Archive for hard rock

Great Metal Albums of 1988: Metallica- And Justice for All

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 2, 2022 by 80smetalman

In the opinion of many, the 1988 albums I have already featured from two of the big four, Anthrax and Slayer, didn’t meet the bar set by their blockbuster previous albums. While I can somewhat agree on a small scale, I think those albums were great in their own right, I’ve already said so. Therefore, the question for Metallica’s “And Justice for All” album is if it lived up to the bar set by the previous defining album, “Master of Puppets.” Well, the fact that this was Metallica’s best selling album would answer the question in the affirmative.

My problem, although I wouldn’t call it a problem, is that “Master of Puppets” is my all time favourite Metallica album. So, where does that leave “And Justice for All?” The answer is quite simple, this album is a fantastic album. Metallica don’t lose any of the hunger they displayed when they recorded “Master of Puppets.” They still want to blow your mind at 300 mph and pound you into submission with power chords. Plus, the comparisons between these two iconic albums are plain to see. Take the first track, like my all time favourite Metallica song, “Battery,” “Blackened” also grabs you by the throat and demands that you are going to listen to this album to the death. They just do it slightly different. Instead of an acoustic guitar intro, “Blackened” opens with a more mellow lead guitar interlude, that’s how it sounds to me anyway, before going all out assault.

The title track is one reason this album falls ever so slightly below its predecessor. While it was good that they kept the same format, on “Master of Puppets,” you have eight songs in fifty-five minutes, they go beyond that on a couple of the songs here. While I love the title track, I do think it goes on a little too long and I can see why after playing it live, Kirk Hammett stated that they’re weren’t going to play that fucking song again. Then there is the case of two songs, which were ironically released as singles which, while great songs, aren’t as spectacular as the rest. I’m talking about “Eye of the Beholder” and “Harvester of Sorrow.” For me, they are slightly below the others on the album but here’s the thing, if they were on some of Metallica’s other albums, they would be the best songs on that album. That’s an indication of just how good “And Justice for All” is.

Speaking of singles, if you really want one from the album, then “One” is your single. What Metallica did here was to take everything which they did so well on the previous album and put it all into this song. The haunting slow parts, the guitar hooks of Kirk and the speed metal bits. Plus there is the spoken parts which add to the sinister feeling of the song and though it doesn’t come until the final quarter of the song, Kirk does lay down a mean guitar solo. This song is just brilliant and screw MTV and the radio stations for not playing it.

Following the best single on the album is the hidden gem, “The Shortest Straw.” It is simply Metallica doing what Metallica does best, going all out thrash. One outside criticism which has been aimed at the album is that Jason’s bass was significantly turned down on the album. Well, I get to hear it quite well on this track and it lays down the groove which the guitars and frantic drumming of Lars follow on with.

Again, finding very hard not to compare “And Justice For All” with “Master of Puppets,” I find a near similarity with the penultimate tracks. Anyone who knows anything about Metallica knows what a great instrumental “Orion” is on said previous album. Except for four lines of spoken word written by the late Cliff Burton and left in as a tribute to him, the rest of “To Live is to Die” is pretty much an instrumental. Like “Orion,” it’s masterfully done and dispels the belief held by Duranie types at the time that thrash metal musicians were only capable of playing two chords. This has given my an idea for my next post as I am heading north to play Santa Claus for some of my step-grandchildren and am not able to give a full length album the attention it deserves. I’m going to feature the two songs and see which one if either is better.

Track Listing:

  1. Blackened
  2. And Justice For All
  3. Eye of the Beholder
  4. One
  5. The Shortest Straw
  6. Harvester of Souls
  7. The Frayed Ends of Sanity
  8. To Live is to Die
  9. Dyers Eve

Metallica

James Hetfield- vocals, rhythm guitar acoustic guitar, second solo on “To Live is To Die”

Kirk Hammett- lead guitar

Jason Newsted- bass

Lars Ulrich- drums

For all of my comparisons between this one and Metallica’s previous album, I will say that “And Justice for All” is a magnificent album in its own right. My second favourite of all time and it’s clear why whenever I listen to it.

