Archive for Canada

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Lee Aaron

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 20, 2021 by 80smetalman

When I learned that Lee Aaron had come out with a new album in 1987, I awaited it with full optimism. It was my sister who broke the news when she sent me a couple of tracks from her self-titled album. She lamented, “Lee, Lee, what are you dong?” She went onto say that Lee had ‘wimped out’ and added keyboards to her music. When I heard the two tracks on the tape, the first two, “Powerline” and “Hands Are Tied,” I had to agree with Dawn. The keyboards were a little too much for this metalhead back in 1987.

But what about now? And is the album that bad? The answer to the first question is the way the keys were used on the album makes it sound a bit dated. As to the second question, the album is not that bad. While there are keyboards all over the album, there are still rocking moments on it. In fact, what saves the album for me is the guitar work of the very underrated guitarist, John Albani. With his guitar hooks and cool solos, none of the songs suck.

Lee with John Albani

It is true with the opening track, I agreed with my sister but the second track sounded much better and gave me hope for the rest of the album. Coming after, “Only Human” has a strong bass line and a very interesting choir sounding chorus. Lee’s vocals are especially good on this track, not that I expected any less. She was a good a singer as anyone and even today, could sing Kylie Minogue under the table. The next few tracks remind me of her previous album, “Call of the Wild,” which is not a bad thing. You get Lee’s amazing voice leading the way backed up with more great guitar work from John. The keyboards are there but not dominating and because for some reason, I am now able to tune into the bass line more on albums and Chris Brockaway does a superb job on this one.

The track “Don’t Rain on My Parade” is a bit of a paradox for me. It sounds rather 80s synth pop but there is something about it that makes me like it. Then we come to one of the hardest rock songs on the album, “Goin’ Off the Deep End.” This is the track that has me headbanging away to it, even with the keyboard fills. John’s guitar hooks and subsequent solo make this song the rocker that it is. Continuing the one-two-three punch comes the power ballad, “If This is Love.” I never had any doubt that Lee couldn’t deliver a great ballad and this is one if I had had the fortune to have seen her live, the cigarette lighter would have be held high in the air. The final blow is struck with what I think is the hardest song on the album, “Eye for an Eye.” If it wasn’t for the keyboards on the chorus, it would have taken me back to the great album which is “Metal Queen.” Some good guitar riffs on this one as well as the harmony vocals on the choruses.

“Heartbeat of the World” is a great rocking song as well and John plays his best solos on this track, maybe I was a bit premature in picking my favourite track as this one is just as good as “Eye for an Eye.” On the other hand, “Dream With Me” could only be the closer and it’s an all right one. It would feel out of place anywhere else on the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Powerline
  2. Hands Are Tied
  3. Only Human
  4. Empty Heart
  5. Number One
  6. Don’t Rain on My Parade
  7. Goin’ Off the Deep End
  8. If This is Love
  9. Eye for An Eye
  10. Heartbeat of the World
  11. Dream With Me
Lee Aaron

Lee Aaron- vocals

John Albani- guitar, backing vocals

Jim Geicer- keyboards, backing vocals

Chris Brockaway- bass, backing vocals

Randy Cooke- drums, percussion

David Roberts- backing vocals, (tracks 3 and 5)

I ask myself, have I been too hard on Lee for this album? After all, her vocals are as good as ever. My theory is that her record label was so focused on commercial success that they softened her sound a little too much. This album is pretty good but it didn’t make me want to stop listening to “Metal Queen” back then and it doesn’t now.

Next post: Merry Christmas

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

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Sacrifice- Forward to Termination

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2021 by 80smetalman

I just happened to be in the right place at the right time when I discovered Briar in 1987 but it wasn’t the case for Canadian thrash band Sacrifice in the same year. To my regret, this band and their second album, “Forward to Termination” totally passed me by. It was mostly down to the fact that I was already established in the UK and while there were so many great thrash bands coming out of the US and UK at the time, like in many instances, Canadian bands seemed to get ignored. Listening to this album, I think this is something that needs to be addressed.

