Archive for glam rock

Great Metal Albums of 1988: Celtic Frost- Cold Lake

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 14, 2022 by 80smetalman

When I announced that my next post was going to be “Cold Lake” from Swiss metal band, Celtic Frost, I was warned that there was a lot of controversy surrounding the album. Reading the behind the scenes part of the making of the album, I am not surprised. Celtic Frost had actually disbanded following the disheartening end to their previous tour. However, at the request of the guitarist, Oliver Amberg, and producer, Tony Platt, lead singer’/guitarist, Tom Gabriel Warrior recruited new musicians and the album was made.

“Cold Lake” veers away from the thrash metal sounds of albums like “To Mega Therion” and the band’s early EPs and goes down a more traditional metal path. To be honest, it took me a couple of listens to get into it. Being used to the pounding thrash metal from those earlier albums, the slower, less aggressive sound took some getting used to. In fact, the band sound like they want to go back to their thrash roots on a lot of the songs but hold themselves back. A prime example of this is the track, “(Once) They Were Eagles.” The song sounds like it should be played at double the speed and the backing vocals sound less aggressive than what I was used to with Celtic Frost. Still, the musicianship on the song is top notch which is why I still like the song and the album.

The track where they finally hit their groove is “Cherry Orchards.” It’s reminiscent of some of the slower parts of Suicidal Tendencies’ “Join the Army” album and it sounds really good, possibly the best song on the album. Oliver Amberg rips a good guitar solo on this one. “Juice is Like Wine” is similar to it, although they speed it up a little. However, I will take “Cherry Orchards” over it.

Celtic Frost from the earlier albums

Another point of interest is that Tom used the new lineup to change the image of the band. On their earlier albums, the band had a more gothic, scary look but on this album, they go total glam metal. Some would argue that the music from the album doesn’t fit the image of the band but for me, who cares? I never really cared about physical appearance of any band, it’s what they put down on record is the only interest for me and “Cold Lake” has grown on me. I won’t put it in any of my top album lists but it’s still a good listen. It would have been even better if they left out the opening track. What were they doing there? Trying to rap or something?

Track Listing:

  1. Human II (Intro)
  2. Seduce Me Tonight
  3. Petty Obsession
  4. (Once) They Were Eagles
  5. Cherry Orchards
  6. Juice Like Wine
  7. Little Velvet
  8. Blood on Kisses
  9. Downtown Hanoi
  10. Dance Sleazy
  11. Roses Without Thorns
  12. Tease Me
  13. Mexican Radio

Note: The last two tracks were only available on the CD version.

Celtic Frost in 1988

Tom Gabriel Warrior- lead vocals, rhythm guitar, effects

Oliver Amberg- lead guitar, backing vocals, effects

Curt Victor Bryant- bass, effects, backing vocals, lead guitar on track 11

Steven Priestly- drums, backing vocals

Additional Musicians:

Michelle Villanueva- backing vocals on track 5

Brian Hewitt- rap on track 1, backing vocals on track 2

Xavier Russell- backing vocals on tracks 1 and 11

Right after the album was released, Oliver Amberg was fired from the band, the reason isn’t revealed to me. I have read that many Celtic Frost fans call “Cold Lake” an underrated album. I wouldn’t disagree. It just took some getting used to after the material they had put out on earlier albums.

Next post: David Lee Roth- Skyscraper

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To sign the petition for a knighthood for Bruce Dickinson, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson?redirect=false

Great Metal Albums of 1988: Odin- Fight For Your Life

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2022 by 80smetalman

Here’s an example of not doing my research thoroughly. My first experience of American glam metal band, Odin, came via the Metal Sisters on the compilation tape they sent me for Christmas in 1986. To avoid boring you all with a very long story, I will shorten it down. When I searched for Odin on my normal sources, it revealed that their first full length LP was the “Fight For Your Life” album which came out in 1988. Therefore, I thought the song the Metal Sisters sent me, “Solar Eye,” was a single. It turns out that it was on an EP and I only found this out thanks to the Metal-Archives website. That is a good website for checking out little known metal bands.

When I first heard “Solar Eye” on said tape, I wanted to laugh. Lead singer, “Randy O. Roberg’s, high pitched screams were the reason why. They take away from the rest of the band who sound pretty tight. That desire to laugh followed on when I heard the opening track to this album. However, on the second track, “Love Action,” he dismisses the screams for the most part, they are in the chorus, and sings normally and his voice isn’t bad. Plus, you get to hear the rest of the band more and one ends up wondering which way the rest of the album is going to go.