Next post: Orion vs. To Live is to Die

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

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

Rest in Peace Christine McVie

Posted in Uncategorized, Music, Rock, Death, Illness with tags , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2022 by 80smetalman

Christine McVie

It is my sad duty to announce the passing of Fleetwood Mac keyboardist and singer, Christine McVie who has died today following a short illness. She was married to bassist John McVie and played on the classic albums “Rumours” and “Tusk” as well as other Fleetwood Mac albums. Her contributions to those albums were phenomenal and I am sure she will be sorely missed.

Fleetwood Mac

Rest in peace Christine

Great Metal Albums of 1988: Killer Dwarfs- Big Deal

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

“Big Deal” will forever go down in history as the album which cemented the Killer Dwarfs place as my favourite Canadian band. In fact, in an ancient post, “Big Deal” came in as my third favourite album overall! After all, what’s there not to like about this album? The band were definitely firing on all cylinders with this one and it was a major progression from the previous album, “Stand Tall,” and I really liked that one as well.

“Tell Me Please” starts things off and while I admit, there are some better album opening songs out there, this one does its job in setting the mood for the party which is to come. It not only held my interest but made me eager to hear more, which is what an opening track should do. Following that is the track which was considered to be the single from the album, “We Stand Alone.” For me, this was a unifying song for metalheads, letting the world know that we stand alone and if the world didn’t like it, then it’s their problem. I can also understand why the song was considered power pop by some. It’s not raw metal in the eyes of some metalheads but has a very melodic catchy vibe to it. However, I just enjoy the song and not get bogged down with semantics.

Right after the single comes the hidden gem, “Startin’ to Shine” This is more metal than the single but the melodic chorus is very catchy. I remember, the one and only time I saw them live, when they opened for Iron Maiden, they led off with this one. Should it have been the album opener? Maybe, but it’s fine just where it is as well. Things go even harder with the short but to the point with “Breakaway.” Mike Dwarf does some cool riffing on this one. Side one closes out with “Union of Pride” which could have been an album closer but it’s just as well placed closing out the first side. You get a great guitar solo from Mike and some cool drum fills from Darrell. I might as well say it now but every song is powered by the vocals of Russ. He definitely is the driving force behind the album.

Two songs start the second side with a mighty explosion. “Lifetime” is a cool metal song which for me dismisses the power pop label some have given to the band. I love that intro, Mike deserves greater recognition as a guitar player and we can’t forget the bass of Ron. Both are strong on this one. Then “Power” lives up to its name. It’s a fast paced tune indeed. I remember them playing this one when I saw them live and I could see the power they put into the song. “I’m Alive” might not have the furious power of the previous two songs but there is power in the song nonetheless. It’s more of a bluesy vibe but the power chords, vocals, rhythm section and guitar solo check all the boxes. It’s the second hidden gem on the album.

If you thought “Power” was a furious song, then you should definitely check out the penultimate “Burn It Down.” This is speed metal pace and the Dwarfs pull it off with considerable ease. This is one song for the mosh pit and the lyrics have me looking for a lighter. Oh not really but I wouldn’t be surprised if the PMRC said this song encouraged arson. Closer “Desperadoes” is the reason why “Union of Pride” closes side one. This is a blinder of a closing song, taking the album up in a very upbeat way.

Track Listing:

  1. Tell Me Please
  2. We Stand Alone
  3. Startin’ to Shine
  4. Breakaway
  5. Union of Pride
  6. Lifetime
  7. Power
  8. I’m Alive
  9. Burn It Down
  10. Desperadoes

Killer Dwarfs

Russ ‘Dwarf’ Graham- lead vocals

Mike ‘Dwarf’ Hall -guitar, backing vocals

Ron ‘Dwarf” Mayer- bass, backing vocals

Darrell ‘Dwarf” Millar- drums, backing vocals

I suppose some of you are questioning my sanity in declaring the Killer Dwarfs to be my favourite Canadian band. You’re probably asking, “What about Rush, Triumph, or even Loverboy?” Well, they’re all fantastic bands and I like a lot of their stuff. However, I got to be a nonconformist and it’s the Killer Dwarfs who speak to me on many levels. “Big Deal” is the album which spearheads all of that.

