Archive for speed metal

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Bitch- The Bitch is Back

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

Talk about a snowball effect! Two posts ago, when I reviewed Lizzy Borden, it was pointed out to me that singer Betsy Bitch sang on one of the tracks of the “Terror Rising” album. Now, the name was known to me back in the 80s, (it’s hard to miss such a name), but I never got around to listening to any of her music. You know, the normal excuse of too much music and not enough time. Therefore, I decided to investigate Betsy and her band, Bitch, and I learned that they put out an album in 1987 called, “The Bitch is Back.” I’ve given it a few listens and I pretty much like what I’ve heard.

Betsy Bitch

The rest of the band kick off the album with a bass solo followed by a guitar solo on opening track, “Do You Want to Rock.” However, it’s only a few seconds later when Betsy comes in on the vocals and any idea that her memorable name is used to disguise a lack of vocal talent is smashed to bits straight away. Betsy has the voice! I give a definite “yes” to the question the opening track is asking. Things speed up on the next track, “Hot and Heavy,” almost to speed metal and this is the track which proves that the rest of the band is just as capable as their singer. It’s definitely one of the stronger tracks on the album.

As I listen to “The Bitch is Back,” the more impressed I become with guitarist David Carruth. His riffs and solos are top notch and I find it difficult to believe that his talents have been hidden for so long. He really shines on “Me and Boys.” He singlehandedly saves a song with predictable lyrics from being filler. Bitch goes doom metal on “Storm Raging Up.” There’s a really gloomy sounding intro before turning total metal and the musician to note on this one is drummer, Robby Settles.

You might have noticed the title of the album is an old Elton John song and there is a cover of it on the album. I don’t know how Elton might have felt about it but I like it. Betsy’s spin on the song is very cool and her father plays saxophone on it. Not the best song on the album though definitely not filler, it brings out another positive point, there is an air of humour to the album.

I can’t leave out the bass player as Ron Cordy puts down some good bass grooves. His turn to shine comes on “Head Banger.” His bassline while David hammers out his solo brings an extra dimension of cool to the song. Then the pace picks up on “Fist to Face.” This is one to get a mosh pit going as it nears the borderline of thrash metal. “Turns Me On” has a slower, bluesy feel to hit and David works his guitar magic on it. However, they step on the gas and go out at thrash metal speed on the closer “Skullcrusher.” It does end the album on the right note.

Track Listing:

  1. Do You Want to Rock
  2. Hot and Heavy
  3. Me and the Boys
  4. Storm Raging Up
  5. The Bitch is Back
  6. Head Banger
  7. Fist to Face
  8. Turns Me On
  9. Skullcrusher
Bitch

Betsy ‘Bitch’ Weiss- lead vocals

David Carruth- guitar

Ron Cordy- bass

Robby Settles- drums

Additional Musicians:

Mick Adrian- additional backing vocals

Joe Romersa- keyboards on “Hot and Heavy,” “Storm Raging Up” and “Skullcrusher,” additional backing vocals

Stanley ‘Dad of a Bitch’ Weiss- saxophone on “The Bitch is Back”

One reason I think Bitch didn’t become more well known is the already mentioned over saturated metal market at the time. However, if I was to find one fault it’s the song writing. The song subjects and lyrics are typical of the time. Saying that, if Bitch had been able to mature, then they could have been a force to be reckoned with in the metal world.

Next post: WASP- Live in the Raw

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@80smetalman

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: Agnostic Front- Liberty and Justice For…

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

One year after their controversial “Cause for Alarm” album, Agnostic Front were back with “Liberty and Justice For….” Like with the previous album, the band went through various line up changes and by the time the new album was recorded, the only remaining member from that previous album was rhythm guitarist Vinnie Stigma.

With “Liberty and Justice For…” Agnostic Front continued their crossover from hardcore punk into thrash metal. While I can’t say for 100%, it also seems that they also steered themselves away from right wing lyrics. The album kicks off with “Liberty and Justice” and begins with a classroom full of school children reciting the pledge of allegiance. However, the pledge stops right after “One nation under God” and goes into a massive thrash-out. The children say the final line at the end of the song, “With liberty and justice for all.” Lyrically, the song isn’t right wing but laments how the US is destroying itself while politicians don’t seem to care. Doesn’t sound right wing to me, just a fact.

