Archive for hair metal

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- 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: Twisted Sister- Love is for Suckers

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 3, 2022 by 80smetalman

As a big Twisted Sister fan, it saddens me to write that “Love is for Suckers” was an album which was doomed from the start. Following the disappointing (I didn’t think it was that bad) “Come Out and Play” album, Twisted Sister was seen as a band in decline. In the summer of 1986, all of their albums were selling at half price or less. Therefore, not many people cared when they released this album a year later.

Cracks were already beginning to emerge in the band even before the album was made. Drummer A.J. Pero left and was replaced by Joey Franco. Furthermore, Dee Snider originally intended it to be a solo album, however, the record label insisted that all the band be brought in and record it as a Twisted Sister album. With all this seeming to go against it, it is little wonder why the album is virtually unheard of outside Twisted Sister circles and even the band doesn’t like to talk about it. But, is the album that bad?

Let me get right to the point, “Love is for Suckers” is a notably better album than their previous album. While many critics slammed the album for giving us nothing new, I think that they were just trying to recapture the magic which brought them to superstardom just a few years earlier. The album starts off with a great TS anthem in “Wake Up the Sleeping Giant.” Dee wrote this song as a big ‘FU’ to the likes of Tipper Gore and the PMRC. While it’s a true metal song, it is the only song to appear on the Twisted Sister tribute album, “Twisted Forever,” covered by the rap artist Chuck D and his version is also really good.

“Hot Love,” while lyrically, it is a song about lusting after and wanting someone, it’s backed up be some really heavy power chords and a cool guitar solo. It was the only single from the album and didn’t do too bad, reaching 31 in the Billboard charts. Then we get to the title track, which is speedier track where Joey Franco earns his stripes with the band. True, it’s an anti-love song, but its done with a sense of humour. Franco’s drumming leads in “I’m So Hot for You,” I’m getting a vibe where this album is going lyrically where Dee seems to be focusing on the love theme. But there is the catchy guitar vibe to it which has you banging away to it nevertheless. Closing out the first side is “Tonight,” which is a departure from the love song lyrics of the previous three songs and more of a motivational song, intended to get you up and raise your fist. I sometimes think this song should have come right after the opener but the energy behind it is such that when the song ends, you need that breather to change the record or tape over. It has a great guitar solo and ends with “Did you come to see the bad boys?”

Side two opens with some great riffs on “Me and the Boys.” This track definitely reminds me of the Twisted Sister I came to know and love. It’s a definite wake up call taking you back to the good old days. This brings me to my big question about this album. Why wasn’t “One Bad Habit” released as a single? I remember having this on in my car and my friend who was in the car with me and unknown to things Twisted Sister began singing along to it. The lyrics, “I have one bad habit, I love to rock and roll” may have sounded cliche but would have worked. The guitars would have let metalheads know that it wasn’t a sell out song but the use of the horn section was vey nicely done.

“I Want This Night (To Last Forever)” comes in as if it’s going to be a power ballad but as it progresses, you get more power and less ballad. It’s just gets down and dirty and highlights the fact that Eddie Ojeda and Jay-Jay French haven’t lost their touch with the six strings. The penultimate track, “You’re All That I Need” is the true power ballad and brings back fond memories of their other great power ballad, “The Price” off the “Stay Hungry” album. This one comes pretty close to equalling that classic one. Keeping with the “Stay Hungry” theme, “Yeah, Right” is a short, to the point power track which closes this album the way “SMF” closes their most iconic album.

Track Listing:

  1. Wake Up the Sleeping Giant
  2. Hot Love
  3. Love is for Suckers
  4. I’m So Hot for You
  5. Tonight
  6. Me and the Boys
  7. One Bad Habit
  8. I Want This Night (To Last Forever)
  9. You’re All That I Need
  10. Yeah, Right
Twisted Sister

Dee Snider- lead vocals

Eddie Ojeda- guitars, backing vocals

Jay-Jay French- guitars, backing vocals

Mark ‘The Animal’ Mendoza- bass, backing vocals

Joey ‘Seven’ Franco- drums, percussion

Twisted Sister come out and play, taken at Bloodstock 2016

Due to the lack of recognition “Love is for Suckers” received, Twisted Sister would break up shortly after. Dee rarely speaks of the album and I now know why they didn’t play any songs off it when I saw them at Bloodstock 2010 and 16. He stated that it brings back too many bad memories for the band. It’s a big shame how one seemingly bad album, “Come Out and Play,” can wreck a band because I like the album a lot more than I did their previous one.

Next post: Gay Bikers on Acid- Drill Your Own Hole

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

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

Great Metal Albums of 1983: Kix- Cool Kids

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-kix-coolkids

In some circles, it’s been said that American rockers, Kix, were the first of the glam rock, hair metal movement. While I won’t enter that debate, I do remember that when I first saw their photo in 1983, I wanted to grow my hair like them after having to wear a crew cut during my four years of service to my country. However, I heard their music before I saw what they looked like in the form of the single from the 1983, “Cool Kids” album, “Body Talk.” It got enough radio play to catch my interest although I’m glad I don’t recall seeing the cheesy video for it where the band cavorts with ladies in full workout garb.

“Body Talk” isn’t the best song on the album and apparently, Kix only recorded the song to appease their label. However, the rest of “Cool Kids” is better. Even the first two tracks, which sounds in similar mode to the single are better and the title track is better of those two. “Love Pollution” is the first true metal song on the album in my view but it’s sandwiched between songs that are not. “Body Talk” follows right after and even after thirty-three years, I still don’t know what to make of “Loco-Emotion.”

The second half of “Cool Kids” makes up for the faults of the first half. “Mighty Mouth” is a good rocking tune that starts off with a scream from lead singer, Steve Whiteman, which I don’t know how seriously I should take. Still the song does rock! It also turns the album up a gear and progresses throughout the remainder of the album. “Nice on the Ice” and “Get Your Monkeys Out” are both good tracks. I do smile at the opening line to “Get Your Monkeys Out,” which goes: “I live in the jungle” and the line from the chorus, “You got to let your monkeys out.” Then things go slower with a country sounding ballad, “For Shame.” This song is so country sounding that I found an acoustic version of this song on Youtube. I even want to do a “Yee hah!” during the guitar solo on it. However, I don’t think the band is serious on the song. Fortunately, things return to more metal pastures with the closer, “Restless Blood,” which sounds to me like fore runner to one of Kix’s best know songs, “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.” Maybe it’s the “hey, hey, hey” that’s sung several times in the song that makes me think that. Still, “Restless Blood” does conclude things on a positive note, even with the slow down part in the middle of the song because that’s rapidly followed by the best guitar solo on the album. A great way to end!

Track Listing:

  1. Burning Love
  2. Cool Kids
  3. Love Pollution
  4. Body Talk
  5. Loco-Emotion
  6. Mighty Mouth
  7. Nice on Ice
  8. Get Your Monkeys Out
  9. For Shame
  10. Restless Blood

Kix

Kix

Steve Whitemann- lead vocals, harmonica, saxophone

Brad Divens- guitar, backing vocals, talk box

Brian ‘Damage’ Forsythe- guitars

Donnie Purnell- bass, backing vocals, keyboards

Jimmy ‘Chocolate’ Chalfant- drums, percussion, backing vocals, co-lead vocal on “Body Talk”

Kix got my attention in 1983 and though I can’t say that I’ve always been a die hard fan, I know that the “Cool Kids” album is cool. Although I did try, I couldn’t quite grow my hair like any of them.

Next post: Hanoi Rocks- Back to Mystery City

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