Archive for The 1980s

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Briar- Take On the World

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2021 by 80smetalman

Sometimes it’s a case of being in the right place at the right time when it comes about discovering a new band. I’m sure that was the case with some bands with many of you. In this particular instance, my discovery of British metal band, Briar, came when I saw them support legends Stryper at the Hammersmith Odeon in May of 1987. Stryper were absolutely phenomenal that night and I was sure that my one friend Dave was going to convert right there and then. Furthermore, another friend, Tim, was hit by a flying bible but someone else grabbed it before he realised what happened. Oh yes, I’m posting about Briar. Actually, I don’t remember anything spectacular about them and the song I remember most, “One Foot Back in the Door,” appears on their next album. However, there was something about the band or I wouldn’t have remembered them after all these years.

Their 1987 album, “Take on the World,” opens with the title track and what you get sets the tone for the rest of the album. It’s a straightforward metal tune with some decent guitar and vocal work. It’s a good track to lead off the album but the next track, “Closing In,” is better. The intro is straight to the point but very catchy. It’s a song to bob your head along to while you are driving or sitting down and listening to. However, it does tail off a little in the middle and there could be a little more oomph to the chorus but the guitar solo makes those issues very minor.

“Odd One Out” is a faster paced song which keeps going right to the chorus and that’s my minor complaint about it. The chorus sounds a little lazy but again, this is more me nitpicking because the rest of the song, guitar solo included is very good. The chorus issue goes away on the next track, “Everybody,” in spite of the fact that the lyrics are one of those ‘I’ve heard this before’ type. It’s sung with more passion and there are some good heavy guitar riffs and a cool solo trade off between guitarists Dave Fletcher and Darren Underwood. The two D’s carry that on to the next track, “Always Gonna Love You” with a great lead guitar intro. This is the fastest song on the album, though it’s not near Exodus speed but it’s a good headbanger nonetheless. Especially with another guitar solo trade off.

With expectation building as the album goes on, one might think “Lorraine” would be an extra super track. It’s not bad, there is some good strong riffs on it but it’s more of a plateau than an ascension in metal build up. I don’t know if a single was ever released from the album but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was this track. I think my problem with the track is that there is no guitar solo and I think the inclusion of such would have given it the boost it needed.

Now, as you know, I am a sucker for a great power ballad and “Without You” had the potential to be such. Unfortunately, the track is let down from what I feel is lousy production. The guitar work is very good and maybe it’s time to comment on Kevin Griffiths vocals because while he sounds good on the rest of the album, his vocals are the only thing not adversely effected by the production on this track. Fortunately, all is well because Briar go out on a total high with the closer, “Keep On Running.” It has that 80s, ‘let’s make them think it’s recorded live’ effect on it but in this case, that only makes it sound that much better! There is definitely some oomph to this track and it’s my favourite on the album right down to the fantastic guitar solo. Oh yes, message to Blackie Lawless, Kevin Griffiths plays bass as well as sings lead and proves you can do both effectively.

Track Listing:

  1. Take On the World
  2. Closing In
  3. Odd One Out
  4. Everybody
  5. Always Gonna Love You
  6. Lorraine
  7. Without You
  8. Keep On Running
Briar

Kevin Griffiths- lead vocals, bass

Dave Fletcher- guitar, backing vocals

Darren Underwood- guitar, backing vocals

Dean Cook- drums, backing vocals

Briar came and went unnoticed by most of the metal world but not by me. I urge you to take a second and have a listen to the “Take On the World” album, I can assure you it won’t be time wasted.

Next post: I am taking a bit of a hiatus for the next two weeks or so. Next week, I have a 72 hour shift at work, (I get paid to sleep in) and then I will visit my daughter. Next Sunday, I am going to do something which one would have thought I would have done growing up in America. Unfortunately, it was always one of those things I was meaning to do but never got around to it. I will be going with my two sons to London to watch an NFL game. When I get back from that, Mrs 80smetalman and I are going away for a couple of days. When I do return, I will be taking a leaf out of 2loud’s book and writing my own Cover vs. Original post. Stay safe until then.

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

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Nuclear Assault- Game Over

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 7, 2021 by 80smetalman

My introduction to Nuclear Assault was in 1986 when I was told they were a spin off of the Stormtroopers of Death. However, it’s only the case of bassist Dan Lilker, who was in S.O.D. Unfortunately, that was my only experience of the band and it wasn’t until 1987 that I heard the album, “Game Over.” More unfortunate was the fact that I never got to see them live until Bloodstock 2015 but I can say that they were definitely worth the wait.

