Archive for Classic Rock

Great Metal Albums of 1988: Anvil- Pound for Pound

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on June 1, 2023 by 80smetalman

Not sure if “Pound for Pound” was one of the albums mentioned by Lipps when he talks about unknown Anvil albums in the “Story of Anvil” documentary, but I’m sure it was one of those included in that list. It did come and go without much notice, including mine. However, I did give the album some listens and it is definitely worthy of being included on 80smetalman’s Blog.

It seems that on “Pound for Pound,” Anvil were going for a more heavier than their normal sound. In some places, they go near thrash but what I really like about the album is the theme of some of the tracks. Take the opener, “Blood on the Ice.” This isn’t as sinister as the title might suggest, it’s about fights in ice hockey. Being a big hockey fan and a big fan of the Philadelphia Flyers starting in the days when they were known as the Broad Street Bullies, this track holds a special place for me. It reminds me of Flyers hero from back then, Dave ‘The Hammer’ Schultz.

And of course, Family Guy gets in on the act.

Like what many other metal bands did back in 1988, Anvil has a song ripping on TV Evangelists. Their offering is called “Corporate Preacher” and it is spot on in what they sing about evangelists and it’s done to a very hard metal vibe. Innuendo a plenty is found in “Toe Jam,” which is a very fast, almost thrash metal jam. Lipps wails on the guitar on this one and does not slow down on “Safe Sex.” On both of these tracks, he silences any doubts about his guitar playing ability, although I never had any and “Safe Sex” is about what the title suggests.

I think we can all appreciate the sentiment behind “Where Does All the Money Go?” My biggest moan is that every time I think I might be getting ahead, some surprise bill comes along. We can all identify with that. While not thrash, it’s done to a very catchy hard rocking vibe. Maybe this is a good song to help you forget financial troubles and just enjoy the rock out, especially with that guitar solo.

The next three tracks all go by pretty fast but that’s not a bad thing. Some very cool riffs start “Brain Burn.” I think it’s about a nagging partner and the power chords and swirling solos continue through the next two songs. They do set up things for the penultimate track, “Fire in the Night.” Being longest song at over six minutes, one might think Anvil were going for a more progressive metal way to end the album. Even more so with the intro and opening guitar solo. While not as fast as many of the other songs, it’s still a cool mid tempo metal tune going in a more traditional Anvil way. It would have made a great closer had not they decided to add the very amusing twelve second long “Cramps” at the very end.

Track Listing:

  1. Blood on the Ice
  2. Corporate Preacher
  3. Toe Jam
  4. Safe Sex
  5. Where Does All the Money Go?
  6. Brain Burn
  7. Senile King
  8. Machine Gun
  9. Fire in the Night
  10. Cramps

Steve ‘Lipps’ Kudlow- vocals, lead guitar

Dave Allison- rhythm guitar

Ian Dickson- bass

Robb Reiner- drums

Is “Pound for Pound” a hidden gem among forgotten Anvil albums? Well, after listening to it, I think it’s a strong contender.

Next post: Vixen

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Great Metal Albums of 1988: Joe Satriani- Surfing With the Alien

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 28, 2023 by 80smetalman

Going back and re-reading what I wrote about Joe Satriani’s debut album, “Not of This Earth,” I now wished even more that I had listened to that album before his all time great classic, “Surfing With the Alien.” This is because I think that Joe takes what he did on the debut album and finely polishes it to make this blinder of an album. It is only since listening the albums in chronological order that I notice the natural progression from a very good album to a epic one.

What furthers my argument behind how great “Surfing With the Alien” is is the fact that the opening title track is my all time favourite instrumental song. I love how the guitar hook at the beginning just suckers you in and then keeps you focused with the sudden changes in tempo and guitar licks. If one could point to any song which establishes Joe as a guitar god, it would be this one in my not so humble opinion.

On both of the albums I have mentioned, while the attention is paid to Joe’s amazing ability to shred, he supports his shredding with some great bass and rhythm guitar lines. Note: “Satch Boogie” is the only track he had an actual drummer play on, the rest he used a drum machine. With that small point put aside, his bass and rhythm guitar support is definitely present on the second track, “Ice 9.” The thumping bass line lends good support to his shredding. Then he goes total metal on “Crushing Day.” For me, this is the hidden gem of the track because everything I have already mentioned is present on this track many fold. Oh, did I say that he really shreds on this one too?

