credits on the album, it has the usual ‘Special Thanks’ part but it also has a ‘No Thanks’ section. Making that list was the band’s high school in Pennsylvania, trends and trendy people, conformists and other wankers. I could agree with the band on all of those. Now onto the album.

Doom metal wasn’t a term back in 1987 so Dream Death could be credited as being a pioneer of the sub-genre. “Journey Into Mystery” is a unique blend of doom and thrash. The album comes rocking out with the more thrash, “Back From the Dead” and then goes more doom with “The Elder Race.” The slower power chords are almost hypnotic in some places on that track.

Track three, “Bitterness and Hatred,” has a Suicidal Tendencies feel to it. It starts out doom metal and going mid tempo metal and then back to doom for the chorus but thrash speed in the middle before slowing down to the doom metal conclusion. This was something Suicidal Tendencies did with their first two albums and Dream Death do a good job on this track. The changes keep one interested. However, “Black Edifice” sounds like it wants to go off at 800 mph but the band manage to keep it reigned in and give you a more doom metal track. It does follow the formula set down by its predecessor where they speed it up in the middle. It’s the first song to have a really cool guitar solo.

Side two does start off with some powerful thrash only slowing down to catch its breath between verses and taking off again. “Divine In Agony” is a good way to kick off the second half of the album as the three remaining tracks are all strong tracks. “Hear My Screams” has a horror movie type intro before going more thrash. They go more thrash with this one but the doom metal returns on “Sealed in Blood.” This has a Black Sabbath type intro and then when it kicks up, it doesn’t go thrash. This track could be a blueprint for future doom metal merchants to take from. It has a cool guitar solo backed up by a cool rhythm section.

The album closes out with my favourite track on the album, “Dream Death.” This is a great thrash song and because I wasn’t sure about the record after the first few listens, it was this track that kept me coming back to it. It starts mid-paced but quickly increases its speed. The steady rhythm between the first and second verses and before the guitar solo make a good headbang. However, it does slow down to give a cool doom metal bridge. The track punctuates what the band was attempting to do throughout the rest of the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Back From the Dead
  2. The Elder Race
  3. Bitterness and Hatred
  4. Black Edifice
  5. Divine in Agony
  6. Hear My Screams
  7. Sealed in Blood
  8. Dream Death
Dream Death

Brian Lawrence- lead and backing vocals, guitar

Terry Weston- guitar, backing vocals

Ted Williams- bass, backing vocals

Mike Smail- drums, backing vocals

My sister might not have liked “Journey Into Mystery” but I do. The album demonstrates how a hungry band will just pull out all stops and go for it. These days, I will hold it up as a blueprint for doom metal.

Next post: Guns and Roses- Appetite for Destruction

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

To sign the petition to give Bruce Dickinson a knighthood, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Great Metal Albums of 1987: White Lion- Pride

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 8, 2022 by 80smetalman

According to history, hair metal became popular in the closing years of the 1980s. However, some of those hair metal bands had albums out as early as 1985. One of those was White Lion, a band I particularly link to hair metal. How I missed out on their 1985 “Fight to Survive” album is beyond me. After all, the title track is my favourite White Lion song. Therefore, I am making doubly sure that I don’t miss out any more of their discography and they’re not the only band this has happened to. Here in its full glory is White Lion’s 1987 album, “Pride.”

What I love about “Pride” is the tight musicianship from all four members. That is what makes the album stand out for me. The album itself is straight forward heavy metal but it’s played very well. The song subjects are typical of the time, but then, they are the same throughout most genres of music. “Lonely Nights” is about a girl who has been dumped by her man for another girl who just wants to be loved. “Don’t Give Up” can be said as an encouraging call to the working man. This was particularly relevant in 1980s America as the entire country was engulfed in a go-go-go yuppie lifestyle. However, both songs are played extremely well and I’ll avoid the rush and start gushing over what a great guitarist Vitto Bratta is and why isn’t his name more known. He really rips a great solo on “Sweet Little Loving.”

The hidden gem for me is “Lady of the Valley.” This sounds like a no nonsense heavy metal tune and yes of course, Vitto’s guitar work is prominent, especially his acoustic guitar work. There are also parts when it goes more power ballad and now it’s time to point out the bass playing of James LoMenzo and the drumming of Greg D’Angelo as they make a fine rhythm section and it shows here. Maybe I should talk about Mike Tramp as it is his vocals that lead the album and he does sing well throughout.

