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

Invasion Of Your Privacy: Ratt

Rating: 80%

RattInvasionI hated most of the Hair Metal bands of the 1980’s as I thought the style and music was basically fake and full of posers. But some of the bands did stick out to me that were decent, including Motley Crue, Guns N’ Roses, L.A. Guns, and yes, Ratt…or at least this album. And by the way, the cover model is Playboy mate, Marianne Gravatte. 

This second album by Ratt is pretty good. It has plenty of good moments, even the semi-ballad “Closer to My Heart” is OK. Even though, I hated most of those love ballads by these Hair/Glam bands. The album has a nice flow to it, some good melodies, riffs, and yes, the classic Hair Metal style leads and solos.

The musicianship isn’t bad at all. Stephen Pearcy’s raspy vocal style is what sets this band apart from those others. There is no one that could even come close to sounding like him. Then you have the duel shock of guitars by Robbin Crosby and Warren DeMartini, who throw out the mighty riffs and leads. Surprisingly, Juan Croucier bass is right there and is clearly heard as he sets the timing right along with drummer Bobby Blotzer. 

The album opens with the killer song “You’re in Love.” To me, this song should have been a number one hit, as it is nothing more than pure Heavy Metal. “Lay It Down” is more or less one of those songs, even though it charted, was more of the same style as the rest of the Hair Metal bands. But, it’s not a bad song, just isn’t what I thought would have been a charter. In fact the majority of this album follows the same style as “Lay It Down.” There is some filler, but that is expected. “Between the Eyes” to me is another song that I don’t understand why it charted, to me that is a filler song as is “What You Give Is What You Get.” But hey, this is what those crazy long haired fist throwers wanted and that is what they got. All and all, this album is a well done album. I was lucky enough to get this as a teenager on vinyl for like .25c at a pawnshop when CD was getting to be popular.

Track listing:

1. “You’re in Love” 3:12
2. “Never Use Love”  3:54
3. “Lay It Down” 3:23
4. “Give It All”3:19
5. “Closer to My Heart” 4:30
Side two
6. “Between the Eyes” 3:54
7. “What You Give Is What You Get” 3:47
8. “Got Me on the Line” 3:04
9. “You Should Know by Now” 3:29
10. “Dangerous but Worth the Risk” 3:30

Unholy Passion EP: Samhain

Rating: 90%

Samhain_Passion.jpgOver the weekend, I was able to pick up a copy on vinyl, this little treasure by one of my favorite bands, Samhain. The vinyl is splattered orange and is a reissue, but…at least I have a copy of it on vinyl now. I remember purchasing the 1990 version of this EP under the “Final Descent” album on cassette. Then the box set came in 2000, and I was able to get a copy on CD.

1985, saw the release “Unholy Passion” by Samhain. This was the second album to be released by the band. You have the one and only Glenn Danzig on vocals, keyboards, as well the guitar. Eerie Von on bass, Steve Zing on drums, and Damien on guitar.

Musically, this record sounds amazing on vinyl. The overall sound of the band is fantastic. The entire band sounds much tighter. It’s got a very rich guitar sound that doesn’t take away from the bass. The riffs are present as well as the structures themselves. You hear less of the Punk structure with the band moving more into the direction of Rock and Heavy Metal. Lyrically, it’s much darker than the “Initium” debut. Glenn’s vocal style is more of what he has been known in the band Danzig. 

Overall, if you a fan of anything that Danzig has ever done, then this is a great addition to the collection. I have been a fan ever since 1988, and it didn’t take long before I discovered the other bands that Danzig was with. Even though, Samhain more or less changed it’s name to Danzig, so, one might say the other band Glenn was with.

Track listing:

Side A
1. “Unholy Passion” 3:10
2. “All Hell” 2:19
Side B
1. “Moribund” 1:43
2. “The Hungry End” 3:06
3. “I Am Misery” 3:40

Anthems: Anthrax

Rating: 25%

Anthrax_Anthems.jpgSo, Anthrax produced a covers album. OK, so I thought it could be good. I mean some of their covers in the past have been decent. After one listen, I just didn’t care for this one.  It really was hard for me to listen. To me, these bands doing covers, some can do it. Metallica and Guns n’ Roses did it. Anthrax….not so much.

Everyone said that Anthrax fans will enjoy this one, but, I didn’t. I think that since Anthrax needed new material to please it’s fans, they decided to throw in a filler album. This EP just doesn’t have the power, the energy, or the drive to get me excited. It was something quick for the band to put out. Maybe a better selection of songs next time? I mean on the covers of Sabbath, Sex Pistols, and Ventures you nailed it. But these songs, just not your style and done with style.

Save yourself the money and listen to the original artists on the radio. The only good songs here is the one that didn’t make it to Worship Music.

Track listing:

1. “Anthem” (Rush cover)  4:37
2. “T.N.T.” (AC/DC cover) 3:37
3. “Smokin'” (Boston cover) 4:20
4. “Keep On Runnin'” (Journey cover)  3:42
5. “Big Eyes” (Cheap Trick cover)  3:16
6. “Jailbreak (Feat. Phil Campbell)” (Thin Lizzy cover)4:06
7. “Crawl” (album version) Anthrax 5:00
8. “Crawl” (Orc mix) Anthrax 5:02

Powerslave: Iron Maiden

Rating: 100%

Iron_Maiden_-_Powerslave.jpg1984’s Iron Maiden release “Powerslave” is the album that got me into Maiden. I loved every song on this album when I first heard it back in 1985. By 1988, I had most of the Maiden albums to date and tried like hell to copy the guitar sound. I was 11 years old then.

Anyway, this album is fantastic and remains as one of my favorite Maiden albums. One thing that drew me to the album was the cover. Their artwork is always the best. Look for that little grim reaper on the back of the record cover.

Secondly, it was the style and sound of music that was being played. It wasn’t anything like I was hearing on the radio at the time. The duel guitars riffs, the solos themselves, the bass lines, and then you have great vocals thrown in. WOW! Bruce hit those high notes. For what filler there is on this album, the other main tracks make up for it. In fact, there isn’t a bad song on here, just great Heavy Metal material. Tracks 1,2,7, & 8 are my all time favorite Maiden songs.

Track listing:

1. “Aces High” 4:31
2. “2 Minutes to Midnight” 6:04
3. “Losfer Words (Big ‘Orra)” 4:15
4. “Flash of the Blade” 4:05
5. “The Duellists”  6:18
6. “Back in the Village”  5:02
7. “Powerslave” 7:12
8. “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” 13:45

The Song Remains the Same: Led Zeppelin

Rating: 90%

Led_Zeppelin_-_The_Song_Remains_the_SameSo, when I was younger I owned the cassettes to this sound track. Now, I own the DVD movie, the original vinyl, and the 2007 remaster CD set with unreleased songs of this concert. I no longer have the cassettes, they were lost many years ago.

Now, I’ve heard from both sides about the content of this live performance. Many people say it’s not their best because of the fact that many of the songs are drawn out. Or, because of the stardom has taken the band over. On the other end, I heard those in favor of this album say it’s one of Zeppelin’s best performances. Either way, this album has pros and cons. Forget about the movie. The movie was OK, but that’s what bands did back then before MTV. They were entertainers first, and not movie directors. Even “Let There Be Rock” by AD/DC has it’s slow parts during the interviews that makes no sense of the actual concert.

What I like about this album is Jimmy Page’s guitar solos and his performance. Forget about the fact that Robert Plant can’t hold a single note on here or keep up with the music. What Jimmy Page showcases is talent that is undeniable. He plays based upon feeling and not by perfection. John Paul Jones on is a talented bassist. His bass is clearly heard all over this performance. Then, you have John Bonham the master of the skins. His performance too is outstanding. It’s amazing to hear how in tuned he, John P. Jones, and Jimmy Page are playing together. This performance is almost a solo album for each of the musicians in so many ways. The improve of each musician is something that most bands can’t do today.

Track listing:

Side one
1. “Rock and Roll” 4:03
2. “Celebration Day” 3:49
3. “The Song Remains the Same” 6:00
4. “The Rain Song” 8:25
Side two
1. “Dazed and Confused” Page 26:53
Side three
1. “No Quarter” 12:30
2. “Stairway to Heaven” 10:58
Side four
1. “Moby Dick” 12:47
2. “Whole Lotta Love” 14:25

Death Had No Name (The Lost Ep): Danzig

Rating: Priceless

R-2028854-1406389132-9792.jpegSo, I stumbled across this long lost ep of Danzig that is a bootleg from 1991. It contains the song “When Death Had No Name” with alternate lyrics. The B-side includes the Elvis cover “Trouble” and “Possession.” All three songs, one can more of the Blues influence coming out while Danzig begins loosing the Punk feel to his music as these are to be some of the earliest versions of the songs.

Although, the sound quality isn’t the best, this ep shines light on the making of three songs. All of which I have heard before. The earlier versions of the Elvis cover “Trouble” and “Possession” were released with the Samhain box set. Two versions of the “When Death Had No Name” were released on the Danzig Lost Tracks, and the 1993 version was released as a b-side on the single “Dirty Black Summer.” All three songs are very rough, raw, and dark. This to me is what makes this such a great piece of Danzig history. A small ep, but it packs one hell of a punch.

I have to admit, sound quality aside, I really like these versions of the songs. “When Death Had No Name” again features a totally different set of lyrics, but the tempo is much faster. It’s always a neat thing to hear a song progress from day one to it’s final cut in production. “Trouble” is cut from classic Elvis and is sung is Elvis fashion, but it retains some originality, as Danzig adopted this song and cut it to form his own song. Only Glen Danzig can do a song like this. “Possession” is another one that is pretty damn good.

Track listing:

A When Death Had No Name
B1 Trouble (Demo Version)
B2 Possession (Demo Version)