Archive for Heavy Metal

Rest in Peace Alec John Such

Posted in 1980s, Death, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2022 by 80smetalman
Alec John Such

I have just learned of the passing of former Bon Jovi bassist, Alec John Such. He was one of the founding members of the band but left in 1994 siting burn out. The band is said to be heartbroken at the news of his passing. FFI, click the link: https://www.msn.com/en-gb/entertainment/music/bon-jovi-founding-member-alec-john-such-dies-as-band-left-heartbroken/ar-AAY709Z?ocid=mailsignout&li=BBoPWjQ

I feature my all time favourite Bon Jovi song in dedication to Alec.

Rest in peace Alec John Such.

Great Metal Albums of 1988: Bonfire- Fireworks

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

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

Torque Show

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

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

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

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

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

Track Listing:

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

Claus Lessman- lead and backing vocals

Hans Ziller- lead and acoustic guitars, backing vocals

Horst Maier- rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Jorg Deisinger- bass, backing vocals

Additional Musicians

Ken Mary- drums

Martin Ernst- keyboards

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

Next post: Cheap Trick- Lap of Luxury

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

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

Great Rock Albums of 1988: Survivor- Too Hot to Sleep

Posted in 1980s, films, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 30, 2022 by 80smetalman

Sometimes I wonder if there is some sort of mathematical link between my liking an album and its chart success because I really like this album “Too Hot to Sleep” by Survivor. However, the album was not a successful album chart-wise. Survivor proved to me in 1984, with the “Vital Signs” album that they didn’t need the “Rocky” films to achieve success. It was further cemented with their previous album, “When Seconds Count.” So, I can’t figure for the life of me why this album did so poorly because I really like it or maybe that’s the reason.

“Too Hot to Sleep” borders on being heavy metal on some tracks. That was made clear on the opening track, “She’s a Star.” When I heard those power chords, I thought, “Wow, this is good!” Another point is the fact that Frankie Sullivan nails some really cool guitar solos on many songs, including the one already mentioned. Hell, looking at the video, he looks like he could be a metal guitarist. Actually all three members look pretty metal in that video. On the other hand, Survivor didn’t completely abandon the melodic rock formula which brought them fame. “Desperate Dreams” is living proof of that fact.

Like with their previous album, the title track is one that does it for me. It has that hauntingly cool acoustic guitar intro followed by the dependable vocals of Jimi Jamison and supported by keyboard work from Jim Peterik and of course a killer solo from Frank. He really goes mad at the end. The only thing needed was to turn up the guitars an octave or so higher.

“Didn’t Know It Was Love” stays in traditional Survivor territory. It reminds me of “High On You” from the “Vital Signs” album and I’m more than a little surprised that it didn’t make a dent in the singles charts. It’s a song meant for such things. Meanwhile, “Rhythm of the City” is a straightforward rocker with a great rhythm guitar riff. This song is definitely close to metal and out of all my blubbering about the guitar playing of Frankie, he’s at his best on this one. One way to describe this track is to think of “Burning Heart” from “Rocky IV” as a metal tune. No doubt, this one gets my vote for hidden gem. Talking about “Burning Heart,” “Here Comes Desire” is a song which is closer to that. It has a definite swagger to it, especially with Jim tinkling the ivories on it and a great guitar solo from Frankie.

The track that did have some chart success is the ballad “Across the Miles.” Jimi’s vocals are the key to this one although he is backed up well by the other two. “Tell Me I Am the One” is more in the 80s pop vein but the backing vocals are good and Frankie keeps it from becoming a total pop song. Things go more rock on “Can’t Give It Up.” The band is spot on with this one with some nice little guitar hooks and you get double the prizes, a good guitar solo and the song is taken out with some keyboard wizardry from Jim. The album goes out with authority with the almost power ballad like “Burning Bridges.” Was the title a metaphor of things to come? Who knows? But it does end the album well.

Historical facts I understand these days which I couldn’t fathom back then was Survivor replaced bassist Stephen Ellis and drummer Marc Droubay with studio musicians. On the tour for “When Seconds Count,” Stephen developed a stomach ulcer and was unable to play on many of the tour dates. Marc was becoming more disillusioned with the band’s shift to more pop and was eventually dismissed from the band. That’s the strange thing, I wouldn’t call “Too Hot to Sleep” a pop album, more melodic rock inching towards melodic hard rock.

