Archive for Savatage

80sMetalman’s Top 30 Power Ballads: 1-10

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 23, 2018 by 80smetalman

The moment of truth has arrived! I am going to real my all time top ten power ballads. Before I do, let me just thank you for all of your comments and for simply enjoying the ride. While sitting down actually figuring out my top 30 was more exhausting than I had anticipated, it was still great fun. Think of all the songs I got to listen to. I know some of you might be a little disappointed that a power ballad you really love didn’t make the list but believe me, there were so many to choose from. Pity poor Ozzy, he has delivered many a great power ballad but not one of them made my list. It’s not that I didn’t want to include him, my favourite Ozzy power ballad, “In Old LA Tonight” from the “Osmosis” album came pretty damn close. Maybe if he preforms it at Download, I may change my mind. Anyway, enough of me rambling on, here’s my top ten.

10. Dokken- Alone Again

9. TNT- Eddie

8. Beggars and Thieves- Your Love is in Vain

7. Steel Panther- Community Property

I can see with lyrics like these why some people don’t take SP seriously but this is a kick ass power ballad!

6. Tyketto- Standing Alone

Another reason why Danny Vaughn doesn’t get the accolades he so truly deserves as a singer.

5. Pretty Maids- With These Eyes

4. Twisted Sister- The Price

For me, this song put the power in the ballad!

3. Savatage- All That I Bleed

I had to do some complicated math to include this one. The first half of it is a piano ballad while the second half completely rocks. So I applied the formula ballad + power rocker = power ballad

2. April Wine- Just Between You and Me

Go back and re-read my post on their 1981 album, “Nature of the Beast” and you’ll see why it’s number two.

  1. Heart- Allies

Heart would put out two more commercially successful power ballads later on in the 1980s. However, in my mind, they would never be as good as this one, not even close.

There you have it, 80sMetalman’s top thirty power ballads. I hope you have enjoyed listening to them as much as I have.

Next post: A Great Unknown Philadelphia Band

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Great Metal Albums of 1984: Ted Nugent- Penetrator

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 29, 2017 by 80smetalman

Guess what? For this Ted Nugent post, I’m not going to say anything about his politics. Even I know when to stop beating a dead horse. So instead, I’ll focus on his 1984 album, “Penetrator,” which was universally criticized by the metal world for his use of keyboards on the album. To my shame, even I was one of those critics. Thankfully, there’s a much older and questionably wiser me to listen to the album with a more objective mind. My thoughts: “Penetrator” still doesn’t make me want to put albums like “Cat Scratch Fever,” “Weekend Warriors” and “Scream Dream” nor any of his kick ass live albums on the scrap heap but it’s still a pretty good album.

The use of keyboards come through straight away on the opening song, “Tied Up In Love” but not until after a really cool guitar intro only which Terrible Ted can do. Before, I risk repeating myself over and over, the keyboards do make their presence known on many of the songs but they play a subordinate role on the album. Take the second song for example, “(Where Do You) Draw the Line.” This song was written by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance so one might be forgiven for thinking this was going to be some keyboard dominated soft rock song, it’s not. Ted’s guitar magic comes through very loud and abundantly clear. While still present, the keyboards take even more of a back seat on “Knocking at Your Door.” There are some good guitar riffs to lead the song and Ted nails the guitar solo perfectly. Even more so on the track after “Don’t You Want My Love.” Here the keys are almost non existent. Almost, but there are plenty of Nugent style rocking to be heard on it.

A curious twist comes up with “Go Down Fighting.” This is a song title that you would expect to be a belt it out of the park rocker but the keyboards make their presence known on it, almost making it a Journey type song. The strange thing is that the intro reminds me of Savatage, yeah really. Fortunately, Ted works his guitar magic so you know which side of the fence the song really is. Any doubts of that are dispelled with “Thunder Thighs.” This is a great rocker where Ted just takes control and jams and I hear not one trace of keyboards. It’s just Ted being how he always had been in albums past. However, I sometimes am reluctant to declare it my favourite song on the album because of the sexist connotations behind the title. “No Man’s Land” is just as heavy, if not more than it’s predecessor. Where you think there might be a keyboard at the chorus, there isn’t. After a couple of decent but non descriptive tracks is the closer “Take Me Home.” Again, maybe it’s me but this sounds like a Southern Rock anthem. Not something I’d expect from Ted Nugent but it’s the best song for the closer.

Looking at the credits and remembering recent posts, it turns out that Bobby Chouinard’s drum skills were in great demand in 1984. He played on some of the tracks of both Gary Moore albums I recently posted about and he plays on this entire album. It leads me to conclude that his skills have been forgotten about in later years and this is a travesty because, he’s that good.

