Archive for British

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Def Leppard- Hysteria

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on January 6, 2022 by 80smetalman

The challenge for me writing about Def Leppard’s 1987 “Hysteria” album is what I can I say or write about it which hasn’t been said before? I mean this album spawned seven singles, went platinum in many countries and gold in a few more as well as going to number one in the charts. Furthermore, the album was finally recorded four years after their previous sensational album, “Pyromania,” in which the band had to overcome the tragic accident which cost drummer Rick Allen his arm and Steve Clark’s battle with alcohol. There was also the problem with producers. Mutt Lange started producing but walked out and Jim Steinman didn’t last. The band tried to produce it themselves but Mutt came back and helped the band make history. So, in many ways, this album was a remarkable triumph for the band.

As soon as I heard the opening riffs to “Women,” I knew this album was going to be a good one. True, many heavy metal purists said that it was a slide away from metal to more power pop but the songs are so good, I don’t care. There is a lot of good metal bits on the album for me to enjoy. The entire first side of the album, (I first got it on cassette), was nothing but the hits. Most of you know them already so I don’t feel the need to go through each one individually. Besides, some of you have written a lot about the album that I fear that I would simply be repeating.

On the subject of metal vs power pop, the one track and it’s my favourite on the album and second favourite Def Leppard song of all time, “Pour Some Sugar on Me” is definitely a heavy metal song. Those power chords just blow me away and yes the way they sing the title in the chorus may sound cheesy to some but this song just knocks it out of the park. A grand slam because the previous tracks load the bases. (For my non North American readers, I’m using baseball terms). In addition, it sets up very nicely for the next track, “Armageddon It.” Love those opening riffs.

With all of the singles, you might be asking which track do I put for hidden gem. Okay, you’re probably not asking that but I’m going to answer anyway. The hidden gem is “Gods of War.” True, nowadays some might think the exploding bombs and machine gun noises in the background are a bit silly but at the time I thought they were cool. I thought the same when they used excerpts from Ronald Reagan’s and Margaret Thatcher’s speeches about the 1986 US bombing of Libya and the Falklands War. On top of that, I really love Rick Savage’s bass line and the guitars on it, great song.

With the exception of the title track, the rest of the second side weren’t singles, even the hidden gem. However, it would be wrong to call any of these tracks filler. They are certainly not in my book. “Run Riot” comes pretty close to being another hidden gem.

Track Listing:

  1. Women
  2. Rocket
  3. Animal
  4. Love Bites
  5. Pour Some Sugar on Me
  6. Armageddon It
  7. Gods of War
  8. Don’t Shoot Shotgun
  9. Run Riot
  10. Hysteria
  11. Excitable
  12. Love and Affection

Joe Elliot- lead and backing vocals

Steve Clark- guitar, backing vocals

Phil Collen- guitar, backing vocals

Rick Savage- bass, backing vocals

Rick Allen- drums, backing vocals

While I don’t agree with those who say that Def Leppard sold out with “Hysteria,” they’re laughing all the way to the bank, I wouldn’t debate those who say that it was the start of the slippery slope away from metal and more into commercial rock. But in 1987, I didn’t give two and a half shits about that, I just really liked the album.

Next post: Envy- Ain’t It a Sin

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

London’s Aladdin’s Cave of Heavy Metal

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 16, 2021 by 80smetalman

Now that I am back from my weekend of playing Santa Clause to my step-grandchildren in Cleethorpes, I can return to posting about the golden age of heavy metal. However, this post isn’t for an album or event which happened in 1987. Instead it’s about a record store in London called Shade’s. A few years back, fellow blogger Every Record Tells a Story wrote a post about the store and now that it has been several years, I thought I’d put my own spin on it.

The best way I can describe Shade’s is using the words I used in “Rock and Roll Children,” an Aladdin’s cave of heavy metal. Although in the book, I changed the name to “Snakes” so I wouldn’t infringe any laws. It was down an narrow lane, so you had to actually be looking for it in order to find it and once inside the door, the staircase leading down to the main room added to the cave effect. Actually, I think I described it better here than I did when I wrote “Rock and Roll Children.”