Like the Stormtroopers of Death and Napalm Death, Agnostic Front launch a short but fatal attack on delicate eardrums with eleven songs in just over twenty-five minutes with no quarter asked for or given. Each and every song is just one massive thrash frenzy. The slowest song on the album is “Another Side,” at least it starts at 1990s Metallica speed before jettisoning into normal Agnostic Front speed. It does slow down in the middle before lead guitarist Steve Martin, no not the comedy actor, plays his best solo on the album. There is a similar vibe on the next track, “Happened Yesterday,” though that doesn’t slow down as much. But like with everything about this album, it’s short and to the point. The only possible exception might be the penultimate track, which is slow enough to hear the lyrics. There’s a definite Suicidal Tendencies vibe on this one. In this case, it works perfectly.

Track Listing:

  1. Liberty and Justice
  2. Crucial Moment
  3. Strength
  4. Genesis
  5. Anthem
  6. Another Side
  7. Happened Yesterday
  8. Lost
  9. Hypocrisy
  10. Crucified
  11. Censored
Agnostic Front

Roger Miret- vocals

Steve Martin- lead guitar

Vinnie Stigma- rhythm guitar

Alan Peters- bass

Will Shepler- drums

Thrash bands came and went in the late 1980s but Agnostic Front kept going. I must warn people, “Liberty and Justice For…” is not for the feint hearted. It’s one speed frenzy almost from start to finish but it’s one thrash party I will attend every time.

Next post: Glass Tiger- The Thin Red Line

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: The Great Kat- Worship Me or Die!

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

Could this be a case of looks being deceiving? When you look past the guitar, leather and spikes, you might be inclined to think that this innocent looking young lady sang Taylor Swift type songs. After all, it seems that these days, some female pop singers dress in a neo-metal fashion in an attempt to lure younger metal males into checking out their music. However, metalheads aren’t as stupid as they think. They listen to what’s inside the album and not judge by the cover. With The Great Kat, on the other hand, she is the real deal. What you get from her debut album, “Worship Me or Die!” is a half hour of great thrash metal.

After a great shredding introduction, Kat, (real name Katherine Thomas), declares that she is the “Metal Messiah.” Her declaration is short and to the point with some great power riffs to back her up. After, she lets you know that she is possessed by the devil and you are her little slaves. Her shredding backs up her claim. If that’s not enough to convince you, she power chords and shreds her point in declaring “Death to You.”

Once you are convinced she the possessed metal messiah, you get my favourite track of the album, “Satan Goes to Church.” My amusement for television evangelists is satisfied when the song is introduced by a television evangelist telling us to repent. That is quickly sidelined by a thrash frenzy telling us that Satan is coming into the church and writing his name in blood before burning it down. It’s all tongue and cheek but I bet the Jesus freaks back then got their knickers all in a twist over it.

Now that Satan has burned down the church, you have no other choice do what Kat says in the title track, “Worship Me or Die!” Kat declares her omnipotence by letting you know that Kat rules, once again backed up by serious thrash chords and more shredding. From there, she goes on a four song death to all march, first summoning demons, then a speed death, a song which seems to go at 900mph. It carries on with killing the Muthers, (I don’t think she’s talking about actual mothers here), before laying it all to rest with “Ashes to Dust,” complete with a funeral service at the beginning. It’s all one big thrash-fest and I must give full credit to the rhythm section for being able to keep up with her.

Kat gets the children involved by playing a sweet little game called, “Satan Says.” Backed by foreboding, slower riffs, she kindly warns the children what might happen if they don’t play. “Satan goes follow me, Satan says ‘Go to Hell!'” The album then closes out with a total metal massacre, with the great shredding in which the album was first brought in.

