Archive for speed metal

Save Metal Odyssey!

Posted in Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on December 30, 2022 by 80smetalman

The very first metal blog I discovered, Metal Odyssey, is calling it quits after twenty years. Stone, the author, states that his traffic has decreased significantly and doesn’t have the support. From my own viewpoint, through reading his posts, I have been able to learn about new metal bands, albums and even had heads up on bands who would be touring around my area. It’s a damn shame to see him go. Therefore, I implore all my readers to click the link below and visit his page and show your support. Who knows, the next time it could be you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Track Listing:

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

Metallica

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

Kirk Hammett- lead guitar

Jason Newsted- bass

Lars Ulrich- drums

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

Next post: Orion vs. To Live is to Die

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

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Great Metal Albums of 1988: Anthrax- State of Euphoria

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

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

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

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

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

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

Track Listing:

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

Anthrax

Joey Belladonna- vocals

Scott Ian- rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Dan Spitz- lead guitar, backing vocals

Frank Bello- bass

Charlie Benante- drums

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

Next post: Killer Dwarfs- Big Deal

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

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

Great Metal Albums of 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