Inside Shade’s

Shade’s had everything a metalhead could possibly hope for. Records, tapes, t-shirts and all other types of metal paraphernalia was on sale. I thought it particularly cool when I say a t-shirt of Kreator’s “Pleasure to Kill” album cover. However, I procrastinated and when I tried to buy it a few months later, it was no longer available. The attitude of the sales attendant when I inquired confirmed the belief that Londoners didn’t do customer service very well. They also sold concert tickets as it was there that I bought my ticket to see Possessed, Voi Vod and the English Dogs. Furthermore, while they had the classics, they also seemed to get the albums from the US when they first came out. That’s how I learned of new releases from the likes of KISS, Whitesnake, Billy Squier and the Killer Dwarfs. My one regret is that I wasn’t able to attend when Poison showed up for an autograph signing.

Unfortunately, Shade’s is no more. I heard it had become an internet cafe but I can’t be sure. I also wonder if they had been around in 2010, if they would have sold copies of “Rock And Roll Children.” I hope they would have. Still, I have fond memories of this great store.

Next post: Lee Aaron

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

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Shy- Excess All Areas

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

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

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

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

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

Track Listing:

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

Tony Mills- vocals

Steve Harris- guitar

Paddy McKenna- keyboards

Roy Stephen Davis- bass

Alan Kelly- drums

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

Next post: Montrose- Mean

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

Great Metal Albums of 1987: 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 Albums of 1986: Tobruk- Wild On the Run

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 17, 2020 by 80smetalman

During my first Christmas in Britain in 1986, my sister Dawn and her friend Stacy, (together known as ‘The Metal Sisters’), sent me a cassette full of metal songs. This tape will comprise the next several posts but I’m getting ahead of myself. Maybe they thought I was missing some good heavy metal, this couldn’t have been farther from the truth. The first two songs on the tape were from the band Tobruk and from the album, “Wild On the Run.” However, I had already heard of the band because a few weeks earlier, Kerrang Magazine, (long before it became Kerrap in the mid 90s), ran an article on them in their “Wimpwire” feature.

Wimps? Well quite possibly because there are spots on the album where they sound like they want to be the next Bon Jovi. The intro and the short keyboard solo on the second track, “Falling” definitely gives that impression. However, even on that track, there are some good hard rock portions to be heard. What Tobruk do successfully on this album is to blend the heavy metal with just the right amount of keyboards. The keys enhance the songs. One good example of this blend is “Running From the Night.” It’s basically a great hard rockin’ track with a cool guitar solo and I love the guitars at the intro. The keyboards can be heard but they compliment the song. Thinking about it, that particular track reminds me of Autograph.

Since I would only be repeating myself if I dissected each song individually, not that the songs all sound the same because they don’t, I will look at three songs. First, there is the opening title track which was also released as a single. It didn’t do anything as far as the singles charts but it doesn’t stop it from being a good song. On the other hand, I can see why this song would have been considered for single release, it has that commercial vibe and the keyboards are just a little more noticeable but the guitars still rule. Then comes the two tracks which were recorded on the tape sent by The Metal Sisters. “She’s Nobody’s Angel” is yet another song which gives the impression that musicians have a thing about writing songs about prostitutes. However, when I heard the song, it made me question why Kerrang would consider this wimp metal. Sure, it opens with a fantastic keyboard intro, I think it might have even influenced the likes of bands like Stratovarius. Maybe because of the keyboards or possibly because whoever wrote the article only heard the single.

Lyrics from “She’s Nobody’s Angel:”

She’s a streetwalker, got to make her living pay

He’s just a normal guy looking to get his evil way

Then with one kiss, he gets what he’s wishing for

She’ll do special things if pays a little more.

The second song on the tape is the hidden gem and that is “Going Down for the Third Time.” Again, some great keyboards work around the edges. I think that Jem Davis deserves more recognition for his mastery of the craft but the song simply kicks ass. While everything comes together on the songs on “Wild on the Run,” they come together a little more on this one. It’s also the closer for the album and it does that job magnificently.

