Headhunter: Krokus

Rating: 95%

Headhunter_cover.jpgIn 1983, Krokus released probably one their best albums in there entire catalog. So, when I was browsing through the records at the store today and saw this, I had to grab it. I used to have this one on cassette many years ago.

This record here to me was a very good record and for many reasons. But mainly it was because of how tight the band played. They seem to lose that AC/DC hardness and developed their own heaviness musical style. This album has a lot of really good tempos and the instrumentation is well balanced. From start to finish, it’s a pretty solid album.

Marc Storace sounds really good behind that mic. The guitar work just doesn’t quit. This album has a lot of great riffs and plenty of heated solos. You can thank guitarists Fernando von Arb and Mark Kohler for that. The drumming by Steve Pace is also good along with the bass work of Chris von Rohr. It also feature Rob Halford on backing vocals on “Ready To Burn.” 

Track listing:

Side one
“Headhunter”  – 4:30
“Eat the Rich”– 4:14
“Screaming in the Night” – 6:38
“Ready to Burn”  – 3:54

Side two
“Night Wolf” – 4:10
“Stayed Awake All Night” – 4:41
“Stand and Be Counted”– 4:07
“White Din” – 1:50
“Russian Winter” – 3:31

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Stormbringer: Deep Purple

Rating: 60%

DeepPurpleStormbringer (1).jpgIn 1974, things were looking pretty grim for Deep Purple and this album shows that. There seems to be a lot of inner fighting within the band itself. You know what? There was and this would be the last album to feature Ritchie Blackmore until 1984’s “Perfect Strangers.” Because of the inner fighting, you don’t a solid record here.

Deep Purple seems to be a little weak and not as progressive in playing style as they could be. There are some very good guitar leads, but I can’t get over the easy listening portion of the melodies. It just isn’t as creative as it could’ve been. Not all is lost, there are a few good songs on here. But, you can hear the band experimenting with Disco, Soul and Funk, loosing that Heavy Metal edge.

Musically, it could be better. The title track on side one is very good. There’s a lot of classic Deep Purple things going on here. The other three songs on side one are to me, not Deep Purple. Side two starts out great. It has the style of classic Deep Purple. Then song number two comes in and I was left scratching my head. “High Ball Shooter”  is another good song on this album. Then the fourth song hits and it looses me. “Soldier of Fortune” is another decent song from the album. 

David Coverdale, sounds good one minute and weak the next. This album is lacking the heavy guitar riffs that Blackmore could produce. Maybe this is why he went on to form Rainbow. The entire rhythm section of keyboardist Jon Lord, bassists/vocalist Glenn Hughes, and drummer Ian Paice produce is also give or take. The band isn’t playing as tight as they normally do.

Track listing:

Side one
1. “Stormbringer” 4:03
2. “Love Don’t Mean a Thing” 4:23
3. “Holy Man” 4:28
4. “Hold On” 5:05

Side two
5. “Lady Double Dealer” 3:19
6. “You Can’t Do It Right (With the One You Love)” 3:24
7. “High Ball Shooter” 4:26
8. “The Gypsy” 4:13
9. “Soldier of Fortune” 3:14

Suzi Quatro: Suzi Quatro

Rating: 90%

Suziquatroalbum.jpgBefore the Runaways, there was Suzi Quatro. The first successful female front woman who played the bass guitar. The debut released in 1973, made Suzi Quatro and her band a force to be reckoned with. Let me say, this record was a smash hit. It was Rock n’ Roll, it was Hard Rock, it was Punk, and yet it was Bluesy. It was an amazing experience to listen to. Let me tell you, this album was far ahead of the times.

Musically, this album just rocks! I love every aspect of the guitars, bass, drums, vocals, and the keyboards.  The music is so damn catchy and enjoyable.  It’s Garage Rock at it’s best. It comes complete with these rich guitar riffs some of which are heavy as hell. It’s not overly complex, but at the same time it isn’t simple. There is a good balance within the rhythm section of every song. There is a certain degree of rawness that gives this album the drive and power that it needs to be one of the best Rock albums.

Suzi Quatro is among one of the most influential female artist of all time. She not only proves to sing, but her bass guitar is amazing. Then you have the lead guitarist and master of the riffs, Len Tuckey. Keeping pace with the timing of it all is drummer Dave Neal. Add the key work of  Alastair McKenzie and you have a Rock n’ Roll and that is very enjoyable to listen or jam too.

So, when I saw this record for sale, I had to grab it. Not only is this a very underrated or forgotten album, but it is also one of the best forgotten albums of the 1970’s.

Track listing:

Side one
“48 Crash” – 3:54
“Glycerine Queen” – 3:47
“Shine My Machine” – 3:49
“Official Suburbian Superman” – 3:05
“I Wanna Be Your Man”  – 3:09
“Primitive Love” – 4:13

Side two
“All Shook Up” – 3:48
“Sticks & Stones” – 3:41
“Skin Tight Skin” – 4:21
“Get Back Mama” – 5:52
“Shakin’ All Over”  – 3:33
“Can the Can” – 3:34

The House of Blue Light: Deep Purple

Rating: 60%

220px-DeepPurpleTheHouseIn 1987, Deep Purple was back at it again. Well…I guess they were. I purchased this album here and once I put it on my record player, I was disappointed. One minute, I was thinking that I was listening to Deep Purple and the next it was like I was listening to Genesis.

