Archive for Def Leppard

Great Metal Albums of 1982: Venom- Black Metal

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2015 by 80smetalman

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When many people talk about the new wave of British heavy metal, (NWOBHM,) they usually do so with bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Saxon and Def Leppard in mind. A good number will also include Motorhead in with the above but most will leave black metal thrashers Venom out. One reason for that, according to some British metalheads I met upon my arrival in the UK, is that they couldn’t take Venom seriously. Who’s trying to take them seriously? I’m sure not in the sense of being some kind of music critic. I simply appreciate their loud, aggressive thrash metal sound supplemented by very amusing lyrics about death and Satan. Granted, they’re not the most talented musicians in metal but what they put together is enjoyable for me. This is evidenced the 1982 album, “Black Metal.”

Listening to “Black Metal” makes me regret the fact that I had never heard of Venom until 1984. I can’t even blame being in the service for that. This album would have satisfied the hard edge I was searching for in music and while I wouldn’t hear of the term ‘thrash’ for three more years, “Black Metal” would still have been the answer.

From the get go with the opening title cut, I immediately found myself soaking up the thunderous beat and thrashing guitars from the album. Even when they try to slow down with the introduction of “Buried Alive,” you know that in a second, you’re going to get your ears blasted. You know, I can never make out what they’re trying to do at the beginning of that song, but hey, who cares? Even though, I have to really concentrate to listen for when “Buried Alive” ends and “Raise the Dead” begins, it’s not a major thing to worry about. The album just goes on rocking your socks off.

I think one problem some people might have had with this album is that they couldn’t pigeon hole it. While the music is thrash, the lyrics are definitely black metal. Take “To Hell and Back” for instance.

“I have been to Hell and back – kissed satanic Queen
Traveling at the speed of light – saw thing never seen
Arm in arm with Lucifer – Belial on my back
I have swam the lake of flames – walked forbidden tracks
To Hell – – and back
To Hell – – and back”

True, part of me wants to roll on the floor laughing my ass off when I hear them but it also makes me want to scream them at any religious nuts who happen by. I think that this is something else that makes this album so cool. If you think that those lyrics are amusing, then check out “Teacher’s Pet” which opens with the line “Teacher caught me masturbating underneath my desk.” Then there’s my favourite track, “Sacrifice” where they constantly spell the title throughout the song. With all of this, no wonder it is said that “Black Metal” influenced a generation of metal.

Track Listing:

  1. Black Metal
  2. To Hell and Back
  3. Buried Alive
  4. Raise the Dead
  5. Teacher’s Pet
  6. Leave Me In Hell
  7. Sacrifice
  8. Heaven’s On Fire
  9. Countess Bathory
  10. Don’t Burn the Witch
  11. At War With Satan (preview)
Venom

Venom

Cronos- bass, lead vocals

Mantas- guitar

Abbadon- drums

History has rewarded “Black Metal” by saying that it influenced both the thrash metal and black metal scene. Hearing this album, I can certainly testify to that. It possesses what I have always loved about both sub-genres of metal. It’s just a shame I didn’t get to listen to it back in the day because I think Venom were ahead of their time.

Next post: Triumph- Never Surrender

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

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Great Metal Albums of 1981: Def Leppard- High ‘n’ Dry

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 10, 2014 by 80smetalman

 

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Up until very recently, I thought Def Leppard’s second album “High ‘n’ Dry” came out in 1982 and I was going to post about their first album. Even when a fellow blogger stated that this was a 1981, I still thought about waiting until I get to 1982 before I wrote about it. After all, I always begin each year with albums that were in fact released the previous year but didn’t come to my attention until the following one. I already have some in mind for when I get to 1982 but there’s still a way to go before that. Furthermore and for reasons I’ll state when I get to 1982, that year was a very barren year for me musically so waiting could be justified further, at least in my mind. However, it didn’t seem right that I wait and therefore am going to visit this album right now.

Another great thing about 1981, which I have concluded recently, is that what is commonly called New Wave Of British Heavy Metal or NWOBHM, was probably at its zenith that year. The albums I have covered to this point prove that. Def Leppard were another great British metal act to ride this title wave and set the stage to what was to become heavy metal’s golden decade. A few days ago was the first time I listened to “High ‘n’ Dry” in many years. I never bought it because my sister had it and we would listen to one another’s records quite often. Of course, that was after she got over her affinity for disco and the Bee Gees in the very late 70s. It was their next album “Pyromania” that was always number one with me but after hearing “High ‘n’ Dry” again, I’m not so sure.

