Archive for Canada

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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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.

https://www.change.org/p/knight-mr-john-michael-ozzy-osbourne-for-services-to-music

 

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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