Track Listing:

  1. Wild on the Run
  2. Falling
  3. Running From the Night
  4. Hotline
  5. Rebound
  6. Poor Girl
  7. She’s Nobody’s Angel
  8. Breakdown
  9. Going Down for the Third Time
  10. The Show Must Go On (Not on the album but appeared as a B-side on the single “Wild On the Run”
Tobruk

Snake- lead vocals

Mike Brown- bass, backing vocals

Nigel Evans- guitar, backing vocals

Mick Newman- guitar

Jem Davis- keyboards

Eddie Fincher- drums

I have a sneaking suspicion that this album might have passed a lot of people by. This could be on account of people like me were on the hunt for more and more power chords and that is not Tobruk. Still, if you like good melodic heavy metal, then I can recommend “Wild On the Run.”

Next post: Chastain- Rulers of the Wasteland

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

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Tygers of Pan Tang- First Kill

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 3, 2020 by 80smetalman

Here is one band that totally passed me by back in the 1980s. While I had heard of Tygers of Pan Tang throughout the years, I never got around to listening to any of their material. That all changed about a year ago when a colleague I know from officiating (American) football gave me a bag full of CDs, three of which were from this band. None of those albums was their 1986 compilation album, “First Kill,” but the other albums I did listen to gave me more than enough reason to include them here.

All the tracks, except for the closer, were all from the band’s early days and were recorded live. Having a quick look back through the discography, the only songs which appear on other albums are “Euthanasia” and “Slaves to Freedom,” which appear on the debut, “Wild Cat,” although “Bad Times” and my personal favourite,”Straight as a Die,” appear on the 1997 re-issue. With all of that said, it doesn’t make that much difference because all of the songs appeal to me.

What impresses me the most about the band is the strings section. Guitarist Robb Weir hammers out some great guitar solos on the album, especially on my favourite track. Then again, his best solo is on “Slave to Freedom.” Mr. Weir really goes nuts on that one and because it’s live, I regret not being in the audience. On the downside and why “Slaves to Freedom” is not my favourite song, is because the vocals of Jess Cox sound strained on it. Anyway, I was talking about the strings section and I must point out that the bass playing of Richard ‘Rocky’ Laws is some of the best bass playing I’ve heard. I’m now going to make a bold declaration by saying he belongs in the same category as Billy Sheehan, Michael Anthony, Lemmy and so many others.

It’s not just Weir’s solos that I like. Many of the songs on “First Kill” open with some ear grabbing riffs. “The Final Answer,” “Euthanasia” and “Shakespeare Road” all open with great riffs and establish the songs right from the start. The latter of the three has some another noteworthy guitar solo and not to leave him out, it’s the track which best showcases the drumming of Brian Dick. Putting all of these elements together and listening to the result, I fail to see why Tygers of Pan Tang don’t get more recognition in mentions of new wave of British heavy metal, which they were part of. I guess they were to NWOBHM what the Johnny Van Zant band was to Southern Rock in the very early 80s, a great band that didn’t get the recognition it should have gotten.

Track Listing:

  1. Slaves to Freedom
  2. Angel
  3. Straight as a Die
  4. The Final Answer
  5. Euthanasia
  6. Shakespeare Road
  7. Don’t Take Nothing
  8. All Right on the Night
  9. Bad Times
  10. Small Town Flirt

*”Small Town Flirt” was recorded just prior to the release of the album and done with a different bass player and drummer. This band was officially known as Tyger Tyger and it was the only song they released.

Tygers of Pan Tang

Jess Cox- vocals

Robb Weir- guitars

Richard ‘Rocky’ Laws- bass

Brian Dick- drums

On “Small Town Flirt”

Brian Emerson- bass

Mr. Roland- drums

Better late than never they say. It’s definitely true in my case in regards to Tygers of Pan Tang. This was a great band, actually, they’re back together and touring so after listening to “First Kill” and some of their other albums, I will have to see them if they come around.

