Danger-Us: Wrathchild (America)

Rating: 85%

322836After recording with Kix, Brad Divens and the gang created Wrathchild which would soon be called Wrathchild America. They released their 1983 demo “Danger Us” which is pure Heavy Metal leaning toward the Hair Metal genre, but without going full force. I was lucky enough to find a copy of this demo on Youtube and was able to download it into my collection.

It’s interesting to hear how Wrathchild sounded so close to KIX, but much heavier. It’s got screaming vocals, great riffs, and sweat leads. It also has a lot of fast tempos which could  boarder line Thrash Metal. It also has that New Wave of British Heavy Metal feel to it. You can hear it on the song “Metal Madness.” Something good is happening as the pot stirs which in a few years later would lead into “Climbin’ the Walls.”

Track listing:

1. Danger-US 03:39
2. Heartache Queen 04:29
3. Metal Madness 02:45
4. Roll the Dice 05:03

Advertisements

Rat Race: Child’s Play

5276066_f496Rating: 90%

In 1990, Baltimore, Maryland’s own Child’s Play released their second album, but first major record “Rat Race.” There was such a great set musicians and musicianship. It featured Brian Jack on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, lead guitarist Nicky Kay, bassist Idzi, and drummer & vocalist John Allen. To me, Child’s Play is such an under rated band, it’s a shame that the Grunge era forced this band to be dropped from their label.

Musically, this band, although not a Glam or Hair Metal band to, got thrown in with the likes of that genre. The album begins with such a great tune that leads into the second song. They’re just all around great sounding Hard Rock songs. “My Bottle” has this very Bluest introduction that is followed by an awesome riff. Wind is not really a ballad, but some will call it that. It’s an acoustical piece. Drummer John Allen performs the lead vocals on the “Evicted” as well as “Rat Race.” “Rat Race” also has a bit of Punk influence which makes that song really sound good.

No song on here is the same and therefore, it’s well balanced and such a good listen. It has plenty of sharp leads and riffs to go along with the tempo and melody.

Track listing:

Good Ol’ Rock n’ Roll

Day After Night

My Bottle

Rat Race

Wind

Evicted

Knock Me Out

Girl Like You

Bang Bang

Pay Your Dues

Damned If You Do

When Hell Freezes Over

…And They Shall Take Up Serpents: Byzantine

CoverbyzserpentsRating: 90%

I have always enjoyed the Heavy Metal scene in the region. For me, growing up, bands like Wrathchild America, Clutch, and Kix among others was a good thing. Well, Byzantine is no different hailing from Charleston, WV. They have a unique style that take Thrash, Groove, and Prog Metal and blending it together to make their sound. “…And They Shall Take Up Serpents” released in 2005 is the second studio album by the band. It literally can stand up and go head to head to In Flames, Pantera, and or Mastodon paying homage to the 1990’s Groove Metal.

Musically, the tempos are slower than that of Thrash, more aggressive and tight. It has some outstanding rhythms and leads. Some of the scales are interesting. The riffs are very heavy, but polished. The vocal style is very close to In Flames where the main verse is harsh with clean chorus lines. Lyrically, the album talks about life in West Virginia from the “Redneck War” when the coal miners rose up against coalmines themselves to the religious practice of taking up serpents in the name of God.

The musicianship is pretty tight overall. You have Chris “OJ” Ojeda on vocals, guitars, and piano. Tony Rohbrough on guitars as well as bass. Matt Wolfe on drums and acoustic guitar.

Track listing:

1. “Justicia” 4:07

2. “Taking Up Serpents” 3:12

3. “Jeremiad” 6:00

4. “Ancestry of the Antichrist” 5:54

5. “Temporary Temples” 4:59

6. “Five Faces of Madness” 5:29

7. “Red Neck War” 5:39

8. “Pity None” 3:58

9. “The Rat Eaters” 4:31

10. “Salem, Ark” 4:31

Souls At Zero: Souls At Zero

souls at zero.jpgRating: 90%

After being drop from their record label in 1992, Wrathchild America changed their name for a fresh start. The end result was Souls At Zero. The new album was released in 1993, the third for guys, the debut for the new name. Losing more of the Thrash Metal sound and faster tempos, Souls At Zero began experimenting with Groove Metal with the Prog influence. The end result is a record that falls perfectly in line with Wrathchild America’s “3-D” which is where this album picks up as.

Brad Divens sounds the same with his graspy vocal style. His bass playing is killer. He really lays down some funky bass lines. Guitarists Jay Abbene and Terry Carter play some very tight riffs that has a bit of crunch. You can hear more of an experimental with other genres of music in the guitars. The guitar leads and fills are top notch. Shannon Larkin just kills it on drums. For an older band with a new image and name, these guys are playing tighter, more aggressively than previously. The Thrash element has almost ceased to exist.

Track listing:

1. “Frustration” 4:37

2. “Never” 5:22

3. “Look” 4:16

4. “Hardline” 4:40

5. “Lost” 6:19

6. “Checkin’ Out” 4:20

7. “Souls at Zero” 5:37

8. “Grey World” 4:28

9. “Not You” 6:10

10. “Crowded Head” 4:35

11. “Welcome to the 90s” 4:18

12. “Mind’s Eye” 8:34

Girls, Girls, Girls: Mötley Crüe

Rating: 85%

Girls,_Girls,_Girls_(Mötley_Crüe_album)1987 saw the release of “Girls, Girls, Girls” by Mötley Crüe. Changing some things up from their previous record “Theater of Pain”, the band will tap into their darker side of life such as drugs, women, death, and partying. The end result is an album that is pretty dark lyrically.

Musically, the band sounds much better and the song structures are more thought out. It seems as if the band is maturing. It also seems as if the band is also moving toward their first album “Too Fast For Love” as the song tempos are much faster and upbeat. Production work is a bit light and looses that raw gritty sound as heard on the first two records. This is a carry over from the “Theater of Pain” album.

Track listing:

Wild Side 4:40
Girls, Girls, Girls 4:30
Dancing On Glass 4:18
Bad Boy Boogie 3:27
Nona 1:27
Five Years Dead 3:50
All In The Name Of… 3:39
Sumthin’ For Nuthin’ 4:41
You’re All I Need 4:33
Jailhouse Rock (Live) 4:39

Metal Priestess: Plasmatics

Rating: 85%

MetalPriestess1981vinylBackBendFrontCoverSo…1977 and Punk was just ripping through the streets of America. The Plasmatics having been formed would storm through the late 1970’s and early 1980’s with their front woman Wendy O. Williams. Let me say, she took entertainment to a whole new level.  From chainsaws to destruction of cars on stage to her stage outfits. Because of that, Wendy O. Williams was ahead of her time as well as the music her band played. It was influential in both the Punk world as it was in the Heavy Metal world.

Musically, the song structures are along the lines of Hardcore Punk. But the riffs and screaming leads are as Heavy Metal as Heavy Metal gets. This album here is just one example of how the Punk world crossed over to influence Heavy Metal. Just ask Motorhead. They’ll tell you!

Track listing:

A1 Lunacy 5:04
A2 Doom Song 5:23
A3 Sex Junkie 3:08
B1 Black Leather Monster 3:39
B2 12 Noon 3:31
B3 Masterplan 4:48

Shout at the Devil: Mötley Crüe

Rating: 80%

ShoutattheDevil“Shout at the Devil” released in 1983 was the second album by Mötley Crüe. Even though, I am not a fan of the Glam Metal scene, I will admit, I have liked Mötley Crüe. They were different from the other Glam Metal bands and they also sounded much different than those other bands. You can’t beat this non super group of musicians. I mean come on, these guys sound as if they were from a super group. That’s how tight the musicianship is. You have vocalist Vince Neil, guitarist Mick Mars, bassist Nikki Sixx, and drummer Tommy Lee. These guys managed to keep this band moving forward for almost 40 years. 

The album features many good ass kicking guitar riffs and lead solos. The vocals are done very well. Vince has always been a good singer who has a good range. The bass as well as the drums are very good as well. The album opens with a prequel leading up to the second song “Shout At The Devil.” Which is one of my favorite Crüe songs. Just the opening riff alone is good. The next strong song is “Looks That Kill” which has a killer tempo.  Another good song “Too Young To Fall In Love” as well as the Beatles’ remake “Helter Skelter” which is done in Crüe fashion. Everything else on this album is pretty generic. It’s not a bad album.

Track listing:

In The Beginning 1:13
Shout At The Devil 3:16
Looks That Kill 4:07
Bastard 2:54
God Bless The Children Of The Beast 1:33
Helter Skelter 3:09
Red Hot 2:20
Too Young To Fall In Love 3:34
Knock ‘Em Dead, Kid 3:40
Ten Seconds To Love 4:17
Danger 4:44