Track Listing:

  1. Metal Messiah
  2. Kat Possessed
  3. Death to You
  4. Satan Goes to Church
  5. Worship Me or Die
  6. Demons
  7. Speed Death
  8. Kill the Muthers
  9. Ashes to Dust
  10. Satan Says
  11. Metal Massacre
The Great Kat (she doesn’t look so innocent here)

The Great Kat- guitar, lead vocals, violin

Tom Von Doom- bass

Adam Killa- drums

“Worship Me or Die” proves a point I have been making recently here and on other blogs; Back in the 1980s, female shredders didn’t get the respect they so deserved. The Great Kat, I emphasize the great because she was just as good as many of her male counterparts at the time and she should have been taken more seriously.

Next post: Savatage- Hall of the Mountain King

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@80smetalman

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: Motorhead- Rock ‘n’ Roll

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

“Rock ‘n’ Roll” is Motorhead’s worst performing album chartwise of all time. It was slammed by so-called critics and even Lemmy admitted that it wasn’t their best album. He sites some of the reasons such as having the wrong producer and the personal problems that guitarist Wurzel was experiencing at the time. Taking all into account, while I won’t equate “Rock ‘n’ Roll” with the classics, it is far from a bad album.

The first two tracks are the best ones on the album. Both prove that Motorhead hadn’t lost their touch and were capable of kicking your ass at 120 miles an hour. “Eat the Rich” was used in a film of the same title where Lemmy appears in the film in the role of Spider. Reflecting back to Gene Simmons’s role in a film a few years prior, maybe there is a correlation to bass players acting in films and the effect it has on their next album. I haven’t seen the film in ages but I wasn’t that impressed, especially coming from the Comic Strip group which made “Bad News.” But I remember Lemmy was pretty good in the film.

While the first two tracks are the best ones, I don’t think the album downturns that drastically afterwards. If there is any criticism to be aimed at the album is that Motorhead rely on the same formula that had made them so great over the years. Some people might have got tired of what they perceived as the same sound again and again. However, I say that true, there are similarities to classic Motorhead material, they do it with the same passion as well. You still get thrashing guitars, Lemmy’s unmistakable vocals, some great guitar solos, my favourite is on “Stone Deaf in the USA,” which is also my pick for the hidden gem.

If listeners wanted something different on a Motorhead album, then “Blessing” provides it. The band doesn’t play on it but instead it’s a prayer offered by Monty Python star Michael Palin who asks God to bless Motorhead. Michael says his prayer in the same fashion as his character in the Python film, “The Meaning of Life.” Being both a Motorhead and a Monty Python fan, I found it all very funny. Even if you don’t find it funny, the tracks “Traitor” and “Dogs” go back to traditional kick ass Motorhead sound. “Dogs” is especially a great song to bang your head along to.

The album saw one change in personnel as drummer Pete Gill was out and Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor was brought back in. While no one debates Phil’s efforts on the album, to some, it wasn’t enough to save it but what do they know? I like this album.

Track Listing:

  1. Rock ‘ n’ Roll
  2. Eat the Rich
  3. Blackheart
  4. Stone Deaf in the USA
  5. Blessing
  6. The Wolf
  7. Traitor
  8. Dogs
  9. All For You
  10. Boogeyman
Motorhead

Lemmy Kilmister- bass, lead vocals

Wurzel- lead guitar, slide guitar on “Stone Deaf in the USA”

Phil ‘Wizzo’ Campbell- rhythm guitar, slide guitar on “Eat the Rich”

Phil ‘Philthy Animal’ Taylor- drums

Michael Palin- Speech on “Blessing”

British fans might have been getting tired of Motorhead, but it wasn’t the case in the USA. The lack of chart success for “Rock ‘n’ Roll” made Lemmy relocate to America where fans were wanting to see Motorhead live and buy their albums.

Next post: Napalm Death- Scum

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

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

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Overkill- Taking Over

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

In recent months, there has been a lot of talk as to which thrash band should join the big four to make the big five. Exodus is the most likely favourite, especially as it got a nod from Anthrax’s Scott Ian. Testament is another strong choice and I will keep plugging Kreator. However, I suspect that there are a good number of metal fans from Northern New Jersey who might speak out for Overkill. I’d be the first to say that they’d be a long shot, even though they were brilliant at Bloodstock 2015. However, after listening to their 1987 album, “Taking Over,” those odds might have got a little shorter.