Next post: Agnostic Front- Cause for Alarm

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

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Iron Maiden: Somewhere in Time

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on November 29, 2020 by 80smetalman

After Judas Priest’s use of guitar synthesizers on their “Turbo” album, many people in the metal world were waiting with great anxiety on the release of Iron Maiden’s “Somewhere in Time” album because the rumours were flying that Maiden were also using guitar synthesizers on their new album, me included. Like so many metalheads at the time, I thought synthesizers were for pop bands and true metal bands didn’t use them. However, when all the anxiety was over and I finally got to listen to the album, I found that the use of guitar synthesizers didn’t turn Iron Maiden into Duran Duran and actually, “Somewhere in Time” is still a cool album.

Taking a step I didn’t normally take back then, I bought the twelve inch single, “Wasted Years.” Normally, I went straight for the album but I guess the guitar synth rumours made me a little nervous. After a listen or two, I found that the synths suited the song very well and that there was nothing to worry about. Iron Maiden remained true to the sound which made them a sensation. Long story short, I loved the song. One piece of 80smetalman history: the “Wasted Years” twelve inch was the first record I bought when I got to England.

If there was any question to whether Iron Maiden rocks out on the album, then have a listen to the track, “Sea of Madness.” The tracks opens with typical Iron Maiden guitar riffs from Smith and Murray before catapulting into a power tune. Bruce’s vocals are as clear as ever, Steve’s bass line is what you expect from the man as is Nicko’s drumming, plus there is a cool guitar solo. Everything’s there on “Sea of Madness” but it still doesn’t get my vote for hidden gem!

My vote for hidden gem on the album could be controversial. “Heaven Can Wait” wasn’t released as a single but it was played live on the next few Maiden tours after this one. The other point is the fact that it is definitely up there in my top ten or possibly top five of all time 80smetalman favourite Iron Maiden songs. Therefore, it could be argued that the gem isn’t exactly hidden. Nevertheless, this song just totally kicks ass and it’s a case of taking all the good things I said about “Sea of Madness” and multiplying them two or three times more for “Heaven Can Wait.”

Another track which might qualify is “Deja Vu.” Back in 86, it didn’t really make itself known unto me but listening to the album recently, it has caught my notice and it is a better track than what I used to remember. Of course, the other tracks are just as cool, having been a long distance or semi long distance runner in high school, (I ran the 800 metres), I can identify with “The Loneliness of a Long Distance Runner.” While the lyrics ring true with me, Iron Maiden are one of the few bands who can capture it so well in the music.

Steve Harris stated that “Somewhere in Time” was never meant to be a concept album but it just happened that most of the songs on it were to do with time, interesting thought. However, Mr. Harris also keeps to his love of putting history to music with the closing track, “Alexander the Great.” I know if I was ever to have the opportunity to teach children about Alexander, then I would use the song to motivate the pupils.

Track Listing:

  1. Caught Somewhere in Time
  2. Wasted Years
  3. Sea of Madness
  4. Heaven Can Wait
  5. The Loneliness of a Long Distance Runner
  6. Stranger in a Strange Land
  7. Deja- Vu
  8. Alexander the Great
Iron Maiden

Bruce Dickinson- lead vocals

Steve Harris- bass

Adrian Smith- guitar, backing vocals

Dave Murray- guitar

Nicko McBrain- drums

Guitar synthesizers or not, Iron Maiden put out another great album in 1986 with “Somewhere in Time.” I don’t think the band intended it but the release of the album almost coincided with my arrival in England. It’s not a bad album to arrive in another country to because after listening to it, I didn’t feel like (bad pun alert) a stranger in a strange land.

Next post: Tygers of Pan Tang- First Kill

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

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Wrathchild- Trash Queens

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on November 22, 2020 by 80smetalman

One very interesting British band which came my way in London in 1986 was Wrathchild. First, I am fairly sure they didn’t get their name from an Iron Maiden song, at least it seems to be the case according to the band’s history. However, they were one of the ever growing list of glam metal bands who wore more make up than a lot of ladies I know.