Let’s get right to the point, when I listened to the album, I wasn’t thinking that this was some great new strain of unique thrash but what they do on the album is done very well. I hear influences of both of two of my favourite bands, the Stormtroopers of Death and Suicidal Tendencies in the music of Sacrifice. The album begins with riffs associated with ST but goes straight into some hard core frenzied thrash reminiscent of S.O.D., especially the way the opening title track, which is an instrumental, goes right into the next one. In fact, the first three songs are one massive thrash affair where the band show case their talents. We get a solid rhythm section but unfortunately, there is no indication as to which guitarist plays the solos on the songs. Whoever does so on “Reanimation” rips a really cool solo. My only minor concern is the vocals of Rob Urbanati. When he sings straight up thrash, he sounds okay but when he tries to go for the high notes, there are times when he sounds like a cat being strangled. Maybe that was the intention.

After the opening three tracks comes my vote for song of the album, “Afterlife.” This is the cleanest sounding track and everything is not only done right but to perfection and the influences of the two S bands come through. While I don’t know for sure, I think the two guitarists do a solo trade off on the track and it sounds good. The slow down parts are only there to let you catch your breath before the manic thrash bombards your ear drums into submission. Also Rob lays off the falsetto attempts making his vocals sound that much better.

Following after is the seven minute long “Flames of Armageddon.” I like the way this track goes back and forth between hardcore thrash and more mainstream metal. While the solo is cool, it could have been a little longer, I think the rhythm guitar is truly fantastic on the song. What is also good about “Flames of “Armageddon” is that in spite of the length, it does not get repetitive as there are constant changes in tempo with vocals and guitar solos and a foreboding, impeding doom bass line from Scott Watts. It’s another great track.

Some cool guitar riffs start the second half of the album on “The Entity” and that sets the stage for the remainder of the album. What you get is Sacrifice honing in their craft, which pays dividends. More cool song opening riffs, great rhythm work, including the guitars and some cool guitar solos. If I went through each of these songs, I would simply be repeating myself for the most part. There is an interesting rhythm guitar part before the solo trade off on “Forever Enslaved” and the intro on “Cyanide” reminds me of the S’O.D. classic, “The Pre-menstrual Princess Blues.” Plus there is some more rhythm and lead guitar work on it but when Rob screams the song title, there is more of the strangled cat. They do change things up on the intro of “Light of the End” where you get a short but definitely to the point guitar solo before going nuclear. Then the album goes out in a mad thrash rage that is “Pyrokinesis.”

Track Listing:

  1. Forward to Termination
  2. Terror Strikes
  3. Reanimated
  4. Afterlife
  5. Flames of Armageddon
  6. The Entity
  7. Forever Enslaved
  8. Cyanide
  9. Light of the End
  10. Pyrokinesis
Sacrifice

Rob Urbinati- vocals, guitar

Joe Rico- guitar

Gus Pynn- drums

Scott Watts- bass

Honestly, I wish I had heard “Forward to Termination” back in 1987, I would have been seeking mosh pits. But they say better late than never and even my 60 year old ass can fully appreciate the pure thrash of Sacrifice and state that Canadian bands should have been shown more respect.

Next post: Destruction- Mad Butcher

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

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Sword- Metalized

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on November 1, 2020 by 80smetalman

Touring with Motorhead on their “Orgasmatron” tour in 1986, in the UK, was a little known band from Canada called “Sword.” Unfortunately, I didn’t see this great gig, but I wish I had. No use crying over spilt milk, I suppose. However, Sword’s support of Motorhead did get them some notice, enough that their single from their debut “Metalized” album got played at metal clubs in London. That song was “Stoned Again.”