Overkill establishing their dominance, Bloodstock 2015

The first two songs on “Taking Over” are a one massive thrash party. The sheer ferocity of those songs convince me that Overkill are a genuine thrash band as opposed to some of the pretenders that were coming out at the time. Then we get to the third track, “Fear His Name,” where Overkill prove that they are far more capable of just hammering out power chords at 500 mph. They slow down for the track and Bobby ‘Blitz’ Ellsworth shows he does have some good melody to his vocals and then there’s the shredding of Bobby Gustafson and boy can he shred!

“Use Your Head” doesn’t quite go back to the speed of tracks one and two but it has it’s moments. It’s definitely faster than the preceding track and there is a good power chord mosh part in the middle of the song. While the two Bobbys do what they do best on the song, I have to point out the contribution of the rhythm section on this one, which is very good. Furthermore, I am amused by the lyrics, “You’ve got a lot to learn. You got your head up your ass.”

Is there such a thing as progressive thrash? Because that’s what it seems like Overkill are trying to do on “Fatal If Swallowed.” The intro to this is really way out there before going into some fast thrash chords, which carry on for the remainder of the song only slowing down slightly for the guitar solo. But even though I have sung the praises of the first five songs, the second half of the album is even better. The title of the track “Powersurge” explains it all. Instead of slowing down, the band get their second wind and go even more thrashing mad nuts. All starting with a brilliant bass line from D. D. Verni.

It only gets better after that as the two best tracks on the album come in. Now, if I was thirty-five years younger and “In Union We Stand” was put on an infinite loop on a personal stereo, I could have won gold in the 10k walk at the Olympics. Whenever I hear the song, I just want to get up and move about really fast as the song has that effect. I love how the thrash guitars carry the verse before going full power chords at the chorus. It’s not only my favourite song on the album, but my favourite Overkill song of all time! You can imagine how absolutely nuts I went when the played it at Bloodstock.

A peaceful coexistence is dropping out of sight

So band together, together we will fight

Blasting the resistance, marching to the top

They started this, we say when it stops.

It’s another great song calling metalheads to unite but it doesn’t end there as “Electro-Violence” is also another great thrash track. If they had played this at Bloodstock, I would have been blown out of Earth’s atmosphere. This fast and furious song makes it perfectly understandable as to why the album ends with a more progressive song which is over seven minutes long. Saying that, there’s some great power chords on that one as well. Still, it ends the album on the right note.

Track Listing:

  1. Deny the Cross
  2. Wrecking Crew
  3. Fear His Name
  4. Use Your Head
  5. Fatal If Swallowed
  6. Powersurge
  7. In Union We Stand
  8. Electro-Violence
  9. Overkill II (The Nightmare Continues)
Overkill

Bobby ‘Blitz’ Ellsworth- vocals

Bobby Gustafson- guitars

D. D. Verni- bass

Rat Skates- drums

“Taking Over” presents a good argument as to why Overkill should be considered as a candidate for making the Big Four the Big Five. But the question is whether their other albums measure up. Their previous one, “Feel the Fire,” also makes a good case. However, whether you think Overkill are a contender or not, this album is definitely a great one.

Next post: Whitesnake- 1987

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

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

Great Metal Albums of 1988: Agent Steel- Unstoppable Force

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

Thrash metal had definitely made its mark in 1987 as it seemed that thrash bands were coming out from everywhere. Combat Records, the record company which ruled 1986, was still turning out thrash bands in the following year. Some were great, other so-so. One of these was Agent Steel with their second album, “Unstoppable Force.”

“Unstoppable Force” isn’t a bad album, the problem is that because thrash bands were everywhere by this time, it suffers from the ‘it’s all been done before’ syndrome. There is little to make this album stand out among the best. However, this does not mean that this album is in any ways not a good album. While I say that there is little to make it stand out, it’s still better than nothing at all. One standout aspect is the vocals of John Cyriis. His vocal style is similar to that of Joey Belladonna in some regards but when he goes for the high notes, he hits and holds them at the highest level. The other pleasure of this album is the shredding of guitarists Juan Garcia and Bernie Versailles as they play some brilliant solos.

