Archive for glam rock

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: Winger

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

Back in 1988, heavy metal wasn’t so categorized, at least in my view. If it had some good power chords, suitable vocals and killer guitar solos, then it was metal. Sure, I knew of glam metal. Bands like Motley Crue, Bon Jovi and Europe carried that banner proudly. As for hair metal, it didn’t exist although I would say that TNT were pioneers of the genre. Therefore, when my sister sent me one of her many compilation tapes from the US, I made no such distinction when it came to the Winger song, “Headed for a Heartbreak.” I just liked the song.

Winger’s debut album was exactly one direction which heavy metal seemed to be heading in the late 1980s. For metalheads, there were power chords galore but there was some great melody and power ballads to gain the band much commercial success with the album. Four singles were released from the album, one of which, “Heading for a Heartbreak,” has already been mentioned. It’s considered a great power ballad and I don’t disagree. Three other singles begin the album, the first one, which was also the first single, “Madeline,” is another almost power ballad type song but it shows the potential of the band from the right off. The second track, “Hungry,” is noticeably heavier. Maybe it’s me mellowing with age but I appreciate the combined power chords with melody much more these days.

Single/track three, “Seventeen” is my favourite among the singles. It’s even more rockier than “Hungry” with a lot of swagger to it. True, it’s about intimacy with a girl of the same age as the title but the lyrics don’t matter here. It’s a catchy hard rock vibe and guitarist, Reb Beach, really steps into the spotlight on this one. His rhythm guitar work is exceptional and he plays a blinder of a guitar solo. But before I get into the deeper cuts and reveal the hidden gem, one can’t help but notice the cover of the Jimi Hendrix classic, “Purple Haze.” It wouldn’t win a Original vs. Cover competition in my eyes but it’s done fairly well.

Although “Without the Night,” wasn’t released as a single, maybe it should have been. It’s a good enough power ballad. Kip Winger does pour some genuine passion into the vocals and lays down a cool bassline. Maybe it should have been called, “Kip’s Song.” Okay, maybe not because bass and vocals are supported by some good keyboards from Paul Taylor. Additionally, we get another great guitar solo from Reb and one can’t forget the drumming of Rod Morganstein. However, it’s not the hidden gem.

So, the search for the hidden gem continues. All four remaining tracks are contenders but the winner is “Time to Surrender.” Reb’s riffs at the very beginning lets you know that Winger want to rock. This one is great hard rocker but with some great harmonizing at the chorus and some superb guitar fills. I had to momentarily stop typing so I can bang my head to it, at least until the guitar solo. “Poison Angel” comes second in the hidden gem search. In contrast to the other tracks, this one just gets down to business with some traditional metal. The fastest song on the album. One final point. I think it was a good idea to have the final single, “Heading for a Heartbreak,” close the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Madeline
  2. Hungry
  3. Seventeen
  4. Without the Night
  5. Purple Haze
  6. State of Emergency
  7. Time to Surrender
  8. Poison Angel
  9. Hangin’ On
  10. Heading for a Heartbreak


Kip Winger- lead vocals, bass, keyboards

Reb Beach- guitar, backing vocals

Paul Taylor- keyboards, backing vocals

Rod Morganstein- drums, backing vocals

Additional Musicians:

Dweezil Zappa- slide guitar on “Purple Haze”

Beau Hill, Ira McLaughlan- backing vocals

Sandra Park, Rebecca Young, Hae Young Ham, Maria Kistopoulos- strings

It has been said that with Winger’s debut album, hair metal was launched upon the world. It could be the case but I never noticed it. For me, this is a great album no matter what category you put it in.

Next post: Overkill- Under the Influence

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Great Metal Albums of 1988: Bullet Boys

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 2, 2023 by 80smetalman

Yet another album which I missed back in the day but was made aware of it by one of you out there. As far as I know, Bullet Boys might have been a sensation in the US but they never made an impact in the UK. That’s my excuse for missing them back in the day and I’m sticking with it. Still, they say it’s better late than never and after listening to this debut album, I’m glad that I finally got to experience them.