I can see why it was released as a single. The catchy chorus with lyrics which probably caught the attention of the PMRC in the US definitely got my attention. In the late Autumn of 86, I found myself singing to myself, “God damn stoned again,” quite a lot. But it just wasn’t the amusing chorus, the guitar riff is one that has you banging your head away to it and there is a cool bass line at the intro and of course a cool guitar solo.

Insert tired cliche: one song doesn’t make an album and I can say that the rest of “Metalized” pulls its weight in support of the single. It starts with the opener, “F.T.W.” These days, some might say that the opening riffs to it are typical but back then, I loved those riffs. In fact, I still do!

Whoever wrote about this album on Wikipedia stated that the album explores the many subgenres of metal. Of course, back in 86, those subgenres were starting to emerge, so I didn’t really notice it. I still don’t really notice them now. True, the track, “Outta Control,” is a very fast speed metal song but I don’t think it’s enough to say that Sword were experimenting with thrash metal on it. While it makes me want to bang my head faster while I’m listening to it, it doesn’t have me searching for a mosh pit either. Besides, the following track, “The End of the Night,” is almost as fast. It does have some heavier chords and a great bass line.

What is good but a little frustrating about “Metalized” is the fact that the nine tracks apart from “Stoned Again,” are so good, that I find it nigh impossible to find the hidden gem. Many of the songs have something that makes them stand out, like the strong bass line or in the case of “Runaway,” a ear catching lead guitar intro and cool guitar solo in the middle. Listening to that track, that is nearly thrash as well, which makes me wonder why the writer on Wikipedia singled out “Outta Control” as the thrash song.

Apart from the small differences between the songs, they all have several things which in common which unite them. All songs have great power chords, cool guitar solos and great vocals. However, what stands out for me here is the bass playing Mike Larock. It really impresses me and while I wonder why Sword weren’t a more household name in the metal world outside The Great White North, I also wonder why Mike isn’t mentioned more among great bassists like Sheehan, Anthony, Burton, Lemmy and so on. (Feel free to add to this list.)

Track Listing:

  1. F.T.W.
  2. Children of Heaven
  3. Stoned Again
  4. Dare to Spit
  5. Outta Control
  6. The End of the Night
  7. Runaway
  8. Where to Hide
  9. Stuck in Rock
  10. Evil Spell
Sword

Rick Hughes- vocals, keyboards

Mike Plant- guitar, keyboards

Mike Larock- bass

Dan Hughes- drums

Listening to the debut album from Sword reinforces my belief that Canadian bands don’t get the respect they deserve. “Metalized” is a great album and I think that Sword should have been a household name beyond just 1986.

Next post: Saxon- Rock the Nations

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

Oh God! It’s Starting Already

Posted in Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 3, 2019 by 80smetalman

Three days into 2019 and already two tragic deaths. First, I read about former Dr Hook singer, Ray Stewart, famous for his eye patch, passed away quietly in his sleep at his home in Canada. He was 81. Dr Hook was famous for soft rock hits in the 1970s such as “When You’re in Love With a Beautiful Woman” and “Sharing the Night Together.” My personal favourite Dr Hook tune can be accessed at the bottom of this post.

Ray Stewart

The second passing comes from the world of wrestling, which I was a big fan of in the 1980s. Former WWE commentator and interviewer ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund passed away in Florida today. He was 76. I remember his unique commentary and interview style which will never be duplicated.

Gene Okerlund

Rest in peace Ray Stewart

Rest in peace Mean Gene Okerlund

 

 

 

 

Merry Christmas to All!

Posted in Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 24, 2018 by 80smetalman

A few years ago, I posted my top ten favourite Christmas songs. Now that I can paste them on here from Youtube, I thought I’d share them again while giving you a chance to listen to them and get in the festive mood. Besides, since that post, my top ten has shuffled a little. Listen and enjoy.