The first three tracks on the album as just in your face thrash metal tracks, good but otherwise unremarkable. It is the fourth track, “Chosen to Stay.” which really stands out. Although my first thought upon hearing it was, “Here’s another song which has an acoustic intro before going hardcore thrash.” However, it is done extremely well along with John’s over the top vocals and some great shredding. It’s not only the best track on the album but livens things up for the next few tracks.

“Still Searchin'” has a great metal intro and is more mid paced metal than thrash or speed metal. It’s a good change of pace and again, the shredding makes the song. “Rager” is appropriately named as it is one powerful frenzy of a song. Following on is the instrumental “The Day at Guyana.” Not a thrash song but there are many good power chords and some rather intriguing guitar work goes on here. Full marks to Juan and Bernie for wanting to stretch out. Also noteworthy is Chuck Profus’s drumming on the track. But the album ends like it begins with two thrashing but unremarkable tracks, though “Traveler” is probably the best song suited for a closer. That’s probably because it has a King Diamond feel to it.

Track Listing:

  1. Unstoppable Force
  2. Never Surrender
  3. Indestructive
  4. Chosen to Stay
  5. Still Searchin’
  6. Rager
  7. The Day at Guyana
  8. Nothin’ Left
  9. Traveller
Agent Steel

John Cyriis- vocals

Bernie Versailles- guitar

Juan Garcia- guitar

Michael Zaputil- bass

Chuck Profus- drums

If I had written this post in 1987, some would say that it would have been a prophecy because Agent Steel broke up the following year. It’s a shame to see any good band dissolve because while I stand by the ‘all done before’ remark about this album, I think that if allowed to mature, then Agent Steel might have gone onto greater glories.

Next post: Dokken- Back for the Attack

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@80smetalman

I am also slightly disappointed that nobody seems to be signing my petition to have Bruce Dickinson knighted. To do so click the link : https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Testament- The Legacy

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2022 by 80smetalman

So far, I have posted about several bands whose albums caught my attention, or in most cases, my sister’s attention, but came an went with little notice, only to remain in my memory. However, some bands made their debut in 1987 and have hung around since, thrilling us with many great albums and live performances. Testament was one of these bands who launched their debut album, “The Legacy,” and have continued to enthrall us since.

By 1987, thrash bands were coming out of the woodwork in every direction and it would have been easy to simply say Testament were just another thrash band. The thing is, they weren’t and are still not just another thrash band. Not only that, they, along with Exodus, are constantly mentioned when there is talk about expanding the Big 4 to the Big 5. Actually, I would include both bands and make it the Big 6. Then again, I would also include Kreator to make the Big 7. I’m digressing again but with their album, “The Legacy,” it is plain to see why Testament deserve such honours.

“Over the Wall” begins Testament’s full frontal assault on your delicate ears. It is exactly what an opening track to any thrash album should be. It begins with a flurry of speedy riffs before going mad with pounding guitar, bass and drum. Chuck Billy’s vocals blend right in and of course, there is a cool guitar solo. It has everything an album opener needs to make the listener stick around.

The intro of the second track, along with the title gives the impression “The Haunting” is going to be some black metal type of song. The opening riffs are reminiscent of a King Diamond song but things speed up and you are looking for a mosh pit. We also get the first guitar solo trade off between Eric Peterson and Alex Skolnick. A song which could be more akin to black metal, at least with the intro is “Burnt Offerings.” It’s intro sounds very haunting until the guitars really kick in and go total speed metal. There are several good mosh parts as well. Eric and Alex are in tune with one another on the rhythm guitar parts just as much as when they trade off solos.

No haunting intro on “Raging Waters” as it goes straight forward thrash. Still, the theme doesn’t go away as Chuck sings about ‘the devil’s triangle’ and sacrifices that must be done. All of which are done at breakneck speed. The speed only increases on “Curse of the Legions of Death.” With a title like that, you know it’s going to be murderous thrash song, which it is. After an unintelligible spoken word, the drumming of Louie Clemente dominates “First Strike is Deadly.” You could apply the deadly to Chuck’s screams as well.