Bullet Boys come out firing on all cylinders with “Hard As a Rock.” It’s a throat grabbing opener and lets you know that these guys are out to rock you. This is immediately followed by the single, “Smooth Up In Ya.” My initial thought was that this tune was too high energised to be a single given the music environment at the time. This song just rocks, pure and simple. With that title, I’m surprised that this song wasn’t on some sort of PMRC hit list. So, two songs in and I’m enjoying the album very much.

A “Working for the Weekend” percussion intro brings in “Owed to Joe.” This track is a little slower and more 80s metal sounding, not that that’s ever a bad thing. Returning to the musical climate of the time, one would have thought this one might have been the single because of said vibe. Nevertheless, the song still kicks ass, the guitar solo especially. Afterwards, we move on to the very Van Halen sounding “Shoot the Preacher Down,” which gets my vote for hidden gem. I can definitely imagine Van Halen playing this. The singer does his best DLR and the guitars are Eddie inspired. Then the rhythm section is definitely Michael and Alex cloned. Maybe because the song sounds like one of my favourite VH songs, “Hot For Teacher,” is the reason I like it so much.

However the band doesn’t rest on their laurels. Midway through the album, we get a metalized cover of the O’Jays classic, “For the Love of Money.” I don’t know how the O’Jays might have felt about the cover but I sure like it. The guitar work of Mick Sweda and bass of Lonnie Vincent reigns supreme here. As we head to the second half of the album, we get my least favourite track, “Kissin’ Kitty.” It’s in no way a bad song, it just doesn’t reach the heights the other songs on the album do. It has this ‘all been done before’ vibe to it even though the Bullet Boys play it very well.

If the mentioned hidden gem wasn’t on the album, then the track “Hell On My Heels” would have been bestowed the honour. While a slower neo-blues song where the rhythm section shines, the song still is able to knock your socks off. It has a cool guitar solo but I think what kept it from being the gem is down to my belief that singer Marc Torien tries too hard to be Joe Cool metal singer. Quarterback signals begin the fastest track, “Crank Me Up,” which they do. This song is what Van Halen might sound like if they went speed metal. Furthermore, I’m really beginning to like Mick as a guitarist.

Some very interesting guitar riffs, bass notes and drum fills bring in penultimate track, “Badlands.” It’s short and to the point but catchy nonetheless. Closer “F#9” begins as if it’s not going to be a closer. However, that changes as the song progresses. The tempo changes to more of a wind down vibe as the song and the album is heading for its natural conclusion. Still, we get one last cool guitar solo from Mick. Overall, I’m impressed.

Track Listing:

  1. Hard As a Rock
  2. Smooth Up In Ya
  3. Owed to Joe
  4. Shoot the Preacher Down
  5. For the Love of Money
  6. Kissin’ Kitty
  7. Hell on My Heels
  8. Crank Me Up
  9. Badlands
  10. F#9

Marc Torien- lead vocals

Mick Sweda- lead guitar, backing vocals

Lonnie Vincent- bass, backing vocals

Jimmy D’Anda- drums

Yes, I regret missing the Bullet Boys self titled debut album back in 1988. I got to hear it now and while, in spite of Tee-Bone Man and Superdekes’ adventures, I can’t go back in time. Still, I think it’s a great album.

Next post: Winger

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Great Metal Albums of 1988: Scorpions- Savage Amusement

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2023 by 80smetalman

Back in the 80s, I used to think that only Led Zeppelin used to go three years or more between albums, however, The Scorpions proved me wrong. Unless you count their brilliant live album, “World Wide Live,” “Savage Amusement” was the band’s first studio album since the colossal 1984 album, “Love At First Sting.” Therefore, the question asked when the album came out was: “Would the four year lay off be a good thing or a bad thing?” My short answer is that it was a good thing.