10. Slade- Merry Christmas Everybody

9. Joe Diffie- Leroy the Redneck Reindeer

8. The Darkness- Christmas Time

7. ACDC- Jingle Hell’s Bells

6. Bob Rivers and Twisted Radio- Walking Around In Women’s Underwear

5. Bob Rivers and Twisted Radio- Frosty the Pervert

(Author’s Advisory) This song is not for the young or those who are easily offended

4. The McKenzie Brothers- 12 Days of Christmas

3. Stryper- Winter Wonderland

2. Weird Al Yankovic- The Night Santa Went Crazy

  1. In the original post, I put the entire Twisted Christmas album but for time’s sake, I chose what is my favourite song from said album

Twisted Sister- Let It Snow

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and get lots of good music in your stockings and party away the festive season. Here’s some of my provisions, yes, it’s the same as last year.

My provisions for Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1985: Loverboy- Lovin’ Every Minute of It

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2018 by 80smetalman

Possibly one of the best musical surprises for me in 1985 came in the form of Loverboy’s album, “Lovin’ Every Minute of It.” After the more keyboard oriented previous album, “Keep It Up,” I thought that Loverboy were heading down the path of more commercialized rock. That meant that one night when I happened to have had MTV switched on and the video for the bouncy, hard rocking title track came on, I was pleasantly taken by surprise. The fact that they rocked things up a bit made me give this album a chance and I was impressed.

The first five songs of “Lovin’ Every Minute of It” are true rockers. Hell, the third song, “Friday Night” could be a heavy metal song with the way the guitar opens things and how the song progresses after. All I keep thinking was, “Well done, boys!” That track follows on nicely from its predecessors, which include the title track and “Steal the Thunder” holds its own in the hard rock stakes. Even when they go to a power ballad with “This Could Be the Night,” one doesn’t get to thinking that things will go commercial with this one. I have to confess, this is a good power ballad here. The rock party continues further with “Too Much Too Soon,” which is another song which could be taken for a heavy metal song, maybe even more than “Friday Night.” I will point out that Mike Reno does a great vocal performance on that one.

With all of the above said, “Lovin’ Every Minute of It” is an album of two halves. After “Too Much Too Soon,” keyboards enter into things. This is not a bad thing although some of the tracks do sound 1980s new wave. “Lead a Double Life” sounds like it could have been used in a mid 80s comedy film soundtrack. “Dangerous” sounds like it could have been a Night Ranger song. “Destination Heartbreak” is a ballad but not as good as the power ballad mentioned previously. What redeems them in my view is that Paul Dean’s guitar can be heard along with all the keyboards and he does rip some really good guitar solos on the songs. In fact, this album could be called Paul’s album due to the way he solos all the way through it. It is a major contributor as to way the album is so good.

Track Listing:

  1. Lovin’ Every Minute of It
  2. Steal the Thunder
  3. Friday Night
  4. This Could Be the Night
  5. Too Much Too Soon
  6. Lead a Double Life
  7. Dangerous
  8. Destination Heartbreak
  9. Bullet in the Chamber

Loverboy

Mike Reno- vocals

Paul Dean- guitar, backing vocals

Doug Johnson- keyboards

Scott Smith- bass

Mike Frenette- drums

In 1985, I stopped labeling Loverboy as a hard rock band who had sold out and gone commercial. While “Lovin’ Every Minute of It” was still a very successful commercial album, it went double platinum, it also proved that that success could be done without compromising musical integrity. So full marks to the band all around on that.

Next post: John Cougar Mellencamp- Scarecrow

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://c-newfreepdf.cf/olddocs/free-download-online-rock-and-roll-children-pdf-1609763556-by-michael-d-lefevre.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1985: Metal For Breakfast

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 18, 2018 by 80smetalman

Welcome to the first heavy metal compilation album I bought. It was early February 1985 when I saw “Metal For Breakfast” at my local record store. Since I often used to feel like the way the dude on the cover looks, I thought it was worth a look. When I flipped to the back cover of the album and saw who was actually on it and their songs, I knew I had to buy it straight away. Who couldn’t resist an album with Ted Nugent, Saxon, Y&T, Quiet Riot, Ozzy and Judas Priest on it. Furthermore, the songs from these artists with the exception of Judas Priest’s hidden gem, (I had never heard “The Ripper” until this album), was more incentive to get it. But that’s only half the story!