Dan Lilker talking to the crowd, Bloodstock 2015
Nuclear Assault in full assault

Dan Lilker’s time with the Stormtroopers of Death and Anthrax (Dan was cofounder with Scott Ian) comes through straight away on the album. Like with S.O.D., the albums begins with an instrumental. “Live, Suffer, Die,” is a short sharp shock of moshing thrash for the full minute and eight seconds of the song. Those influences carry on over the next four tracks as each of them are serious hard core thrash. While all of those tracks are good, the one which sticks out is “Betrayal,” probably because of the lyrics singing about a back stabbing whore. This is definitely a song about being cheated on and it proves you don’t need to sing about such subjects in a ballad. However, I also love the guitar solo in “Radiation Sickness.”

“Hang the Pope” might only be forty-six seconds long but it is still an amusing song. I don’t know how those of the Catholic faith feel about lyrics calling on people to go to the Vatican and hang the pope until he’s dead but it is a very amusing, explosive song. Things appear to slow down on the intro of “After the Holocaust” but it is probably the fastest song on the album and that is saying something. The guitar solo from Anthony Bramante is amazing. Then as a break in the action, we get the twenty-two second long “Mr. Softee Theme.” For the non-American readers, Mr. Softee is an ice cream company whose vans drive around the streets selling ice cream. Maybe the Mr. Softee company should have used Nuclear Assault’s version for their trucks. It would have been less annoying.

Things go back to full speed thrash on “Stranded in Hell.” It is on this track I get to appreciate the drumming of Glenn Evans and I will say now that Dan Lilker is a very underrated bass player. He really comes through on “My America.” The closer is a real paradox. While all of the other songs are less than four minutes, several less than three, “Brain Death” is over seven minutes. It starts like it’s going to be a slower metal song with the acoustic intro which is a little hypnotic if you listen closely and the pace only picks up a little when the acoustic guitar goes electric. It is at the two minute mark when the song explodes into full thrash glory, though it’s instrumental part in the middle slows down again and goes on for several minutes before going out in a thrash speed flurry.

Track Listing:

  1. Live, Suffer, Die
  2. Sin
  3. Cold Steel
  4. Betrayal
  5. Radiation Sickness
  6. Hang the Pope
  7. After the Holocaust
  8. Mr. Softee Theme
  9. Stranded in Hell
  10. Nuclear War
  11. My America
  12. Vengeance
  13. Brain Dead

John Connelly- guitar, vocals

Anthony Bramante- lead guitar

Dan Lilker- bass

Glen Evans- drums

Calling Nuclear Assault an Anthrax or S.O.D. spin off is inaccurate. Sure, there are heavy influences from both of those bands on the album, “Game Over,” but the album also proves that they are their own band capable of their own brand of thrash.

Next post: Briar- Take On the World

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

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Manowar- Fighting the World

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 1, 2021 by 80smetalman

With each album from Manowar I listen to, the more I think that Kerrang Magazine should apologize for calling them a joke band in a 1986 issue. Manowar are definitely not a joke band, they are as serious as any other metal band in the world. True, their image may be over the top but that doesn’t stop their music from being as good as it is. When I listened to the 1987 album, “Fighting the World,” I did so with these thoughts in mind. By the time the album finished, I was in no doubt that they were never a joke band.

According to sources, the single released from the album was “Blow Your Speakers” and I must say that it is a fantastic song. The true heavy metal power railing against commercial radio stations who refused to play heavy metal. It is my favourite track on the album and when I listen to it, I do want to blow my speakers with it. Here’s the weird thing, over a decade ago, I picked up a compilation album and the Manowar song on the album was the title track. So, you can see why I found this a little confusing. If anything, I’m surprised it wasn’t released as one because it is that good. It also was an inspiring song when I wrote “Rock and Roll Children,” because by 1987, it seemed that heavy metal was fighting the world.

Right after the two opening songs comes the hidden gem, “Carry On.” I think several bands who came later drew influence from this song. The intro is something right out of a Strativarius song and then after that acoustic intro, you get a song which could have inspired both The Darkness and the Black Veil Brides. It is a very enjoyable song which you can’t help to move your head along to. It also has a great guitar solo from Ross the Boss. Some might say that the repetition of the chorus “Carry on, carry on, forever carry on” might drag on a bit at the end but it doesn’t bother me.

