Come Out and Play: Twisted Sister

Rating: 70%

TwistedSisterComeOutAndPlayAlbumCover.jpg1985, saw the rise of Glam Metal and lot of bands got thrown into that genre. Bands like W.A.S.P. and Twisted Sister were no exception. Now, I will admit, that growing up I had “Stay Hungry” as well as this record. I really enjoyed “Stay Hungry” as I thought it was about as raw as Heavy Metal could be without the commercialism.

A year later, “Come Out and Play” was released. I thought that the music lost much of it’s edge, loosing that rawness that made “Stay Hungry” so good. To me, musically, this album has a more heavy leaning toward Heavy Metal with Pop influences. The sound is very clean and polished. In some spots, I felt that the music was kind of bland, a bit plain and in some cases shapeless. The chorus lines are pretty beefy. I just feel that what you have here is a basic average record from the mid 1980’s.  

The musicianship is good if you’re into Glam Metal. You have one hell of a front man in vocalist Dee Snider. In recent years, I really have come to appreciate him trying to preserve 1980’s Heavy Metal on his radio show. Backing Dee is guitarists Eddie Ojeda & Jay Jay French, bassist Mark Mendoza, and drummer A. J. Pero.  

Track listing:

Side one
1. “Come Out and Play” 4:51
2. “Leader of the Pack” (The Shangri-Las cover) 3:48
3. “You Want What We Got” 3:45
4. “I Believe in Rock ‘n’ Roll” 4:03
5. “The Fire Still Burns” 3:34

Side two
6. “Be Chrool to Your Scuel” (featuring Alice Cooper) 3:53
7. “I Believe in You” 5:23
8. “Out on the Streets” 4:27
9. “Lookin’ Out for #1” 3:07
10. “Kill or Be Killed”

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Out of the Cellar: Ratt

Rating: 80%

RattOutoftheCellar.jpg

Model Tawny Kitaen

1984 was the year that the Glam Metal band Ratt released their debut record. A good friend of mine introduced to me to the band. Although, I wasn’t a fan of the Hair Metal or Glam Metal scene, Ratt was one of those bands that stood out from all of the other bands as they had a distinctive sound and vocal style. When you heard a Ratt song on the radio, you knew right away who it was. That was because of the musicianship itself. 

Musically, this is a guitar power driven band with lots of harmony and catchy melodies. The guitars had some fantastic leads and riffs. That was due to guitarists Robbin Crosby and Warren DeMartini. The back bone of the band consisted of bassist Juan Croucier and drummer Bobby Blotzer. Stephen Pearcy vocals are very strong and distinctive. The instrumentation is well balanced. Not a bad debut for a band that would take off and become one of the best of several Glam Metal bands. Just proof that, the 1980’s was about big hair, loud music, and partying.  

Track Listing:

Side one
1. “Wanted Man” 3:37
2. “You’re in Trouble” 3:16
3. “Round and Round” 4:22
4. “In Your Direction” 3:30
5. “She Wants Money” 3:04
Side two
6. “Lack of Communication” 3:52
7. “Back for More” 3:42
8. “The Morning After” 3:30
9. “I’m Insane” 2:54
10. “Scene of the Crime” 4:54

Rev It Up: Vixen

Rating: 75%

Vixenrev.jpgVixen followed up on their debut in 1990 with “Rev It Up.” Unfortunately, this album didn’t do so well. This was mostly due to the change in music popularity. Grunge was hitting the airwaves. Just like most of the Hair/Glam Metal bands, Vixen would fall victim to the new Pop Alternative and Grunge hitting the airwaves. Shame too! As Vixen could’ve been so much more.

Janet Gardner still sounds amazing. She can hit those high notes. Jan Kuehnemund throws out some decent riffs and leads. Nothing killer, but decent. The rhythm section of bassist Share Pedersen and drummer Roxy Petrucci are still on top of their game. All of the band in fact are great.

Musically, this album is very pop orientated. Think along the lines of Bon Jovi. The music itself is very polished and filtered. It’s not heavy, but it is hard. Either way, Vixen is a band that deserves respect. If it wasn’t for a change in the mainstream, Vixen could’ve been something larger.

 

Track listing:

Rev It Up 4:55
How Much Love 4:38
Love Is A Killer 4:41
Not A Minute Too Soon 4:23
Streets In Paradise 4:29
Hard 16 4:01
Bad Reputation 4:08
Fallen Hero 5:17
Only A Heartbeat Away 5:08
It Wouldn’t Be Love 4:39
Wrecking Ball 5:12

Vixen: Vixen

Rating: 85%

R-2005870-1371458879-8701.jpeg.jpgI remember when Vixen released their debut in 1988. I must admit, I thought Vixen was a good band. They proved that girls could rock as hard as dudes. So, when I caught wind of this band in one of the Heavy Metal magazines, I was like “Damn!” The music of Vixen, although, was along the lines of Glam/Hair Metal, I thought was a good band.

The musicianship of lead vocalist & rhythm guitarist Janet Gardner, lead guitarist Jan Kuehnemund, bassist Share Pedersen, and drummer Roxy Petrucci was outstanding. Janet Gardner’s vocals were amazing. She had and still has the range. Jan Kuehnemund provides some killer riffs as well as some kick ass leads. The drumming and bass are good as well.

Musically, the overall sound was crisp and clean. It was very polished and at times could even have a strong Pop sound to the music. “I Want You To Rock Me” and “Cryin'” are good examples of that.  “Edge Of A Broken Heart” by Richard Marx was made popular by the band. Other songs put in mind of the Runaways or early Lita Ford. Also, some of the songs have a ballad structure. Most of the songs are based upon a much mid level tempo. Other songs are built around more of a Hard Rock structure than Heavy Metal.

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So, if you like 1980’s Heavy Metal or Hard Rock, Vixen may be a good band for you to check out. I can honestly say, Vixen is one of those underrated bands and I am glad to see that the band, for the most part, is still performing.

Track listing:

Edge Of A Broken Heart 4:22
I Want You To Rock Me 3:28
Cryin’ 3:32
American Dream 4:17
Desperate 4:17
One Night Alone 3:48
Hell Raisers 4:25
Love Made Me 3:16
Waiting 3:09
Cruisin’ 4:23

KIX: Kix

Rating: 90%

Kix-KixAlbum.jpgGrowing up near Hagerstown, Maryland during the 1980’s-1990’s, most likely you’ve heard of the band called Kix. Kix was fronted by lead vocalist Steve Whiteman, guitarists Ronnie Younkins & Brian Forsythe, bassist Donnie Purnell, and drummer Jimmy Chalfant. Five dudes that were down to earth, five dudes that were in a local band that most metal heads heard of. Were they Glam Metal? Or were they Hard Rock? The answer is who cares. They were the dirty boys of Rock n’ Roll.

This band has plenty of harmony within it’s music structure. The music is very rich and full. It has some nice melodies and even keel tempos. This band has some awesomely strong vocals and backing vocals. It’s Rock music that is fun. Lyrically, some of the themes are funny as hell. Take “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” as an example where Steve Whiteman describes the woman of his dreams returning one night. I do appreciate the tongue and cheek lyrics and song writing. There are some very strong vocals and nice chorus lines. Speaking of strong vocals, this album has some great riffs and leads that follow right along with the bass and drums. The musicianship is very tight and top notch.

The album begins with a strong opening piece that has an amazing riff. After that, the heaviness for the most part is gone along the lines of Hard Rock with a touch of New Wave thrown in. The album ends on the band’s signature song “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” which is a fan favorite when the band performs live. The entire album is great and well balanced. It has a nice flow to it from song to song that keeps you interested in the band.

Track listing:

“Atomic Bombs” 3:45
“Love at First Sight” 2:42
“Heartache” 3:16
“Poison” 3:46
“The Itch” 4:26
“Kix Are for Kids” 4:16
“Contrary Mary” 3:10
“The Kid” 3:54
“Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” 6:57

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

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