Archive for Canada

Great Metal Albums of 1984: Lee Aaron- Metal Queen

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2018 by 80smetalman

Probably the first thing anyone talks about in relation to Canadian metal singer Lee Aaron’s second album, “Metal Queen,” is the album cover. For those who might not know, that is actually the Lee on the cover. I wouldn’t debate anyone who thought her outfit on the cover was bought at a dime store but hey, even if it was, she makes it look good. Even more than thirty years on, looking at this cover still gives me a warm feeling.

While the cover might be nice to look at, it’s the music contained on the record, wait I had this on cassette, that counts. Let me just sidestep for one second. I once read in an interview that Lee stated that she use to laugh when she heard her first album, I said such when I visited that album. Well, she can laugh as much as she wants at her first album because her second album is much much better. Lee and guitarist John Albani have a brilliant chemistry and that started with the live track from the first album and gets even stronger on “Metal Queen.” Another reason for the massive improvement over the first album is that Lee had more control over things and she has a hand in writing all of the songs.

The title track just happens to be my all time favourite Lee Aaron song. Okay, the chains at the beginning may be a little unnecessary but the song just explodes into a mad metal frenzy. Lee’s powerful voice and John’s guitar solo team up to make a great song. Then again, they do so throughout the entire album. The next two songs move the album along very well and I’ve always wondered who the lady of the darkest night is. After reading the lyrics and listening to the song many times, I still haven’t figured it out.

Lee proves her vocal versatility with the ballad like “Got to Be the One.” It’s as good a power ballad as any and I don’t mind that she repeats the title so much at the end. Her voice is a delight to hear on the song. The two songs following continue to roll things along and I do really enjoy hearing John’s guitar ability on “Deceiver.” He is an underrated guitarist and would have been my first alternate for guitarist in the 80smetalman’s band of underrated musicians.

“Steal Away Your Love” is the hidden gem on the album. It tackles a very serious and sensitive subject, the song is about a rape and the perpetrator getting away with it. These are lyrics that make you think and even the great guitar solos by John don’t dampen the message behind the song. Plus, I think the footsteps walking away at the end make the point. Then after two more good tracks, “Hold Out” being the better of the two, we come to the closer, “We Will Be Rockin.'” Definitely the best song to end the album here.

Track Listing:

  1. Metal Queen
  2. Lady of the Darkest Night
  3. Head Above Water
  4. Got to Be the One
  5. Shake It Up
  6. Deceiver
  7. Steal Away Your Love
  8. Hold Out
  9. Breakdown
  10. We Will Be Rockin’

Lee Aaron

Lee Aaron- vocals

John Albani- guitar, backing vocals

George Bernhardt- guitar, backing vocals

Atilla Demjen- drums

Frannk Russell- drums

Jack Meli- bass, backing vocals

It was “Metal Queen” that got people South of the Border and across the Atlantic to take notice of this Canadian fire cracker. Then again, with an album as good as this one, it’s pretty hard not to.

Next post: Krokus- The Blitz

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Great Metal Albums of 1984: Helix- Walkin’ the Razor’s Edge

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

It’s amazing the things that get stored in one’s mind and come out when the mind needs them. Back in the 1980’s, Helix were one of those bands I always wanted to explore more of but never got around to it. They first came to my attention in the summer of 1984 when I saw the video for the single from the “Walkin’ the Razor’s Edge” album, “Rock You.” I made a mental note to buy this album but never did. I did try to look for it but it never made it to my part of South Jersey.

Like with some other metal bands in 1984, while many of them got played on MTV, you had to be in the right place at the right time to catch it. It was the same with White Wolf. Hell, I didn’t even remember which song from this album I had seen the video for until I did a bit of research thanks to Wikipedia and Youtube. Seeing the video for “Rock You” jogged my memory and yes, I remember it now. Looking at it again, it was such a very 80s video but who cares, it’s a good song.