Very interesting sound effects such as police sirens begin the track, “Violence and Bloodshed.” This is a very fast paced song with some more interesting sound effects at the guitar solo. “Defender” starts with a spoken word from a father to his son. The father isn’t there but he charges his son with the task of defending the helpless to the end. The background music is very suspenseful and sounds great with the words. Eric Adams sings the response of the son saying he will take up the task. The guitar and bass comes in harder but still has that gloomy feeling before going into what could be Ross’s best guitar solo on the album. After that, the spoken voice and Eric’s vocals join together with the chorus “Ride like the wind, fight on, you’re the defender.” It is a cool concept song.

Sandwiched between two minute and a half tracks, the first an instrumental, is “Holy War.” The track starts with the clapping thunder of where the instrumental left off. After a slow build up, it explodes into the fastest song on the album. It does slow down a little for the second verse but the energy cannot be held in and just explodes again. While we get another great guitar solo, my ears are more tuned into the rhythm section, especially Joey DeMaio’s bass. Closing the album is “Black Wind, Fire and Steel.” While it’s rather fast paced, the melody of the song makes it perfect for the closer. The background guitar during the verses gets my attention as does how it all comes together as it winds down to the end.

Track Listing:

  1. Fighting the World
  2. Blow Your Speakers
  3. Carry On
  4. Violence and Bloodshed
  5. Defender
  6. Drums of Doom
  7. Holy War
  8. Masters of Revenge
  9. Black Wind, Fire and Steel
Manowar

Eric Adams- vocals

Ross the Boss- guitar, keyboards

Joey DeMaio- bass

Scott Columbus- drums

Not that I ever thought it in the first place, but “Fighting the World” put to rest any thought that Manowar were a joke band. They play their metal as good as anyone else. Kerrang should be ashamed and it could be why it has basically sucked since the mid 1990s.

Next post: Nuclear Assault- Game Over

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

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Dio- Dream Evil

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 29, 2021 by 80smetalman

After what many people thought was the flop of Dio’s third album, “Sacred Heart,” (I never thought it was), all eyes were on the band for their fourth album, “Dream Evil.” The question on everyone’s minds was to whether they could return to the level of their first two fantastic albums. For most people, “Dream Evil” was an improvement on “Sacred Heart,” me included. That left the next question as to how it compared to “Holy Diver” and “The Last in Line.”

In short, I have to agree with what most people and critics thought, “Dream Evil” was a better than “Sacred Heart” but did not quite reach the bar set by those first two albums. While I don’t normally score albums, I leave that to some of you, on a scale of 1-10, I would have given “Holy Diver an 11, “The Last in Line” a 10 and “Sacred Heart” and 8. Therefore, I have to give “Dream Evil” a 9 and now I will explain why.

First, let me focus on the not positive. All three of the previous albums have really throat grabbing opening songs but while “Night People” is a decent opener, it is not as throat grabbing. However, it does the job of keeping my attention. Then we come to the title track and that is also a decent song which keeps me listening but still it doesn’t totally ‘WOW’ me either. Since, I am focusing on the not positive first, I have to skip to the closing songs. “Faces in the Window” is a good penultimate track so I shouldn’t call it not positive, silly me. I won’t say that “When a Woman Cries” isn’t a good closer, it is probably the best choice for the role on this album, it doesn’t reach the bar set by one of the best album closing songs of all times, “Egypt, The Chains Are On” from “The Last in Line” album. I realize that was a very hard standard to measure up to.

Let’s move onto the very positive. Coming after the title track are my two favourite songs on the album, “Sunset Superman” and “All the Fools Sailed Away.” While I don’t want to engage in a debate with Lana on her review of this album as she didn’t quite fancy either song, I really like them. However, I can understand her point on “Sunset Superman” as Ronnie seems to spend the last two minutes of the song repeating the title. For a lot of singers, that would become boring after a minute but Ronnie was one of those singers who could have spent three minutes singing: “I’m going to decapitate your hamster with a spoon” and his voice still would have had me hooked. As for “All the Fools Sailed Away,” I had the experience of hearing it performed live at Donnington 1987 and it was mind blowing. The recorded version almost lives up to the live version and it’s one of those songs which just moves me into belting out the chorus. Plus, the keyboard’/guitar solo tradeoff in the middle of the song is very nicely done.