If there was every a good opener to a Def Leppard album, it has to be “Let It Go” for certain. This song makes you want to listen to the rest of the album and I wish I had paid more attention back then because the title track would have definitely been a cruising song for the car. While it isn’t the power ballad that surpasses April Wine’s “Just Between You and Me” it does come pretty close and it too kicks the ass off “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.” I also found the instrumental “Switch 625” to be very well done. I think the reason why this album is so good is that this was recorded in a time when Def Leppard were hungry and that hunger is shown here in the album. They didn’t have to worry about commercial success, they just let rip and I think producer Mutt Lange understood this at the time. “High ‘n’ Dry” is definitely their most powerful album.

Track Listing:

1. Let It Go

2. Another Hit and Run

3. High ‘n’ Dry (Another Saturday Night)

4. Bringing on the Heartbreak

5. Switch 625

6. You Got Me Runnin’

7. Lady Strange

8. On Through the Night

9. Mirror Mirror, (Look Into My Eyes)

10. No No No

Def Leppard

Def Leppard

Joe Elliot- vocals

Pete Willis- guitar, backing vocals

Steve Clark- guitar, backing vocals

Rick Savage- bass, backing vocals

Rick Allen- drums

This would be the last album to feature guitarist Pete Willis on guitar but that’s a story saved for another time. Now is the time to enjoy a great album, arguably their best from a great band. This was the time when as far as heavy metal is concerned, Britannia ruled the waves and Def Leppard were one of the components of that.

Next album: Van Halen- Fair Warning

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

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1981: Saxon- Denim and Leather

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2014 by 80smetalman

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I know I’ve said this before, but Saxon didn’t fully come to my attention until 1985. I had heard of them before that and even remember liking one of their songs but I can never remember which one. I blame it on the booze. Their master song “Princess of the Night” appears on a compilation album I had bought in the above year but it would be more than another year until I saw this great album “Denim and Leather” on sale at my local record store for $3. I snapped it up without further thought and it is probably the wisest investment I ever made.

“Denim and Leather” is my all time favourite Saxon album and it is easy to understand why. But before I sing it’s praises, let me begin with the one minor flaw with the album, if you want to call it that. It is with the song “Rough and Ready,” which is about being a hard man. Now, in my mind, there is nothing more ridiculous than someone who is clearly not hard trying to sound like they are and sorry Biff, you’re not convincing here. Saying that, the song does redeem itself with some good musicianship equal to the rest of the album.

That leads nicely to the monster classics on this album, there are no fewer than five blockbusting songs on “Denim and Leather.” Of course,  I have to mention the track already mentioned “Princess of the Night.” It has such a killer intro that stays with you long after the song is done. Even now, I listen to it and say “wow!” Not taking anything away from the three songs that follow “Princess of the Night,” especially “Never Surrender,” but “Play It Loud” is definitely the “Wheels of Steel” of the album in the sense that it is the perfect song to play at full volume when driving in your car. I bought the album on cassette so I got to do a lot of that back in the day. Just when you’ve gotten over it, your ear drums are once again assaulted by another great one in the form of “And the Band Played On.” The guitar work in this song is completely amazing, my head just wants to keep banging away to it even when it’s over. “Midnight Rider” follows on and between this song and “Princess of the Night,” I get the impression that Saxon are into trains because that’s two songs about them. That doesn’t stop the former from also being a killer song. Then following “Fire in the Sky,” which like April Wine’s “Caught in the Crossfire” is about nuclear destruction, a relevant fear back in 1981 with Ronald Regan wanting to put cruise missiles everywhere, is one of the finest album closers of all time. The title track “Denim and Leather” is the best way to bring any album to a close. Like the other gems on the album, it has that memorable guitar crunch that aids Biff Byford’s vocals in creating history. For me, Saxon’s “Denim and Leather” is definitely my pick for one of the best albums of 1981.

Track Listing:

1. Princess of the Night

2. Never Surrender

3. Out of Control

4. Rough and Ready

5. Play it Loud

6. And the Band Played On

7. Midnight Rider

8. Fire in the Sky

9. Denim and Leather

Saxon

Saxon

Biff Byford- vocals

Graham Oliver- guitars

Paul Quinn- guitars

Steve Dawson- bass

Pete Gill- drums

When people mention NWOBHM, they are quick to say Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Def Leppard, but Saxon only gets mentioned as an after thought in many cases. I think the problem was that they put out their three greatest albums in rapid succession, sort of like Blackfoot. Furthermore, Oliver and Quinn often get left out when great guitar duos are mentioned. They are every bit as good a combo as Downing/Tipton and Smith/Murray. It is a shame that they didn’t make it as big as the the others but they’re every bit as good. “Denim and Leather” is proof in the pudding.

Next post: Sammy Hagar- Standing Hampton

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