The third track, “She Was the One” answers the question as it’s a decent power ballad. Randy doesn’t scream and you get to hear the good rhythm section of Aaron Samson and Shawn Duncan as well as the guitar work of Jeff Duncan as he lays down some good guitar fills and rips a short but sweet guitar solo. However, I can only say it’s a decent power ballad because it has an ‘it’s all been done before’ feel to it. On the straight forward rocker, “I Get What I Want,” you are reassured that Randy O. Roberg is definitely done with the screaming and sings normally. A short acoustic instrumental, “Serenade to the Court” follows right after.

The first side ends following on from the instrumental as “Modern Day King” begins with a medieval ballad type feel. However, the song picks up pace and then goes nuclear in the middle. Okay, Randy’s voice does go higher but not to the screams of the opening track and Jeff does lay down a blinder of a solo. It gets my pick for best song on the album. It shows what this band was capable of achieving and though it goes out, some say predictably, as it came in, it still sounds great.

Side two starts with a good power rocker in “Stranger Tonight.” Again, the screams are watered down, which is a good thing and the rhythm section clicks and another good guitar solo. Okay, I’m adding Jeff Duncan to my ever-growing list of underrated guitarists. “Stranger Tonight” is the second best song on the album. Actually, I’m left to draw the conclusion that the second two-thirds of the album is the better part. “Time and Time Again” is another great hard rocker where the Duncans and Aaron are unchained and just rock out. I’m also beginning to think that the singer is the weakest link with the band. That impression shows even more on “I’m Gonna Get You.” Again, it’s the guitar, bass and drums which make the song and there is a little more screaming form Randy which just sounds annoying.

Penultimate track, “Push,” has the good place for Randy’s high pitched screams as it opens the song rather well, followed by some good guitar work. Randy sings most of the song in falsetto and while I won’t call it annoying, it doesn’t help the song either although the good playing does. The closer, which is also the title track, opens with spoken words which at the end tell us to “Fight For Your Life.” It’s an amusing bluesy doom rock track which is a good way to end the album as it all comes together nicely. Even with the falsetto screams and Jeff Duncan saves his best solo for the end. The album has grown on me with each listen and it shows that Odin had potential.

Track Listing:

  1. 12 O’clock High
  2. Love Action
  3. She Was the One
  4. I Get What I Want
  5. Serenade to the Court
  6. Modern Day King
  7. Stranger Tonight
  8. Time and Time Again
  9. I’m Gonna Get You
  10. Push
  11. Fight For Your Life

Odin

Randy O. Roberg- vocals

Jeff Duncan- guitar

Aaron Samson- bass

Shawn Duncan- drums

This was from 1986 and I’m including it to show the screaming.

The problem with Odin in 1988, they were part of a saturated market. Their sound and image, although I like this album, “Fight For Your Life,” really didn’t offer anything unique back then. It’s still worth listening to today.

Next post: Kuni- Looking For Action

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To sign the petition for a knighthood for Bruce Dickinson, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson?redirect=false

Great Rock Albums of 1988: Night Ranger- Man in Motion

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 8, 2022 by 80smetalman

At least the 80smetalman curse can’t be blamed for the lack of success of Night Ranger’s “Man in Motion” album. For those who don’t know, the 80smetalman curse is that if I really like a band or a record it seems to be doomed not to be big. Examples, take three bands I have plugged on here. Black Emerald have broken up, Slave to Sirens are on a hiatus and are looking for a new singer and drummer and though Greywinds are still going, they haven’t gained that much attraction. However, back in 1988, I didn’t even know that Night Ranger had put this album out because in the UK, they were and probably always be known for two big songs, “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me” and “Sister Christian.” The thing is that now I have listened to “Man In Motion,” I think it’s now my favourite Night Ranger album.

When I heard this album, I was blown away how much it rocked! The power chords come in straight away on the opening title cut. The heavy keyboards from their previous two albums were toned down and the guitars turned up. Now, this could have been down to the departure of keyboardist Alan Fitzgerald, which in one sense was a shame because he was good but on the other hand, it did open the door for guitarists Jeff Watson and Brad Gillis to show what a great guitar duo they were.

Jeff Watson and Brad Gillis leading the way for Night Ranger

Here’s another paradox which confronts me in regards to the album. Normally, the hit single is not my favourite track on most albums but in this case, it is. “Reason to Be” is a cooker of a song which wouldn’t be out of place on many metal albums. After an ear catching acoustic intro, the song kicks into full gear and just simply rocks out and has a cool guitar solo. It was released as a single and was the highest charter making it to #’48. Logic dictates that I shouldn’t like it but I really do.

The second best track, I guess I can call this one the hidden gem, comes right after. “Don’t Start Thinking (I’m Alone Tonight)” takes me back to Night Ranger’s first two albums, “Midnight Madness” and “Dawn Patrol.” When I listen to this track, I keep thinking that they should have kept this sound all along. And the party doesn’t end there. A heavy metal intro brings in “Love Shot Me Down” and that metal sound continues all through the song. Man, I do love the guitar solo but unfortunately, Wikipedia isn’t letting onto which guitar virtuoso plays the solo on it.