Like with “All the Fools Sailed Away,” they played “Naked in the Rain” and though hearing live was brilliant, the studio version, while not as dynamic is still a good listen. “Overlove” is a good fast paced song which further demonstrates the band’s versatility. Furthermore, I love how Craig Goldy’s guitar work brings in the song. Then we come to the second single, “I Could Have Been a Dreamer.” This is another great song to sing along to and it sticks in you mind long after it finishes. That could be why the last two songs aren’t as memorable for me.

Track Listing:

  1. Night People
  2. Dream Evil
  3. Sunset Superman
  4. All the Fools Sailed Away
  5. Naked in the Rain
  6. Overlove
  7. I Could Have Been a Dreamer
  8. Faces in the Window
  9. When a Woman Cries
Dio

Ronnie James Dio- lead vocals

Craig Goldy- guitar

Jimmy Bain- bass

Claude Schnell- keyboards

Vinnie Appice- drums

What I hated about the MTV video version of this song was they cut the solos out of it.

One comparison I didn’t make, which a lot of people were talking about in 1987 was comparing and contrasting the guitar work of Craig Goldy on “Dream Evil” vs that of Vivian Campbell on the previous albums. I never did because I thought both were very good guitarists on Dio albums. So, like I said earlier, “Dream Evil” was an improvement on “Sacred Heart” but not to the standard of the first two. Then again, that was a hard bar to clear. It is still a very good solid album from Ronnie and the boys.

Next post: Manowar- Fighting the World

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

Great Rock Albums of 1987: The Smiths- Strangeways, Here We Come

Posted in 1980s, films, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 25, 2021 by 80smetalman

A great perk of my job working with adults with Autism is that in the house I predominately work in, when the service user who requires 95% of my attention goes on a home visit, my evenings at work are quite leisurely. Such was the case last week. I was searching the Sky Movie channels looking for a film to watch when I discovered a film called, “Shoplifters of the World.” Reading the info, I gave it a watch and it was pretty good.

From the film: Shoplifters of the World

Set in Colorado in 1987, the film is about fans of British new wave rock band, The Smiths who are lamenting the band’s break up. As a result, one devoted fan breaks into the local radio station and pulls a gun on the deejay, who is a total metalhead, and demands he plays a bunch of songs by his favourite band. As the story develops, the Smiths fan and the metalhead deejay form a bond as the station draws a large crowd of the band’s fans in support. On a side note, I love how the deejay relates his story of how is wife walked out on him while he was listening to “Master of Puppets.” He was so engrossed in the album, he didn’t even notice her leave. Anyway, the film ends with a mutual appreciation between the gunman and deejay, which is what music is supposed to do. I recommend this film.

The movie had me doing more research into The Smiths and it might have been a good thing, as their 1987 album, “Strangeways, Here We Come” had totally passed me by that year. Maybe I was listening to too much metal then. Listening to the album now, it has slowly grown on me but it took a couple of listens for it to be so. The first two tracks are decent enough, a smooth light indie pop sound but then the band tries to stretch out a bit on the track “Death of a Disco Dancer,” for me it falls flat. If I listened to this track too much, the title could be changed to “Death of 80smetalman” because it is a song to slit your wrists to and this is coming from someone who listens to Pink Floyd’s “Animals” album.

Fortunately, that is the low point on the album as things drastically improve with the next two tracks. My favourite track on the album, “Girlfriend in a Coma” coming just after. The following track, “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before,” carries things on. Then it appears that the album might be venturing back into “Death of a Disco Dancer” territory with “Last Night I Dreamt That Someone Loved Me.” It starts as if it’s going to be a slow, gloomy song but it then picks up. I think this song would have sounded even better with the use of power chords.

Since “Girlfriend in a Coma” was single, then by rules of 80smetalman, “Unhappy Birthday” is the hidden gem on the track. It’s a mid-tempo straight ahead rock tune and there is some good guitar work from Johnny Marr. Although he’s not a (insert great guitarist here), his work on this song is good. “Paint a Vulgar Picture” has a very impressive intro and is good, upbeat song and Johnny actually plays a guitar solo on it. Also, it might drag on a little too long. There is a rockabilly beat to “Death At One’s Elbow,” and is well done. However, the remaining track is unremarkable in my view but does the job of ending the album.