Track Listing:

  1. She’s a Star
  2. Desperate Dreams
  3. Too Hot to Sleep
  4. Didn’t Know It Was Love
  5. Rhythm of the City
  6. Here Comes Desire
  7. Across the Miles
  8. Tell Me I’m the One
  9. Can’t Give It Up
  10. Burning Bridges
Survivor

Jimi Jamison- lead and backing vocals

Frankie Sullivan- guitar, backing vocals

Jim Peterik- keyboards

Additional Musicians:

Peter-John Vettesse- keyboards

Bill Syniar- bass

Mickey Curry- drums

Ian Lloyd- backing vocals

Tommy Shaw- backing vocals

Rory Dodd- additional lead vocals on “Across the Miles”

Survivor would take a hiatus after “Too Hot to Sleep” although Jimi Jamison would tour under the band’s name resulting in legal disputes. It’s a damn shame this album didn’t take off because this whole album has been a hidden gem for me.

Next post: Bonfire- Fireworks

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

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

1988: Another Great Year for Metal

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on May 27, 2022 by 80smetalman

Like all of the other years I’ve visited in my tour of the golden age of heavy metal, 1988 stamped its own unique mark on the music world. To be honest, there isn’t nothing new which I can say about this year that I haven’t said about the all the other years. On the other hand, the albums and events which came out in the year speaks much louder than I ever could.

Apart from the music, 1988 brought forth some major changes in my own life. I was married. settling in with life in my adopted country of the United Kingdom and working one of the jobs most British people wouldn’t take. (I was a cleaner in a factory.) Then in May of this year, I would discover that I was going to become a father for the first time. So, one can imagine the personal upheaval in my life. Still, my love for the music hadn’t waned and you could say, it was a great support for me. So, as you have been so supportive of me for all the other years, buckle up and enjoy the ride through the next one.

Next post: Survivor- Too Hot to Sleep

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

If You Have Netflix, Then Watch This Movie!

Posted in 1980s, films, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2022 by 80smetalman

My stepson, Teal, recommended the film, “Metal Lords,” to me and in the past few weeks, I’ve seen it twice and now I’m going to plug how good the film is here. Without spoiling the entire plot, “Metal Lords” is about two socially displaced high school kids, Hunter and Kevin. Hunter is a total metalhead who dreams of hitting the big time as a great metal guitarist. Kevin, the drummer, although not a metalhead in the traditional sense, follows Hunter’s lead because Hunter saved him from a bully in third grade. Together, they form the band, Skullfucker.

All the heavy metal cliches are in the film but the thing was, I don’t care because they are all the truth. There’s the being picked on by the jocks, singled out by teachers and late in the film, Hunter’s father has him committed to a clinic because as we all know, only insane people listen to heavy metal. In addition, Kevin gets a girlfriend, Emily, who plays the cello. With the band still not able to find a bass player, Kevin tries to pitch Emily but Hunter rejects it saying that the cello is not a metal instrument. This eventually leads to a falling out between the two friends and Kevin joining the bubble gum pop band, Mollycoddle. It all leads to what some will call a predictable ending but it’s all done a great metal form.

My strange ability to pick out the small details in films, I found it amusing that when Kevin is in Mollycoddle, he finds playing the drums to their songs a lot easier than being a metal drummer. Even if he does nail, “War Pigs.” Then there’s my favourite scene when Kevin is in the pool and about to cheat on Emily, he is visited by Scott Ian, Tom Morello, Kirk Hammett and Rob Halford who all (Rob even more so) remind Kevin what a great girl Emily is and he shouldn’t cheat on her. Then again, if those four Gods visited me, I would do anything they said. One last point, “War Pigs” sounds excellent played on the cello.

Kevin being visited by Scott, Tom, Kirk and Rob

Of course no metal film would be worth its weight if it didn’t have a killer soundtrack.

  1. Skullflower- Machinery of Torment
  2. Judas Priest- Metal Gods
  3. Iron Maiden- The Trooper
  4. Avenged Sevenfold- Hail to the King
  5. Judas Priest- Painkiller
  6. Metallica- For Whom the Bell Tolls
  7. Black Sabbath- War Pigs
  8. Mastodon- Blood and Thunder
  9. Judas Priest- Grinder
  10. Ozzy Osbourne- Dee
  11. Motorhead- Ace of Spades
  12. Metallica- One
  13. Pantera- Cowboys From Hell
  14. Metallica- Master of Puppets
  15. Zeal & Ardor- Trust No One
  16. Guns ‘N’ Roses- Since I Don’t Have You
  17. Metallica- Whiplash
  18. Pantera- I’m Broken
Performance of the song in the film

I urge everyone to watch “Metal Lords.” It may be a little predictable but with all of that metal, who the hell cares?