But what about the rest of the album? Some of you might ask. Well, rest assured, let me say once and for all that “Walkin’ the Razor’s Edge” kicks total ass. True, there is a definite 80s vibe to the album and to Helix but no one can ever say that heavy metal is dated. However, I do find it difficult to pick a favourite on here, although I will take the first five songs over the final five, but not by much. “Young and Wreckless,” “Animal House” and “When the Hammer Falls” are definitely the stand out tracks for me. “Feel the Fire” is also a good track that sounds like a Dokken tune. Again, I might prefer the first half of the album, I won’t denounce the second half. “Give Me Good Lovin'” could have been a second single here. So record management, why wasn’t it released as one? The ballad, “(Make Me Do) Anything You Want” was released as a single in Canada and it’s a decent ballad. While the remaining songs don’t totally grab me by the throat, they are good songs and do their job in making the album enjoyable.

What makes the album so good is the band themselves. Brian Vollmer might be trying to act like every other metal singer from the decade in the video but he has a good set of pipes. Brent Doerner and Paul Hackman wield their axes very well all throughout the album, fair dues to them. Doerner is the one who emerges from the water to play his guitar solo in the video but whichever guitarist lays down the solo on “When the Hammer Falls” gets the gong for best solo here. Daryl Gray and Greg Hinz provide a competent rhythm section rock for the rest to build on. As usual, a good band makes a good album.

Track Listing:

  1. Rock You
  2. Young and Restless
  3. Animal House
  4. Feel the Fire
  5. When the Hammer Falls
  6. Give Me Good Lovin’
  7. My Kind of Rock
  8. (Make Me Do) Anything You Want
  9. Six Strings Nine Lives
  10. You Keep Me Rockin’

Helix and their friends

Brian Vollmer- lead vocals

Brent ‘The Doctor’ Doerner- guitars, backing vocals

Paul Hackman- guitars, backing vocals

Daryl Gray- bass, backing vocals

George ‘Fritz’ Hinz- drums

Was Helix Canada’s best kept secret in the 1980s? Possibly but then Canadian bands seemed to get ignored more than their American and British counterparts. Hearing “Walkin’ On the Razor’s Edge” makes me wish I had Youtube back then. I would not have missed this cool album and waited over thirty years to finally get to listen to it.

Next post: Hellion

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Twelve Days of Christmas

Posted in Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 23, 2017 by 80smetalman

My provisions for Christmas

Christmas is nearly upon us and as you can see from above, I’m ready for the festivities with my barrel of The Trooper and my bottles of Motorhead pale ale. I’ll be having a heavy metal Christmas! Reading other posts about Christmas, I have to agree with the premise that there are a lot of versions of the classic carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas. So, I thought it would be cool to share some of those versions I like the most with all of you. After all, Christmas is the time for giving.

Starting with my favourite, I have to agree with my Canadian friends that the version by The McKenzie Brothers has to be the best in my humble opinion.

Being a big Twisted Sister fan, it would be an act of sacrilege not to include their version from their “Twisted Christmas” album. It’s my second favourite. I do like the way all the band contribute to the gifts mentioned.

If “Twisted Christmas” is my favourite Christmas album, my second fave is “I am Santa Claus” by Bob Rivers and Twisted Radio. This version, “The Twelve Pains of Christmas” doesn’t appear on the album but it’s a fun song nonetheless.

I came across this one by Jerry Pate back in the days I had Limewire. I liked it so I downloaded it onto my MP3 and I’m now going to share it with you.

This last one isn’t for the easily offended. This is a dirty version of the carol but it’s done by one of my all time favourite Country singers, David Allen Coe.

So there you have it, my favourite versions of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” I hope you enjoy them and before I go, there is another petition for a knighthood for Ozzy. I didn’t start it but you can sign by clicking the link below.


Great Metal Albums of 1984: White Wolf- Standing Alone

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2017 by 80smetalman

Here’s a post about being in the right place at the right time. Sometime in the wee hours of one morning in early 1984, I happened to be up watching MTV when this video by some band named White Wolf came on. I knew nothing about the band but I knew I liked the song they were playing. So, I made a mental note about them and went to my local record shops in the days following to find out more about this band and possibly buy the album. Unfortunately, I drew a blank everywhere I went and I had a good share of confused looks from shop assistants, but that’s Southern New Jersey for you. The sad tale is that I never got this album though the band from that one late night experience has always remained in my memory. However, there is a happy ending thanks to Youtube where I finally got to listen to White Wolf’s 1984 “Standing Alone” album and share it with you. Believe me, the wait was worth it.