Flashbacks of “Sister Christian” come through when I hear “Restless Kind.” I think they were definitely trying to recapture that former glory with this one and I do say that it comes pretty close but let’s be honest here, there is only one “Sister Christian.” Still, as far as power ballads go, it’s a good one. They go in a KISS direction on “Halfway to the Sun” as it does sound comparable to 80s KISS. It’s still a good song.

“Here She Comes Again” is more 80s pop rock and maybe should have been released as a single. It’s not a bad song but definitely not my favourite on the album but the fickle record buying trendy public might have bought it. More KISS vibes come through on “Right On You.” If fact, this one sounds more KISS than the previously mentioned KISS sounding song. It’s a great fun song to rock out to and things keep on rocking with “Kiss Me Where It Hurts.” It has the classic Watson/Gillis guitar solo tradeoff which is something I have always liked about Night Ranger.

The album closes with two decent but unspectacular tracks, “I Did It For Love” and “Woman in Love.” The former was released as a single abut only got to #75. Listening to it, I thought it might have done better but there’s better tracks on the album. “Woman in Love” does bring the album to a rocking close and it’s a good way to end things because I have difficulty picturing it being anywhere else on the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Man in Motion
  2. Reason to Be
  3. Don’t Start Thinking (I’m Along Tonight)
  4. Love Shot Me Down
  5. Restless Kind
  6. Halfway to the Sun
  7. Here She Comes Again
  8. Right On You
  9. Kiss Me Where it Hurts
  10. I Did It for Love
  11. Woman in Love
Night Ranger (1988)

Jack Blades- bass, lead and backing vocals

Brad Gillis- guitar, backing vocals

Jeff Watson- guitar

Kelly Keagy- drums, lead and backing vocals, percussion

Jesse Bradman- keyboards, backing vocals

Additional Musicians:

Alan Pasquale, Claude Gaudette, Eric Persing, Joyce Imbesi, John Purdell- additional keyboards

John Purdell, Kevin Chalfant- additional backing vocals

It was great that on “Man in Motion,” Night Ranger went back to a more hard rocking sound and without sounding like Rick Springfield. This is a cracker of an album which was why it didn’t have the commercial success it should have.

Next post: 38 Special- Rock and Roll Strategy

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To sign the petition to have Bruce Dickinson receive a much deserved knighthood, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Great Rock Albums of 1988: Honeymoon Suite- Racing After Midnight

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2022 by 80smetalman

Now that my other writing obligations have been fulfilled, I can get back to the task of posting on here. BTW, has anyone bought the download to the wrestling match I wrote the script for? Further shameless plug alert: You will be reading my contribution to “The Tales of Tee-Bone Man and Superdekes” on one of Mike’s future posts. I got to satisfy my delusions of grandeur on that one. I know in reality that I’m not the foremost rock historian.

Now onto the next album, “Racing After Midnight” from Canadian rockers, Honeymoon Suite. After listening to the album, I have decided to declare that Honeymoon Suite is the best Canadian artist not to have cracked Great Britain. Most British people I know haven’t heard of these guys, while many of them have heard of my favourite Canadian band, Killer Dwarfs, who Canadians say is an even more obscure band. I might have had a little to do with that. Anyway, the shameful part about this is that Honeymoon Suite are a great band and had they been around a few years earlier, they might have made an impact in the UK.

Honeymoon Suite have been labelled glam metal or pop metal by the so-called officiandoes, however, I think they go a little harder rock on “Racing After Midnight.” While there is the keyboards on it and I can see why some have sung the praises of Rob Preuss on the album, I think overall this album is truly hard rock. The keyboards don’t overshadow which was a main thing done back then. Then when you have such a great guitarist as Derry Grehan, you don’t really want to drown out his riffs. This album confirms why Derry is one of my guitarists in my band of the most underrated musicians. He just wails away throughout the album, especially on “Love Forever.”

Derry Grehan- guitar

One major surprise from listening to the album and reading the credits is that Michael McDonald contributes to the song writing and provides backing vocals. For Michael, this is sort of a departure from his soul influenced vocal style and is more known for singing ballads. However, this song rocks quite a lot. It’s the middle of the album where things really get rocking although I won’t take anything away from I guess was the intended single, “Cold Look,” which definitely sounds made for radio. Unfortunately, either it didn’t get enough airplay or the fickle public didn’t take notice of it. “Love Forever,” “Other Side of Midnight” and “Love Changes Everything” are all good rockers and the best tracks on the album. It just sounds like the band just totally comes together on these three tracks. Johnnie Dee’s vocals sound great, the rhythm section is particularly tight, good keyboards support from Rob and of course there’s Derry. Yes, I’m a fan.