Things get right down to business with the opener, “Don’t Stop at the Top.” Maybe this song was a wake up call for the band. Perhaps they had spent four years resting on their laurels and realized that if they didn’t put out a new album, they would be forgotten. So, they went back to the studio and recorded this one and used this great opener as their announcement they were back. Right away, with the great soloing by Mathias Jabs and the soaring vocals of Klaus Meine, you wouldn’t have thought they had been away for so long. It’s also the hidden gem on the album.

After being energized by the opener, the album follows with its big single, “Rhythm of Love.” It has a catchy mellow vibe at first but the chorus really rocks. If the opener didn’t convince you, then this one lets you know that the band was definitely firing on all cylinders. They also get Canadian metal queen, Lee Aaron to sing on the track. After the big single, cones another track which was released as single further down the line, “Passion Rules the Game.” It might not have charted but that makes no difference with me, it’s a great Scorpions rocker and like many of the songs on this album, reminds me of my favourite Scorpions album, “Blackout.”

They do change things up a little with “Media Overkill.” 80s sounding effects are used at the beginning but it’s not long into the song where Scorpions normality returns. Okay, there are some weird noises in middle of the song but the song is exactly what you want from the band. “Walking on the Edge” has a great intro with the acoustic guitar and Francis Buchholz’s bass. The track showcases their ability to switch between ballad and hard rocker without breaking a sweat. There are no ballad vibes on “We Let It Rock, You Let It Roll.” It’s the fastest song on the album and just powers its way through its three and a half minute life. Mathias stamps the song with a blistering guitar solo.

“Every Minute, Every Day” is hard for me to describe. While not a bad thing because they definitely make it work, but there seems to be a lot of things going on at once here. Most notable is the rhythm section. Schenker, Buccholz and Rarebell are the glue which holds the song together while Klaus and Mathias work rings around the song. Herman opens “Love on the Run” with some great drumming. It’s another fast song, almost speed metal but the Scorpions were always capable of such feats. “Savage Amusement” goes out with a power ballad, “Believe in Love,” something the band was always good at. Cliche remark but in this case, the track was the best way to end the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Don’t Stop at the Top
  2. Rhythm of Love
  3. Passion Rules the Game
  4. Media Overkill
  5. Walking on the Edge
  6. We Let It Rock, You Let It Roll
  7. Every Minute Every Day
  8. Love on the Run
  9. Believe in Love
The Scorpions

Klaus Meine- lead and backing vocals

Rudy Schenker- rhythm and lead guitars, backing vocals

Mathias Jabs- lead and rhythm guitars, voice box, backing vocals

Francis Buccholz- bass, backing vocals

Herman Rarebell- drums, backing vocals

Additional Musicians:

Lee Aaron- backing vocals on “Rhythm of Love”

Insert further cliche but yes, the Scorpions were well and truly back with “Savage Amusement.” It’s a great album and if they’re going to wait four years before putting out and album, then the wait is worth it.

Next post: Candlemass- Ancient Dreams

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Great Metal Albums of 1988: Kingdom Come

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2023 by 80smetalman

My introduction to German band Kingdom Come came through a compilation album I got in 1989. While they did gain some notice in the UK, what I didn’t know was that they actually had made some considerable headway in the US. This debut album of theirs made it to number 12 in the rock charts. Listening to the album, I can fully understand why.

There is no question that Kingdom Come was heavy influenced by Led Zeppelin. It is crystal clear on songs such as “17” and “Loving You” and it can be heard on many of other tracks as well. Even if the Led Zep influence isn’t immediately clear in the riffs, what is clear is the fact that lead singer, Lenny Wolf, sounds like a clone of Robert Plant. On the track, “Pushin’ Hard,” he even does that little stutter that Plant used to do on some Zeppelin tunes. In fact, if you were not to have read what I’ve just written and listen to the song first time, you would think that Robert was singing on it.

