Archive for Nature of the Beast

Great Metal Albums of 1982: April Wine- Power Play

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 8, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-Power_Play_(April_Wine_album_cover)

When I returned from my second tour of the Mediterranean in the summer of 1982, I was quite excited to discover that April Wine had put out a new album. After all, their 1981 album “Nature of the Beast” was one of the albums that made that year for me. Therefore, it was logical for me to conclude that “Power Play” was going to be just as kick ass. Unfortunately, it wasn’t but the band should not hang their head in shame because the album didn’t make me want to remove it from the turntable and throw it directly in the bin. It really is a decent album.

First, let me get the obvious compare and contrast between “Power Play” and “Nature of the Beast” over and done with straight away. The main issue here is that with the previous album, April Wine recorded a power ballad that set the bar for all power ballads ever since. Expecting them to create another one as mind blowing as “Just Between You and Me” is asking them to make tea in a chocolate kettle. “Enough is Enough,” “What if We Fall in Love” and “Tell Me Why” don’t come close to touching the bar but on the other hand, I didn’t find myself wanting to hit the fast forward button when those songs came on. With hindsight, that could be the problem with this album. Maybe the band was too engrossed in writing another kick ass power ballad, that it detracted from the rest of the album.

When they weren’t focusing on power ballads, the rest of the album is pretty good. I love the opener, “Anything You Want, You Got It.” When I first heard it back then and even now, I think that this is a great start to what I hoped would be a great album. The song really does rock. Furthermore, I like the guitar work on “Waiting on a Miracle.” It proves that April Wine still had a trick or two up their metal sleeves. I can say the same for “Doing it Right,” another really good rocking song. Those three songs redeem the album for me.

Now let’s go to what some called the “ostrich in the room.” Yes, I mean the song “If You See Kay” and yes I know, everyone sees the innuendo here. I too, admit that I thought the song was going to be a shitty song disguised by an amusing sounding name but I have to admit, it’s not that bad. The down side to it is I think that the band wasn’t sure whether to make it a power ballad or a rocker, it kind of lingers in between both nor is there anything rude about the lyrics. It’s just about a girl named Kay.

Track Listing:

1. Anything You Want, You Got It

2. Enough is Enough

3. If You See Kay

4. What if We Fall in Love

5. Waiting for a Miracle

6. Doing it Right

7. Ain’t Got Your Love

8. Blood Money

9. Tell Me Why

10. Runners in the Night

April Wine

April Wine

Myles Goodwin- vocals, guitars, keyboards

Gary Moffet- guitars, backing vocals

Steve Lang- bass, backing vocals

Brian Greenway- vocals, guitars

Jerry Mercer- drums

The fact that “Power Play” didn’t live up to the expectations set by its predecessor made some of the less informed at the time dismiss them as one album wonders. They obviously never to listened to the early albums. I did and I can say how good they were. However, like I said, while the album isn’t as good as the previous, it’s still a pretty good album and it was a good one to come home to.

Next post: Michael Schenker Group- Assault Attack

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

 

 

 

 

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Great Metal Albums of 1981: April Wine- The Nature of the Beast

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on August 9, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-The_Nature_of_the_Beast_(April_Wine_album_cover)

It was about this time of my life that I began to wonder if Canadian music was largely ignored by US and UK markets, especially metal bands from the Great White North. Rush and Triumph being the two exceptions of course.  Two of my very earliest posts asked this question and certainly feel free to go back through the archives and read those posts. I ask myself the same question because while searching through my local record store, I discovered “The Nature of the Beast” by Canadian band April Wine. There will be some debate as to whether or not to label April Wine a metal band and I will attempt to put forward the case for yes as I examine their most commercially successful album.

If one were to listen to the first four songs only, they would be more inclined to put April Wine into the hard rock or power pop category. The opening song “All Over Town” starts hard enough with the opening riffs. However, I get the sneaking suspicion that it could have been played even harder. It’s still a good song though and the second song, “Telling Me Lies” sort of goes on in the same vein. It’s another song that borders on power pop. Then comes “Sign of the Gypsy Queen.” This is the first song that really shows off some impressive guitar work. I have “The Nature of the Beast” on cassette, which is gathering dust in my attic so I heard the version on YouTube. It was a live version and it is totally mind blowing. The guitar solos go on for much longer and my thought to this was “Why couldn’t have recorded it like that on the album?” It would have made a great song even greater. Following “Sign of the Gypsy Queen” is my second favourite power ballad of all time, “Just Between You and Me.” Yes, it’s a soppy love song lyrically, but the guitar breaks between the verses and the solo itself totally launch it to a new level. I will go out on the limb here and say that “Just Between You and Me” set the bar for how metal ballads should sound. It totally kicks the ass of “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.”

After the ballad, the album goes heavier kicking in straight away with “Wanna Rock.” I agree with the lyrics “Disco music has a social disease, if it ain’t gonna rock me then it ain’t gonna please.” “Wanna Rock” sets the stage for the hard rocking rest of the album and is the exhibit A, B and C for my case of April Wine being a metal band. It follows on with the anti-nuclear weapons song “Caught in the Crossfire” that starts with a very cool lead guitar intro. On the cassette it would start the second side but “Future Tense” starts with an almost thrash sound before slowing down a little while still maintaining metal integrity. It continues with the third best known song on the album and definitely more metal sounding than either “Sign of the Gypsy Queen” and “Just Between You and Me.” Big City Girls” is a true cooker of a song even if it is about prostitutes. “Crash and Burn” doesn’t do what it suggests in the title but continues the party. “Bad Boys” may not be as hard as the ones mentioned but it carries things on nicely to its excellent closer “One More Time” which ends the album very nicely. So, I hope I have convinced some of you that April Wine should be a metal band but don’t take my word for it, listen for yourself.

Track Listing:

1. All Over Town

2. Telling Me Lies

3. Sign of the Gypsy Queen

4. Just Between You and Me

5. Wanna Rock

6. Caught in the Crossfire

7. Future Tense

8. Big City Girls

9. Crash and Burn

10. Bad Boys

11. One More Time

April Wine

April Wine

Myles Goodwyn- vocals, guitars, keyboards

Brian Greenway- vocals, guitars

Gary Moffet- guitars, backing vocals

Steve Lang- bass, backing vocals

Jerry Mercer- drums

I have a confession to make, when I bought “The Nature of the Beast” I never knew that they had put out so many albums before hand. It was always in my mind to listen to these albums but I never got around to it, that’s going to change. I would love to hear how they stack up to this monster of a classic.

Next post: Judas Priest- Point of Entry

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