Honeymoon Suite have always been capable of a good power ballad or two and they don’t disappoint with “It’s Over Now.” It’s a good one which ticks all the boxes in that category. But they do go back to rocking with “Fast Company” and “Tears on the Page,” which has a 38 Special feel to it. Yet another surprise comes with the closer. While I never listened to the soundtrack of any of the “Lethal Weapon” movies, it still comes as a surprise to learn that the closing track on this album appears on the soundtrack. Still, it’s the best way to close out the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Looking Our For Number One
  2. Long Way Back
  3. Cold Look
  4. Love Forever
  5. Other Side of Midnight
  6. Love Changes Everything
  7. It’s Over Now
  8. Love Forever
  9. Tears on the Page
  10. Lethal Weapon
Honeymoon Suite

Johnnie Dee- vocals

Dermot ‘Derry’ Grehan- guitar

Rob Preuss- keyboards

Gary Lalonde- bass

Dave Betts- drums

Additional Musicians:

Michael McDonald- backing vocals on “Long Way Back”

Ted Templeman and Bobby LaKind- percussion

“Racing After Midnight” is a great album from an underrated band. Saying that, there seems to be a link between me liking an album and it being a commercial flop. Anyway, this album does rock!

Next post: Glass Tiger- Diamond Sun

To Buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To give Bruce Dickinson a well deserved knighthood, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Great Metal Albums of 1988: Bonfire- Fireworks

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Illness, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 1, 2022 by 80smetalman

I nearly forgot, blame old age, that I begin any given year with albums which came out the previous year but didn’t come to my attention until the year I’m posting on. One of these was the second album by German metal band, Bonfire and my discovery of them came in a rather amusing way. My friends’ band, Torque Show was playing their first gig at London’s famous club, The Marquee. They were the opening band for, you’ve already guessed it, Bonfire.

Torque Show

The photo above is misleading, only two members of the band were left by the time Torque Show played the Marquee and they were on their second drummer. Anyway, they played well as an opening band and paved the way for Bonfire who impressed me as well. At least to the point that I gave their second album “Fireworks,” a go. It was a good night.

The best way to describe “Fireworks” is a straight forward glam metal album. The album does nothing I would call groundbreaking but it is consistent all the way through. For me, it doesn’t really fully kick into gear until the third track, “Sleeping All Alone.” There’s nothing wrong with the first two tracks, they both provide a good listen but it’s this particular track that turned my head. It could be the cool guitar solos from Hans Ziller which do it. That level is maintained with the following track, “Champion.” It’s a good straight ahead metal tune, one which would be radio friendly and the rhythm section, including the rhythm guitar, lay down a good foundation for the song.

Bonfire gets down and dirty with “Don’t Get Me Wrong” as this is a sleazy sounding, guitar crunching number. This is one to pump your fist in the air and flash the horns to. I can’t remember which songs they played that night so I can say if I did or not. I know I did stage dive. However, things dip a little after as “Sweet Obsession” doesn’t quite measure up to the previous three tracks. It has a good bassline though. The same can be said for “Rock Me Now.” Its intro sounds similar to the Great White classic, “Rock Me,” but then picks up speed but in spite of the increased speed, it lacks a little punch.

Fortunately, my pick for track of the album comes in and the last two tracks become distant memories. “American Nights” comes in with some cool drumming and definitely has some swagger. Lead singer, Claus Lessman, who sings well on all tracks, gives it a bit more oomph with the vocals and the rest of the band respond accordingly. Cool guitar riffs and lead guitar hooks bring in “Fantasy.” The changes in tempo keep it interesting, One minute it sounds like a ballad but then goes total metal the next with some great guitar work.

Penultimate track, “Give It a Try,” is a decent power ballad and you can feel the passion in Claus’s vocals and some good power ballad soloing from Hans. Listening to it and then to the actual closer, “Cold Days,” I think that these two songs should have been switched around. “Cold Days” would have been a better penultimate track and the passion behind “Give It a Try” would be better for a closer.

Track Listing:

  1. Ready 4 Action
  2. Never Mind
  3. Sleeping Alone
  4. Champion
  5. Don’t Get Me Wrong
  6. Sweet Obsession
  7. Rock Me Now
  8. American Nights
  9. Fantasy
  10. Give It a Try
  11. Cold Days
Alternative Cover

Claus Lessman- lead and backing vocals

Hans Ziller- lead and acoustic guitars, backing vocals

Horst Maier- rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Jorg Deisinger- bass, backing vocals

Additional Musicians

Ken Mary- drums

Martin Ernst- keyboards

Maybe I should thank Torque Show, for opening for a great band. Torque Show broke up a couple of years later but Bonfire still burns on. With albums like “Fireworks,” it’s plain to see why.