It’s time to talk about the song which was saturated all over MTV in 1988. Yes, you in the back, I’m talking about the famous single, “Wait.” It even got attention over in England at the time and I have it on a compilation CD. Like with the previous track, it shows how easily White Lion can flow back and forth from power ballad to a more straight forward metal song. Vitto playing his guitar solo in the video amuses me because he’s on one knee. Is he trying to copy Yngwie Malmsteen?

By the middle of the decade, MTV really began to suck and the suckiness can relate to White Lion. The three singles from “Pride” were all ballad like songs and while that’s not a bad thing, it does hinder the fact that White Lion could rock. Okay, “Tell Me” is a decent rocker and it did well as a single but there are better examples. One song on the album which definitely proves my point is “All You Need is Rock ‘n’ Roll.” This is one to play at a party. You can headbang along to it and if you’re drunk enough, you can sing along to the chorus. I would have done so if the album had come out a year earlier.

I never had the fortune to have seen White Lion live but I wonder if they used the format on the album to close the show. The penultimate track, “All Join Hands” would have been a great song to finish on before leaving the stage and coming back for an encore. It’s one of those feel good, all sing together type tunes. If they had, then they could have come back and performed the closer, “When the Children Cry.” This was a well known single and it’s ballad format would have been an excellent way to end the show. If anyone has seen White Lion in the past, could they please enlighten me?

Track Listing:

  1. Hungry
  2. Lonely Nights
  3. Don’t Give Up
  4. Sweet Little Loving
  5. Lady of the Valley
  6. Wait
  7. All You Need is Rock ‘n’ Roll
  8. Tell Me
  9. All Join Hands
  10. When Children Cry

Mike Tramp- vocals, rhythm guitar

Vitto Bratta- guitar

James LoMenzo- bass

Greg D’Angelo- drums

I thought I would include this one since I missed it out and it is my favourite White Lion song.

Things are becoming clearer to me. With albums such as “Pride” by hair metal bands like White Lion, I can now see why it would become such a force in the final years of the 1980s.

Next post: Wrath- Nothing to Fear

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

To sign the petition for a knighthood for Bruce Dickinson, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Lizzy Borden- Visual Lies

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 28, 2022 by 80smetalman

This time, there is no debate on whether “Visual Lies,” compliments of Lizzy Borden, is an EP or an LP. Nine songs covering a time of forty-one minutes gives the answer to that. Going back to reality, one of my goals when I started writing this blog was to encourage people to get out their old records and listen to them again. Okay, my main goal is to sell copies of “Rock and Roll Children,” but that’s not the point here. A great side effect of this is that it has got me to do the same. I never bought a Lizzy Borden album back in the 80s because I knew people who had their albums and play them and since they weren’t well known in the UK, I hadn’t listened to any of their music for three decades. So, you can say that I am making up for lost time.

“Visual Lies” can be broken down into three chapters. Chapter one is the first two songs which are the more commercial radio friendly tunes. Both have that radio friendly melodic vibe to it but not anywhere close to making a hard core fan think they’ve sold out. The metal is present in both of the songs. Lizzy’s vocals are straight up and there are cool guitar solos. Saying that, I do think that White Stripes ‘borrowed’ the intro off the opener, “Me Against the World.”

Chapter Two is where the band goes more power metal spanning four tracks. Even the track, “Outcast,” which is close to being a power ballad has more power than ballad. The same holds true with the melodic harmony of the backing vocals on the choruses. Sure, the melody is there but it doesn’t lose any of the power and of course, there are some great guitar solos. While “Outcast” is my pick for favourite track, the guitar solo trade off clinches it for me, no intensity is lost on the other three tracks. “Den of Thieves” brings the most power of the three as it comes close to being speed metal but all four of these tracks just totally rock!

“Visual Lies” goes progressive metal in its third and final chapter. “Lord of the Flies” is probably what Yes would have sounded like if they had gone heavy metal. The song has a great progressive melody but backed up with some great power chords. It’s probably my imagination but Lizzy does sound a little like Jon Anderson here. Even the guitar solo sounds progressive. While not as intense as “Lord of the Flies,” the remaining tracks are in the same vein. Nice progressive sounding melodies with some hard power chords and in the case of “Voyeur, I’m Watching You,” a rather flowery guitar solo.