Maybe because it was the track on the tape Dawn sent me but for me, the song of the album is “Do or Die.” It could also be that many years ago, I had the tape set to go off to my alarm clock and it was on this song. Later that day, my ex wife, asked me what crap I was listening to and told me not to use it to wake up to again. Then again, it does slow down so you can hear the line in the chorus, “I’m the hunter you’re the prey,” sung clearly. Furthermore, it’s a very fast song with some cool guitar solos.

The riffing continues on the penultimate “Alone in the Dark.” I do like how melodic the vocals are at the chorus. Closing track, “Apocalyptic City” starts as if it’s going to be a ballad before some heavy guitars kick in. Then things go total thrash and then a great guitar solo trade off. I won’t get cliche and say it’s a great way to end the album because it makes you remember the entire album.

Track Listing:

  1. Over the Wall
  2. The Haunting
  3. Burnt Offering
  4. Ragin Waters
  5. Curse of the Legions of Death
  6. First Strike is Deadly
  7. Do or Die
  8. Alone in the Dark
  9. Apocalyptic City
Testament

Chuck Billy- lead vocals

Eric Peterson- guitar

Alex Skolnick- guitar

Greg Christian- bass

Louie Clemente- drums

Loudwire cited “The Legacy” as the third best thrash album not made by the Big 4 of all time. Listening to it, I find the statement hard to attack. But it’s easy to see why Testament have stood the test of time and are still around today and would make a welcome addition should they ever expand the Big 4.

Next post: TT Quick- Metal of Honor

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

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Exodus- Pleasures of the Flesh

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2021 by 80smetalman

When I heard that Exodus had come out with a new album in 1987, my first thought was to whether they would still astound the world with their extremely fast playing. With their debut album, “Bonded By Blood” and seeing them supporting Anthrax the year before, I was astounded that mortal men could play so fast. A point I made in “Rock and Roll Children.” Therefore, when I got to listen to “Pleasures of the Flesh,” I did so with that thought in mind.

Original album cover

Even before the album came out, there was some turmoil and controversy. First, lead singer Paul Balof was fired from the band and was replaced by Steve Souza. Then there was the controversy of the album cover. The one directly above was the cover the band intended to use and it was the one which appeared in metal magazines when the album was announced. However, it was changed to the cover at the very top of the page. I’m not sure if the change was the record company’s idea because they got cold feet about the original cover or it was something else. I see nothing wrong with the cover.

Now to answer the question: Did Exodus continue to astound the world with extremely fast playing on “Pleasures of the Flesh?” My answer that in the case of the first three songs, the answer is a definite yes. All three of those songs are at the breakneck speed that Exodus was becoming famous for. In addition, Souza’s vocals was able to keep up with the rest of the band. He proved to be a welcome change. However, the band actually slow right down to a more mainstream metal sound on the fourth track, “Brain Dead.” Don’t get me wrong, it’s still an excellent song and it’s good that they change it up a little but in Exodus’s case, it’s almost going totally the other extreme. Maybe they intended it as a shock effect after the furious mosh of the first three songs.

One reason why it might have been a shock trick is that things go back to extreme metal speed on “Faster Than You’ll Ever Live to Be.” This one is probably the fastest song on the album and the band handles it all quite comfortably. Plus there is some cool guitar solos at the end. That has me wondering about the seven plus minute long title track. Was this meant to be their concept song? There are lots of animal sounds at the beginning before it goes into a fast but not too fast intro. While fast in many parts, the speed is not sound barrier breaking and some might say that guitarists Gary Holt and Rick Hunolt are trying to show off what they can do. If that’s the case, they do it very well but what really impresses me is the bass line from Rob McKillop. He does lay down a solid beat while Rick and Gary shred about the place.