Let me start with my one tiny criticism of “Standing Alone.” It’s the title track. Not a bad song, in fact it’s quite good but it shouldn’t be the opener on the album. That duty should have fallen on the second track, “Headlines.” That is the song that leaps out and assaults your ear drums and makes you pay serious attention to the album. As for the title track, it should have been third because the track after “Headlines” continues the ear assault before turning slightly more melodic at the end. The more melodic title track would have followed on nicely from there. That would have very nicely paved the way for my favourite track on the album. “What the War Will Bring.” It cleverly disguises itself as a power ballad, a good one, but there is some very great guitar work here. Eight minutes of enjoyable melodic metal and guitar work combined. Most of the song is comprised of the latter and that is the reason why I like it so much.

Nit picking done, the rest of the album is one big powerful explosion of metal. The three tracks following my favourite bear testimony to that. “Night Rider” kicks it off with a harmonizing of the title before the music kicks in full blast. It’s a rather fast paced song, though I wouldn’t call it thrash, with a cool guitar solo. If you thought “Night Rider” was hard, “Homeward Bound” is even harsher! It’s a good heavy metal tune, if ever there was one. A sort of twist comes next. One would think that a song called “Metal Thunder” would be even harder and louder than its predecessors but it’s much more melodic, a good curve ball there. Still, it’s a cool song with some good harmony vocals and guitar work and it leads very well to the closer, which provides the right conclusion to this fime album.

Track Listing:

  1. Standing Alone
  2. Headlines
  3. Shadows in the Night
  4. What the War Will Bring
  5. Night Rider
  6. Homeward Bound
  7. Metal Thunder
  8. Trust Me

Donn Wolf aka Don Wilk- vocals

Martin Kronlund- guitar

Cam McLeod- guitar, backing vocals

Rikard Quist- bass

Imre Daun- drums

I can’t even remember which of these 8 cool songs the video I saw on MTV back in 1984 was for. I do remember it being a viking theme but that’s all. I do know that I liked the song and there must have been something there for me to remember it all these years after. I’m forever grateful that I got to listen to “Standing Alone” and got to hear it for myself.

Next post: The Scorpions- Love At First Sting

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Great Metal Albums of 1984: Daniel Band- Run From the Darkness

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 22, 2017 by 80smetalman

Satan had come upon me during the summer of 1984 because the Daniel Band had lots of airplay on the Sunday morning radio show, TCN Hot Rock. I remember liking what they played but for some reason, I never explored them further. That’s why I say Satan had corrupted me because if I had explored the Daniel Band more, I would have discovered a long time ago what a great album “Run From the Darkness” is.

A little background on them, they were formed in 1979 in Toronto Canada. Their first album, “On Rock,” offered a more progressive sound. However, with this, their second album, they went full blown heavy metal. They even wore dog collars and spandex when they went on tour for this album. Plain and simple, upon listening to “Run From the Darkness,” I will second the motion that this was a heavy metal album. The first three tracks are definitely metal in your face, although I think the title track was the intended single. The third track, “Walk on the Water” is my favourite track on the album. The power chords are like Judas Priest and the harmonies in the chorus remind me of KISS in their heyday. Not a bad combination me thinks. They have also been compared to AC/DC, Boston and their fellow countrymen, April Wine. What’s not to like?

The metal doesn’t end with the first three tracks. Tracks four and five keep things ticking over very nicely. The latter is given the fan treatment at the beginning giving it that recorded live feel but “Sixteen” cooks regardless. In fact, the album doesn’t slow down to the latter end of the album. “Live Connection” is almost thrash. Even the keyboard on “Wall” just complements the hard rocking sound of the song. After “Wall” is the ballad, “It’s Over” and that’s a very tidy power ballad. As is the track after, “My Children.” This starts like a piano ballad and then the guitars come in and could flatten the walls of Jericho. The closing track, “In the Sky” takes things out in a typical metal way.

