Visual Lies: Lizzy Borden

Rating: 85%

Lizzy_Borden_VisualSo 1987, saw this album being released and you know what? I had this on cassette and wore it out due to the opening song “Me Against The World.” The opening riff was simple. Often, classified as a Hair or Glam Metal band, Lizzy Borden was far from it. This was just simple Heavy Metal and simple Heavy Metal done at it’s best.

Musically, there are lot’s of harmonizing guitar riffs and killer solos. The melodies are simple and pure. The overall sound is amazing for considering the production of most 1980’s bands on the Metal Blade records was not that good.

The musicianship is outstanding. Gene Allen and Joe Holmes’ guitar work on this album could stand up against any 1980’s Heavy Metal band. Then you have bassist Mychal Davis and drummer Joey Scott just know how to produce simple tempos and beats. Lizzy Borden, himself, has a mix range of vocals that are among the likes of Rob Halford and  Bruce Dickinson. 

This album is what I call a forgotten gem that was born in the mid 1980’s. It is good to hear this album again and I will be looking forward to the day, I find this on vinyl.

Track listing:

“Me Against the World” – 5:03
“Shock” – 4:35
“Outcast” – 4:21
“Den of Thieves” – 3:48
“Visual Lies” – 4:05
“Eyes of a Stranger” – 4:27
“Lord of the Flies” – 5:41
“Voyeur (I’m Watching You)” – 4:32
“Visions” – 5:24

Contagious: Y&T

Rating: 70%

R-2526591-1296190983.jpeg.jpgBack in 1988-1990, the group I was hanging around introduced me to this album. I remember all of us listening to this album in the car when we drove from carnival to carnival to hang out with friends. Later on, one of my buddies would commit suicide and the group was never the same.

Today, I found this vinyl of this album and I purchased it just to remember my days with Randy, Dave, and Timmy. Timmy gave me this Celtic cross before his death which my wife still has. So, this record does bring back some of those memories that I have forgotten. After that summer, we all never saw each other again.

Y&T is a band not too many heard of, especially in the day and age. Their roots go back to the mid 1970’s. But like bands such as Def Leppard, once the Hair and Glam Metal scene became popular, these bands were swept into the genre. Producing music that was popular on MTV, Y&T’s 1987 “Contagious” record fell victim to the Hair and Glam Metal scene. Big hair and fancy clothes and blue jeans was the look.

Musically, big riffs and lot’s of leads made the crowds go wild and this record has both. Harmonizing vocals on the chorus portions of the song and the Sammy Hagar/David Coverdale style vocals on the verses are there. Another product of the Hair Metal scene was the ballad and “Temptation” has that category covered.

Dave Dave Meniketti vocals are pretty strong. You can tell he has that David Lee Roth influence listen “The Kid Goes Crazy.” Even the song compliments early Van Halen. Then “Fight For Your Life” has a very strong Dokken influenceHis guitar playing followed by Joey Alves is pretty strong too as they throw out riffs and leads. Bassist Phil Kennemore and drummer Jimmy DeGrasso both have a good set up, but even their roles are a bit weak. 

Y&T was nothing more than a product of the MTV era. They had ten minutes of fame and then as Grunge came out, they, just like many of the Hair Metal bands were forced to leave the scene and rediscover themselves. They did get back together in 1995 after four years off of the road.

Track listing:

Side 1

Contagious 3:19
L.A. Rocks 4:37
Temptation 4:22
The Kid Goes Crazy 4:14
Fight For Your Life 4:47

Side 2

Armed And Dangerous 4:17
Rhythm Or Not 5:05
Bodily Harm 3:31
Eyes Of A Stranger 4:37
I’ll Cry For You (Instrumental) 2:33

Weekend Warriors: Ted Nugent

Rating: 80%

Weekend_Warriors.jpgTed Nugent is back with his fourth studio album “Weekend Warriors” released in 1978. Not as explosive as the prior three, but this album does have it’s moments. Especially with the line change. Lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Derek St. Holmes left the band and was replaced by Charlie Huhn.

Musically, it does have good riffs and tons of lead guitar. But, the album appears to be flawed. The song structures just seem a little weak. As if, Ted isn’t putting everything he’s got into it. Not to mention, there is some filler where Ted went back to “Catch Scratch Fever” and reused that riff. The John Sauter’s bass and  drummer Cliff Davies to hammer out some nice tempos that are surrounded by some good melodies. Charlie Huhn seems to have a nice harmony that compliments Ted’s overall sound. 

Aside from that, this album is still a very good record, just lacking that raw power and sheer energy that Ted Nugent is known for. Just glad I got my copy on vinyl at my local record store.

Track Listing:

Side one
“Need You Bad” – 4:19
“One Woman” – 4:04
“I Got the Feelin'” – 3:05
“Tight Spots” – 2:55
“Venom Soup” – 5:47
Side two
“Smokescreen” – 4:15
“Weekend Warriors” – 3:09
“Cruisin'” – 3:26
“Good Friends and a Bottle of Wine” – 4:00
“Name Your Poison” – 4:30

Rust In Peace: Megadeth

Rating: 100%

Megadeth-RustInPeaceIn 1990, the perfect Trash Metal album was released by Dave Mustaine and the boys.  This was what Trash Metal was all about. Everything from the sound, the tempo, melody, and the style. Starting out was the most perfect album cover ever. It was X-Files, but X-Files Megadeth fashion.

Musically, every song here kicks ass. I can’t think of any song on this album that is bad. It’s perfect! It’s well balanced. It has some of the greatest leads and solos that Trash Metal has to offer. It’s pure and well thought out. The final production is flawless.