What I’m not going to do is compare the other individual members of Kingdom Come to those of Led Zeppelin. Lead guitarist, Danny Stag, is not Jimmy Page and this is not a negative dig at Danny. He can shred and he proves it on such songs as the bluesy ballad “What Love Can Be,” though again, the Zeppelin influence can be heard here as well. He really jams out on the already mentioned “17” and I have to give credit where due to the rhythm section on this one. Johnny B. Frank should have been given more notoriety as a bass player.

Onto the single, the song which appeared on the compilation album, which I will cover in the 1989 tour, “Get It On.” Again, the LZ influence can be heard, Lenny’s vocals make it nigh impossible not to think otherwise. But there is some great riffing by Danny and rhythm guitarist Rick Steiner who also plays keyboards. Everything about the song leads me to understand why this was picked for the single, it ticks all the boxes. However, me being me, it’s not the best song on the album. That award goes to the preceding track, “The Shuffle.” This one is a solid straight ahead rock track, which ticks all the boxes for me.

One track which doesn’t sound so much like LZ is “Now Ever After.” True, Lenny still sounds like Robert but the vibe from this song is more Whitesnake than anything else. It’s more a typical 80s rock tune, though it’s done well. The bassline is further proof that Johnny should have been given more notice as a bass player. This leads me to my a nit pick about the album. I think it would have made a better closer than “Shout It Out.” For me, the lyrics and the spirit behind them as well as how the song fades out just says closer to me. However, if this track wasn’t on the album, then “Shout It Out would be the right song for the job.

Track Listing:

  1. Livin’ Out of Touch
  2. Pushin’ Hard
  3. What Love Can Be
  4. 17
  5. The Shuffle
  6. Get It On
  7. Now Forever After
  8. HIdeaway
  9. Loving You
  10. Shout It Out

Kingdom Come

Lenny Wolf- lead vocals

Danny Stag- lead guitar

Rick Steier- rhythm guitar, keyboards

Johnny B. Frank- bass

James Kotak- drums

Now that I have listened to the album in earnest and read a little of the history behind it, I am surprised that after such a good debut album, Kingdom Come didn’t go onto great glories. This debut shows that they could have been more of a household name, at least in the metal community.

Next post: Dokken- Beast From the East

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Great Metal Albums of 1988: Europe- Out of This World

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2023 by 80smetalman

If you thought Stryper had toned down their hard rock sound with the “In God We Trust” album, then you might really think Europe had gone even softer with their “Out of This World” album. I do not debate the ‘lite metal’ tag which was placed on them with this album. Then again, Europe were never a metal band as we would think of today. But that was the 1980s for you, where anything with a power chord was branded metal. Sorry if I keep repeating myself on that point.

“Out of This World” opens with one of their most noted hits, “Superstitious.” This melodic almost power ballad hit number one in several countries. If they had never recorded “The Final Countdown” this song would have been the one people would have identified most with the band. They do liven things up with “Let the Good Times Rock.” This track puts the metal in the tag which was placed on them. It shows that Europe could really rock out if they weren’t too caught up in chasing hits. Guitarist Kee Marcello puts his stamp all over the song as he just jams away with some cool solos and riffs. It was released as a single in the UK but only got to #88 in the charts.

With the album opening with all four singles, the next track is “Open Your Heart.” It starts off as a ballad but then rocks out more in the chorus and trades off back and forth throughout the song. I do like Marcello’s guitar work on the ballad parts. It is most noteworthy here. The fourth single, “More Than Meets the Eye” was only released in a few countries. This is an up-tempo rocker but the guitar is turned down too much and the keyboards turned up too much. In some places, it sounds that Europe were trying to attract the synth pop fans but it does rock enough on the rest of the song to not become a danger. Also, only four songs in and I’m getting quite impressed with the guitar work of Kee and rather impressed by the bass work of John Leven.