Musically, it’s hard to describe. It’s Hard Rock, mixed with 1980’s Pop. It’s pretty bland in some spots. This album lacks that power and energy that Deep Purple usually has. The mixing just doesn’t seem to be all that good. This is nothing more than 1980’s music that has swallowed up a great Heavy Metal band. It happened to a lot of bands during the 1980’s. They just lost the heaviness and edge.

The musicianship also seems to be suffering. For one, Ian Gillan’s vocals are horrible. Ritchie Blackmore shows that he can still throw out some decent guitar riffs and leads, but there’s nothing really impressive or explosive. The rhythm section of keyboardist Jon Lord, bassist Roger Glover, and drummer Ian Paice just doesn’t have any backbone or might. This is not one of my favorite Deep Purple albums. 

Track listing:

1. “Bad Attitude” 4:32
2. “The Unwritten Law” 4:34
3. “Call of the Wild” 4:48
4. “Mad Dog” 4:29
5. “Black & White” 3:39
6. “Hard Lovin’ Woman” 3:25
7. “The Spanish Archer” 4:56
8. “Strangeways” 5:56
9. “Mitzi Dupree” 5:05
10. “Dead or Alive” 4:42

Come Taste The Band: Deep Purple

Rating: 90%

comeThis album released in 1975, would be the last Deep Purple album until the reformation of the Mark II line up for the 1984 “Perfect Strangers.” This also marked the first record without guitarist and founding member Ritchie Blackmore. I like the title of this album already, because it really sounds totally different. That is owed to the new guitarist Tommy Bolin. Bolin’s style was very funky, soulful, and jazzy. This allowed for the band members to add more of their creativity to the music, since Blackmore wouldn’t have it. There were some creativity differences between Jon Lord, David Coverdale, and Blackmore which led to Blackmore’s departure.

Musically, again, this isn’t just a normal average Deep Purple album. It’s full of soul and harmony. You can tell that the Jazz influences are coming out of the band and the focus has gone more to a Prop style. The music is very tasteful and enjoyable.

Musicianship is great. The guitar riffs and leads are amazing. Tommy Bolin really was the right guy for this job. He would die a year later during his solo career at a young age. But what he contributed to Deep Purple is top notch material. You actually hear the band playing better. David Coverdale’s vocals are at his beat. Glenn Huges on bass and Ian Price on drums really showcase how talented the rhythm section is of the band. Jon Lord’s keys also sound great.

So, I have passed up this album several times, and today, I decided to buy. My thought was no one can ever replace Ritchie Blackmore. But I was wrong. I am glad that I picked up this record.

Track listing:

Comin’ Home 3:52
Lady Luck 2:45
Gettin’ Tighter 3:36
Dealer 3:49
I Need Love 4:22
Drifter 4:01
Love Child 3:05
This Time Around / Owed To ‘G’ (Instrumental) 6:07
You Keep On Moving

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”

I Love Rock ‘n Roll: Joan Jett & The Blackhearts

Rating: 95%

I_love_rock_n'_roll_-_joan_jett_(album_cover)Fresh out of the Runaways and after releasing her first solo record, Joan Jett now backed the her hand The Blackhearts released “I love Rock n’ Roll” in 1981. This to me was a solid record. It flirted with both Punk and Hard Rock as well as keeping it as close to pure Rock n’ Roll as possible.

The musicianship is good. Joan Jett proves that she can have solo career while performing lead vocals and guitar as she did toward the end of the Runaways. She also proves to be a good song writer. She is backed by a series of good musicians. Ricky Byrd on guitar, bassist Gary Ryan, and drummer Lee Crystal. It also features Eric Ambel on tracks 5 & 10 as guitarist. 

Musically, again we have influences that range from pure Rock n’ Roll to Punk Rock itself. Everything is blended together decently. The music is strong, it’s original, edgy, and interesting. I don’t think there is a boring part to this album at all. It’s got some very impressive melodies. The vocals of the entire band is expressive and has lots of feeling. The vocals of Joan herself are stylish and raw. Everything seems to be perfectly balanced. The best riff is the actual title track of the album. But it does feature other good guitar riffs as well as leads done in both Punk and Rock format.

Track listing:

Side one
1. “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” 2:55
2. “(I’m Gonna) Run Away” 2:27
3. “Love Is Pain” 3:07
4. “Nag” 2:46
5. “Crimson and Clover” 3:17

Side two
6. “Victim of Circumstance” 2:54
7. “Bits and Pieces” 2:07
8. “Be Straight” 2:40
9. “You’re Too Possessive” 3:35
10. “Little Drummer Boy” 4:14