Next post: Cheap Trick- Lap of Luxury

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To sign the petition to have Bruce Dickinson knighted, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Guns ‘N’ Roses- Appetite For Destruction

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2022 by 80smetalman

Welcome to the final post of the tour through 1987. Since it is the final post of another great year for metal, I thought I would go out in a blaze of glory, cue Guns ‘N’ Roses and “Appetite for Destruction.” This iconic album became a standard bearer for metal for the remaining years of the 1980s. People the world over love this album and my fear is that when I go into the meat of the album, there is not much I can say about it that hasn’t already been said.

In regards to what I’ve written about the album being a standard bearer for the last few years of the golden decade of metal, it did get off to a slow start in 1987. Some American critics dismissed the album at first, they felt stupid after, and even my sister originally branded them ‘Motley Crue rip offs and sexist pigs.’ British critics were kinder to the album although the more conservative, metal hating British tabloids weren’t. They put forward stories that the band did horrible things to poodles, (I’m not making this up.)

They did come to the UK in the summer of said year and played some gigs at the Marquee Club in London. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see them as I was getting married a week later and my future Mrs and I were flat hunting. Friends of mine did go and not only did they have a great time enjoying the kick ass show, they went for a curry with the band after. God, I’m jealous! My friends described it as a great night, Many years after, one of them, Dave, went on some seminar and was asked about one great thing he did, he responded that he had a curry with Guns ‘N’ Roses. He’s not sure if many people actually believed him.

Like I said, what can I say about “Appetite for Destruction” which hasn’t been already said over the many years? Songs? Not one of the tracks on the album can be considered ‘filler.’ All of them are monster tracks. Sure, there’s the singles. The most notable of those are “Sweet Child o’ Mine,” “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Paradise City.” I love the harmonizing at the beginning of “Paradise City” and the way the guitars just get down and dirty after. “Welcome to the Jungle” is a just an in your face power rocker. Then there’s the most noted of the three, “Sweet Child o’ Mine.” Even thirty-five years on, Slash’s guitar solos on the track just totally blows me away.

For years, I’ve considered “Mr Brownstone” the hidden gem. The problem is that the track isn’t exactly hidden. It was released as a single, at least according to Wikipedia, but it didn’t have the chart success as the other three singles. In any case, it is my favourite track on the album. It’s just total sleaze metal here and what I like best is the fact the drug references totally got under the skin of the Reagan Administration. Another great point on the album for me is the closer, “Rocket Queen.” It actually sounds like two songs in one where the guitar tempo just completely changes and it does so in a fashion which takes the album out superbly. But whichever song on the album you like most, it will be a good choice.

Now let’s talk about musicianship. Sorry Dawn, I can’t agree with the Motley Crue rip offs label because GNR are much better musicians. The guitars of Slash and Izzy Stradlin could have been considered state of the art back then. While I would be the first to admit that Axl Rose has a huge ego, his vocal ability can’t be faulted, at least not by me and of course, Slash, Axl and Izzy are supported by a great rhythm section of Duff and Steven. It’s no wonder this band became a symbol for metal in the closing years of the decade.

Track Listing:

  1. Welcome to the Jungle
  2. It’s So Easy
  3. Nightrain
  4. Out ta Get Me
  5. Mr. Brownstone
  6. Paradise City
  7. My Michelle
  8. Think About You
  9. Sweet Child o’ Mine
  10. You’re Crazy
  11. Anything Goes
  12. Rocket Queen
Guns ‘N’ Roses

W. Axl Rose- lead vocals

Slash- lead, acoustic, slide and talk box guitars, backing vocals

Izzy Stradlin- lead and rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Duff ‘Rose’ McKagan- bass, backing vocals

Steven Adler- drums

There should be no debate that “Appetite for Destruction” marked a major turning point for metal. While I never thought the sleaze went anywhere, I won’t debate those who say that the album brought it back to metal. On a personal note, like this iconic album, 1987 marked a major turning point for me. I started the year an angry young man but thanks to one woman, I found new direction in my life. It turned out to be a good year for Guns ‘N’ Roses and me.

Next post: A Movie You Should Definitely Check Out

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To sign the petition to give Bruce Dickinson a knighthood, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Great Metal Albums of 1987: White Lion- Pride

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 8, 2022 by 80smetalman

According to history, hair metal became popular in the closing years of the 1980s. However, some of those hair metal bands had albums out as early as 1985. One of those was White Lion, a band I particularly link to hair metal. How I missed out on their 1985 “Fight to Survive” album is beyond me. After all, the title track is my favourite White Lion song. Therefore, I am making doubly sure that I don’t miss out any more of their discography and they’re not the only band this has happened to. Here in its full glory is White Lion’s 1987 album, “Pride.”