Even more perplexing in things Exodus is their brief acoustic instrumental “30 Seconds,” which is actually forty seconds long. I have no complaints about it as it is played well. Again, that only serves to be a brief break in the action as they go back to thrash although, “Seeds of Hate” isn’t as speedy as many of the other tracks. It’s more Metallica “Black Album” speed. Nevertheless, it begins wit a very cool drum roll from Tom Hunting and the song delivers. Then “Chemi- Kill” begins with some way out guitar effects. For me this dispels the myth that Exodus are a thrash band only capable of playing three chords. They can play more, they choose to play those chords very fast. They still do so on this track, except there are some more way out parts in the middle. But Exodus don’t let you forget they are a thrash metal band as the closer, “Choose Your Weapon,” goes out in full Exodus thrash fashion.

Track Listing:

  1. Deranged
  2. Til Death Do Us Part
  3. Parasite
  4. Brain Dead
  5. Faster Than You’ll Even Live to Be
  6. Pleasures of the Flesh
  7. 30 Seconds
  8. Seeds of Hate
  9. Chemi- Kill
  10. Choose Your Weapon
Exodus

Steve Souza- lead vocals

Gary Holt- guitars

Rick Hunolt- guitars

Rob McKillop- bass

Tom Hunting- drums

While my band of choice for making the Big 4 the Big 5 is Kreator, Anthrax’s Scott Ian has insisted that the spot go to Exodus. It’s hard to argue with Scott on this point, especially with albums such as “Pleasures of the Flesh.”

Next post: Candlemass- Nightfall

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

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Metallica- The $5.98 EP/$9.998 CD- The Garage Days Revisited

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2021 by 80smetalman

To mark the occasion of their appearance at the 1987 Donnington Festival, Metallica’s UK label, Vertigo, suggested they release new material. However, initial songwriting attempts with new bassist, Jason Newstead, resulted in one demo and then James Hetfield broke his arm in a skateboarding accident. (I forgot about that incident but I remember while on tour, a roadie played rhythm guitar so the tour could carry on.) Anyway, the band decided that instead of trying to write new material, they recorded covers of some of their favourites. Thus, “The $5.98 EP/$9.98 CD- The Garage Days Revisited” was born.

Up first is a cover of Diamond Head’s “Helpless.” Listening to this, if I hadn’t heard of Diamond Head before, I would have thought that this was a Metallica original. Basically what Metallica do here is increase the song to Metallica level and it’s true to what Metallica were doing at the time. Next comes “The Small Hours” which is a cover of a Holocaust tune. Admittedly, I have no experience of Holocaust, that will be rectified, but there is that Metallica “Thing That Should Not Be” aura to it. It’s just slow crunching guitar at the start before speeding up in the middle and a cool guitar solo from Kirk.

In the middle of the order is the cover of the Killing Joke tune, “The Wait,” which was left off the British pressing in order to comply with UK laws regarding the length of EPs. When I hear this song, I definitely think that it would have been a perfect fit if put on the “Master of Puppets” album as I definitely get that vibe on it. I can bang my head along with it much longer than its four minute and fifty-five second length. That’s a minute and fifteen seconds longer than the Killing Joke’s version!

Jason Newstead gets to show off his bass skills on the penultimate track, “Crash Course in Brain Surgery,” a cover of a Budgie classic. I remember when I saw Metallica and Donnington 87, James introduced Jason as ‘the new mother fucker.’ Was there animosity already? I won’t venture a guess but Jason does lay down a solid bass line here, which compliments Kirk’s guitar solo very well. Metallica took a 70s hippy song and brought it into the late 80s.

Ending this five song Metallica party is my favourite song, “Last Caress/Green Hell,” two Misfits tunes combined together. The reason I like it is that any lyrics which stuck it to the anti- rock establishment was cool in my book and “I killed your baby today” and “I raped your mother today” definitely qualifies. I’m surprised there wasn’t any outcry from the religious zealots in the US over it. Still, the fast thrash pace adds to the fun. At the end, there is some riffs to the Iron Maiden classic, “Run to the Hills,” which I also remember them doing at Donnington. Maybe not necessary but it brought back good memories.

Track Listing:

  1. Helpless
  2. The Small Hours
  3. The Wait
  4. Crash Course in Brain Surgery
  5. Last Caress/Green Hell
Metallica

James Hetfield- lead vocals, rhythm guitar

Kirk Hammett- lead guitar

Jason Newstead- bass, backing vocals

Lars Ulrich- drums

What I didn’t know was that “The $5.98 EP/$9.98 CD- The Garage Days Revisited” was out of print from 1989- 2018 and was considered a collector’s item. Those who had this should consider themselves lucky. While this wasn’t a Metallica album in the proper sense, it was a great bridge between “Master of Puppets” and their next album “And Justice for All.”