Wrathchild’s 1986 album, (for me it’s 86 because I never heard of them before I got to England in that year), “Trash Queens” was my introduction to them. According to history, the album is a compilation of the single and opening song, “Do You Want My Love,” their EP “Stackheel Strutt” and three live tracks which appear at the end.

The said single, I can see why Wrathchild would have released it as one, it’s got a radio friendly catchy vibe to it. Still, it never got in the charts nor do I remember it being played at any metal club I went to back then. Still, it’s an all right track. Saying that, maybe they should have released the B-side second track, “Rock the City Down.” This is a more upbeat song with some good power chords and harmonizing and a catchy riff in the middle. My choice for song of the album.

It took me a couple of listens to get into “Lipstick Killers” before I decided it was a cool track and not just an amusing title. Following that, the next two tracks are two good rockers. Not anything I would go nuts about but they are okay. The title track has some good guitar work from Lance Rocket and “Teenage Revolution” has some cool chords at the intro. Then we get to the three live tracks. Once again, they’re okay although “It’s a Party” does end the album on a good note.

Track Listing:

  1. Do You Want My Love?
  2. Rock the City Down
  3. Lipstick Killers
  4. Trash Queen
  5. Teenage Revolution
  6. Twist the Knife
  7. Cock, Rock, Shock
  8. It’s a Party
Wratchild

Rocky Shades- vocals

Lance Rocket- guitar

Marc Angel- bass

Eddie Starr- drums

After being introduced to so many great bands when I got to the UK, it was only a matter of time before I came across a band that was good but not great. That was Wrathchild. Although, “Trash Queen” is an okay album but not one I will go back to again and again.

Next post: Samson- Joint Forces

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

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Magnum- Vigilante

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2020 by 80smetalman

By November 1986, being in England for three months, my introduction to British bands I had not heard of in the USA was in danger of becoming over-saturated. This could be down to the fact I was in London and there were so many rock and metal clubs that I could have gone out any night of the week and discovered a new metal act. Finances prevented that from happening. However, one band which I was introduced to at the time was Magnum.

What I didn’t know was that Magnum had a pretty long history before I had heard of them. They went back as far as 1978 but my first experience of them was their 1986 album, “Vigilante.” It was the title track which really hooked me, I spent quite a few Autumn Fridays night at the metal club headbanging away to it. Ah, great song and great memories!

Unfortunately, the rest of the album doesn’t quite live up to its great title track. In fact, after a listen or two, I thought that maybe Magnum shouldn’t be called heavy metal and that was even before people started putting metal into categories. Personally, I would class them as straight forward rock or melodic hard rock, possibly in the vein of Night Ranger.

The first three tracks of “Vigilante” are ready for radio commercial rock tunes. In fact, to my surprise, it was the album’s opener, “Lonely Night” that was released as a single. I thought it should have been the title track but remembering how things were back then, it was probably a good call or it would have been if the song had managed to chart, it didn’t. “Sometime Love” or the fourth track, “Midnight (You Won’t Be Sleeping)” would have been better candidates. There is enough of a guitar riff on those tracks that might have enticed more metalheads to by the single. Plus, “Midnight” has a cool sax solo.

Things look up on the second half of the album as things go more hard rock at this point. “Red on the Highway” starts things off very well. This song cooks and leaves me to question why more songs weren’t like this one. This is the first track which actually got my head to bang along with it. A cool guitar solo from Tony Clarkin helps too. The next track, “Holy Rider” is even heavier with some cool riffs. Both of these could be classed as hidden gems.

Here’s my final misgiving about “Vigilante.” The ballad, “When the World Comes Down” should have been the closer. It’s a good ballad but what I like best is that it has that ‘hold your cigarette lighters in the air while singing along’ feel to it. That makes it a great closer. That means, placing the title track after the two rockers would have made that part of the album sound phenomenal and the actual closer track would still be good coming after “Vigilante” but as a penultimate track. That would have set up my choice for closer exceptionally well. That’s just my thought.