Track Listing:

  1. A Rush and a Push and the Land Is Ours
  2. I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish
  3. Death of a Disco Dancer
  4. Girlfriend in a Coma
  5. Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before
  6. Last Night I Dreamt That Someone Loved Me
  7. Unhappy Birthday
  8. Paint a Vulgar Picture
  9. Death at One’s Elbow
  10. I Won’t Share You
The Smiths

Morrisey- lead vocals, piano, handclaps

Johnny Marr- guitar, keyboards, harmonica, marimba, harmonium, additional vocals, handclaps

Andy Rourke- bass, keyboards, handclaps

Mike Joyce- drums, percussion, handclaps

Thanks to a good film, I got to experience an album that passed me by back in the day. The Smiths would break up after “Strangeways, Here We Come.” While not their best album, it’s still good in places and worth having a listen to. But definitely watch the film.

Next post: Dio- Dream Evil

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

Great Metal Albums of 1987: WASP- Inside the Electric Circus

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 22, 2021 by 80smetalman

Let me start with a debate I unintentionally started on Mike Ledano’s blog a few years back. He posted about a new album from former WASP guitarist Randy Piper. After reading the review and listening to the sample track and then remembering when I saw WASP perform at Donningtion 1987, I was of the mindset that Blackie Lawless fired the wrong guitarist. Believe me, that comment created lots of debate with one person in particular stating that Blackie indeed fired the right guitarist because Randy Piper was a screw up.

The whole debate actually started before the recording of the album, “Inside the Electric Circus.” Prior to recording, Blackie Lawless made the transition from bass to rhythm guitar and consequently fired Piper and in came Johnny Rod on bass. So the big question was for this album, did the transition pay off?

Thinking back to their previous album, “The Last Command,” which I found to be a bit average except for three very kick ass songs, I find “Inside the Electric Circus” to be a big improvement except for the fact that there aren’t any songs which transcend the ionosphere. However, the bulk of this album holds up and there is very little I would call filler. In fact, I have been finding rather difficult to find a standout track. There just seems to be a bit more oomph to the album.

There are a few throwbacks to the better tracks on “The Last Command.” I do get a “Wild Child” vibe on “Restless Gypsy” and though it’s not as phenomenal as its predecessor, “Restless Gypsy” is still a brilliant track. It is on this track where I have to conceded that Blackie didn’t fire the wrong guitarist because Chris Holmes delivers a killer solo on the track. My question is why don’t I remember him playing any solos like that at Donnington? Likewise, I can feel a “Blind in Texas” vibe to “Shoot From the Hip.” Going back to the debut album, I can hear a “I Wanna Be Somebody” vibe on “Easy Living.” On the other hand, the intro on “95-Nasty” has a opening riff that reminds me a little of AC/DC’s “For Those About to Rock, We Salute You.” And now I can say that I have a favourite track, It’s “I’m Alive” due to its Heart’s “Barracuda” vibe with a couple of killer guitar solos. I think I need to apologize to Chris Holmes.

Track Listing:

  1. The Big Welcome
  2. Inside the Electric Circus
  3. I Don’t Need No Doctor
  4. 95-Nasty
  5. Restless Gypsy
  6. Shoot From the Hip
  7. I’m Alive
  8. Easy Living
  9. Sweet Cheetah
  10. Mantronic
  11. King of Sodom and Gomorrah
  12. The Rock Rolls On
WASP

Blackie Lawless- lead vocals, rhythm guitar

Chris Holmes- lead guitar

Johnny Rod- bass, backing vocals

Steve Riley- drums, backing vocals

To answer the original question, I think that the transition of Blackie to rhythm guitar and the adding of Johnny on bass did pay off on “Inside the Electric Circus.” While they stuck to the formula of their previous album, they did it better on this album. I saw the results at Donnington as I was surprised as to how much better they were than when I had seen them the year before. Even though I can’t remember any great solos from Chris Holmes, he definitely plays them on the album.

Next post: The Smiths- Strangeways, Here We Come

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

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Vyper- Afraid of the Dark

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on January 3, 2021 by 80smetalman

First, I hope all of you had a good new year. While most years, I say I hope people didn’t get too wrecked on New Year’s Day, this year, I have to say I hope no one got caught violating the Covid restrictions in their area. At least this year, the UK’s top metal hating newspaper, The Sun, didn’t splash pictures of young women being falling down drunk on its pages. Instead, it reported on all the lockdown violations. Anyway, let’s get to the subject at hand.

Still using the Metal Sisters’ compilation tape they sent me for Christmas in 1986, there was a song called, “Afraid of the Dark,” by a band I’d never heard of, Vyper. At the time, because there were so many good songs from other artists on the tape, it just sorted of blended in with them. Now that I’ve had a chance to listen to their 1986 EP of the same name, I realize just how good that song is. It starts with a cool guitar riff which if it didn’t totally grab my attention then, it certainly does now. This track highlights the talents of the entire band with some great guitar riffs and a cool solo in the middle, great vocals and a good bass line. Definitely the best song on this four track EP and it leaves you in hope that the others will be just as good.

“Afraid of the Dark” might have been the showcase tune for the album but “Diamonds” is the hard pounding heavy metal song on the album. No frills, just straight forward powerful metal, which is played very well by the band. The vocals remain clean and backed by some good background vocals. Then speed increases more with “Time Flies.” Definitely the fastest song on the album and though it’s not as tight as “Diamonds,” it is still a great song to headbang along to. The innuendos in the lyrics such as, “I like to sit you down, let you ride my rocket” and “Bring your girlfriend along, I like her too,” are quite amusing.

Controversial lyrics don’t end with “Time Flies.” On the closer, “Daddy’s Girl,” Vyper venture into very controversial territory. The song is about a father, who because he and mother work separate hours, uses his daughter to get his pleasure. Actually, I’m surprised there was no outcry from the fundamentalists in the US over this one. It could be why the band didn’t put out an album for an album for twenty more years. Shame though, because there is a really good guitar solo trade off on this track. This EP showed that the band had the potential to hit the big time.

Track Listing:

  1. Afraid of the Dark
  2. Diamonds
  3. Time Flies
  4. Daddy’s Girl
Vyper

Christy Black- lead vocals

Jacky Foxx- guitars

Michael Scott- drums, backing vocals

Rik Brock- bass, backing vocals

Robbie Saint- guitars

Because the EP is only 14 minutes long, I thought I’d share it in its entirety.

It’s easy to say that with so many metal bands around in 1986, that one can see why Vyper might have been overlooked. Still, it’s a shame because if more people listened to “Afraid of the Dark,” then Vyper could have risen to their full potential.

Next post: Jack Starr- Out of the Darkness

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

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Chastain- Ruler of the Wastelands

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 21, 2020 by 80smetalman

Here’s a perfect reason why I should have bought the album. My experience of Chastain, actually it was guitarist David Chastain, was through the two songs which appeared on the compilation tape the Metal Sisters sent me. Those songs were “No Man’s Land” and a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Communication Breakdown.” Both songs were superbly played and for years I simply assumed they were on Chastain’s 1986 album, “Ruler Wasteland.” Unfortunately, they are not. I have tried to find the album these songs appear on but my search has been fruitless. Therefore, I thought the only thing left to do was to listen the album through Youtube and post about it. This turned out to be a wise decision.

In 1986, guitarists who wanted to emulate one Yngwie J. Malmesteen seemed to be coming out of the woodwork. Reflecting back, I think Vinnie Vincent was trying to be such and so was David Chastain. While he is backed up by a very good band, especially lead singer, Leather Leone, “Ruler of the Wasteland” leaves no doubt that its objective was to showcase the guitar skills of David T. Chastain. Something the album does very well here from beginning to end as David solos his way through.

David T. Chastain

It’s not just David’s guitar skills that should be noted here as there are some very well crafted tracks on the album. “One Day to Live” has Leather’s best vocal performance, although she’s quite good on the other tracks. One song where it all comes together and highlights the album and shows the talents of the individual members is “Fighting to Stay Alive.” This song proves that David is a capable song writer as well as a great guitarist. Yes, he does hammer out a cool guitar solo on the track but the vocals are good as is the rhythm section. While all of those things are present on every track, it’s done the best on this one.

One very pleasant and eye opening surprise is “Angel of Mercy.” I have heard this song before, covered by Axel Rudi Pell, who does a great job on it. However, the original version here on the album is simply mind blowing and now I am in a quandary as to which song is better between “Angels of Mercy” and “Fighting to Stay Alive.” While the former is straight ahead full blown metal, Angels has a more blues feel to it and it too has all the band pulling together to make it great. I guess I’ll call it a tie.

The fastest song on the album is “There Will be Justice.” Imagine Yngwie playing a guitar solo on a speed metal song and you’ll get the picture of what I’m trying to say. Then right after, you get a progressive metal sounding fantasy track with “The Battle of Nevermore.” Every time I hear this track, I like it more. Therefore, maybe I should stop listening to it as I will have great difficulty in choosing which songs to feature. Then again, isn’t that a trait of a very good album?

Track Listing:

  1. Ruler of the Wasteland
  2. One Day to Live
  3. The King Has the Power
  4. Fighting to Stay Alive
  5. Angel of Mercy
  6. There Will be Justice
  7. The Battle of Nevermore
  8. Living in a Dreamworld
  9. Children of Eden
Chastain

David T. Chastain- guitar

Leather Leone- vocals

Mike Skimmerhorn- bass

Ken Mary- drums

Moral of the story: Get the album! I didn’t and for years I have missed out on the fine album which is “Ruler of the Wasteland.” As for the songs I have mentioned, I have plans for them in a future post.

Next post: Merry Christmas

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

Great Albums of 1986: Tobruk- Wild On the Run

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 17, 2020 by 80smetalman

During my first Christmas in Britain in 1986, my sister Dawn and her friend Stacy, (together known as ‘The Metal Sisters’), sent me a cassette full of metal songs. This tape will comprise the next several posts but I’m getting ahead of myself. Maybe they thought I was missing some good heavy metal, this couldn’t have been farther from the truth. The first two songs on the tape were from the band Tobruk and from the album, “Wild On the Run.” However, I had already heard of the band because a few weeks earlier, Kerrang Magazine, (long before it became Kerrap in the mid 90s), ran an article on them in their “Wimpwire” feature.

Wimps? Well quite possibly because there are spots on the album where they sound like they want to be the next Bon Jovi. The intro and the short keyboard solo on the second track, “Falling” definitely gives that impression. However, even on that track, there are some good hard rock portions to be heard. What Tobruk do successfully on this album is to blend the heavy metal with just the right amount of keyboards. The keys enhance the songs. One good example of this blend is “Running From the Night.” It’s basically a great hard rockin’ track with a cool guitar solo and I love the guitars at the intro. The keyboards can be heard but they compliment the song. Thinking about it, that particular track reminds me of Autograph.

Since I would only be repeating myself if I dissected each song individually, not that the songs all sound the same because they don’t, I will look at three songs. First, there is the opening title track which was also released as a single. It didn’t do anything as far as the singles charts but it doesn’t stop it from being a good song. On the other hand, I can see why this song would have been considered for single release, it has that commercial vibe and the keyboards are just a little more noticeable but the guitars still rule. Then comes the two tracks which were recorded on the tape sent by The Metal Sisters. “She’s Nobody’s Angel” is yet another song which gives the impression that musicians have a thing about writing songs about prostitutes. However, when I heard the song, it made me question why Kerrang would consider this wimp metal. Sure, it opens with a fantastic keyboard intro, I think it might have even influenced the likes of bands like Stratovarius. Maybe because of the keyboards or possibly because whoever wrote the article only heard the single.

Lyrics from “She’s Nobody’s Angel:”

She’s a streetwalker, got to make her living pay

He’s just a normal guy looking to get his evil way

Then with one kiss, he gets what he’s wishing for

She’ll do special things if pays a little more.

The second song on the tape is the hidden gem and that is “Going Down for the Third Time.” Again, some great keyboards work around the edges. I think that Jem Davis deserves more recognition for his mastery of the craft but the song simply kicks ass. While everything comes together on the songs on “Wild on the Run,” they come together a little more on this one. It’s also the closer for the album and it does that job magnificently.

Track Listing:

  1. Wild on the Run
  2. Falling
  3. Running From the Night
  4. Hotline
  5. Rebound
  6. Poor Girl
  7. She’s Nobody’s Angel
  8. Breakdown
  9. Going Down for the Third Time
  10. The Show Must Go On (Not on the album but appeared as a B-side on the single “Wild On the Run”
Tobruk

Snake- lead vocals

Mike Brown- bass, backing vocals

Nigel Evans- guitar, backing vocals

Mick Newman- guitar

Jem Davis- keyboards

Eddie Fincher- drums

I have a sneaking suspicion that this album might have passed a lot of people by. This could be on account of people like me were on the hunt for more and more power chords and that is not Tobruk. Still, if you like good melodic heavy metal, then I can recommend “Wild On the Run.”

Next post: Chastain- Rulers of the Wasteland

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