In the months between “Terror Rising” and this album, Lizzy Borden went through changes in guitarists. It seems that Tony Matuzak only played on the EP and Alex Nelson departed as well. Two guitarists gone but only replaced by one, Joe Holmes. It’s not a catastrophe because Joe seems to fit right in with Gene Allen as they do some amazing trade offs on their solos. On another note, 1,000 80smetalman points to Armand Rosamillia and 500 to Aphoristical for the assist for identifying the accompanying vocalist on “Don’t Touch Me There” from “Terror Rising.” Singing along with Lizzy was Betsy Bitch, real name Betsy Weiss.

And here she is

Track Listing:

  1. Me Against the World
  2. Shock
  3. Outcast
  4. Den of Thieves
  5. Visual Lies
  6. Eyes of a Stranger
  7. Lord of the Flies
  8. Voyeur (I’m Watching You)
  9. Visions
Lizzy Borden

Lizzy Borden- lead vocals

Gene Allen- guitar

Joe Holmes- guitar

Mike Davis- bass

Joey Scott- drums

Well, I’ve made up a little for not listening to Lizzy Borden in thirty years and with these two albums, I sort of regret what I’ve been missing.

Next post: Bitch- The Bitch is Back

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

To sign the petition for a knighthood for Bruce Dickinson, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Rest in Peace Taylor Hawkins

Posted in Death, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on March 26, 2022 by 80smetalman
Taylor Hawkins

I’m sure this sad news is all around the world by now. When I turned on the TV news this morning, I was very saddened to learn of the death of Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins. While details surrounding Taylor’s death haven’t been released, his band was on tour of South America at the time. Tributes from all around the rock world and beyond have been pouring in. Therefore, I can only add my condolences to Taylor’s wife and children and to the Foo Fighters as well.

Rest in peace Taylor

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Shok Paris- Steel and Starlight

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 23, 2022 by 80smetalman

The more I travel through the metal history of 1987, the more I feel the need to thank my sister Dawn for sending me samples of great bands I might have otherwise missed. Like with Warlock, four tracks from Shok Paris’s album, “Steel and Starlight” appeared on the same tape. The difference, however, is that while Doro had already achieved great things and continues to do so, when I listen to Shok Paris, my question is: Why didn’t this band go further? After all, there must be something about why I remember them so well since the cassette they are on is with the other ones in those ammo cans in my attic.

The famous ammo cans . I thought this would be a good excuse to put this picture in the post.

To be honest, I don’t think this compilation tape is in either of those cans but in another box I had tapes in but that’s not the point. The point is those four tracks on “Steel and Starlight” blew me away so much back then and finally listening to their full album, I can see why. While it wasn’t a term back in 1987, Shok Paris would be classed as melodic metal today. Were they pioneers? If they had been more successful internationally, then I would answer “yes.”

The opening two tracks were both from Dawn’s tape and both have cool intros before going into full metal. However, while I already knew those opening tracks were good, track three, “Tokyo Rose,” convinced me that this band is for real! Vic Hix’s lead vocals sometimes sound over the top but he manages to keep it within the boundaries and of course the shredding of Ken Erb is top notch. But what really sticks out for me in this song is the rhythm guitar work, fair dues to Eric Marderwald here.

Ken’s shredding comes in more with another non-tape track, “Rocked Outta Love.” Only here, Vic does put his big toe outside the boundary on this occasion, but it doesn’t detract from the song. After that, we go back to a song which was on the tape, “Castle Walls.” I don’t remember the long progressive intro being on the tape, I hope my sister didn’t cut it out because it is done very well. Ken playing a solo along with Eric on the acoustic guitar sets things up perfectly when the song goes full metal with some more great shredding. It’s also the first track where we get to appreciate the bass from Kel Berkshire.

Drummer Jan Roll checks in on “On Your Feet” with some cool drum rolls at the beginning. This is a definite straight forward metal song which is nicely done with some more drum rolls through the song. “Falling for You” is another straight ahead metal tune but it sounds like all five band members equally contribute on it. That brings me to the tracks which has stood out for me even after thirty-five years, “Exhibit A.” However, don’t ask me to explain why I like it so much. It could be the opening lyrics:

“Its four in the morning and I wait for my case

Today is the day, I got a date with the state

They’re screaming for blood, they’re sealing my fate

Don’t kiss me goodbye because it’s never too late.