Not that anyone needs me to site proof of this but Joe’s versatility and the fact that he’s not afraid to boldly go where no guitarist has gone before comes in the form of the slower, melancholy (in a good way) track “Always With You.” Repeating myself here but his shredding is phenomenal but what is even more interesting is how its supported by intricate acoustic guitar work. Then he goes totally metal on the single, “Satch Boogie.” What I didn’t know is that it was released as a single in the US and went to number 22 in the charts! Shame it didn’t do that in the UK, although I can say that Joe did have a legion of loyal fans in Britain. This is a great metal guitar boogie if there ever was one.

“Hill of the Skull” is a short, foreboding little number which would be great for a suspenseful scene in a movie. “Circles” is a lighter number which starts with some acoustic playing before going mad with a rip roaring guitar solo in the middle and then going back again at the end. “Lords of Kharma” is brought in with a suspenseful guitar hook and goes even more so with the Joes’ shredding. This track could have been used in a horror scene when the girl is just about to open the door to the psycho killer maniac and the ensuing chase scene. The end of the track can be when the maniac is eventually killed at the end of the movie. Steven King, are you reading this?

The short acoustic sounding piece, “Midnight,” opens the door to the closer, “Echo.” I love how the bass here stamps its authority while Joe shreds away on it. And the way he shreds makes it a great closer.

Track Listing:

  1. Surfing With the Alien
  2. Crushing Day
  3. Crushing Day
  4. Always With You
  5. Satch Boogie
  6. Hill of the Skull
  7. Circles
  8. Lords of Kharma
  9. Midnight
  10. Echo

Joe Satriani

Joe Satriani- guitars, bass, keyboards, drum programming, percussion

Jeff Campitelli- drums, percussion

No further convincing is needed, “Surfing With the Alien” established Joe Satriani as the guitar god he has become. I really can’t say much more.

On a personal note, back in January, I asked for your thoughts, prayers and vibes for my step granddaughter Paisley who had to go through several surgeries after being born with an unattached bowel. I am happy to say that the operations were all successful and as you can see from the photo below, Paisley is a healthy, happy four month old. Again, I thank you all for your support.

Next post: Anvil- Pound for Pound

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Videos From My Night of Limehouse Lizzy

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 22, 2023 by 80smetalman

Special thanks goes to Mike Ledano who told me about subscribing to Youtube and posting videos there which I can post on here. As a result, you can now see the videos I took for Limehouse Lizzy in Gloucester the other night. I apologize for them not being long but enjoy nevertheless.

I don’t know why this one is sideways.

I promise I’ll get better with the filming but I hope you enjoyed.

Almost Like the Real Lizzy

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2023 by 80smetalman

It’s been about 12 hours and I have fully recovered from seeing Thin Lizzy tribute band Limehouse Lizzy at the Guildhall in Gloucester last night. Maybe it was down to the fact that I’ve only been to one live gig in the last four years, thanks Covid, but the night was absolutely phenomenal. One other good aspect was that I was able to get my metal gear out of the drawer it’s been sitting in for nearly four years and put it on. Sadly however, the studded fingerless glove for the left hand has been worn to the point where it was unwearable, so I had to be a heavy metal Michael Jackson and wear just the one glove.

I’ve put on my armour

Still have the one glove

The decision to go to the gig was last minute. My step daughter, Lorretta, was visiting from Edinburgh and Mrs.80smetalman made plans with Lorretta, her other daughter, Dale and granddaughter Cadance to go to Bingo. That left me alone in the house. So, I thought to myself, do I sit home? Then I remembered all the online advertising I had seen for this particular gig. Therefore, it was a no brainer, I decided to go to see Limehouse Lizzy.

Driving to the gig was nothing out of the ordinary and Cycle Sluts From Hell provided the in flight entertainment. Much to my delight, there were plenty of parking spaces in the Gloucester Docks parking lot, which is great because it’s only ¬£2 after six o’clock for overnight. After parking, I walked to the Guildhall, purchased my ticket and went straight for the bar where I purchased my one and only drink. While having my pint, the bar quickly filled up with other rockers, many of them my age and quite a few older, although there were a few youngsters as well.

Various websites had different start times so thinking the show would start at 7:30, I found a place near the stage and waited and waited. The gig actually started at eight. Limehouse Lizzy came out to a great fanfare and it was clear I wasn’t the only one who had been starved of live music over the past few years. They opened the show with my all time favourite Thin Lizzy song, “Jailbreak” but I wasn’t the only one who went nuts over it and like all the songs they played on the night, they did the song absolute justice. Right after, they went straight into “Waiting for an Alibi” and the electricity circulated all around the venue.

Here’s where my Swiss cheese memory comes to haunt me, I can’t remember every song or when they played it but I can say that every song they played would have been given the thumbs up from Phil and Gary up in Rock Heaven. About three songs in, Wayne Ellis, in the part of Phil Lynott, addressed the audience. He stated that they mainly play the hits because that’s what most fans want to hear but he asked for requests nonetheless. Someone shouted “Warrior,” to which Wayne said that they hadn’t played that one in years. Someone else shouted “Rosalee” and Wayne responded that they would play that one, in forty minutes time.

While Wayne was the main focus on the part of Phil, it was the two guitarists, James Roberts and Greg Alcock, who were absolutely brilliant. They way they traded off guitar solos and at times played the solo together, which was something to hear. My only question was which one was supposed to be Gary Moore and who was Scott Gorham. In any case, they treated us to such greats as “Killer on the Loose” and “Suicide” before taking a break.

For a tribute band, they had a pretty good light show.

One major advantage of having a break was that during it, I was able to reposition myself around the tall guy who was in the way of some of my photos and was now able to get some great shots. Limehouse Lizzy returned with the same fire and enthusiasm for the second set as they had in the first. Wayne gave the audience a choice of them playing either “Still In Love With You” or “Parisienne Walkway,” the response for both was about equal, Therefore, they played both songs. It was on “Parisienne Walkway” where James astounded the audience with his guitar solo on it. Trust me, calling it mind blowing was an understatement.

There was no decline in intensity in the second set as the band were treated to more great Thin Lizzy classics. They totally nailed “Emerald” and even though, everyone knew they would seemingly end with “The Boys Are Back in Town,” it was received with no less enthusiasm. When they left the stage, I immediately started a “One more song” chant although no one seemed to jump on the bandwagon. Still, they came out and played three more songs. The first one gave drummer, Rich Kirk, his time in the spotlight as he played a magnificent drum solo. Wayne explained that Rich was one of the few drummers he worked with who could do that. Again, the choice to the crowd was given, either they played “Rosalee” or “Whiskey in a Jar.” I was on the side of “Whiskey” but again, they played both but for me, “Whiskey in a Jar” was the best way to end the night. But it wasn’t the end in one sense. As we were leaving, Wayne was there to shake everyone’s hands and thank them for coming and I got to tell him what a great show it was.

Enough of me rambling on, here’s the pictures:

One day, I’ll upgrade my WordPress so I can upload videos here because I did take some. If you follow me on Facebook, they are there. Believe me, Limehouse Lizzy is the real deal. It’s the closest I’ll ever come to seeing Thin Lizzy live and if this tribute band was any indication, then I missed another great band in my lifetime. After nearly two years of no live music and only once in the past four, it was great to go to a gig and see a great band and listen to some great music. Then again, Hell’s Bells are coming to town in September.

FFI about Limehouse Lizzy:

Next post, which won’t be for over a week as I’m going on a client holiday: Joe Satriani- Surfing With the Alien

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Great Metal Albums of 1988: Magnum- Wings of Heaven

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2023 by 80smetalman

Over the past few days, I have been asking myself, “Could Magnum be the best British band not to have cracked America?” Listening to the “Wings of Heaven” album, I am beginning to think that the answer is “Yes.” It broke the top twenty album charts in several countries, including hitting number five in the UK and two in Sweden. This album is packed full of some great melodic metal tunes, starting with “Days of No Trust.” While it doesn’t blow your mind to pieces with power chords, it eases you in nice and steady and before you know it, you’re singing along to it. All the band contributes equally on the song and it makes it that much better. It’s not meant to be depressing or negative but it is about the world going to shit while no one does anything about it.

“Wild Swan” is sort of a continuation of the theme set down by “Days of No Trust.” However, it’s done to some heavier power chords and a thudding bass line. Tony Clarkin got the idea for writing the song when he saw some birds still alive and continuing to fly with a crossbow bolt through them. It suggest a search for safety and halfway through the track, you get treated to a mice melodic musical interlude.

Although “Start Talkin’ Love” was released as a single, I don’t think it ever charted. However, it did appear on a metal compilation album a year later and I know it better from that. A song about being separated from one’s true love, it’s done in near ballad form and I really love the guitar hook on this one. “One Step Away” very much reminds me of their title track from their previous album, “Vigilante,” in the musical sense. Tony does rip a cool guitar solo though.

Magnum take the opposite view on male-female relationships on “It Must Have Been Love.” Here, they try to see things from the woman’s point of view. Most songs written from the male point of view take the line of the man hurt by the evil woman so full marks to the band for this attempts. It’s a nice power ballad even if it does sound pretty close to Survivor. The bass line stamps its authority on the song and the backing vocals are very good. Plus, it wouldn’t be a power ballad without a guitar solo.

Inspiration for “Different Worlds” came while on vacation in Southern France. The band went to Nice for a day and after spending most of it in the markets buying a lot of unnecessary items, they turned down a narrow street and saw people lying in the streets with bottles in their hands. Seeing these complete opposites had an effect on the band. Nevertheless, the power chords and the lead guitar intro make this the hidden gem on the album. The keyboards lead the song but with great support from the guitar’s power chords.

Penultimate track, “Pray for the Day” comes in rock like but then goes ballad like and then picks up pace at the choruses. The inspiration for this one came from several knock on effects. First, while visiting Austria, Tony saw a bunch of churches with iron crosses with black gauze. This trigged memories of the Berlin Wall where black crosses were painted in places people were shot and killed trying to escape and a further knock on effect, it triggered memories of a TV programme where a boy was caught in barbed wire and slowly died.

There was no better closer for “Wings of Heaven” than the ten minute progressive jam, “Don’t Wake the Lion, (Too Old to Die Young.)” It’s about World War One” but it’s definitely an anti-war song, pointing out the futility of war. Around the three minute mark, there is an eerie guitar like backed up by a heavy bass drum beat. If anything, this closer shows the versatility of the band.

Track Listing:

  1. Days of No Trust
  2. Wild Swan
  3. Start Talkin’ Love
  4. One Step Away
  5. It Must Be Love
  6. Different Worlds
  7. Pray for the Day
  8. Don’t Wake the Lion (Too Old to Die Young)


Bob Catley- vocals

Tony Clarkin- guitar

Wally Lowe- bass

Mark Stanway- keyboards

Mickey Barker- drums

Question: Do any of my American readers know of Magnum? I think if marketed properly over there, they would have gone down big. “Wings of Heaven” is proof.

Next post: Hopefully tomorrow night I will be going to Gloucester to see Thin Lizzy tribute band, Limehouse Lizzy. If so, you will get the full experience.

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at:

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Great Metal Albums of 1988: Guns ‘N’ Roses- GNR Lies

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2023 by 80smetalman

Much controversy has always surrounded the “GNR Lies” album from Guns ‘N’ Roses. At the time, some said it was a cheap attempt by the band to cash in on the holiday season. In addition, there was controversy over some of the songs, “One in a Million,” in particular. While some of the lyrics of the closer make me cringe, the rest of the album is quite enjoyable.

“GNR Lies” is divided into two halves. The first half consists of songs recorded from the live “Live¬†?!*@ Like a Suicide” album. “Reckless Life” opens the album very well and definitely sets the mood for the album, at least the first half. This is followed up by a cover of Rose Tattoo’s “Nice Boys.” Guns ‘N’ Roses definitely make this cover their own. It wouldn’t have sounded out of place if it had been on the iconic “Appetite for Destruction” album. Axl’s voice sounds clean and there is cool guitar solo from Slash and just to throw it in, a nice little bass solo from Duff.

For me, the best track on the album is “Move to the City.” There’s a definite swagger to this one and this song makes me regret not seeing the band back in their heyday of the late 1980s. Furthermore, it proves that men are capable of multi-tasking as I have been able to bop along to the song while I am typing this and I’m probably one of the world’s worst typists. Back in high school, I passed typing class only by the skin of my teeth. Ending the live first half, introduced by Axl as a “song about your fuckin’ mother,” is a cover of Aerosmith’s “Mama Kin.” Actually, this is a good cover and it could be a possible Original vs. Cover post in the future. That’s if of course, 2Loud doesn’t want to do it.

The second half of the album consists of all acoustic songs. A nice little ballad called “Patience” leads it off. Axl’s whistling and the intricate strumming on acoustic guitars are definitely ear catching. If only this song had come out a few years earlier, I would have definitely used it as an attempt to get paradise by the dashboard light. It’s one of those ‘we’ll make it whatever’ type of soppy love songs and I do like the acoustic guitar solo on it. Axl stated that his voice sounded rough from touring but he sounded okay here.

“Used to Love Her” is one of those controversial songs. Lyrics like “used to love her but I had to kill her” had some people thinking that the song was talking about murder. It was in fact, written as a joke after Izzy heard a song on the radio about some guy whining over how badly his girlfriend had treated him. Often thought about one of the band member’s ex-girlfriends, it was actually about Axl’s dog. I do like the Elvis era sounding guitar solo. Next, we get a reworking of “You’re Crazy” from the “Appetite for Destruction” album. Whenever I hear a rock song given the acoustic treatment, I often hold my breath before listening to it but in this case, afterwards, I let out a nice breath of relief.

Finally, we get to the most controversial song on the album, closer “One in a Million.” This song has been slammed for being racist and homophobic back then, Imagine if they had put this one out these days. The ‘N’ word is used quite liberally throughout and lyrics pointed to the LBGT community doesn’t help things either. If you can get past the lyrics, the music behind the song is outstanding, shame really. At one point, Axl goes almost Led Zeppelin in his vocals.

Track Listing:

  1. Reckless Life
  2. Nice Boys
  3. Move to the City
  4. Mama Kin
  5. Patience
  6. Used to Love Her
  7. You’re Crazy
  8. One in a Million

Guns ‘N’ Roses

W. Axl Rose- lead vocals, whistling. piano

Slash- lead guitar

Izzy Stradlin- rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Duff ‘Rose’ McKagan- bass, backing vocals

Steven Adler- drums

It was said that back in 1988, Guns ‘N’ Roses could have made an album of Baptist hymns and it would have gone platinum. Despite the controversy, “GNR Lies” is a pretty good album. At least it gave the fans something to listen to until the next album came along.

Next post: Magnum- Wings of Heaven

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Great Metal Albums of 1988: King Diamond- Them

Posted in 1980s, Death, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 11, 2023 by 80smetalman

Let me say straightaway that “Them” by King Diamond, in the sense of concept albums, isn’t as good as his previous album, “Abigail,” nor it’s partner in my ranking of heavy metal concept albums, Queensryche’s “Operation Mindcrime,” as joint favourites in this field. I will say that “Them” is definitely good enough to make King Diamond the king of heavy metal concept albums and up there as my favourite black metal artist. So, like I have done with previous concept albums, let’s have a look at the tracks and the stories they tell.

Track Listing:

  1. Out of the Asylum- This short opening track sets the tone for the story. Backed up by some eerie horror movie like piano and keyboards, we hear the ghosts of the house waiting for the return of King’s (principal character), grandmother. They love the fact that Grandma’s room will be open and they’ll be free again. Besides, the ghosts do say she makes a good cup of tea.
  2. Welcome Home- Some great guitar riffs and King’s unmistakable falsetto voice greet Grandma as she returns to her old house. Unknown to the grandchildren, Missy and King, who were told she was on vacation, she has been in a mental asylum. The lyrics are welcoming to Grandma at least but in the middle of the song, there are a couple of dynamite guitar solos. Furthermore, what I learned very recently was that this track along with “Invisible Guests” appear on the soundtrack of “Clerks II.” Note to self, I have to watch that movie.
  3. Invisible Guests- Some really fast guitar riffs and an opening guitar solo, full marks to guitarists Pete Blakk and Andy LaRoque. King hears some strange voices and goes to investigate. He sees Grandma appearing to be having a tea party but no one is there. After inviting him in and letting him sit in her chair, she sends him back to bed and instructs him to forget what he say. All done between more wicked guitar solos, including a great trade off between Pete and Andy.
  4. Tea- Power chords followed by a more melodic guitar sound bring in “Tea.” One night, Grandma awakens King and promises to tell him about the House of Amon over a cup of tea. She explains that Amon is the teapot with the power to take control or communicate with whoever drinks from it. The change in tempo from melodic to near speed metal stamp the song’s authority and yes, more cool guitar solos.
  5. Mother’s Getting Weaker- Grandma cuts King’s sleeping mother’s hand as the voices, Them, require a blood sacrifice. The blood is added to the teapot and the voices affect King putting him into a drug effected state. Missy tries to get King to call for help but King is so addled that he refuses and cuts the phone line. The rhythm section keeps this track ticking along nicely but there are also some good drum fills
  6. Bye, Bye Missy- At tea time, Missy expresses her concern about her mother resulting in Grandma attacking her. In retaliation, Missy breaks the teapot, thus angering Them. They take action and chop Missy into pieces with an axe and throw her remains onto the fire. The fast paced tempo, guitar riffs and guitar solos combined with King’s vocals make a song about chopping someone with an axe sound so good.
  7. A Broken Spell- With their focus no longer on King, the spell is broken and he stumbles outside to recollect what has transpired. After another cool guitar solo, King realizes that ‘Their’ powers are weakened outside the house. Therefore, he lures Grandma outside and kills her. This track is at a faster tempo with a guitar solo tradeoff and a very amusing line at the end: “Oh, I hate that bitch!”
  8. The Accusation Chair- King is arrested and questioned by the police. While being interrogated, the voice of Amon continues to haunt him. The tracks starts slow with a little keyboards and then picks up after the guitar solo.
  9. Them- A brief acoustic number with the voices of “Them” calling out to King.
  10. Twilight Symphony- A strong, steady riff and Mr. Diamond’s falsetto vocals bring in this track very nicely. We learn that after being questioned by the police, King is sent to an asylum. King Diamond’s ability to switch back and forth between his normal voice and falsetto has always been amazing and he demonstrates it here and there are more guitar solos.
  11. Coming Home- The albums closes as it opens with a very short track. Years later, King is released from the asylum and returns to the old house to find the voices very much still alive.

King Diamond

King Diamond- lead vocals, keyboards, guitar

Andy LaRoque- guitar

Pete Blakk- guitar

Hal Patino- bass

Mikkey Dee- drums

Robert Falcao- keyboards

King Diamond gave us another brilliant concept album with “Them.” There are very few others who can tell such a story and put it to such great music.

Next post: Guns ‘N’ Roses- GNR Lies

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Great Metal Albums of 1988: Poison- Open Up and Say Ahh!

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 7, 2023 by 80smetalman

In the life of 80smetalman, everyone’s favourite band of phillies with willies, Poison, put out their first two albums in the wrong order. Although the 1986 album, “Look What the Cat Dragged In,” is the inferior of the two albums, it would have suited me more if it had come out in 1988. By this time in my life, I was settling into domestic bliss unlike two years previous when I was still a big party animal. That’s precisely the reason why it would have suited me more if the 1988 album, “Open Up and Say Ahh!” was made two years earlier is because I find it to be one big party album!

“Open Up and Say Ahh!” is an album to have at parties. Every track, okay, except for the power ballad which I’ll get to, is one, cliche alert, to have blasting out the speakers while driving with the windows down. And if you don’t have a car, then it’s one to have playing in the living room while consuming many cans or bottles of amber nectar. What’s even more perplexing is that while many people out there, including some of you, my readers, have called CC DeVille the worst guitarist in metal but he sounds okay on this album.

If any track relates to the party theme, it has to be one of the four singles from the album, “Nothing But a Good Time.” More stereotypical cliches here but it’s a song you have for Friday night as you are preparing to go out and party after a working week. Unfortunately, working a crap job and a baby on the way, I wasn’t able to take advantage of the theme of that song. The other tracks pick up the theme from there with “Back to the Rocking Horse” being the hidden gem. This has a definite hard rock vibe to it and the entire band clicks on all cylinders. “Good Love” has a swagger to it and “Tearin’ Down the Walls” has some cool opening riffs and it another definite hard rocker.

One can’t talk about this album without mentioning the power ballad, do I even have to say the title? Just in case, I do mean “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.” Like hard rocking males back in the 1970s used to play “Beth” by KISS to seduce their ladies, this was the song which metalheads in the 80s used in a similar attempt. It is a cool power ballad even though I sometimes make jokes about it. After all, it did come in at number 15 in my list of top 30 power ballads.

“Fallen Angel” was another single and though I don’t rate it has good as the other singles from this album, I also prefer the cover of the Loggins and Messina classic, “Your Mama Don’t Dance,” especially with CC’s guitar solo, it’s still a great song to keep drinking to. God, some of you might think I’m a right lush. Well, I was more back in the 80s but these days, it’s all done in moderation. That reminds me, I have a bottle of wine in the fridge to finish off.

Track Listing:

  1. Love on the Rocks
  2. Nothin’ But a Good Time
  3. Back to the Rocking Horse
  4. Good Love
  5. Tearin’ Down the Walls
  6. Look Buy You Can’t Touch
  7. Fallen Angel
  8. Every Rose Has Its Thorn
  9. Your Momma Don’t Dance
  10. Bad to be Good

Brett Michaels- lead vocals, rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar, harmonica

CC DeVille- lead guitar, backing vocals, keyboards

Bobby Dall- bass, backing vocals

Rikki Rockett- drums, backing vocals

For those of us in the UK, this weekend, with the bank holiday Monday, would be a great time to get this album out, crack open the tins and have a listen. For the rest of the world, you don’t really need the bank holiday as an excuse. “Open Up and Say Ahh!” is Poison’s best performing album, I’m not surprised.

Next post: King Diamond- Them

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Great Metal Albums of 1988: Nuclear Assault- Survive

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 1, 2023 by 80smetalman

First of all, I have to thank BigBadBurch and bdj20 for pointing me in the direction of grindcore. While I am more familiar with the sub-genre, I must say that I can only listen to it in small amounts. This is more ‘create mayhem on the dance floor’ type of music. However, I stand by everything I wrote about Napalm Death in the last post and that brings me nicely to this one. See, I think it would be f**king amazing to see Napalm Death and Nuclear Assault live on the same bill. It would be a one-two punch which could knock anyone out.

Nuclear Assault’s 1988 album, “Survive” is what some critics at the time called pure thrash. Unlike Napalm Death, there are only two less than 20 seconds songs on this album, although, bar one, the songs aren’t much over three minutes in length, which is not a bad thing. This album does contain all the great elements as to what a great album should be. There is a throat clutching opener in the very appropriately titled, “Rise From the Ashes” and the ‘single’ “Brainwashed” is probably the best song for radio or MTV but it probably never received air play on either. Besides, “Brainwashed” is an anti- mainstream media rant and another reason why I like the song.

“Survive” might be only thirty-one minutes long but you get a definite workout after you’ve listened to the album. It is one hell of a thrash fest. Once again, I have to sing the praises of another lead guitarist. Anthony Bramante hammers some good solos, especially on “F#” and “Equal Rights,” plus I love his intro on “Fight to Be Free,” which is rapidly becoming my favourite song on the album. You get some great drumming, a fine rhythm section which includes some cool rhythm guitar riffs, nice drum fills and the vocals of John Connelly do the job.