Next post: Original vs. Cover

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/dashboard?source_location=user_profile_started

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Track Listing:

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

W. Axl Rose- lead vocals

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

Izzy Stradlin- lead and rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Duff ‘Rose’ McKagan- bass, backing vocals

Steven Adler- drums

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

Next post: A Movie You Should Definitely Check Out

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

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

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Dream Death- Journey Into Mystery

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2022 by 80smetalman

Here’s another album my sister passed onto me, probably because she wasn’t impressed with it. After my Wrath post, she stated on Facebook that the album was given to her to review for her college newspaper and she disliked it so much that she said the band should have paid her to listen to it. Dawn was never into thrash so that is enough circumstantial evidence to suggest that she didn’t like Dream Death’s “Journey Into Mystery” album.

What I found was cool about the record when I took it out to play was that it was blue. I never saw a record coloured other than black before then so I really liked the light blue see through record. If it wasn’t so much trouble, I would go up into my attic and get it for all to see. In addition, when reading the credits on the album, it has the usual ‘Special Thanks’ part but it also has a ‘No Thanks’ section. Making that list was the band’s high school in Pennsylvania, trends and trendy people, conformists and other wankers. I could agree with the band on all of those. Now onto the album.

Doom metal wasn’t a term back in 1987 so Dream Death could be credited as being a pioneer of the sub-genre. “Journey Into Mystery” is a unique blend of doom and thrash. The album comes rocking out with the more thrash, “Back From the Dead” and then goes more doom with “The Elder Race.” The slower power chords are almost hypnotic in some places on that track.

Track three, “Bitterness and Hatred,” has a Suicidal Tendencies feel to it. It starts out doom metal and going mid tempo metal and then back to doom for the chorus but thrash speed in the middle before slowing down to the doom metal conclusion. This was something Suicidal Tendencies did with their first two albums and Dream Death do a good job on this track. The changes keep one interested. However, “Black Edifice” sounds like it wants to go off at 800 mph but the band manage to keep it reigned in and give you a more doom metal track. It does follow the formula set down by its predecessor where they speed it up in the middle. It’s the first song to have a really cool guitar solo.

Side two does start off with some powerful thrash only slowing down to catch its breath between verses and taking off again. “Divine In Agony” is a good way to kick off the second half of the album as the three remaining tracks are all strong tracks. “Hear My Screams” has a horror movie type intro before going more thrash. They go more thrash with this one but the doom metal returns on “Sealed in Blood.” This has a Black Sabbath type intro and then when it kicks up, it doesn’t go thrash. This track could be a blueprint for future doom metal merchants to take from. It has a cool guitar solo backed up by a cool rhythm section.

The album closes out with my favourite track on the album, “Dream Death.” This is a great thrash song and because I wasn’t sure about the record after the first few listens, it was this track that kept me coming back to it. It starts mid-paced but quickly increases its speed. The steady rhythm between the first and second verses and before the guitar solo make a good headbang. However, it does slow down to give a cool doom metal bridge. The track punctuates what the band was attempting to do throughout the rest of the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Back From the Dead
  2. The Elder Race
  3. Bitterness and Hatred
  4. Black Edifice
  5. Divine in Agony
  6. Hear My Screams
  7. Sealed in Blood
  8. Dream Death
Dream Death

Brian Lawrence- lead and backing vocals, guitar

Terry Weston- guitar, backing vocals

Ted Williams- bass, backing vocals

Mike Smail- drums, backing vocals

My sister might not have liked “Journey Into Mystery” but I do. The album demonstrates how a hungry band will just pull out all stops and go for it. These days, I will hold it up as a blueprint for doom metal.

Next post: Guns and Roses- Appetite for Destruction

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

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

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Wrath- Nothing to Fear

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on May 11, 2022 by 80smetalman

By the end of the 1980s and well into the 90s, my sister Dawn was not only making heavy metal tapes and sending them to me, she was also offloading albums she was no longer interested in onto me. Actually, she sent me this album in 1989 but learning from past mistakes, I have learned to check the release dates and so I know that “Nothing to Fear” by Chicago based thrash metallers, Wrath, came out in 1987.

I feel a need to cut right to the chase here. Let me ask you all out there, have you ever started listening to a band and you are totally digging the music and then the lead singer starts singing and become turned off? This has been the case with this album. Let me be clear, I am in no way saying that Gary Golwitzer is a bad singer. In fact, he does have a decent voice. However, I do not think his vocals are suited to thrash metal. For me, he is too high pitched for thrash and there are times when I find the vocals a little annoying. He would have been better suited for a straight forward metal band. I’ll can close my eyes and even hear him singing prog metal but not thrash.

Admittedly, it is a big shame because the other four members of Wrath really know how to play. Guitarists Scott Nyquist and Mike Nyrkkanen make an excellent guitar duo. Their guitar solo tradeoffs on many of the tracks are just downright superb! The most notable being on “Painless,” where the tradeoff isn’t the normal one guitarist plays the first solo and the second one plays the other. No, these two trade back and forth throughout the solo and to me it just sounds fantastic! Plus, they play some great opening riffs on that track and on “R.I.P. (Ripped Into Pieces)” as well.

