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

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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

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

Cool Kids: Kix

Rating: 85%

Kix-CoolKids1983 saw the return of Kix with their second album “Cool Kids.” Although, this album features a more of a New Wave style and is more commercialized, I really dig it from the time I first heard it way back then. I have had the cassette and CD versions of this album, but when i found the vinyl, I had to grab it.

Musically, this album isn’t nearly as hard rocking as their debut. It does have strong chorus lines, beefy riffs and sweet leads. That is what Kix was always known for. But what Kix does here is add other styles of music into their blend and experiments with it. The New Wave sound with all of the synths and the Pop Rock sound is perfectly balanced as to not take away from the tongue in cheek cheesy & riddled lyrics and hard hitting music. But I must admit, it is quirky. But, it worked on this album. And because of that, this album is very underrated.

You have one of the best front man of Hard Rock on lead vocals and his name is Steve Whiteman. He also plays the harmonica and saxophone. Replacing Ronnie Younkins is Wrathchild Americas bassist Brad Divens on guitars. He also is the talk box on “Body Talk.” You also have lead guitarist Brian “Damage” Forsythe. Keyboardist and bassist Donnie Purnell and drummer Jimmy “Chocolate” Chalfant finish out the tempo and rhythm sections of the band. 

Track listing:

“Burning Love” – 3:07
“Cool Kids” – 3:28
“Love Pollution” – 4:04
“Body Talk” – 3:39
“Loco-Emotion”  – 3:30
“Mighty Mouth” – 3:43
“Nice on Ice” – 3:25
“Get Your Monkeys Out”  – 3:20
“For Shame” – 3:11
“Restless Blood” – 3:50

Refuge Denied: Sanctuary

Rating: 85%

Sanc_refdenied.jpgIn 1987, Sanctuary released their debut record, after being discovered by Dave Mustaine of Megadeth. When this album was released, I was blown away. It was the most original sounding metal I’ve heard. It was fresh.

Musically, this is just good ol’ Heavy Metal that some Thrash and Power Metal influences thrown in. It’s well balanced and very creative. If you were looking for a band that was going for the middle ground of what was out there at the time, but trying to separate themselves from the mainstream, then this was the band. It has many good riffs, killer leads and solos. This album has very interesting tempos. It also has some great offbeats that seems to give an edge to the music, making it a great listen. Awesome screaming high pitched vocals that range upwards to the soprano levels considering the vocalist is a natural baritone.

The musicianship is very good. Warrel Dane is one hell of a front man. His style actually comes from his training as an opera singer. Be cause of that, his vocal range is very broad. Guitarists Lenny Rutledge and Sean Blosl are dominating this album with fast riffs and excellent lead solos. You can almost describe their style as classical. Bringing up this rich sounding rhythm is bassist Jim Sheppard and drummer Dave Budbill.

Track listing:

Side 1
1. “Battle Angels” 4:52
2. “Termination Force” 3:40
3. “Die for My Sins”  3:42
4. “Soldiers of Steel”  5:30
Side 2
5. “Sanctuary”  3:57
6. “White Rabbit” 3:10
7. “Ascension to Destiny” 4:57
8. “The Third War”  3:52
9. “Veil of Disguise”  5:55

Metal Health: Quiet Riot

Rating: 85%

MetalHealthQuietRiotSo, what do you do when your guitarist Randy Rhoads leaves for Ozzy? Well, you get yourself another and write an anthem. That’s exactly what happened here. Although, I am not a big fan, I do appreciate this album. The reason is because of three songs. “Metal Health”, “Cum On Feel The Noize”, and “Breathless” are all great songs from the early 1980’s. They all feature these monstrous riffs, guitars solos, and gritty vocals. Not to mention the anthem that many teens of the gathered around and that was “Metal Health.”

Musically, this album is powerful, energetic, rich, and well balanced. It features all of these outstanding guitar riffs, vocals, and big chorus lines that focus more on harmony. Yes, it’s well polished, but this was one of the first Heavy Metal records that just destroyed the airwaves.

Kevin DuBrow whose pipes as gritty as they are, can really hit some of those higher notes. Filling in some mighty big shoes was guitarist Carlos Cavazo. He was the perfect replacement for Randy Rhoads. His really shreds those guitar strings. Bassist Rudy Sarzo really provides some outstanding harmonies and rhythms that compliments drummer Frankie Banali. 

So, I have admit it and now you have to do the same, this record helped to shape 1980’s Heavy Metal to make it become a style, a culture, and a fad.

Track listing:

A1 Metal Health 5:16
A2 Cum On Feel The Noize 4:49
A3 Don’t Wanna Let You Go 4:39
A4 Slick Black Cadillac 4:17
A5 Love’s A Bitch 4:06
B1 Breathless 3:49
B2 Run For Cover 3:38
B3 Battle Axe 1:34
B4 Let’s Get Crazy 4:06
B5 Thunderbird
Backing Vocals 4:43

Vices: Kick Axe

Rating: 75%

50105In 1984, during the rising tide of Glam or Hair Metal, Canadian rockers Kick Axe finally released their debut record “Vices.” To be honest, I really wasn’t much of a follower of this genre of Heavy Metal. There were certain bands that stood out like Motley Crue, but for the most part, they all sounded exactly the same. More so during the later half of the 1980’s.

But, to be fair, this album, has some good moments to it. Think along the line of straight up, beer guzzling party to you drop type of Heavy Metal. As with most of these Glam Metal bands, this album has tons of guitar riffs that are monstrous. Big bass lines and good drumming. It’s got plenty of guitar leads and fill ins. One thing you’ll notice is the full and rich big choruses, supported by a lot of harmony. It’s got plenty of good melodies and the tempo is pretty straight forward. And yes, there is one ballad “Dreamin’ About You.” I would seem to lean toward Quiet Riot sound. 

Kick Axe was made of of vocalist George Criston, guitarists Larry Gillstrom & Raymond Harvey, bassist Victor Langen, and drummer Brian Gillstrom. Together these guys are putting out music that is honest and down to earth. “Heavy Metal Shuffle” is almost what we would call anthem. Bottom line, it’s not a bad record. 

 

Track listing:

“Heavy Metal Shuffle” – 3:15
“Vices” – 4:22
“Stay on Top” – 4:06
“Dreamin’ About You” – 4:32
“Maneater” – 3:21
“On the Road to Rock” – 4:22
“Cause for Alarm” – 4:38
“Alive & Kickin'” – 3:50
“All the Right Moves” – 4:36
“Just Passing Through” – 4:48