Getting past the singles, the search for the hidden gem begins. “Coast to Coast,” while a decent power ballad, isn’t it. This one puts the ‘lite’ in the tag given to the band. “Ready or Not” has that potential and it’s great that Europe haven’t forgotten they were a metal band with this one. Some might call it filler but I think it gets the blood pumping again after so many ballads. It also has another cool guitar solo for me to like.

When I hear the piano intro on “Sign of the Times,” my first impression is, “not another power ballad,” but it’s not the case. While not a total metal-fest, it’s a nice melodic rock song. It keeps the blood pumping. “Just the Beginning” proves that you can use keyboards effectively in a good metal song. They compliment the guitar, bass and drums very well. I do like Ian Haugland’s little drum roll.

It only took five songs to get to the hidden gem, “Never Say Die.” Okay, I am the first to admit there’s a bit of a “Rock the Night” vibe to it but that was my favourite track from “The Final Countdown” album. Each member of the band gets to shine on it and I particularly love how the keyboards solo goes straight into the guitar solo. Great work Kee and Mic! The rock-fest carries on with “Lights and Shadows.” This is yet another song which proved that Europe had the tools to rock when they wanted to. Further proof is with penultimate track, “Towers Callin.'” This song has a definite rock swagger to it with a strong bass line and another cool guitar solo. I won’t complain that the album closes out with another ballad because the piano on “Tomorrow” has a haunting effect which makes it a good way to end the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Superstitious
  2. Let the Good Times Rock
  3. Open Your Heart
  4. More Than Meets the Eye
  5. Coast to Coast
  6. Ready or Not
  7. Sign of the Times
  8. Just the Beginning
  9. Never Say Die
  10. Lights and Shadows
  11. Towers Callin’
  12. Tomorrow


Joey Tempest- lead vocals, rhythm guitar and piano on “Tomorrow”

Kee Marcello- guitar, backing vocals

Mic Michaeli- keyboards, backing vocals

John Leven- bass

Ian Haugland- drums, backing vocals

I honestly believe that if Europe weren’t so busy trying to chase hit singles, then the ‘lite’ to their tag of ‘lite metal’ would not have been applied. While there’s nothing wrong with the singles, I have always liked “Superstitious” and I highly rate “Let the Good Times Rock,” I think they were too singles obsessed because the more metal sounding deeper cuts are quite good.

Next post: Megadeth- So Far, So Good, So What

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Great Rock/Metal Albums of 1988: Dogs D’Amour- In the Dynamite Jet Saloon

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2023 by 80smetalman

Readers have ask why I will be stopping my tour of rock and metal history after 1989 and there are several reasons for this. One of which was because by 1990, I was becoming more and more aloof musically. I blame that thing called life. However, as I reflect back to that time, that thing was already intruding upon my love for music as early 1988. With a new marriage and a baby on the way, it’s easy to see why. Of course, I had my then wife telling me that I needed to stop being a prat and grow up, which I did. Now, you might be asking what does the album, “In the Dynamite Jet Saloon” by English band, Dogs D’Amour have to with it? The answer is that this album is proof of my oncoming drift away from rock and metal. I never listened to this album until now and I only knew of their big single, “How Come It Never Rains?”

The album explodes another big misconception from that time. Back then, anything with a power chord from a guitar was immediately regards as being heavy metal and with the band’s image, Dogs D’Amour were cast into that pool. Here’s the thing, “ITDJS” is not metal, not by today’s definition for sure. If there is any category they should be put in is melodic hard rock, although the Heavy Harmonies site lists them as ‘sleaze rock.’ I can go with that sentiment.

What you get with this album, is ten, (thirteen if on CD), great melodic rock songs. The songs aren’t power chords galore but the guitar work from Jo Almeida lets you know that this is a rock album. Now Jo doesn’t blow you away with blistering solos but his solos do make the songs sound good. He does play some cool guitar hooks on “Gonna Get It Right.” Furthermore, the rhythm section of Steve James and Bam provide a great foundation on which to build the music on. They especially shine on the track, “Medicine Man.” Plus Steve has a nice little bass line on “Gonna Get It Right.” Lead singer, Tyla, is another reason why Dogs D’Amour can’t be called metal. He doesn’t hit the high notes like a Gillan or a Dickinson but he doesn’t need to.