Attic Records, being based in Toronto, seemed very eager to unveil much of its local talent and they chose a good group to do so. I had heard of Anvil but never listened to them. “Forged in Fire” changed all that. Any band called The Killer Dwarfs had to be granted a listen and “Heavy Mental Breakdown” did not disappoint. This was the first step on their way to them becoming my all time favourite Canadian band. I know Mercyful Fate are from Denmark but the fact that “Black Funeral” comes right out and sings “Hail Satan” sticks one in the ear for the American religious zealots. On the second side is the lovely Lee Aaron and “Metal Queen” is mind blowing. Of course, there’s always a hidden gem and on “Metal For Breakfast” it’s the track “Metalhead” by Blotto. It takes a dig at metalheads but it’s done in a really funny way plus, it’s a good song. So what you have is a great combination of well known metal tunes and ones that weren’t so well known coming together to make a fantastic album.

Track Listing:

1. Anvil- Forged in Fire

2. Ted Nugent- Cat Scratch Fever

3. Killer Dwarfs- Heavy Mental Breakdown

4. Accept- Balls to the Wall

5. Mercyful Fate- Black Funeral

6. Blotto- Metalhead

7. Lee Aaron- Metal Queen

8. Saxon- Princess of the Night

9. Judas Priest- The Ripper

10. Quiet Riot- Metal Health

11. Y&T- Mean Streak

12. Ozzy Osbourne- Crazy Train

And I think you should listen to the hidden gem:

Back in 1985, “Metal for Breakfast” was the classic metal combination of what was known and not so known in the heavy metal world. Nowadays, it’s just a classic 80s album but it still kicks ass!

I probably looked more like this back then.

Next post: Dokken- Tooth ‘N’ Nail

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Great Rock Albums of 1985: Bryan Adams- Reckless

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2018 by 80smetalman

Now that Download is now a fantastic memory, I can go back to posting about albums. Of course, Bloodstock will be here before we know it but let’s carry on. Reflecting back to early 1985 when I first heard songs from the “Reckless” album from Bryan Adams, I have to ask myself, “Was I a metal snob back then?” I remember not hating any of the songs from this album but I kind of pushed it to one side because it wasn’t heavy metal. The other possibility could be the fact that I may be mellowing a bit with age and the album is more suitable to my pallet because listening to the album again, I really like it and have to say that it rocks in many places.

“Run to You” was the first single from “Reckless” and my favourite track on the album. It would have been my favourite all time except for the cheesy video of him rolling around in the leaves in the song. Fortunately, I have been able to block that memory out when I listen to it and simply appreciate the guitar riffs. “Heaven is a good power ballad even if it didn’t make my top thirty list. If I had expanded the list to a top 50, it would have been there. I do like the power chords in it and only now starting to appreciate the guitar work of Keith Scott. He also shines on the opener, “One Night Love Affair,”  a very underrated guitarist indeed.

With so many well known singles on “Reckless,” it’s impossible to find a hidden gem. “Somebody” got lots of airplay and it’s a good power rocker. The problem with “Summer of 69” is that it gets played to death even to this day. On its own, it’s a decent song but having been saturated with it over the past thirty-three years, I kind of get put off it.

The closest the album comes to having a hidden gem has to be “Kids Wanna Rock.” I do love how it opens with some cool soloing from Scott and he keeps it up between the verses. There are some good power chords a plenty on here as well. Then there’s his single with Tina Turner, “It’s Only Love.” It too rocks, especially live versions and I have to admit, Bryan and Tina did have a good onstage chemistry. “Ain’t Gonna Cry” closes the album out very well.