Let me once and for all dispel the myth about Christian Rock. I have listened to “Run From the Darkness” five times in the last week and not once did I find myself wanting to put my beer down and start reading my bible. Anyone who does that is just as liable to sacrifice a chicken to Satan after listening to Deicide. There are no in your face Jesus lyrics on here and even if there were, this album is good enough to where they could be singing about doing terrible things to dogs with a fork and I’d still enjoy the music from it. Added bonus is that lead guitarist Tony Rossi can hold his own with many of his non- Christian counterparts. Hey, the main can wail!

Track Listing:

  1. Don’t Give Up
  2. Run From the Darkness
  3. Walk on the Water
  4. Never Gonna Die
  5. Sixteen
  6. Live Connection
  7. Let’s Get Ready
  8. Wall
  9. It’s Over
  10. My Children
  11. In the Sky

Tony Rossi- lead guitar, vocals

Don McCabe- bass, lead vocals

Bill Findlay- guitar, keyboards, vocals

Matt Del Duca- drums

Have I converted? In regards to the Daniel Band, the answer is yes. If anyone out there still thinks that Christian Rock musicians are second rate, then have a listen to “Run From the Darkness.” This album, Christian or not, simply kicks ass.

Next post: Kerry Livgren AD- Time Line

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80sMetalman’s Band of Underrated Musicians

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2017 by 80smetalman

Since tomorrow is my first day of supply (substitute) teaching in the new school year, I thought I’d get a bit of practice in by giving all of you an assignment. Hopefully, you’ll find it as fun as I did although there was a struggle in the area of female lead vocalist. I had to go on Youtube and listen to songs by both ladies before I finally made a choice and that was tough. The choice, I’m talking about not listening to their music. That bit was fun.

Now to the assignment, for nearly the entire life of 80smetalman, I have been banging on about musicians whose talents have been ignored or grossly underrated. So, with my weird and wonderful mind, I thought I would take the ones who I feel were the most underrated and put them together in a band of my own. The theory is that with all that combined under appreciated talent, they would come together and form an awesome band. I think the ones I have chosen, though a few may be deemed controversial, would fill the bill. So, here’s the 80smetalman Under Appreciated Band!

Danny Vaughn- male lead vocals

You know him from Tyketto and Waysted and his own band, Vaughn but I think that Danny Vaughn has never gotten the accolades he so deserves as a lead singer. He’s got a great voice, end of.

Liv Kristine- female lead vocals

When I saw her band, Leaves Eyes, at Bloodstock, 2010, I was totally captivated by the vocals of Liv Kristine. Hailing from Norway, she has a beautiful operatic voice that is just mindblowingly seductive.

Derry Grehan- guitar

I sang Derry’s praises not too long ago when I visited Honeymoon Suite’s first album. I was and still am very impressed by his guitar playing. I talk about underrated guitarists a lot on here but Derry Grehan really is.

Frenzy Phillipon- guitar

You might remember, I came upon this French fingerboard smoker nearly a year ago when I saw his band, Mystery Blue, support Canadian greats, Anvil. His band hasn’t made the big time but boy can he play that guitar.

Dom Lawson- bass

Another amazing discovery from Bloodstock, this time it was 2015. It was then I saw Dom Lawson, in his band Oaf, shred a bass like no one ever has before or since.

John Galvin- keyboards

It was another difficult choice picking a keyboards player. Originally, I was going to go with Claude Schnell of Dio fame but then when I listened to the 1984 Molly Hatchet album, “The Deed is Done” after so many years, I have come to really like John Galvin’s keyboards skills on the album. Southern Rock bands didn’t do much with keyboards but John really shines when given the chance.

Gina Schock- drums

I know this one will seem controversial to some but I am picking former Go Go’s drummer Gina Schock for my band. I think one of the reasons she is underrated as a drummer is because she’s female but I think she’s really good as well.

Well, there’s my band. Now, I want you all to go back, listen to your albums, have a good think and put together your own bands of underrated musicians. Trust me, it will be a fun assignment.