Maybe it’s the fact that Vic doesn’t try so hard to be Joe Cool Metal singer and his vocals are brilliant as they are. Then again, that was the case on the previous track. Possibly, it’s because the track picks up a little more speed than the others without losing the melody or is it down to the lyrics being about a defendant on trial? In any case, I just love the song! Okay, the top notch solo from Ken helps as well.

“Lost Queen” has been added to my list of songs about prostitutes which I will write a post about much further down the line. It’s slows down a bit and it’s definitely a good melodic metal track. But if I were to call any tracks filler, though I won’t, the last two tracks aren’t quite as good as the rest. They’re still good tracks, I wouldn’t leave either one off the album. It’s just they’re not as good. Saying that, the penultimate track has been growing on me.

Track Listing:

  1. Go Down Fighting
  2. Steel and Starlight
  3. Tokyo Rose
  4. Rocked Outta Love
  5. Castle Walls
  6. On Your Feet
  7. Falling for You
  8. Exhibit A
  9. Lost Queen
  10. Hot on Your Heels
  11. Streets of Pleasure
Shok Paris

Vic Hix- vocals

Ken Erb- lead guitar

Eric Marderwald- rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Kel Berkshire- bass, backing vocals

Jan Roll- drums

Shok Paris is an excellent reason why we should have had the internet in 1987. While I will forever be grateful to my sister for sending me those tapes, I think if they had more exposure, they would have gone further than they did.

Next post: The Great Kat- Worship Me or Die

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

To sign the petition to give Bruce Dickinson a knighthood, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Testament- Live at Eindhoven

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 16, 2022 by 80smetalman

Having conquered America with their debut album, “The Legacy,” Testament took their campaign to Europe. While playing the Dynamo Open Air Festival in Eindhoven, Holland, they recorded this live EP. From a historical standpoint, this was a great idea because in World War 2, Eindhoven was the first major Dutch city to be liberated by the combined force of British XXX Corps and the US 101st Airborne. From what I hear on the EP, the audience were ready for some great metal and Testament delivered.

Before the thrash gets underway, the album begins with Chuck Billy asking the audience why they don’t have any beers in their hands. “Let’s see some fuckin’ beers!” he shouts to the crowd and only when they oblige, does the true fireworks begin. Boy do the fireworks begin! They come out firing on all cylinders with “Over the Wall.” If this song doesn’t get the crowd going, then nothing was going to. I get the impression that it did, at least it got me going.

Alex Skolnick begins the second song with a guitar solo bringing in the King Diamond-ish “Burnt Offerings.” Like it does on the studio album, it lures you in as if it’s going to be a slower song before exploding into space at 900 mph. Alex delivers another great guitar solo. Then in the middle of the order comes the best known song, “Do or Die.” Chuck introduces the song by saying “You got to do what you got to do to survive. You got to do or die.” Listening to the song, I regret they didn’t play it when I saw them live in 2009 because they kill it here. It’s just one big thrash party where the crowd is chanting “Testament” at the end .

Following “Do or Die” is my choice for hidden gem, “Apocalyptic City.” It closed out “The Legacy” perfectly but here it does just as well as the penultimate track. While I was prepared for it coming in like a ballad before going full nuts, it still sounds fresh with some great guitars. Alex and rhythm guitarist Eric Peterson just nail it here. It shows what an underrated combo these two are and as far as lead/rhythm guitar combos go, I will put Alex and Eric right up there with Hammet/Hetfield, Jabs/Schenker and the Brothers Young.

“Reign of Terror” is the closer and it comes in with a pounding drum and more guitar work from the above mentioned combo. I love how the speed of the intro just keeps accelerating before Chuck’s vocals come in and take over. I can’t help thinking that there must have been a mosh pit going when this song was being played. Unfortunately, it’s over too soon. Five tracks, no matter how amazing, isn’t enough and when it’s over, I find myself wishing it was a proper LP.

Track Listing:

  1. Over the Wall
  2. Burnt Offering
  3. Do or Die
  4. Apocalyptic City
  5. Reign of Terror
Testament

Chuck Billy- vocals

Alex Skolnick- lead guitar

Eric Petersen- rhythm guitar

Greg Christian- bass

Louie Clemente- drums

What “Live at Eindhoven” demonstrated was that Testament were a kick ass live band and this album helped them make their mark in Europe. It’s also another reason why they should be considered making the Big Four into the Big Five.

Next post: Warlock- Triumph and Agony

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

To sign the petition for a knighthood for Bruce Dickinson, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson