Alcatrazz – No Parole From Rock’n’Roll (1983, Rocshire)
- Island In The Sun
- General Hospital
- Jet To Jet
- Hiroshima Mon Amour
- Kree Nakoorie
- Too Young To Die, Too Drunk To Live
- Big Foot
- Starcarr Lane
- Suffer Me
Total Time: 41:34
Graham Bonnet – Vocals
Yngwie Malmsteen – Guitar
Gary Shea – Bass
Jan Uvena – Drums
Jimmy Waldo – Keyboards
Alcatrazz is one of those forgotten bands from Metal’s past that had considerable success overseas but couldn’t catch a break in the good ol’ USA. After his dismissal from MSG, Graham Bonnet decided to form his own band. He enlisted Jimmy Waldo and Gary Shea (both of New England fame), Jan Uvena (former Alice Cooper drummer), and a young Swedish guitar virtuoso, Yngwie Malmsteen, fresh out of L.A. Metal band Steeler. With all the parts in place, Alcatrazz was born.
All the songs on the debut album are Bonnet/Malmsteen collaborations, with help from Jimmy Waldo on a few tracks. What I find interesting about this is that Malmsteen seems restrained (compared to future works) but more focused. Rather than playing complex throughout, he keep his guitar focused within the context of the song and then lets loose come solo time. Probably the most enjoyable Malmsteen performance I’ve heard (and I have all of them!), almost Schenker like. Bonnet continues his excellent vocal performance as heard on his previous albums with Blackmore and Schenker but he seems to let loose a bit more here as he is the man guiding the ship this time around. With Waldo’s keyboards adding to the tracks rather than drowning them, giving added punch much like Rainbow.
Island In The Sun starts the album in sing-along fashion. This was Alcatrazz’s first single and video (search YouTube) and it’s pure Pop Metal. We move to the metallic General Hospital where Bonnet’s tale of being trapped in the hospital is a departure from the usual songcraft of the times and Malmsteen adds the chugging riffs. Jet To Jet is the fast rocker, Malmsteen’s solo is blistering.
No doubt that Alcatrazz’s popularity was in Japan after hearing the two Japanese inspired songs: Hiroshima Mon Amour and Kree Nakoorie. My two highlights of this album: both mid-paced, both including Bonnet’s most emotional performances of the record. Again Malmsteen stays within the song and lets loose during the solos.
Incubus is Malmsteen’s instrumental. Too Young To Die, To Drunk To Live chugs along, another Metal attack telling the tale of the consequences of imbibing. Big Foot slows down to tell the tale of the Abominable Snowman, one of the best Yngwie solos. Bonnet mellows out on the vocals. Starcarr Lane is an OK rocker, nothing you haven’t heard already on this album. It’s good but doesn’t grab me like the rest did except for the solo. Suffer Me is the ballad and the weakest song on the album.
No Parole From Rock’n’Roll is another of my all-time favorites, probably in my Top 10, definitely in the Top 20. Fave tracks here are the first five…..I really enjoy the the sing along of Island In The Sun. No Parole is probably the one of the greatest lost albums of the early ’80s, the last of the triumverate that Bonnet helped create from 1979-1983 and building his unknown legacy.