What I love about “Pride” is the tight musicianship from all four members. That is what makes the album stand out for me. The album itself is straight forward heavy metal but it’s played very well. The song subjects are typical of the time, but then, they are the same throughout most genres of music. “Lonely Nights” is about a girl who has been dumped by her man for another girl who just wants to be loved. “Don’t Give Up” can be said as an encouraging call to the working man. This was particularly relevant in 1980s America as the entire country was engulfed in a go-go-go yuppie lifestyle. However, both songs are played extremely well and I’ll avoid the rush and start gushing over what a great guitarist Vitto Bratta is and why isn’t his name more known. He really rips a great solo on “Sweet Little Loving.”

The hidden gem for me is “Lady of the Valley.” This sounds like a no nonsense heavy metal tune and yes of course, Vitto’s guitar work is prominent, especially his acoustic guitar work. There are also parts when it goes more power ballad and now it’s time to point out the bass playing of James LoMenzo and the drumming of Greg D’Angelo as they make a fine rhythm section and it shows here. Maybe I should talk about Mike Tramp as it is his vocals that lead the album and he does sing well throughout.

It’s time to talk about the song which was saturated all over MTV in 1988. Yes, you in the back, I’m talking about the famous single, “Wait.” It even got attention over in England at the time and I have it on a compilation CD. Like with the previous track, it shows how easily White Lion can flow back and forth from power ballad to a more straight forward metal song. Vitto playing his guitar solo in the video amuses me because he’s on one knee. Is he trying to copy Yngwie Malmsteen?

By the middle of the decade, MTV really began to suck and the suckiness can relate to White Lion. The three singles from “Pride” were all ballad like songs and while that’s not a bad thing, it does hinder the fact that White Lion could rock. Okay, “Tell Me” is a decent rocker and it did well as a single but there are better examples. One song on the album which definitely proves my point is “All You Need is Rock ‘n’ Roll.” This is one to play at a party. You can headbang along to it and if you’re drunk enough, you can sing along to the chorus. I would have done so if the album had come out a year earlier.

I never had the fortune to have seen White Lion live but I wonder if they used the format on the album to close the show. The penultimate track, “All Join Hands” would have been a great song to finish on before leaving the stage and coming back for an encore. It’s one of those feel good, all sing together type tunes. If they had, then they could have come back and performed the closer, “When the Children Cry.” This was a well known single and it’s ballad format would have been an excellent way to end the show. If anyone has seen White Lion in the past, could they please enlighten me?

Track Listing:

  1. Hungry
  2. Lonely Nights
  3. Don’t Give Up
  4. Sweet Little Loving
  5. Lady of the Valley
  6. Wait
  7. All You Need is Rock ‘n’ Roll
  8. Tell Me
  9. All Join Hands
  10. When Children Cry

Mike Tramp- vocals, rhythm guitar

Vitto Bratta- guitar

James LoMenzo- bass

Greg D’Angelo- drums

I thought I would include this one since I missed it out and it is my favourite White Lion song.

Things are becoming clearer to me. With albums such as “Pride” by hair metal bands like White Lion, I can now see why it would become such a force in the final years of the 1980s.

Next post: Wrath- Nothing to Fear

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To sign the petition for a knighthood for Bruce Dickinson, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Lizzy Borden- Visual Lies

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 28, 2022 by 80smetalman

This time, there is no debate on whether “Visual Lies,” compliments of Lizzy Borden, is an EP or an LP. Nine songs covering a time of forty-one minutes gives the answer to that. Going back to reality, one of my goals when I started writing this blog was to encourage people to get out their old records and listen to them again. Okay, my main goal is to sell copies of “Rock and Roll Children,” but that’s not the point here. A great side effect of this is that it has got me to do the same. I never bought a Lizzy Borden album back in the 80s because I knew people who had their albums and play them and since they weren’t well known in the UK, I hadn’t listened to any of their music for three decades. So, you can say that I am making up for lost time.

“Visual Lies” can be broken down into three chapters. Chapter one is the first two songs which are the more commercial radio friendly tunes. Both have that radio friendly melodic vibe to it but not anywhere close to making a hard core fan think they’ve sold out. The metal is present in both of the songs. Lizzy’s vocals are straight up and there are cool guitar solos. Saying that, I do think that White Stripes ‘borrowed’ the intro off the opener, “Me Against the World.”

Chapter Two is where the band goes more power metal spanning four tracks. Even the track, “Outcast,” which is close to being a power ballad has more power than ballad. The same holds true with the melodic harmony of the backing vocals on the choruses. Sure, the melody is there but it doesn’t lose any of the power and of course, there are some great guitar solos. While “Outcast” is my pick for favourite track, the guitar solo trade off clinches it for me, no intensity is lost on the other three tracks. “Den of Thieves” brings the most power of the three as it comes close to being speed metal but all four of these tracks just totally rock!