Track Listing:

  1. Lonely Night
  2. Need a Lot of Love
  3. Sometime Love
  4. Midnight (You Won’t Be Sleeping)
  5. Red on the Highway
  6. Holy Rider
  7. When the World Comes Down
  8. Vigilante
  9. Back Street Kid
Magnum

Bob Catley- vocals

Tony Clarkin- guitar

Wally Lowe- bass

Mark Stanway- keyboards

Mickey Barker- drums

In one case, it’s a little surprising Magnum didn’t have more success in the US. I think they would have appealed to those who were into more melodic rock like Night Ranger or Survivor. They appeal to me more as I’m mellowing a bit with age but in 1986, as someone looking for the loud power chords, it was just an okay album.

One final note: The cigarette lighters in the air at concerts is definitely an American custom.

Next post: Mama’s Boys- Power and Passion

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

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Saxon- Rock the Nations

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 4, 2020 by 80smetalman

October 11, 1986 was my first time attending a concert at the famous Hammersmith Odeon in London. No prizes for guessing who the headline band was or I wouldn’t be writing about it now. The support act will get the treatment in the next post but that night, I was excited about finally getting to see NWOBHM stars, Saxon and they didn’t disappoint.

An additional bonus on the night was that Saxon were on tour for their latest album, “Rock the Nations.” While I might have been there to hear some of my favourites from earlier years like “Wheels of Steel” and “Princess of the Night,” (they played both), the new material they played that night was just as good and of course, I had to get the album.

According to some critics, (I never pay attention to them anyway), “Rock the Nations” sounded cliche-ridden and sighted the departure of bassist and key song writer Steve Dawson as the reason why. Having only just started exploring Saxon in detail at the time, I didn’t know the internal politics of the band and for me, the album had everything I liked about Saxon in it.

“Rock the Nations” opens with the title track and makes it no secret that this is a Saxon album. Critics might have called it cliche but to me it was typical Saxon. If they wanted to pick on any track and they do, it’s the first single, “Waiting for the Night.” First, I can’t fathom why it was called a sappy ballad because I find it a radio- friendly, mid-tempo metal song. The other so-called sappy ballad is the closer, “Northern Lady.” Yes, it’s a ballad but in no way is it sappy. It’s a power ballad to the max with a great guitar solo. Furthermore, being married to a northern lady, it holds a special place for me in my metal heart.

Singles and ballads aside, there are some real cookers on this album. “Battle Cry” and “We Came to Rock” are great ones but if you want full on power chords and great solos, then you must listen to “You’re No Angel.” That track is the power rocker and its successor, “Running Hot,” gives it a one-two punch. “Empty Promises” walks the tightrope between all out power rock and the more radio friendly melodic metal. Actually, I thought this one would have made a better single.

This leads me to the hidden gem and the one track that’s definitely different. I’m talking about “Party ’til You Puke.” Something I did more times than I’d like to admit back then. There is a jazz feel on the song, mainly down to the fact that the band got some pianist named Elton John, (you might have heard of him), to tinkle the ivories on it. But while it has a jazz feel, there is enough power chords on here to let you remember that it’s still a Saxon metal song. The guitar work here says it all!

Track Listing:

  1. Rock the Nations
  2. Battle Cry
  3. Waiting for the Night
  4. We Came to Rock
  5. You’re No Angel
  6. Running Hot
  7. Party ’til You Puke
  8. Empty Promises
  9. Northern Lady
Saxon

Biff Byford- lead vocals, bass

Graham Oliver- guitar

Paul Quinn- guitar

Nigel Glockler- drums

Paul Johnson- bass (doesn’t not actually play on the album)

Elton John- piano on “Party ’til You Puke”

Those same critics once said “Rock the Nations” will be an album quickly forgotten by the Saxon faithful. I have never forgotten this album. I’ve always considered it Saxon’s “Welcome to England” present for me.

Next post: Loudness- Lightning Strikes

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