Track Listing:

  1. Tied Up In Love
  2. (Where Do You) Draw the Line
  3. Knockin’ At Your Door
  4. Don’t You Want My Love
  5. Go Down Fighting
  6. Thunder Thighs
  7. No Man’s Land
  8. Blame it On the Night
  9. Lean Mean R&R Machine
  10. Take Me Home

Ted Nugent

Ted Nugent_ guitars, lead vocals

Brian Howe- lead vocals

Alan St John- keyboards- vocals

Doug Lubahn-bass

Bobby Chouinard- drums

Two interesting notes regarding Ted Nugent, the first coming from this post. Two years on, I would see Ted Nugent live with Savatage in support. It was a great concert even if it was poorly attended. The other was after my last Ted Nugent post, I put him down on the Bloodstock wishlist. The only comment I got back was someone saying they would love for him to play Bloodstock but he has only come to the UK four times since 1988. Anyway, back to “Penetrator.” This album was far better than I remembered it back in 1984, keyboards or not.

Next post: Great White

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Great Metal Albums of 1983: Savatage- Sirens

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on January 29, 2017 by 80smetalman

220px-savatage_sirens_original_cover

UK Version

UK Version

“Sirens,” the debut album from one of my favourite bands of all time, is probably the only album released in 1983, which I actually own on CD. All the others, are either on vinyl or cassette. Plus, my copy is the 2011 remaster which has three really good bonus tracks. The reason for this is that they didn’t come to my attention until I saw them live in support of Ted Nugent in 1986. I was impressed with their music although I have to admit at the time, Jon Oliva’s vocals that evening didn’t totally bowl me over. However, that was enough to check out their album at the time, “The Power of the Rock” and I liked it. For some reason, I never inquired of any records before that and while I bought all the subsequent albums, I didn’t realize they had albums preexisting Power. Curse me for a fool but now I’ve fully rectified that.

Let’s pretend for a moment, I did things properly and bought “Sirens” when I should have. I would have still been totally impressed with this album and the band and would have loved them from that point. If I heard this and their other three albums before I had seen them live, I would have simply assumed that Jon was having a off night and enjoyed their show that much more. That is because “Sirens” has all the qualities which have made me a mad ‘Tage follower.

One problem I have discovered from listening to a CD in the car is that driving distracts you from properly listening to the album. I have always liked it when I listened while driving but I often missed the intricate little details that Savatage put in their songs and only now that I am listening it in the house, do I fully appreciate how good it is. Every song on the track radiates classic Savatage from the almost mysterious opener, “Sirens,” to the closer, “Out in the Streets.” Each song has it’s own identity while reminding you who’s singing and playing the song. If I have to pick favourites, it has to be “Scream Murder,” which barely beats out the closer.

For all my lack of impression of Jon’s vocals when I saw ‘Tage that evening in July, 1986, he sounds fine on “Sirens.” Even that shriek he is more famous for on “Hall of the Mountain King” is done very nicely on the title track here. He sound even more mental (in a good way) on “Rage.” Therefore, while even the hardest Savatage fan, if that’s not me, knows that Jon’s vocal ability is limited, he does very well with what he has here. As for brother Criss, his best guitar solos are on the last two tracks, probably why they’re my favourite, he does some really catchy hooks throughout the album. His solo on “I Believe” is quite good too. While the brothers Oliva show their stuff here, the rhythm section of Steve Wacholz on bass and Keith Collins on drums do their part in making this album so good. Hearing the album as I have the past few days, I think it knocks “Handful of Rain” off the number five spot on my list of favourite Savatage albums.

Track Listing:

  1. Sirens
  2. Holocaust
  3. I Believe
  4. Rage
  5. On the Run
  6. Twisted Little Sister
  7. Living for the Night
  8. Scream Murder
  9. Out on the Streets
Savatage I couldn't find a photo of this lineup online so I scanned the back cover of the CD

Savatage
I couldn’t find a photo of this lineup online so I scanned the back cover of the CD

Jon Oliva- shrieks of terror, vocals

Criss Oliva- metalaxe, guitars

Steve ‘Dr Kildrums’ Wacholz- barbaric canon, bass

Keith Collins- the bottom end, drums

Savatage’s debut album might have escaped my notice in 1983 but I did eventually get to listen to it. I slightly regret not getting “Sirens” then as it would have been the beginning of my loyal devotion to this band. However, no use fretting because even though it is such a great album, Savatage would go onto to bigger and better things. Still, what a great springboard to launch from.

Next post: Raven- All For One

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