“Visual Lies” goes progressive metal in its third and final chapter. “Lord of the Flies” is probably what Yes would have sounded like if they had gone heavy metal. The song has a great progressive melody but backed up with some great power chords. It’s probably my imagination but Lizzy does sound a little like Jon Anderson here. Even the guitar solo sounds progressive. While not as intense as “Lord of the Flies,” the remaining tracks are in the same vein. Nice progressive sounding melodies with some hard power chords and in the case of “Voyeur, I’m Watching You,” a rather flowery guitar solo.

In the months between “Terror Rising” and this album, Lizzy Borden went through changes in guitarists. It seems that Tony Matuzak only played on the EP and Alex Nelson departed as well. Two guitarists gone but only replaced by one, Joe Holmes. It’s not a catastrophe because Joe seems to fit right in with Gene Allen as they do some amazing trade offs on their solos. On another note, 1,000 80smetalman points to Armand Rosamillia and 500 to Aphoristical for the assist for identifying the accompanying vocalist on “Don’t Touch Me There” from “Terror Rising.” Singing along with Lizzy was Betsy Bitch, real name Betsy Weiss.

And here she is

Track Listing:

  1. Me Against the World
  2. Shock
  3. Outcast
  4. Den of Thieves
  5. Visual Lies
  6. Eyes of a Stranger
  7. Lord of the Flies
  8. Voyeur (I’m Watching You)
  9. Visions
Lizzy Borden

Lizzy Borden- lead vocals

Gene Allen- guitar

Joe Holmes- guitar

Mike Davis- bass

Joey Scott- drums

Well, I’ve made up a little for not listening to Lizzy Borden in thirty years and with these two albums, I sort of regret what I’ve been missing.

Next post: Bitch- The Bitch is Back

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To sign the petition for a knighthood for Bruce Dickinson, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Lizzy Borden- Terror Rising

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 24, 2022 by 80smetalman

Before I even began to listen to “Terror Rising” by American band, Lizzy Borden, I had a question about it thanks to Wikipedia. They call this album an EP owing to the fact that it only has seven songs for a total combined length of twenty-seven minutes. I know of LPs which only have that many songs and aren’t much longer in length. That put the question in my mind, should “Terror Rising” be considered an EP or an LP? After mentally debating this question for about 1.2 seconds, I began listening to the album and after a few notes, I didn’t really care.

The album begins with the melodic metal riffs which Lizzy Borden was known for back in the day. Opening track, “Give Them the Axe,” was the supposed single for the album and I can hear why. It’s hard rocking but melodic rhythm is ideal for commercial radio at the time. Lizzy Borden’s vocals are straight forward without going over the top falsetto and the rhythm is very catchy. Plus it has a short but to the point guitar solo. Single or not, it was a great way to open the album.

Up next is a very very interesting cover of the Jefferson Airplane classic, “White Rabbit.” You could easily say that Lizzy Borden put their own spin on it. Being a big fan of the Airplane back in the day, I am not offended by this cover, in fact, I like it very much. Since, I’ve been singing the praises of bass players lately, I will continue to do so and say that Mike Davis puts down a really groovy bass line on it. There are also a couple of cool guitar solos.

Next is a live recording of “Rod of Iron.” Now I am not sure if it’s the same recording as on the 1986 live album, “The Murderous Metal Road Show” but it sounds good here. In any case, it is played very well and remembering back to when I posted about the live album, I remember why I regret not seeing Lizzy Borden live. The same goes for the next track, “American Metal.” It is also on the previous live album but in this case, you get a studio recording of it. It’s a good straight forward metal tune and Lizzy goes a little more over the top on the falsetto vocals at times but the backing vocals are done well. If played live, this would be a good song to encourage audience participation to.

Then we get to the hidden gem, “Don’t Touch Me There.” Here’s another mystery which my normal online resources haven’t been forth coming to provide the information. I am offering 1,000 80smetalman points to who can tell me the lady who accompanies Lizzy on the vocals. Together, they make a fantastic duet. All of the cliched innuendos are present but backed up with some great heavy guitar. For anyone who says that humour doesn’t belong in heavy metal, then I highly recommend they listen to this one. It’s a great fusion of humour and metal.

“Catch Your Death” is another straight forward faster paced metal song with an intro that leads you into believing it’s going to be a power ballad. It’s the fastest song on the album which keeps the album ticking over very well to the title track closer. It does have a great guitar solo trade off and it might be a good time to point out that Lizzy Borden added a third guitarist, Tony Matuzak, to the line up. It does bring an extra sense of power to things.

Title cut, “Terror Rising” is a horror movie type song where Lizzy is trying to dismiss the demon he made a deal with but the demon refuses to leave. I get the feeling that the demon takes over at the end before the repeated lines, “It’s terror rising, I’m terrorizing.” end the album on an amusing note.