Two other tracks, “I Don’t Want To Go” and “The Kid From Kensington,” were also released as singles. The thing is, while both are cool songs, it’s the deep cuts which really make this album so enjoyable. Guitar, bass and drums come together to make “Everything I Want,” the hidden gem and that’s after beating off some stiff competition from the already mentioned “Gonna Get it Right” and “Last Bandit.” I haver heard many rock albums which were very easy to listen to but Dogs D’Amour make “ITDJS” a very enjoyable listen.

Track Listing:

  1. Debauchery
  2. I Don’t Want to Go
  3. How Come It Never Rains
  4. Last Bandit
  5. Medicine Man
  6. Gonna Get It Right
  7. Everything I Want
  8. Heartbreak
  9. Billy Two Rivers
  10. Wait Until I’m Dead
  11. Sometimes
  12. The Kid From Kensington
  13. The State I’m In

Note: Track 11-13 were only available on the CD version of the album.

Dogs D’Amour

Tyla- lead vocals

Jo ‘Dog’ Almeida- guitar

Steve James- bass

Bam- drums

Dogs D’Amour and the “In The Dynamite Jet Saloon” is a classic case of better late than never with me. I feel I should kick myself for missing out on this cool album when it came out the first time. Note: when I have posted the last album of 1989, I will still be sticking around.

Next post: Briar- Crown of Thorns

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Great Metal Albums of 1988: Wrathchild- The Biz Suxx

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2023 by 80smetalman

What seems like a long time ago, I stated that the band Tigertailz were trying to be the British version of Poison. Perhaps I was a bit hasty there because after listening their album, “The Biz Suxx,” it might be Wrathchild who more deserve that title. Although, Wrathchild came out of the new wave of British heavy metal in the early 1980s, they didn’t achieve the success of other bands from that time. Then there’s their image, while not quite the ‘fillies with willys’ which Poison have been called, Wrathchild do try to go heavy on the make up.

The album is pretty fun, a good one to have at parties but I can also hear why they didn’t achieve the success of let me say, Iron Maiden or Judas Priest or even Saxon. What I can say is that there is a sound similar to Poison with many of the songs. What I do like is some of the spoken parts like at the beginning of the title track which states, “What’s wrong? It’s only rock and roll” and the dialogue with an unknown lady on the track, “Hooked.”

Girl: What are you doing, Rocky?

Rocky: Looks like you, babe

Girl: You’re pretty sure of yourself

Rocky: Well, your mother didn’t seem to mind

I know this isn’t too politically correct these days but a cool guitar solo from Lance Rocket follows immediately. The album also features what is possibly Wrathchild’s best known song, “Na Na Nuklear Rokket.” Yes, I am sure the bad spelling on the song titles is one of the band’s selling points but what I like about the song is the fact that it has a real catchy melody and the band aren’t trying to sound like Poison or anyone else for that matter. But if “Na Na Nuklear Rokket” was the single, then “She’z No Angel” is the hidden gem. You get a good vocal performance, cool guitar solo and a steady rhythm section, all in a song about a bad girl.

My realization from the album is that Wratchild use innuendos, some sleazy some not, in the lyrics to attract listeners and not just on the spoken parts. Further along on the title track, there’s the line: “I look like a star but I’m still on the dole” which is a dig at the fact that the band weren’t getting rich from their record sales.

With all that said, the band can play some. Lance puts down a couple of good guitar solos, one on “Hooked” and another on “Ring My Bell.” Furthermore, his opening riffs on “Hooligunz” is quite impressive and a decent guitar solo to boot. Credit where due must be given to the rhythm section as well. While not mind blowing, Marc Angel and Eddie Starr lay down a consistent beat all throughout the album. While I won’t call lead singer Rocky Shades a weak link, he’s not the greatest singer in metal but makes up for it with plenty of charisma.