Next post: WASP- Inside the Electric Circus

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

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Anthrax- Among the Living

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2021 by 80smetalman

Anthrax’s 1987 album, “Among the Living,” which was the follow up to the fame launching “Spreading the Disease” album was one that caught a lot of people off guard. Many people assumed that after the success of the slightly more melodic predecessor, they would continue the same way with the new album. Boy, was everybody wrong! If anything, “Among the Living” was the thrashiest album to date.

This is evident with the very first song, the title track where they do quote the previous album title in the lyrics. This track beats you around the head with two very large blunt objects. It is just hard and heavy, just the way any thrash metal fan would expect. However, Joey Belladonna still has his highly melodic voice, blowing the myth that thrash singers all sound like barking dogs out of the water. If anything, the title track fulfills the speculation of what Joey would have sounded like if he was the lead singer in the Stormtroopers of Death.

Listening to the album again these past few days has brought a paradox to my insane mind. Back in 1987, I accepted the title track as a great opener to the album. However, all three times I saw Anthrax live in the past decade, they opened with the second song on the album, “Caught in a Mosh” and it is a great song to open a show with. Believe me, it gets people moshing but here’s the thing, even though Anthrax opens their live shows with it, it still doesn’t sound out of place being second on the album. God, I better stop thinking about this or my head might do a “Scanners.”

Ian and Bello proving that age has little effect on metal. Bloodstock 2016

Another concern, at least for the record company was that a return to a more hardcore thrash style might not be a successful venture. Album sales and the consensus from many in the metal world that this is Anthrax’s best album shoot that down. Although, I am still partial to “Spreading the Disease” but I admit I’m mental. However, further proof is the fact that in February, 1987, while watching the famous UK show, “Top of the Pops” in the student bar, I had the satisfaction to see Anthrax break into the top 40! Okay, it only got to 34 but it was a slap in the face to all the pop loving trendies.

Yet a further element which sets Anthrax apart from many other thrash bands is that their songs are about topical issues. “Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)” is an anti drug abuse song inspired by the tragic death of John Belushi. It is also “nice fukin’ life” spelled backwards. However, Scott Ian still gets asked by the less informed why he wrote a song about the National Football League. I agree with Scott here, listen to the song you asshole! “Indians” is about how badly the Native Americans have been treated throughout the centuries since Europeans came to the Americas. Then there’s my vote for hidden gem, “A Skeleton in the Closet.” This song is about former Nazis who were allowed to come to the West undetected and live among the populace as if nothing happened in their past but are still being hunted by those who won’t forget the holocaust.

All of these songs are done with the full ear pounding power of Anthrax. Each song has drum fills, pounding bass and a rhythm guitar which can change speed at the drop of a hat. Dan Spitz produces some good solos along with the mosh parts and it is his efforts on “A Skeleton in the Closet,” which makes it my hidden gem. However, in spite of all the hardcore, thrash and speed metal all rolled into one, Joey Belladonna sings through these songs as if it’s just another day at the office. There are also some nice little surprises along the way, for example, the acoustic intro to “A.D.I./Horror of it All.” With all of these element in place, it is little wonder these songs are so good.

Track Listing:

  1. Among the Living
  2. Caught in a Mosh
  3. I Am the Law
  4. Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)
  5. A Skeleton in the Closet
  6. Indians
  7. One World
  8. A.D.I./Horror of It All
  9. Imitation of Life
Anthrax

Joey Belladonna- lead vocals

Scott Ian- rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Dan Spitz- lead guitar, backing vocals

Frank Bello- bass, backing vocals

Charlie Benante- drums

Anthrax proved with “Among the Living” that you don’t always have to compromise your principles to be successful. With this album, they came back harder and faster and for that, the album was very successful.

Next post: Metallica- The $5.98 EP/$9.98 CD Garage Days Revisited

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