Naturally, we can’t forget the rhythm section either and I can honestly say that Gary Modica and Mike Fron make a very good one. Gary’s bass lines are great and he does a little solo on “Painless.” Hell, it just took over as my favourite track on the album. Because not only the musicianship is ace but Gary Golwitzer’s vocals aren’t annoying. Then again, this number goes a little slower almost blues like. Still, I should mention the song it replaces, “Hell is Full.” Again, Gary’s vocals do fit the song and I love the acoustic intro before it blasts off into the ionosphere and a great guitar solo. Oh yes, back to the rhythm section. Let me simply say that Mike Fron makes his mark all over this album. One notable effort is on “Fear Itself” but he is another reason why “Painless” goes to number one. I’ll go out on a limb and say in the category of thrash drummers, I put him up there with Lars Ulrich, Charlie Benante, Dave Lombardo and Ventor.

Track Listing:

  1. R.I.P. (Ripped Into Pieces)
  2. Mutants
  3. Hell is Full
  4. Painless
  5. Fear Itself
  6. Sudden Death
  7. Incineration/Caustic Sleep
  8. When Worlds Collide
  9. Victims of the Void

Note: I have discovered that “When Worlds Collide” was on the soundtrack of the 1990 film “Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (Leather Face).”

WRATH

Gary Golwitzer- vocals

Scott Nyquist- guitar

Mike Nyrkkanen- guitar

Gary Modica- bass

Mike Fron- drums

Here’s a better picture of how they looked back then

I honestly think that if Wrath had a singer with a voice more suited to thrash, then they would have gone a lot further because they sure as hell can play. “Nothing to Fear” proves it.

Next post: Dream Death- Journey Into Mystery

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

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

Great Metal Albums of 1987: 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: WASP- Live in the Raw

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 5, 2022 by 80smetalman

My initial reaction to WASP’s first live album was one of disappointment when I saw the track listing. How could there be a live album by WASP and it not have the classic “Animal (Fuck Like a Beast)” on it? I saw them live in 1986 and 87 and they played the track each time. Therefore, I thought putting it on a live album would be a no brainer but it’s not on it. So, I just had to enjoy the tracks that are on “Live in the Raw.”

Since the album was recorded during the “Inside the Electric Circus” Tour, the recordings were from shows in Long Beach and San Diego California, it is no surprise that four songs from the album are on this live one. While I wouldn’t call the song “Inside the Electric Circus” an attention grabbing opener, I can see why they opened with it. It’s still a good song.

What is good about “Live in the Raw” is that it includes a good balance of their first three albums. “Animal” might not be on it but they do include “I Want to Be Somebody” and “L.O.V.E. Machine,” from the first album, both of which are good songs anyway. Furthermore, I never paid much attention to “Sleeping in the Fire” but this live version has got my attention. As for “The Last Command” album, the two best songs from that album, “Wild Child” and my all time second favourite WASP song, “Blind in Texas” get included. In addition, they add two new songs, “Harder, Faster” and “Manimal,” the former is introduced with Blackie ripping on the PMRC, always fun to hear. Oh yes, they close out the album, with “Scream Until You Like It” which is the theme to the “Ghoulies II” movie, though that song was recorded in the studio. So all around, the tracks for the live album are well chosen.

What I like most is that there isn’t much difference between the live recordings and the studio albums. They do prolong some of the songs but they are being played live so there is always scope for extra guitar solos and repeated vocals and audience participation, so it’s all good. All of the songs are played well and I will now officially eat my words on the guitar playing of Chris Holmes. He does shred well, I only wished he did more of that when I saw them at Donnington that year.

Track Listing:

  1. Inside the Electric Circus
  2. I Don’t Need No Doctor
  3. L.O.V.E. Machine
  4. 95 Nasty
  5. Wild Child
  6. Sleeping in the Fire
  7. The Manimal
  8. I Want to Be Somebody
  9. Harder Faster
  10. Blind in Texas
  11. Scream Until You Like It
WASP

Blackie Lawless- guitar, lead vocals

Chris Holmes- lead guitar

Johnny Rod- bass, backing vocals

Steve Riley- drums, backing vocals

It has been said that “Live in the Raw” marked the division the band would take the band from the ‘old WASP’ to a more mature sound. I never really thought about that as WASP would continue to sound pretty much the same to me. However, this would be the last album to feature drummer Steve Riley. Still, it’s a decent live album.

Next post: White Lion- Pride

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