Pay It in Metal: Krokus

Rating: 70%

IPaymetal_cover1.jpgn 1978, Krokus released their third album called “Pay It in Metal” or “Pain Killer” as the rest of the world known it as. The U.S. version was called “Pay It in Metal.” There were several versions of this record, but all of the songs were the same. One thing to note here is that this is the last record to feature Chris von Rohr on vocals. As the band enters the 1980’s, he’ll move to bass guitar.

This album is a transition record. You see the previous two records were heavily influenced by Prog Rock. Now, the band is trying to move more into the Heavy Metal and Hard Rock genres of Rock music. Musically, there are some decent songs. You can tell things are a bit flat for the band, but the band is moving away from Prog and is treading new waters as to where they want to go.

This album does have a lot of nice guitar solos. Speaking of the guitars, they are getting that more overdrive sound as far as the solos, but the main riffs are a bit weak in sound. At other times, you can hear a certain energetic AC/DC or Ted Nugent sound coming through. So for the most part, the Blues does shine through on some of the songs.  Listen to side two and you’ll notice the power that is building.

The musicianship is OK. They’re not as strong of a band as they will become, but they are heading in the right direction. Vocalist Chris von Rohr has an average voice, nothing that stands out. Tommy Kiefer on lead guitar has thrown out some really kick ass solos. Fernando von Arb is branching out and by adding some Blues influences which are sticking out. Bassist Jürg Naegeli and drummer Freddy Steady are putting out some beats and bass lines, but this is the last album to feature Jürg Naegeli.

Tracks:

Side one
“Killer” – 3:34
“Werewolf” – 3:19
“Rock Ladies” – 3:01
“Bad Love” – 4:53
“Get Out of My Mind” – 3:40

Side two
“Rock Me, Rock You” – 3:20
“Deadline” – 2:01
“Susie” – 3:02
“Pay It” – 3:01
“Bye Bye Baby” – 4:16

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The Book of Taliesyn: Deep Purple

Rating: 80%

Taliesyn.jpgReleased in 1968 in the U.S., Deep Purple’s second album is a nice combination of psychedelic rock, progressive rock and hard rock. It also features a bit more classical arrangements that were not on their debut album. Unlike the first album with the “Oh feel so good” feeling, this album is slightly darker in feeling. But, it’s not that dark in the sense of the matter. That could be more of the Hard Rock style that the band was leaning toward, which would take them to the realms as being on Heavy Metal’s founding fathers.

Musically, this is a solid follow up to their debut. Aside from three covers that were adopted by Deep Purple, the other elements of the original pieces are very good. The covers are just as good as well. The band however, is growing and experimenting. And you can hear how Rod Evans’ vocals are not ideal for this style of music, which is becoming more noticeable. The bass lines are pretty good, but this is an album that will force change upon the band in a few months when Deep Purple, the third album is released. This will force the band to out Rod Evans him and bassist Nick Simper from the band after their third record. Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord on keyboards do lay out some great solos, but nothing sounds to complex or super fast. Ian Paice on drums also sounds good.

Bottom line, this is a good album. You can tell that change is needed for this band to gain musical freedom. The first three Deep Purple records basically set up the band for their fourth record “Deep Purple In Rock” as that title basically says it all.

Tracks:
1. “Listen, Learn, Read On” 4:05
2.”Wring That Neck” (originally titled “Hard Road” in the USA) 5:13
3.”Kentucky Woman” (Neil Diamond cover) 4:44
4.”(a) Exposition” “(b) We Can Work It Out” (The Beatles cover) 7:06
5.”Shield” 6:06
6.”Anthem” 6:31
7.”River Deep, Mountain High” (Ike & Tina Turner cover) 10:12

Alice Cooper Goes to Hell: Alice Cooper

Rating: 90%

Alice_Cooper_-_Goes_To_Hell1976 saw “Alice Cooper Goes To Hell.” I love the first song on the album, “Go To Hell”. So, when I saw this album among other’s on vinyl, I had to grabbed it. A concept album it is, but a strong follow up to the “Welcome to My Nightmare”.

Musically, this is a hard hitter. It’s got lot’s of great guitar riffs and leads. It’s some spectacular drumming as well. The bass lines are well written. Every instrument is clearly heard. The gritty eerie vocals are another key feature. This album not only is a hard hitter, but it also takes from other influences as well. The second song on this album “You Gotta Dance” has a big disco feel to it as well as some funk going on. The song “I’m the Coolest” has a very eerie feel to it with spoken word to it. Other songs have a sort of showman feel to them, like a drama on stage or dare I say, a Disney feel to it, but much darker. The entire album is rich and original when it comes to the lyrics and music. All and all, just an enjoyable record to hear.

Tracks:

1. “Go to Hell” 5:15
2. “You Gotta Dance” 2:45
3. “I’m the Coolest” 3:57
4. “Didn’t We Meet” 4:16
5. “I Never Cry” 3:44
6. “Give the Kid a Break” 4:14
7. “Guilty” 3:22
8. “Wake Me Gently” 5:03
9. “Wish You Were Here” 4:36
10. “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows” 2:08
11. “Going Home” 3:47

Flush the Fashion: Alice Cooper

Rating: 80%

Acflush.jpg1980 saw Alice Cooper really experimenting with New Wave music. So in many ways, this album is just as much New Wave as it is classic Alice Cooper. He keeps up with his twisted sense of humor madness but brings out more of the modern subject matters. All and all, it’s not a bad record.

Musically, you’ll notice the drastic change with the New Wave influences. It still has some of that grittiness that Alice Cooper’s vocals are known for. It’s got plenty of great riffs and leads, more so on side two. The keyboards are really good. Lot’s of decent drum beats that lean more toward regular Punk/Electro, more so on the first side of the record. “Leather Boots” reminds me of a song that features Rock, Punk, New Wave, and with some Country music influences. “Aspirin Damage” is really far out there in left field.

Side two of this record is where the more classic sounding Alice Cooper is located at. It’s got a lot of hard hitters. It’s got lot’s of great bass lines and tons of guitar riffs and leads. So, if you’re looking for classic Alice Cooper more so than the New Wave, then side is where it’s at.

Tracks:

Side one flush the fashion suite
1. “Talk Talk”2:09
2. “Clones (We’re All)” 3:03
3. “Pain” 4:06
4. “Leather Boots” 1:36
5. “Aspirin Damage” 2:57

Side two
1. “Nuclear Infected” 2:14
2. “Grim Facts” 3:24
3. “Model Citizen” 2:39
4. “Dance Yourself to Death” 3:08
5. “Headlines” 3:18

Welcome To My Nightmare: Alice Cooper

Rating: 90%

Welcome_To_My_Nightmare.jpgIn 1975, you saw the first release by the solo artist Alice Cooper. After leaving his Alice Cooper Band behind, Alice Cooper embarked on his own. When I saw this record, I had to pick it up. I grew up listening to Alice, but never got any of his music on CD. So, when I found all these vinyls, I quickly grabbed them all. This record among the stash.

I had forgotten how good this record was. It’s got all of the killer songs on it from the opening title track to “Black Widow,” and “Only Women Bleed.”   The album also features Hollywood horror actor Vincent Price who is the narrator on “Black Widow.”

Musically, this album is really good. It’s got some really catchy rhythm, some nice leads, great beats, and eerie gritty vocals. This album really showcases the talent of Alice Cooper and where he is headed with his career. The bottom line, you wont be disappointed with this album at all. It’s a hell of a great journey back to when Heavy Metal and Hard Rock were beginning to push limits.

Track listing:

1. “Welcome to My Nightmare” 5:19
2. “Devil’s Food” 3:38
3. “The Black Widow” 3:37
4. “Some Folks” 4:19
5. “Only Women Bleed” 5:49
6. “Department of Youth” 3:18
7. “Cold Ethyl” 2:51
8. “Years Ago” 2:51
9. “Steven” 5:52
10. “The Awakening” 2:25
11. “Escape” 3:20

Difficult to Cure: Rainbow

Rating: 65%

Difficult_to_cure1981 and Heavy Metal was exploding in Britain. Newer bands were getting faster and heavier. Vocals were screamingly impressive. Blackmore’s Rainbow was exempt from that movement, staying the path from their previous fourth albums. This time they have two new members. Vocalist Joe Lynn Turner and drummer Bob Rondinelli. 

Musicianship is OK. Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore throws out many heavy and faster riffs and threading guitar solos, but then the album seems to keep repeating itself. Another huge part of the music is keyboardist Don Airey who really throws in a lot of weird sounds and solos. Roger Glover’s bass seems to be the only thing that is top notch. Vocalist Joe Lynn Turner, although good, just isn’t standing out from any other vocalists. 

The album starts out decent, then the second song hits and it blows you away. After that, it becomes more poppy adding more of the early 1980’s pop to Rainbow’s classic sound. From there, the album just looses that power and becomes a bit stale and stagnate. There sin’t really anything here that distinguishes the band from all of the other groups. We have nothing more than just a regular average classic rock sounding record. To me, this album doesn’t produced the energy that Rainbow once had. 

Track listing:

Side one
1. “I Surrender”4:01
2. “Spotlight Kid”4:54
3. “No Release” 5:33
4. “Magic” 4:07
5. “Vielleicht Das Nächste Mal (Maybe Next Time)” (instrumental) 3:17
Side two
6. “Can’t Happen Here” 4:57
7. “Freedom Fighter” 4:21
8. “Midtown Tunnel Vision” 4:31
9. “Difficult to Cure (Beethoven’s Ninth)” (instrumental) 5:57

Down To Earth: Rainbow

Rating: 75%

Down_to_Earth_(Rainbow_album)_coverart.jpg“Down to Earth” released in 1979 is the fourth studio record by Rainbow. This more commercially produced album is the first to feature vocalist Graham Bonnet and the last to feature drummer Cozy Powell. 

Ritchie Blackmore sounds great on the guitar. He throws out some fantastic classic riffs and leads. As far as the rest of the band. Powell’s drumming is decent, bassist Roger Glover sounds good, and keyboardist Don Airey is there, but nothing spectacular. Graham Bonnet’s vocals are OK, he seems to be overselling it a bit on certain songs. 

Musically, this album is hard to describe. One minute it has that classic Dio sound to it like what you would hear on “Rising”. But the more poppy sound to it kind of makes it seem more your typical Classic Rock sounding bands. At times the music seems to be a bit more generic as the band is moving into a tradition period. This is a basic all around Hard Rock album, a product of the 1970’s. Bland at times it is, but, it does deliver and where the music lacks, the musicianship makes up for it.

Track listing:

Side one
1. “All Night Long” 3:53
2. “Eyes of the World” 6:42
3. “No Time to Lose” 3:45
4. “Makin’ Love” 4:38

Side two
5. “Since You Been Gone” 3:25
6. “Love’s No Friend” 4:55
7. “Danger Zone” 4:31
8. “Lost in Hollywood” 4:51