Track Listing:

  1. The Biz Suxx
  2. ££ Millionaire $$
  3. Hooked
  4. Na Na Nuklear Rokket
  5. Wild Wild Honey
  6. Ring My Bell
  7. Hooligunz
  8. She’z No Angel
  9. OK. UK
  10. Noo Sensation
  11. Sticky Fingerz


Rocky Shades- vocals

Lance Rocket- guitar

Marc Angel- bass

Eddie Starr- drums

They say that in 1988, glam and hair metal bands were coming out of the woodwork and I can see truth in that. It could be why Wrathchild never got any real traction. However, this album is a fun listen and oh yes, that’s Bruce Dickinson in the video for “Na Na Nuklear Rokket.”

Next post: Dogs D’Amour- In the Dynamite Jet Saloon

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Great Metal Albums of 1988: Virgin Steele- Age of Consent

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 2, 2023 by 80smetalman

Not sure if I said this in a previous Virgin Steele post but I was introduced to this band in 1983 by the ultimate metal sister, the late Stacy Kroger. While I got into their previous three albums, the fact that this 1988 album, “Age of Consent,” received little promotion and therefore fewer sales combined with the fact I was living in the UK, this album totally passed me by. To be honest, it’s a pretty good album but it does sound like they compromised their sound a little in order to gain more commercial success. Maybe they should have stuck with what they knew.

“Age of Consent” starts off well enough with a good opener in “On the Wings of the Night.” The theatric keyboard intro draws you in and then the power of the guitars comes in with a powerful but catchy vibe. Exactly what a good album opener is supposed to do. I won’t call the next few songs a let down as they keep the album ticking along satisfactorily but none of them really grab my attention either. I also get the feeling that “Tragedy” was meant to be the single from the album. It ticks all the boxes for a single but for me, there are better songs on the album.

Things change somewhat when you get to the fourth song, a cover of Uriah Heep’s “Stay on Top.” This is a rock song with a bit of 70s swagger and it does generate a renewed vigor to the album. Furthermore, it sparks life into the middle of the album. “Chains of Fire” remind you that Virgin Steele are still a metal band. Then we get to my favourite song of the album, “The Burning of Rome (Cry for Pompeii).” True, there is a bit of history in the lyrics but if more history was taught with music like this in the background, a lot of metalheads would have gotten A’s in history, especially with that guitar solo from Ed Pursino.

Two songs after comes the other standout track from the album, “Lion in the Winter.” While not as theatrical as “The Burning of Rome,” it’s a great straight ahead power metal tune with a catchy melodic chorus. It’s probably singer David De Feis’s best vocal effort. Then the album goes out, first with the power ballad, “Cry Forever,” which is decent but unmemorable and I can say the same about closing track, “We Are Eternal.”

Another reason behind the album’s lack of success was the turmoil going on behind the scenes. During the recording of the album, the band was besieged by financial and legal setbacks. On top of that, bassist Joe O’Reilly was ghosted by Pursion and lead singer David DeFeis. That explains why Pursino is listed in the credits for playing bass on the album.

Track Listing:

  1. On the Wings of the Night
  2. Seventeen
  3. Tragedy
  4. Stay on Top
  5. Chains of Fire
  6. The Burning of Rome (Cry for Pompeii)
  7. Let it Roar
  8. Lion in the Winter
  9. Cry Forever
  10. We Are Eternal
Virgin Steele

David DeFeis- lead vocals, keyboards

Ed Pursino- guitar, bass

Joe O’Reilly- bass

Joey Ayvazian- drums

The end result for “Age of Consent” is that it with all the issues surrounding the band, it would lead to its unofficial break up. Virgin Steele wouldn’t record another album for five years. The tragic aspect is that this album, while I’m not bowled over by it, it’s not bad either. In fact, it’s pretty good.