Great musicianship all around. Vocally, it’s one of Dave Mustaine’s best. It’s got tons of great riffs that only Dave Mustaine can produce.    Guitarist Marty Friedman just nails it. Drummer Nick Menz provides the right amount of tempos to help make this one of the best all time Trash Metal albums of all time. David Ellefson provides some of the best bass lines. 

Track listing:

1. “Holy Wars… The Punishment Due” 6:36
2. “Hangar 18” 5:14
3. “Take No Prisoners” 3:28
4. “Five Magics” 5:42
5. “Poison Was the Cure” 2:58
6. “Lucretia” 3:58
7. “Tornado of Souls” 5:22
8. “Dawn Patrol” 1:50
9. “Rust in Peace… Polaris” (5:44 on reissue) 5:36

Reissue tracks:

10. “My Creation” 1:36
11. “Rust in Peace… Polaris” (demo) 5:25
12. “Holy Wars… The Punishment Due” (demo) 6:16
13. “Take No Prisoners” (demo) 3:2

Vertical Smiles: Blackfoot

Rating: 50%

VerticalsmilesalbumSo, the 1980’s had no mercy for Southern Rock as the keyboards and pop music swooped in, taking over every music genre. Well, Blackfoot was no exception. Just as Molly Hatchet, Ted Nugent, and ZZ Top were trying to find there way, Blackfoot followed right behind.

Musically, the album begins with two covers that are very pop and alternative influenced. Lot’s of synthesizers. Where’s the Hard Rock you might ask? Well, it’s there, buried deep within the song structure. But, I can’t seem to hear it from the New Wave styles. “Git It On” is one of the better songs on the record, but it too is somewhat weak even though it has solos, riffs, and vocals. It fall victim to the 1980’s sound. I am really missing “Train, Train.”

The musicianship is lacking. Ricky Medlocke vocals are very mild. His guitar is very weak. Think of Kevin Bacon in the movie Footloose. Even the main riffs and solos are just not explosive. The rest of the band is following in Ricky’s steps. Disappointed.  

Track listing:

Side one
“Morning Dew” (Bonnie Dobson cover) – 5:27
“Living in the Limelight” (Peter Cetera cover) – 4:02
“Ride with You” – 3:33
“Get It On” – 4:29
Side two
“Young Girl” – 4:24
“Summer Days” – 3:19
“A Legend Never Dies” (RPM cover) – 3:03
“Heartbeat and Heels” – 3:15
“In for the Kill” – 3:50

Blow Up Video: AC/DC

Rating: 80%

blowupvideo.jpg1988 and AC/DC needed a strong album to make a major comeback. This was considering that “Fly On The Wall” was a U.S. commercial success. This album also marked the last album that Brian Johnson would contribute lyrics to.

Vocally speaking, Brian Johnson is riding the wave one more time. He still sounds good, but he has completely blown his pipes. Age has finally caught up with him. I call this the beginning Donald Duck years. But his vocals are much better on this album than the previous “Fly On The Wall.”

Musically, the rest of the band sounds OK. This album is the final product of the “Who Made Who” era, moving away from the style of “Fly On The Wall.” In other words, AC/DC is trying to reinvent themselves and it takes awhile to do that. This is where AC/DC was headed musically, which leads into the “Razors Edge” era which would come in 1990.

The main two flaws I hear are noise and filler within the music. Some of the song structures do repeat themselves over and over. “Two’s UP” basically sounds like leftovers from the “For Those About To Rock” record. I love the song, but there’s nothing new to it. The entire album sounds very weak, unfocused with lot’s of background noise. Now not all is lost. This album does contain some very good parts musically. The opening and verse guitar parts to “This Means War” is very up beat. Many of the songs, do have a nice melody driving it, but it does get a bit dull too. 

The music is riff heavy with shortened leads and solos. The guitar work is a bit weak. Even drummer Simon Wright isn’t sounding to hot. It’s almost as if the material was put together very quickly, the night before the recording. Cliff Williams on bass seems to be the only guy who has sort of broken away from the standard. He is laying down some bass lines that are not following along the guitars.  

Track listing:

1. “Heatseeker” 3:50
2. “That’s the Way I Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll” 3:45
3. “Meanstreak” 4:08
4. “Go Zone” 4:26
5. “Kissin’ Dynamite” 3:58
6. “Nick of Time” 4:16
7. “Some Sin for Nuthin'” 4:11
8. “Ruff Stuff” 4:28
9. “Two’s Up” 5:19
10. “This Means War” 4:21

’74 Jailbreak: AC/DC

Rating: 100%

Ac-dc-74-jailbreak-coverAlthough, released in America in 1984, this EP contains some of the early AC/DC songs that weren’t released on the High Voltage and Dirty Deeds albums. Which is a shame because, these songs are awesome. Some of the best early AC/DC songs in my opinion. Well, I’m just glad that they were eventually released in American.

I’m not going to go over the musicians, simply because of the fact that there were numerous ones. Three different drummers and two different bassists. But, listening to the songs, one would never pick up on the fact that the line ups were totally different from song to song.

What makes this EP so special? It’s a powerhouse of raw sound, great riffs, and yes, whiskey soaked high pitched vocals of Bon Scott. Every song on here is a good song. Lot’s of Blues and Rock N’ Roll influence. It contains those killer riffs, melodies, and those signature Angus Young leads and solos. It’s a wonder that these songs were released on the American media sooner than AC/DC’s 10 year birthday. Lyrically, these to me are some of the best written songs of early AC/DC.

Track listing:
1. “Jailbreak” 4:40
2. “You Ain’t Got a Hold on Me” 3:31
3. “Show Business” 4:46
4. “Soul Stripper” 6:25
5. “Baby, Please Don’t Go” 4:50