Track Listing:

  1. One Night Love Affair
  2. She’s Only Happy When She’s Dancin’
  3. Run to You
  4. Heaven
  5. Somebody
  6. Summer of 69
  7. Kids Wanna Rock
  8. It’s Only Love
  9. Long Gone
  10. Ain’t Gonna Cry

Bryan Adams

Bryan Adams- lead vocals, guitar, piano, harmonica, hand claps and foot stomping

Keith Scott- lead guitar, backing vocals

Jim Vallance- percussion

Dave Taylor- bass

Pat Steward- drums, backing vocals

Tommy Mandel- keyboards

Jody Perpick- backing vocals

Tina Turner- accompanying vocal on “It’s Only Love”

Mickey Curry- drums

Steve Smith- drums on “Heaven”

So was I narrow minded or am I mellowing with age? Then again, does it really matter because I really enjoy Bryan Adams’ “Reckless” album.

Nest post: Metal For Breakfast

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Great Metal Albums of 1984: Triumph- Thunder Seven

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 7, 2018 by 80smetalman

Just when I thought that 1984 was becoming all metaled out towards the very end of the year, along comes a great album from Canadian greats, Triumph, to continue the metal mayhem that was that year. By then, both commercial radio and MTV was starting to suck, so when the first single, “Spellbound” came blasting over the airwaves on Thanksgiving Day, I was truly psyched. I was already a Triumph convert by then thanks to their previous albums, “Never Surrender” and “Allied Forces” so I welcomed the new “Thunder Seven” album with open arms and ears.

“Spellbound” is my second favourite Triumph song of all time. I just love how Rik Emmett uses his guitar on the song and the harmonizing on the chorus, just great. There are keyboards but unlike the trend in the 1980s, they simply support and not take over the song. Full marks to Mike Levine, he does a good job with them. With the keyboards in that great song, one might be tempted to think that Triumph had gone the same way as their fellow Canadians, Rush, had done earlier in this year. Trust me, they don’t.

Not many songs do what they say in the title but the second song does “Rock Out and Rock On!” Not really much more I can say about it than that, except it’s a cool track. Then, I really do like the cowboy type vibe on “Cool Down.” I don’t know if the song really is about cowboys but what I do know and like is how Rik lays down some really cool guitar work on it. “Follow Your Heart” was the second single from “Thunder Seven” and everything about the song says “single.” It’s a slightly lighter than the other songs but you can still feel Triumph’s energy with it.

The rockingest song and my vote for hidden gem is definitely “Time Goes By.” While this song is harder than “Spellbound,” there is some great harmonizing vocals on it as well. Another song that has Triumph being at their best, especially Emmett’s guitar solo. Following “Time Goes By” are two songs which are less than two minutes, the first one being an acoustic instrumental, done well. The second, sounds like a church choir but it does show the vocal ability of Rik Emmett and Gil Moore in a different light. Their vocal abilities also come through very well on the next track, the ballad, “Killing Time.” However, things pick up with the penultimate rocker, “Stranger in a Strange Land” before going out an a mega high with the blues based instrumental, “Little Boy Blues,” where once again, Rik shows his guitar prowess.

Track Listing

  1. Spellbound
  2. Rock on Rock Out
  3. Cool Down
  4. Follow Your Heart
  5. Time Goes By
  6. Midsummer’s Daydream
  7. Time Cannon
  8. Killing Time
  9. Stranger in a Strange Land
  10. Little Boy Blues

Triumph

Rik Emmett- guitar, vocals, synthesizers, bass pedals

Gil Moore- drums, vocals, percussion,

Mike Levine- bass, keyboards, synthesizers, bass pedals, organ, clavinet

It was great to see that when people thought that metal was fizzling out in 1984, Triumph kept things going with this great album.

Next post: Hanoi Rocks: Two Steps From the Move

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