Next post: Wratchild- The Biz Suxx

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Great Metal Albums of 1988: Cinderella- Long Cold Winter

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2023 by 80smetalman

“Long Cold Winter” is Cinderella’s second album, following on from their noteworthy debut, “Night Songs.” With this album, they moved away from the glam metal and produced a more bluesy rock album. That comes through straight away on the opener, “Bad Seamstress Blues/Falling Apart at the Seems.” I really dig the bayou sounding intro to the track before it goes into more harder rock waters, although there’s a cool blues type riff in the middle. However, you can still tell it’s Cinderella.

With “Night Songs,” the band was constantly compared to Bon Jovi although it was Jon who helped Cinderella with that album, which led to their success. While I don’t think “Long Cold Winter” is like “New Jersey,” what it does have in common with that album is that it also produced four big singles. After the opener, you get three on the trot. The cool rocker which is “Gypsy Road,” the mega successful ballad, “Don’t Know What You Got, (Till It’s Gone)” and “The Last Mile.” Of the three, it’s the last one I was least familiar with, (I don’t have it on any compilation albums). But I do like the guitar intro before it goes into rock mode. Of the four singles, this is the one I like best. It’s a more straight up rocker, maybe except for the harmonizing at the chorus but the guitar riffs and Tom Keifer’s guitar solo make up for it.

After the singles, we get into lesser known songs territory. While “Second Wind” is not filler, it’s not the hidden gem on the album. It does it’s job in keeping the album ticking over and in this case, that’s not a bad thing because the title track is a real burner. This is a blues based cooker. The guitars are just awesome, starting with the very blues lead guitar intro. That alone makes it the hidden gem, although Tom’s fits his vocals to the song very well. See, on their first hit, “Shake Me,” from the debut album, Tom was accused by some of trying to sound too much like AC/DC. He definitely silences his critics here. However, I still enjoy the guitar work more.

In spite of my gushing over the title track, it did have some competition from the tracks, “If You Don’t Like It” and penultimate track, “Fire and Ice.” Need I say that the latter isn’t a cover of the Pat Benatar classic? Oh, I just did. It’s a great track in it’s own right and “If You Don’t Like It” shows that Cinderella are still a metal band. I can hear a bit of influence from the Aerosmith classic, “Walk This Way” in places and it sounds as if Tom and Jeff LaBar do a bit of a guitar solo trade off.

Sandwiched between the hidden gem contenders is the fourth single, “Coming Home.” It’s a ballad and a decent one. I like the melodic feel to the song, though Tom could have toned down his vocals a little. “Take Me Back” takes the album out very well as an upbeat rocker.

Track Listing:

  1. Bad Seamstress Blues/Fallin’ Apart at the Seems
  2. Gypsy Road
  3. You Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)
  4. The Last Mile
  5. Second Wind
  6. Long Cold Winter
  7. If You Don’t Like It
  8. Coming Home
  9. Fire and Ice
  10. Take Me Back


Tom Keifer- vocals, guitars, steel guitar, harmonica

Jeff LaBar- guitar, lead guitar on tracks 1 and 8

Eric Brittingham- bass, backing vocals

Fred Coury- drums (credited but does not play on the album)

Additional Musicians:

Jay Levin- steel guitar

Cozy Powell- drums, except track 5

Denny Carmassi- drums on track 5

Rick Cirinti- piano, organ, synthesizer

Kurt Shore, John Webster- keyboards

Paulinho Da Costa- percussion

With this album, Cinderella proved they could succeed in their own right. It’s unfortunate that they would fall away a few years down the line while the other band would continue to achieve great glories. Still, this is a really good album.

Next post: Guns ‘N’ Roses- EP

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Last week in the UK, Iron Maiden postage stamps went on sale. Here’s some I bought and I won’t be posting any letters with them.