Archive for Canada

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

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1509701865&sr=8-3&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1506111961&sr=8-3&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1505334396&sr=8-3&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1502488199&sr=8-7&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Honeymoon Suite

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2017 by 80smetalman

Now that Download is done and dusted, not that I didn’t enjoy posting about it because I totally did, I will go back to the great albums of 1984. One note, Teal, my stepson, was going to give Mastodon another chance after their lackluster performance last year at Bloodstock. He never saw them. I didn’t either because they were on at the same time as Suicidal Tendencies, so for me, there was no hard decision to make.

In 1984, I was totally impressed by a song I heard on MTV from a Canadian band called Honeymoon Suite. That song was “New Girl Now” and although it only reached 57 in the US charts, probably why I liked it so much, it did go gold in Canada. I just like that hard rock intro with the keyboards giving it the right amount of support to compliment the sound. While, I never have had any personal experience from the lyrics, I do like them. Besides, all those ingredients make the song very catchy and the guitar solo is well done. So there, I’ve broken down my all time favourite Honeymoon Suite song.

I have come to the conclusion that Honeymoon Suite did things ass backwards on their 1984 debut album. Listening to some of the other songs, you would have thought they would have been more successful as a single than “New Girl Now.” All of the first four tracks were released as singles and my fave was the only one to chart in the US. However, the other three songs have more of that 80s soft rock single feel to them. Especially, the fourth track, “Stay in the Light.” As for the second track, “Burning in Love,” I ask myself, “Are these guys trying to imitate Rush here?” The middle of the song goes very keyboards progressive rock, that’s all. Saying that, it is very well played.

After those four songs, the album goes more hard rock. “Now That You Got Me” doesn’t send me headbanging away but I do like it. The guitar talents of Derry Grehan show themselves more here and do so more on the remaining tracks. “Funny Business” is a real rocker. That one does get me headbanging away to it. However, it does sound that lead singer, Johnie Dee’s voice sometimes struggles to keep up with the song. But that criticism is swept away by another Grehan guitar solo. Each solo does seem to get better with each song from track five on. Dee’s voice is more suited for the track after, “Heart on Fire,” which is just as rocky as the predecessor, only there’s more of a keyboard accompaniment on it. “Turn My Head” is a bit of a paradox. It starts out as a rocker but goes 80s soft rock in the middle only to finish off hard again. “It’s Your Heart” is a total rocker but the album ends with a ballad, “Face to Face.” It’s nothing spectacular except that Grehan plays his best guitar solo on it and that’s a great way to end the album.

In short, Derry Grehan is a fantastic guitarist and I have to give credit where due to keyboards player, Ray Coburn. Furthermore, the rhythm section of Brian Brackstone and Dave Betts is sound. I don’t want to criticize lead singer Johnnie Dee, he does have a good voice but he wouldn’t have the range for a metal band. It seems that the rest of the band has to slow down for him on the harder songs. On the other hand, he does nail “New Girl Now” very well.

Track Listing:

  1. New Girl Now
  2. Burning in Love
  3. Wave Babies
  4. Stay in the Ligtht
  5. Now That You Got Me
  6. Funny Business
  7. Heart on Fire
  8. Turn My Head
  9. It’s Your Heart
  10. Face to Face

Honeymoon Suite

Derry Grehan- lead guitar, vocals

Johnnie Dee- lead vocals

Brian Bracksotne- bass

Ray Cobourn- keyboards, vocals

Dave Betts- drums

I have to admit, in 1984 I liked the song “New Girl Now” as much as I did many of the metal songs going around at the time. It is a great song and fortunately, the rest of the album is pretty cool too.

Next post: Scandal Featuring Patty Smyth- The Warrior

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1498510735&sr=8-8&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Rush- Grace Under Pressure

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

Nearly everyone and their sibling says that the “Grace Under Pressure” album was the beginning of Rush’s synthesizer period. In reality, the band had started to go in that direction with their previous album, “Signals.” What was popularly believed at the time was that as a result of my favourite Rush album, “Moving Pictures,” some misguided persons heard songs like “Tom Sawyer” and “Limelight” and called Rush a heavy metal band. Therefore, in reaction to that, they went for the more synthesizer sound to squash the stereotype. At first I believed it but now in my old age, I don’t really care if it was true at the time or not. I just like the album.

While Rush are not heavy metal, it doesn’t stop many metalheads like myself from liking them, a lot. In the opening pages of “Rock And Roll Children,” the main characters play “Grace Under Pressure” to mellow out a bit after an evening of heavy metal records. I have to admit, when I heard the first single, “Distant Early Warning,” I wasn’t too sure about them. Maybe they had sold out and gone commercial. I guess in my naivety, I expected them to continue in the same vein as my favourite Rush album. But believe me, “Grace Under Pressure” was no sell out and it was many levels above some of the other synthesizer music that was manifesting at the time.

What Rush did with “Grace Under Pressure” was take the emerging synth sound and made it into something of their own. I’ve said a number of times that all three members are talented musicians and together, they can create some fantastic music which all will enjoy no matter what camp you’re in. For me, sure I was slightly disappointed at first that the guitar takes a back seat on the album, but it doesn’t go away completely. You can clearly hear Liefson’s licks laying down the foundation along with Peart’s beat in support of Lee’s keyboard skills and vocals. I have always stated that Lee has been underrated as a keyboards player. As for Alex, he does nail solos on “The Body Electric”  and the closer, “Between the Wheels,” and I do like his intro on “The Enemy Within.” That has to be my favourite track on the album. Now, I won’t break down the album into individual songs because they all are good on their own and all compliment each other and that makes a good album.

Track Listing:

  1. Distant Early Warning
  2. Afterimage
  3. Red Sector A
  4. The Enemy Within
  5. The Body Electric
  6. Kid Gloves
  7. Red Lenses
  8. Between the Wheels

Rush

Geddy Lee- vocals, synthesizers, bass

Alex Liefson- guitars

Neil Peart- drums, percussion

I think that “Grace Under Pressure” achieves what Rick, Frankie, Jeff and Bob were going for in “Rock and Roll Children.” They were looking something to just kick back and listen to. The album allows you to do that because that’s when you begin to hear and appreciate all the small intricacies contained there in and that’s when you know how good it is.

Next post: Rod Stewart- Camouflage

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Announcements and News

Posted in Concerts, Death, Heavy Metal, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 21, 2017 by 80smetalman

Famous deaths in 2016 weren’t just limited to rock stars, (looks like 2017 is heading in the same direction). I was also saddened to learn last night that my childhood hero who wasn’t a rock star also passed away in 2016. Ice hockey legend, (if you’re a fanatical Philadelphia Flyers fan like myself), Rick MacLeish passed away on May 30 last year from multiple complications, he was 66. Born in Lindsay, Canada in 1950, Rick was the first Flyer to score 50 goals in a season and scored the winning goal in Philadelphia’s first Stanley Cup victory. Even hearing about it ten months on, I am saddened to hear of his passing.

R.I.P Rick MacLeish

On a much happier but surprising note, I have to announce that I won’t be attending the Bloodstock Festival this summer. Other commitments have gotten in the way plus this year, I think the Download Festival in June has a line up more to my liking. I understand that for hardcore metal fans that this is an act of treason but I will definitely share my experiences from the Festival on here.