Here’s where I should say what a great bass player Dan Lilker is but I have done that many times before. My introduction to his bass skills came when he was in the Stormtroopers of Death. Therefore, it’s no surprise to me that he plays so well on this album. He lays down that rhythm which forms the foundation which lets the rest of the band bring the thrash. The second half of the album bears witness to this, although “Wired,” tends to crossover into more mainstream metal, not that it’s a bad thing in any way. That brings us to the closer, a very interesting cover of the Led Zeppelin classic, “Good Times, Bad Times.” While I can’t personally say what Led Zep might have thought of this cover, I do really like Nuclear Assault’s spin on it. It’s a great way to end the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Rise From the Ashes
  2. Brainwashed
  3. F#
  4. Survive
  5. Fight to be Free
  6. Got Another Quarter
  7. Great Depression
  8. Wired
  9. Equal Rights
  10. PSA
  11. Technology
  12. Good Times, Bad Times

John Connelly- guitar, lead vocals

Anthony Bramante-lead guitar

Dan Lilker- bass, backing vocals

Glenn Evans- drums, percussion

I can’t argue with the critics on this one. Some of them have said that “Survive” is one of the must have thrash albums of all time. I would agree with this. Furthermore, the album would be as strong argument to include the band in any debate on extending the Big Four.

Next post: Poison- Open Up and Say Ahh!

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Great Metal Albums of 1988: Napalm Death- From Enslavement to Obliteration

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2023 by 80smetalman

The biggest challenge I had to writing about Napalm Death’s 1988 album, “From Enslavement to Obliteration,” is not to make it a total repeat of what I wrote about the previous album, “Scum.” Thankfully, there are some differences. For one, there was no line up changes during the making of the album. The personnel who recorded the second half of that album remains the same on this one. Another difference is the opening song, “Evolved as One.” It’s not the thrash fest which Napalm Death has been associated with over the years. This song is more of a doom metal song with the line, “Weak minds,” repeated quite a lot. It was still an interesting way to open the album.

After the opener, Napalm Death go back to doing what they do best. The opener is the longest track being just over three minutes, which means that if you exclude “Evolved as One,” then the rest of the album has twenty-one songs in about twenty-six minutes. In fact, the next four tracks combined are the same length of time as the opener. Great to see that they stayed with the plan. Saying that, following those four tracks is a great song called “Unchallenged Hate.” Things slow down to near early Metallica speed at first but goes on a full thrash out in the final forty seconds, which, like on the “Scum” album, seems longer in a good way.

It has been pointed out that “F.E.T.O” encounters all the elements the unknowing say is wrong with heavy metal. That all you get is pounding power chords an ear splitting bass, mad drumming and vocals which sound like a dog who’s dying. Well, if that’s the case, then I say give me more of this because it all works very well here, although I would warn that this album is not for the feint hearted. “Inconceivable” is a great thrash out. However, there is evidence that the band can play. There are some cool guitar riffs and drum fills and pounding bass on “Display to Me.” Furthermore, Bill Steer lays down a pretty cool guitar solo on “Emotional Suffocation.”

Track Listing:

  1. Evolved as One
  2. It’s a M.A.N.S. World
  3. Lucid Fairytale
  4. Private Death
  5. Impressions
  6. Unchallenged Hate
  7. Uncertainty Blurs the Vision
  8. Cock-Rock Alienation
  9. Retreat to Nowhere
  10. Think For a Minute
  11. Display to Me
  12. From Enslavement to Obliteration
  13. Blind to the Truth
  14. Social Sterility
  15. Emotional Suffocation
  16. Practice What You Preach
  17. Inconceivable
  18. Worlds Apart
  19. Obstinate Direction
  20. Mentally Murdered
  21. Sometimes
  22. Make Way!

Napalm Death (I don’t know why there are five in this photo)

Lee Dorian- lead vocals

Bill Steer- guitar

Shane Embury- bass

Mick Harris- drums, backing vocals

To be honest, being one not to want to be quick at putting metal bands into categories, I have never really knowingly explored grindcore. But since Napalm Death are the pioneers of the sub-genre and after listing to “From Enslavement to Obliteration,” I will attempt to explore it more. Please feel free to point me to other grindcore bands.

Next post: Nuclear Assault- Survive

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