Next post: The Rise of Christian Rock

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An Evening of Ska-Punk in Newcastle

Posted in Concerts, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2017 by 80smetalman

Well, I’m back from my three days in Newcastle Upon Tyne and before I left, I did promise that if I saw any great bands at Newcastle’s premier rock club, Trillian’s, I would share the experience here. However, the American tourist in me has briefly taken over so before you get to read what great bands Planet Smashers and Faintest Idea were, you’re going to have to view my holiday snaps. Don’t worry, there aren’t many.

The view from my hotel room, It rained a lot on the first day

Great weather on Thursday. Here’s a view from the Gateshead Millennium Bridge

The bridge opens to let a boat go through

At first, it seemed the rain on the first night was too heavy and I wouldn’t make it past the pub across the road from my hotel room. The Blonde Barrel does do great food though. Thankfully, the Gods of Rock smiled on me and the rain slowed do to a fine spray so I was able to go into the city centre and get to Trillians. I discovered that the two named bands would be playing on the Thursday evening so I went down to the bar where I made another amazing discovery. Motorhead has a beer called Road Crew. Naturally, I had to try some and I can say that it’s very nice.

The next day, I made inquiries about Road Crew being available in shops. I was directed to one place that sold eccentric beers but the owner told me that the beer was massed produced and available in major supermarkets, not where I live. I made a further inquiry at the small supermarket but they didn’t sell it. However, one of the staff advised me to try a small shop in the train station grounds. So I went to a place called CentrAle and yes they did sell Road Crew. Then another surprise, right next to it was another beer called Anthrax War Vance and yes, it’s endorsed by Anthrax. Apparently some cases were left behind after their last UK tour and Bruce, the manager of CentrAle, got them. CentrAle is the only place in the UK where you can get Anthrax War Vance. So, I got lucky there.

Bruce with a can of Anthrax

Eventually, the big night came and I went off to Trillians to see Planet Smashers and Faintest Idea, two bands I knew absolutely nothing about. With nothing to expect, I had a very open mind to them when they came on stage. Faintest Idea took the stage first and that would begin my education. Before this particular evening, I had practically zero experience with ska. I offer no reason for this except it was something I never explored. That will change for sure. Getting back to Faintest Idea, listening to them, I have concluded that the Ramones will never have to go in the ska direction because that’s what this band sounded like. The Ramones playing ska. Every song was done in the ‘one, two, three go’ style that the Ramones made so famous during their career. However, Faintest Idea did it with horns. To that point, I’ve never heard such a tight brass section, fair dues to them. Of course, I can’t take anything away from the guitar, bass (also lead singer) and drums either and together they fused ska and punk very well. Songs I remember the most were “Bull in a China Shop” and “Youth” but all of the songs were played well and I was very much impressed.

Faintest Idea on stage

After a brief intermission where the keg of Road Crew ran dry, headliners Planet Smashers from Quebec, Canada took the stage. My first impression was that there was a Madness influence here. Not a surprise because many put forward the argument that Madness were one of the originators of ska. Madness or not, Planet Smashers stood well enough on their own. Plus, this band has a great sense of humour while on stage. Guitarist/lead singer Matt Collyer knew how to engage the crowd with his banter. However, it was definitely the music that was the main attraction. Not often does one get to see bands with two very tight brass sections on the same night but that’s what I saw. Songs that I remember most were “Life of the Party” and my personal favourite, “Super Orgy Porno Party.” You got to believe that anyone who comes out with a song with a title like that has to be very good and they were.

Planet Smashers

And from the other side

I left Trillians with a much better knowledge of ska music then I had two and a half hours earlier and I’m a much better person for it. But the night didn’t end there. Not feeling tired and knowing the Mrs 80sMetalman and our two granddaughters were asleep, I decided to hit another pub I knew was open later. I can’t remember the exact name, I had too many pints by then. While I was inside, both bands turned up and so I ended up drinking with them. That’s something that doesn’t happen to me every day. The members of both bands were great people and that rounded off a fantastic night.

Meeting up after hours

Next post: Toto- Isolation

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