Next post: Metallica- And Justice for All

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: Anthrax- State of Euphoria

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

It really perturbs me when an album following one that is considered a pinnacle album for said band is slated for not being as good. It seems it was the case quite often in 1988. Slayer’s “South of Heaven” got undeserved crap because the band slowed things up after “Reign in Blood.” Some even said that David Lee Roth’s “Skyscraper” album was far below the bar set by “Eat’Em and Smile,” I never thought so. You can include Celtic Frost among those as well. The same thing was said about Anthrax’s “State of Euphoria” album. In their case, it followed on from two super albums, “Spreading the Disease” and “Among the Living.” Measuring any album by those two is a difficult task in itself. However, while I don’t think “State of Euphoria” quite reaches that bar, it’s still a good album.

The first two tracks waste no time in assaulting delicate ears with their power thrash which made “Among the Living” such a great album. Those fast and furious tracks get the blood pumping and on “Out of Sight, Out of Mind,” Dan Spitz really rips a cool guitar solo. Something I noticed about the album is that Anthrax attempt to fuse the power thrash of “Among the Living” with the more melodic speed metal of “Spreading the Disease.” I think it works fine but some out there didn’t agree.

Now I get personal. I saw Anthrax three times in the 2010’s and while they kicked ass each and every time, I must say that I was slightly disappointed that they never played my favourite song from the album, “Making Me Laugh.” Those who know me know that I like just about any song which takes a swipe at television evangelists but Anthrax do it with such powerful finesse that this song really rocks! Joey’s constant change up on the vocals is done masterfully. It’s a total headbanger but I guess I will never get to hear it played live.

Following on is one I have heard them play live, “Antisocial.” Of course, I loved it when I heard it live and listening to it not live, I can easily see why it sounds so good live. What I didn’t know is that it’s actually a cover of a song from the French band, “Trust,” who I know from the soundtrack of the film “Heavy Metal.” I’ve never heard the original but this cover is brilliant. On “Who Cares Wins,” the band prove that social topics can be covered in thrash metal songs without the message behind the song getting lost. It’s a hard hitting song highlighting homelessness in America. It also confirms what an underrated bassist Frank Bello is.

Anthrax appear to bring a little horror into their metal on “Now It’s Dark.” After a haunting intro, the guitars kick in and just increase in speed. The song was inspired by the film, “Blue Velvet” and especially the sexual depravity of Frank Booth played by Dennis Hopper in the film. However, that isn’t the only film inspired song on the album. “Misery Loves Company” was inspired by the Stephen King novel and movie, “Misery” and this is what people forget about this album. Anthrax take some interesting topics and make them come alive through their thrash/speed metal approach. Hell, these guys should be praised for this effort! In between those two songs is the hidden gem, “Schism.” It’s a powerful thrash song which tackles racism. This is exceptionally important in 1988 when thrash metal was accused of being too white. Another at-a-boy goes out to the band here.

Track Listing:

  1. Be All, End All
  2. Out of Sight, Out of Mind
  3. Making Me Laugh
  4. Anti- Social
  5. Who Cares Wins
  6. Now It’s Dark
  7. Schism
  8. Misery Loves Company
  9. 13
  10. Finale

Anthrax

Joey Belladonna- vocals

Scott Ian- rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Dan Spitz- lead guitar, backing vocals

Frank Bello- bass

Charlie Benante- drums

So, “State of Euphoria” isn’t quite as good as the classics which came before it. That doesn’t mean it’s not a great album in its own right because it is. Any band who can take topical issues and films and bring out the message through thrash metal deserves the utmost respect.

Next post: Killer Dwarfs- Big Deal

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

To give Bruce Dickinson his knighthood, 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: Saxon- Destiny

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2022 by 80smetalman

Writing the 80smetalman blog for nearly 12 years, (God, has it been that long?), I have come to this conclusion about British NWOBHM band Saxon. While they never achieved the commercial success of their contemporaries Iron Maiden or Judas Priest, (should I include Def Leppard here?), Saxon was a band who was well known throughout heavy metal circles on both sides of the Atlantic. Ask any metalhead around at the time and they would be able to tell you that Saxon was a great band. So, today’s question is: Does there 1988 album, “Destiny,” measure up to what I have just written?

My quick answer is, “Yes.” First, I will freely admit that listening to “Destiny” doesn’t want me to put more noted albums like “Denim and Leather” or “Wheels of Steel” on the shelf, it’s still a good album where Saxon does what they have always done. And no, this isn’t simply the case of an established band using the same old tired formula, they sound as fresh as they always have. The irony is that the album starts off with a cover of the Christopher Cross classic, “Ride Like the Wind.” Naturally, Saxon put their own spin on it and their version sounds really good. While I won’t waste typing fingers comparing the two versions here, I will say that it’s definitely worth an “Original vs. Cover” post, if 2Loud is willing to do so. If not, I could always do it.

“Ride Like the Wind” was released as a single and if you believe Wikipedia, it’s the only single from the album. This is not the case. What caught my attention in regards to the “Destiny” album was while watching “The Chart Show” on British television, during the show’s “Rock Week,” was the video for the song “I Can’t Wait Anymore.” For me, this track was better single material than the Christopher Cross cover anyway. It’s a mid tempo ballad and I love the lead guitar intro. Biff puts his soul into the vocals and the rest of the band provide the ground support. “Where the Lightning Strikes” makes a good bridge between the two singles.

The middle of the album is what distinguishes it as another great Saxon album. No nonsense power riffs launch “Calm Before the Storm” This is a pure cooker, guaranteed to get your head banging along to it. The keyboards at the chorus do nothing to change that fact as the power chords rule. I don’t know which guitarist cranks out the solo here but it’s damn cool. Next, they go a bit prog-metal, before it was a thing, on “S.O.S.” It begins with ocean sound effects before some heavy riffs kick in. I can’t be sure but I think it’s about a distressed ship but the backing vocals and bass line stands out particularly. It ends with a foghorn so I hope the ship was rescued.

Saxon change it up again on “Song for Emma.” The title and the mellow keyboard intro and soft first verse makes you think that this is going to be another ballad but the guitars kick in and the track takes off. Even though the second verse slows down, it can no longer be thought of as a ballad, it just kicks too much ass. It gets my vote for hidden gem, especially with that guitar solo. We can say that “Song for Emma” is definitely a climax but not a conclusion as the remaining tracks are quick to remind you. No, “For Whom the Bell Tolls” is not a cover of the Metallica classic but it’s a good song in its own right. However, I am reluctant to have the two songs in a “Songs with the Same Title” competition because as much as I like this Saxon number, it doesn’t quite measure up to Metallica. Then again, I could let you all decide.

Things go more 1980s with “We Are Strong” with the keyboards in the song. Maybe they needed one song which sounded contemporary and it’s a good song, if unspectacular. Biff’s unmistakable voice and the guitar hooks let you know that it’s definitely a Saxon song. However, they return to more mainstream metal with “Jericho Siren.” A straightforward metal tune and a cool penultimate track to set up the closer. With that, “Red Alert,” I wonder if Saxon were in the CND movement. This isn’t the only nuclear war song they’ve made. “Fire in the Sky” off the “Denim and Leather” album is another one. Still, it’s a great way to end the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Ride Like the Wind
  2. Where the Lightning Strikes
  3. I Can’t Wait Anymore
  4. Calm Before the Storm
  5. S.O.S.
  6. Song for Emma
  7. For Whom the Bell Tolls
  8. We Are Strong
  9. Jericho Siren
  10. Red Alert
Saxon

Biff Byford- vocals

Graham Oliver- guitar

Paul Quinn- guitar

Paul Johnson- bass

Nigel Durham- drums

Additional Musicians:

Steven Laws Clifford- keyboards

Dave Taggart, George Lamb, Phil Caffery, Steve Mann- backing vocals

Throughout the 1980s, Saxon kept cranking out great albums, it’s just a shame they weren’t more commercially successful. They definitely are a great band as “Destiny” proves.

Next post: Anthrax- State of Euphoria

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?redirect=false

Great Metal Albums of 1988: David Lee Roth- Skyscraper

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 17, 2022 by 80smetalman

My first thought when I heard David Lee Roth’s album, “Skyscraper,” was whether or not it was simply going to be a rehash of his successful debut solo album, “Eat ‘Em and Smile.” I do hear similarities between the opening track, “Knucklebones” and the previous album’s opener, “Yankee Rose,” although that was Dave’s first big single. Also there is the fact that there is no pre-song banter which Dave is famous for. So, I won’t say that “Skyscraper” is a carbon copy of the previous album, Dave does pretty much stick to the formula.

Dave’s big hit for this album comes with the second track, “Just Like Paradise.” This was a huge hit for him and even charted in the UK, so Dave did something right with this song. It’ is very catchy and the backing vocals are a throwback to the Van Halen days and another point, guitarist Steve Vai is let off the lead more and allowed to play a few more solos. I really like his guitar work on “The Bottom Line.” While the lead guitar on the intro gives me the impression that the song would be a good closer, it goes into that swagger style which suits Dave to a tee. However, it’s Steve’s guitar work and Billy Sheehan’s bass line which does it for me.

Further reassurance that this album is not a carbon copy of the previous is that Dave sings a ballad. I always knew that Dave was capable of one but he does do a damn good job on “Damn Good.” Yeah, pun intended, so what? I can imagine many a young lady and a few men as well went all doughy eyed when they heard this one. It’s a total acoustic ballad and again, Steve gets an assist for his acoustic guitar playing. However between the two songs come what might be a misstep on the album. The title cut is just a little too synth pop for me. Dave sings well and there is some great guitar work from Steve and a cool bass line from Billy but the song doesn’t do it for me.

“Hot Dog and a Shake” is a fun rock tune which keeps things ticking along nicely. It’s the heaviest song on the album and it’s good that Dave shows he still has a sense of humour. Definitely, the hidden gem on the album with Steven’s best guitar solo. The remaining tracks all are similar to the funky, rock sound from the first album, but not carbon copies. Though I won’t call it a misstep, “Hina” is one song that just doesn’t totally click for me. However, the other three songs are good so that it doesn’t matter. Billy’s bass is king on “Stand Up.” “Two Fools a Minute” is an excellent closer, it reminds me of the closer on “Van Halen II,” “Beautiful Girls.” Not quite the same, “Beautiful Girls” is more heavy rock while “Two Fools a Minute” is more funky jazz but it has that same cool album closing vibe.

Track Listing:

  1. Knucklebones
  2. Just Like Paradise
  3. The Bottom Line
  4. Skyscraper
  5. Damn Good
  6. Hot Dog and a Shake
  7. Stand Up
  8. Hina
  9. Perfect Timing
  10. Two Fools a Minute
David Lee Roth

Dave’s band

David Lee Roth- vocals

Steve Vai- guitar, horn

Billy Sheehan- bass, backing vocals

Greg Bissonette- drums, percussion, backing vocals

Brett Tuggle- keyboards, backing vocals

Additional Backing Vocals:

Gary Falcone- tracks 1 and 9

Joe Pizzulo- track 1

Tommy Funderburk, Tom Kelly- track 2

John Batdorf- track 5

Magic Moreno- track 10

In 1988, Dave was riding high on a wave of two killer albums. While there is evidence of interfering producers trying to make him sound more of the time, Dave still did what Dave did best with “Skyscraper.” Having a great band behind him helped a lot as well.

Next post: Saxon- Destiny

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

To sign the petition giving Bruce Dickinson a well deserved knighthood, 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: 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: Mass- Take You Home

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 10, 2022 by 80smetalman

What surprised me about Mass’s follow up album to their debut album, “New Birth,” is that it’s only an EP. I would have thought that a full length LP would have been on the cards, building on the momentum of the debut. “Take Me Home” has only six songs, so the question is, Are they six killer songs?

Opener, “Peddle to the Metal,” gives the impression that the answer to the question is in the affirmative. It’s a real power rocker with all four members firing on all cylinders and it definitely does what an opener should do, grab you by the throat and demand that you listen to the album. Following on, “Can’t Get Enough” reaffirms all the things I said about guitarist Gen D’Itria on the debut. He nails a really great guitar solo, actually, a couple of them and although not as fast as the opener, it’s a great power rocker in its own right.

Mass go near thrash on “Want It Back.” The song opens with a cool drum roll from Joey Vadala and then things just go nuts. The speed of the song is no effort for singer Louie St. August as he breezes through it with his versatile vocal style. The real noteworthy part of the song is the bass line by Kevin Varrio, it really pumps through the song. There is a slight easing of the gas pedal on, “Over You.” It’s a song about moving on after an ended relationship but it’s done fast and powerful and we are treated to a blinding guitar solo from Gene. However, while I won’t call the song weak, it’s the least strongest track on the EP. What brings it down in my eyes is the chorus is repeated a little too much.

The title track is a straight forward metal tune with the band doing everything they do right on it. If they didn’t, then this one would have been the least strongest track. Fortunately, the chorus isn’t repeated over and over till you get bored with it and I do love Louie’s scream at the end. “New Birth” had two power ballads on it but “Take Me Home” has part of one. Closer, “Holy One,” starts as if it’s going to be a power ballad but actually ventures into Black Sabbath type doom metal in places. Then it accelerates to a faster tempo and just cooks. The vocal style changes are done with considerable ease and and the rest of the band keeps up. Full marks to the rhythm section and Gene’s rhythm guitar. I really love the bridge in the middle where it tantalizes you with what appears to be an impending guitar solo but holds off for a minute or two. The guitar solo is short but sweet and the song slows back to power ballad status before the end. Best song on the album and a great way to end it.

Track Listing:

  1. Pedal to the Metal
  2. Can’t Get Enough
  3. Want it Back
  4. Over You
  5. Take You Home
  6. Holy One

Louie St. August- vocals

Gen D’Itria- guitar

Kevin Varrio- bass

Joey Vadala- drums

Unlike with their debut, I didn’t get the opportunity to see these guys live. However, there were people in the UK who had heard of them. Is that strange? I’m sure that if I had, judging from “Take You Home,” they would have kicked even more ass than the first time around. So, the answer to the original question is almost, five and a half killer songs.

Next post: Celtic Frost- Cold Lake

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

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

Rest in Peace Dan McCafferty

Posted in 1978, 1980s, Death, films, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 9, 2022 by 80smetalman

Dan McCafferty in Nazereth

It is my sad duty to post the passing of Dan McCafferty. Dan was the lead singer in the Scottish hard rock band, Nazareth, who were well known throughout the 1970s. The irony is that when I wrote my chapter “Tee-Bone Man and Superdekes’ Time Travelling Adventure,” I stated that when those in Rock and Roll Heaven decided to create heavy metal, the album “Hair of the Dog” was used as a blueprint. I still and always will believe that. The album also spawned Nazareth’s best known song, “Love Hurts.”

Nazareth

FFI: Click below:

I consider this one the hidden gem from that album.
This one is one my all time favourite soundtrack.

Rest in peace, Dan McCafferty

Boy, 2022 really sucks!

Great Metal Albums of 1988: Slayer- South of Heaven

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 7, 2022 by 80smetalman

For some, Slayer’s “South of Heaven” album was controversial back in 1988. Some of the die-hard Slayer fans were put off because it was slower than the previous three thrash-fest albums while others were impressed that Slayer was able to slow it down a bit. Reading a little of the history, I can see where the band was coming from when they recorded this album. They didn’t want the album to sound exactly like their previous “Reign in Blood” album, no matter how fantastic that album was. Therefore, they slowed it down quite a bit.

That slow down comes through with the opening title cut. Doom metal wasn’t a thing back in 1988 but if doom metal bands wanted something to base their music on, then the song “South of Heaven” provided the perfect blue print. In spite of it being many miles an hour slower than what Slayer fans were used to, it has this hypnotic vibe which you can’t help bobbing your head along to. While not as slow, the best known song from the album follows along this path. However, the fact that they played “Mandatory Suicide” three of the four times I saw them live and they might have played it the fourth time but I only caught twenty minutes of Slayer at Download 2017. The post on that day explains why. Anyway, while not quite as slow as the opener, it still draws you in with those hypnotic chords and while it might not sound like thrash metal Slayer, the lyrics let you know that it is indeed a Slayer song. Not many other bands would sing about such topics back then. While not as spectacular as “Mandatory Suicide, ” “Live Undead” is in the same vein although the speed does increase in places, especially at the end.

With everything said, Slayer don’t totally abandon the sound which made them a household name in thrash metal. “Silent Scream” bears witness to that and while I wouldn’t call “Behind the Crooked Cross” a thrash song, it is still faster than many of the other songs and it’s a good metal tune in it’s own right and the King-Hanneman guitar solo trade off is fantastic. They do go more full thrash on “Read Between the Lies,” which is another song which takes a dig at TV evangelists. Well, they made themselves a prime target for metal bands. I do love the guitar work on this song and Dave’s drumming is noteworthy here as well.

Now it’s time for the song which I not only consider the hidden gem of the album but the hidden gem of the entire Slayer discography. I’m talking about “Ghosts of War.” Most people associate anti-war songs with a hippy type playing an acoustic guitar but Slayer proves that you can use thrash to get your point across. “Ghosts of War” is the thrashiest, headbanging song on the album and I love everything about it. From the cool intro to the pounding chords, Tom’s vocals being as good as ever, the guitar solo tradeoff and even when they slow the song down toward the end, that power is not lost. Okay, it’s my all time favourite Slayer song and I admit that I was a little disappointed, (I stress a little), when they didn’t play it any of the times I saw them live.

For me, the final three songs, while all good song, aren’t as strong as the rest of the album. Saying that, “Cleanse the Soul” has a cool intro before going more traditional Slayer thrash metal. Following that is a cool cover of Judas Priest’s “Dissident Aggressor.” They do it justice. The album closes on a slower note with “Spill the Blood.” It opens with a very un-Slayer like acoustic intro before heading back into the realms of doom metal. Believe me when I say that it’s a smashing way to end the album.

Track Listing:

  1. South of Heaven
  2. Silent Scream
  3. Live Undead
  4. Behind the Crooked Cross
  5. Mandatory Suicide
  6. Ghosts of War
  7. Read Between the Lies
  8. Cleanse the Soul
  9. Dissident Aggressor
  10. Spill the Blood
Slayer

Tom Arraya- vocals, bass

Kerry King- guitar

Jeff Hanneman- guitar

Dave Lombardo- drums

Here’s a little hint when listening to “South of Heaven:” Forget “Reign in Blood” or any of their previous albums and listen and judge it on its own merit. While not a thrash fest, I think it’s a great album, even if Kerry King doesn’t think so.

Next post: Mass- Take You Home

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?redirect=false