Track Listing:

  1. Give ‘Em the Axe
  2. White Rabbit
  3. Rod of Iron
  4. American Metal
  5. Don’t Touch Me There
  6. Catch Your Death
  7. Terror Rising
Lizzy Borden

Lizzy Borden- Vocals

Gene Allen- guitars

Tony Matuzak- guitar

Alex Nelson- guitar

Mike Davis- bass

Joey Scott- drums

Forget about the EP or LP debate, “Terror Rising” stands on its own as a cool album from an great but amusing metal band. Since the 1980s, I had forgotten about Lizzy Borden but I am enjoying my personal renaissance with the band, which is why….

Next post: Lizzy Borden- Visual Lies

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To sign the petition for a knighthood for Bruce Dickinson, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Great White- Once Bitten

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 20, 2022 by 80smetalman

After being dropped by their label after their commercially disappointing debut album, (I thought it was good), Great White went for a more bluesier sound with their next album, “Shot in the Dark.” That was a great album and I just went back into the archives and reread how much I gushed over it. With that said, that album was simply a warm up for what I consider Great White’s best album, “Once Bitten.” On this album, they took the more metal debut album and their more blues second album and combined them to make this one their greatest album.

One thing I like about “Once Bitten” is that all of the tracks here, bar one, seem to have brilliant guitar intros. Whether it’s the riffing of rhythm guitarist Michael Lardie or solos from lead guitarist Mark Kendall, they bring each song in on a very high note before the rest of the band join in and carry that song to the end. Jack Russell’s vocals are superb but I stick by what I wrote when I visited “Shot in the Dark” what seems ages ago, Lorne Black is a totally underrated bass player! I love his basslines on practically every song and a good reason why none of the songs on this album can be considered filler.

Let me now go straight to not only the best song on the album but my favourite Great White song of all time, “Rock Me.” After the first two tracks deliver a great build up, this third track just blows me away. It describes exactly what I mean with Great White finding the metal and blues combination and creating something phenomenal with it because that’s what they do with “Rock Me.” Everything I said about the band in the above paragraph comes through many fold on this song. Plus, I should be gushing over what a great guitarist Mark Kendall is because he definitely earns that title here.

I know it’s a tired 80smetalman cliche which I’ve said many times but in the case of “Once Bitten,” one song doesn’t make an album. After being blown away by “Rock Me,” “All Over Now” comes in as a straight forward metal jam with that cool intro and some great guitar work and vocals held together by a strong as steel rhythm section. I haven’t mentioned him yet so I will now because Audie Desbrow lets us know what a great drummer he is as he puts in some great fills on this one.

An acoustic blues riff starts “Mistreater” before things just go total metal nuts but if you listen carefully, you can hear the honky tonk piano in the background. This is another effective blues-metal combination which is a great one to bang along to with some great soloing from Mark before the acoustic close out. More acoustic intros follow on “Never Change Heart.” It starts out as a potential ballad before morphing into a mid-tempo metal tune. Once again, Lorne’s bassline is prominent.

While there aren’t any filler tracks on the album, “Fast Road” for me is the least strongest. Maybe it’s me but this one seems, except for Audie’s drumroll intro, to come and go without much notice. It’s simply a good but unspectacular metal song and that’s okay. Probably because it is the fastest song on the album. Penultimate track, “On the Edge,” for some reason keeps confusing me with the Hurricane hit, “Take Me In Your Arms.” Don’t ask me why, it’s probably down to my insane mind but they do sound similar to me.

Finally we get to the closer and I ask myself: “How in the hell didn’t ‘Save Your Love’ make it on my top 30 power ballads list?” Perhaps I do need my head examined because this is a blinder of of a power ballad. Great White do everything they have done on previous tracks but just take it a little more slower. Believe me, it’s one hell of a power ballad! Passionate vocals, acoustic guitar and a great guitar solo, it’s all there. Thinking back to “Shot in the Dark” where they conclude that album with a power ballad, it could be that power ballad closers is the band’s trademark.

Track Listing:

  1. Lady Red Light
  2. Gonna Getcha
  3. Rock Me
  4. All Over Now
  5. Mistreater
  6. Never Change Heart
  7. Fast Road
  8. On the Edge
  9. Save Your Love

Note: The UK version omits four of these tracks and replaces them with four tracks from “Shot in the Dark.”

Great White

Jack Russell- lead and backing vocals

Mark Kendall- lead guitar, backing vocals

Michael Lardie- rhythm guitar, keyboards, harmonica, backing vocals

Lorne Black- bass, backing vocals

Audie Desbrow- drums

For me, “Once Bitten” is the best album from Great White. They do everything well here and it shows!

Next post: Lizzy Borden- Terror Rising

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To sign the petition for a knighthood for Bruce Dickinson, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson