Archive for January, 2007

Second single and video from CONDITION CRITICAL…..my favorite song from the album. Best part is the end of the guitar solo…..

First single and video from CONDITION CRITICAL. I like how Kevin combines David Lee Roth’s on stage moves with Rod Stewart’s.

Quiet Riot - Condition Critical

Quiet Riot – Condition Critical (1984, CBS/Pasha)

  1. Sign Of The Times
  2. Mama Weer All Crazee Now
  3. Party All Night
  4. Stomp Your Hands, Clap Your Feet
  5. Winners Take All
  6. Condition Critical
  7. Scream And Shout
  8. Red Alert
  9. Bad Boy
  10. (We Were) Born To Rock

Band Lineup:
Kevin DuBrow – Vocals
Carlos Cavazo – Guitars
Rudy Sarzo – Bass
Frankie Banali – Drums

Total Time – 44:01

Kevin DuBrow official website
Frankie Banali official website

If the first album sold 4 million, then the second will do the same if you follow the same formula. Makes sense. That’s exactly what the band and producer Spencer Proffer do: follow the same formula and try to make a carbon copy of METAL HEALTH. By 1984, Quiet Riot is one of the more successful bands but there is stiffer competition from newer bands (Motley Crue, Bon Jovi, Ratt, Dokken, W.A.S.P.) and stalwarts from Europe (Def Leppard, Whitesnake, Scorpions). Add a little ego and some addictive stimulants and you have a band ripe for the “sophomore jinx”.

Opener ‘Sign Of The Times’ is sing-a-long, big chorus, big guitar tune. Great way to open the album by getting the listener with a catchy hook. “We’re the sign of the times, havin’ fun ain’t no crime…” And to a teenage rocker, that’s all you needed to hear to identify with this new anthem.

If covering Slade with ‘Cum On Feel The Noize’ broke the band, then covering Slade again should make this album a smash success…..right? ‘Mama Weer All Crazee Now’ is a great song, I admit to liking it better than ‘Cum On Feel The Noize’. Very catchy, a “raise your fist and sing-a-long” song. More big choruses, catchy as hell riffs, and a blazing guitar solo. This was the first single, perfect for MTV and radio, but haven’t we heard this before?

‘Party All Night’…..the title says it all. Again, another very catchy anthem that delivers the goods. Perfect early ’80s theme, it was always about the party. The second single from the album, again tailor made for MTV and radio, but it somehow fell short like ‘Mama’. Without a doubt, this is my favorite song on the album and is still a concert favorite.

I can deal with ‘Stomp Your Hands, Clap Your Feet’, it’s another catchy party rocker but a notch below the rest, almost at filler stage. Four songs in a row like that is a little too much right away, nothing really breaking it up until the album’s ballad: ‘Winners Take All’. Similar to ‘Thunderbird’ from METAL HEALTH in the sense that it’s one of the better songs on the album and it’s a change of pace from the party anthems.

The title track is a mid-paced stomper that reaks of filler. ‘Scream And Shout’ reminds me of a cross between Judas Priest and/or the Scorpions with Kevin singing. I really like this one, it’s got that chugging guitar and would be even better if Quiet Riot had a second guitarist. ‘Red Alert’, ‘Bad Boy’, and ‘(We Were) Born To Rock’ all come up short, definitely not the best material on the album.

Bottom Line:
So did following the METAL HEALTH formula work? Not really, this album sold just over 1 million units, which must have been a huge disappointment, and the tour was subject to poor attendance and a huge budget. Overall, CONDITION CRITICAL is a good album, not a great one. Half the songs are great, the other half are throwaways. Best songs here are ‘Sign Of The Times’, ‘Mama Weer All Crazee Now’, ‘Party All Night’, ‘Winners Take All’ and ‘Scream And Shout’. ‘Stomp Your Hands….’ gets a pass because it’s catchy but it’s still a cut below. A little more effort and less of a cookie-cutter approach would have helped.

R.I.P. – Kevin DuBrow (1955-2007)

Quiet Riot - Metal Health 

Quiet Riot – Metal Health (1983, CBS/Pasha)

  1. Metal Health
  2. Cum On Feel The Noize
  3. Don’t Wanna Let You Go
  4. Slick Black Cadillac
  5. Love’s A Bitch
  6. Breathless
  7. Run For Cover
  8. Battle Axe
  9. Let’s Get Crazy
  10. Thunderbird

Band Lineup:
Carlos Cavazo – Guitars
Kevin DuBrow – Vocals
Rudy Sarzo – Bass
Frankie Banali – Drums
Quiet Riot lineup circa 1983

Total Time – 41:16

Kevin DuBrow official website
Frankie Banali official website

METAL HEALTH is heralded as Quiet Riot’s debut album. While it’s their U.S. debut, the band had already cut their teeth in Japan by releasing two albums: QUIET RIOT and QUIET RIOT II. No matter, it’s an interesting introduction. Out of nowhere, this band and album arrived and changed the face of the Rock scene in the early 1980s. Love them or hate them, Quiet Riot was catapulted into the upper echelon of success by riding the momentum of a hit single and a hit video. As quick as they arrived, they left just as fast. No one had ever heard of the band outside of the L.A. clubs and no one knew who the guys were, the only thing anyone really knew was that the late Randy Rhoads (Ozzy’s guiatrist) had been in the band. Despite being a virtual unknown, Quiet Riot rode METAL HEALTH to #1 on the charts.

The big hit single, ‘Cum On Feel The Noize’, was the anthem that radio and MTV needed to bring Hard Rock and Heavy Metal to the masses. What is lost is that it is a Slade cover, and even though it’s a great version, it’s still a cover. Same goes for ‘Slick Black Cadillac’. Originally recorded on QUIET RIOT II, the band re-does their own song and it becomes a classic track, a concert staple. Technically, it’s a cover of themselves. Never understood why this wasn’t released as a single. The other hit single was ‘Metal Health’, another anthem to rally around: “Bang your head, metal health will drive you mad.” Add the video into heavy MTV/radio rotation and the momentum pushed this album to multi-platinum status.

There are more than a few solid songs here: ‘Don’t Wanna Let You Go’ is a great ballad and ‘Let’s Get Crazy’ is one of those crunching foot-stompers that gets the fists pumping. ‘Love’s A Bitch’ is a dirty mid-paced number and of course there is the classic ballad ‘Thunderbird’, the special tribute for their fallen comrade, Randy Rhoads.

The weakest songs here are ‘Battle Axe’ (throwaway instrumental), ‘Run For Cover’, and ‘Breathless’. Obvious filler with ‘Breathless’ foreshadowing what would come three years later on QR III with it’s Pop-Rock vibe.

Bottom Line:
A great U.S. debut that changed the face of the Rock scene from something of a dinosaur niche to a successful mass marketed consumable. The album’s importance can’t be ignored. Songs, rather anthems, with big choruses and addictive hooks, creating a rallying cry for the Metal masses. This album, this band, deserves more credit than it gets. Favorite songs here: ‘Metal Health’, ‘Slick Black Cadillac’, ‘Thunderbird’, ‘Don’t Wanna Let You Go’, ‘Love’s A Bitch’.

Quiet Riot Week

Posted: January 21, 2007 in Feature Week
Tags: , , ,

This week is Quiet Riot Week.

Here is the schedule:

  1. Metal Health (1983) album review
  2. Condition Critical (1984) album review‘Mama Weer All Crazee Now’ video, & ‘Party All Night’ video
  3. Quiet Riot III (1986) album review, ‘The Wild And The Young’ video, & ‘Twilight Hotel’ video
  4. Quiet Riot – s/t (1989) album review & ‘Stay With Me Tonight’ video
  5. Terrified (1993) album review
  6. Quiet Riot Week continues
  7. Down To The Bone (1995) album review
  8. Alive & Well (1999) album review
  9. Guilty Pleasures (2001) album review
  10. Rehab (2006) album review

Update on 1/28/07 — Quiet Riot Week turned into two weeks because I had the flu.

From SPV:

The rolling thunder can be heard from afar: British metal legends, SAXON, are scheduled to release their latest album, The Inner Sanctum, on March 5, 2007 (Germany: March 2, North America: April 3), proving that they have succeeded yet again in keeping that special place between traditional and contemporary music.

“The Inner Sanctum is a typical Saxon recording that kicks off with gargatum heavy metal tracks, followed by classic rock’n’roll numbers, returning to Metal towards at the end,” vocalist Biff Byford describes his group’s new offering, which features two near 10 Minutes songs, rating the release in Saxon’s history as follows: “I’d say the album is in the style of Lionheart and Metalhead, a number of tracks have a Solid Ball Of Rocktouch, but at the same time the production is very modern.”

The Inner Sanctum will be available in a digipak with Bonus DVD or in a jewel case, including bonus track.

Charlie Bauerfeind was in charge of the driving sound, keeping the typical Saxon elements of each song to incorporate them in a contemporary production. All those who have known Saxon since the Eighties and followed their amazing development will love The Inner Sanctum. The first single lifted from the album will be ‘If I Was You’, available for download from January 20, 2007: a driving metal track that fits in seamlessly among the long list of Saxon classics, increasing still the anticipation of the album.

Five days before the album arrives at the stores, Saxon will embark on their extensive European tour, scheduled to last until mid-May, which will take Biff Byford, Paul Quinn (guitar), Doug Scarratt (guitar), Nibbs Carter (bass) and Nigel Glockler (drums) through England, Ireland, Germany, Spain, France, Portugal, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Greece, Croatia, Poland, Russia, Austria, Sweden and Finland, among others.

Byford has already hinted at his band’s live show, which has been updated as usual: “All those who know us are aware that we always include six to seven new numbers in our track listing when we have a new album to promote.” So all Saxon fans had better mark in their calendars the show nearest them!

The tracklisting for the Limited Editon of The Inner Sanctum is as follows: ‘State Of Grace’, ‘Need For Speed’, ‘Let Me Feel Your Power’, ‘Red Star Falling’, ‘I’ve Got To Rock (To Stay Alive)’, ‘Going Nowhere Fast’, ‘Ashes To Ashes’, ‘Empire Rising’, ‘Atila The Hun’,

Content on Bonus DVD:

A Night Out With The Boys: ‘To Hell And Back Again’, ‘A Night Out With The Boys – The Idea’, ‘A Night Out With The Boys – Not Really’, ‘See The Light Shining’, ‘A Night Out With The Boys – Now It Started’, ‘Redline’,
‘Suzie Hold On’, ‘Stand Up And Be Counted’, ‘Frozen Rainbow’, ‘Never Surrender’,

More details: DVD 5; 2.0 Dolby Digital & 5.1 Audio; Duration approx. 50 min; Code free; Subtitles: German.

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There is no way I am waiting a whole month to get the U.S. release when I can get it easily online. I’ll be buying the Limited Edition on pre-order. Can’t wait for this album, 2007 is shaping up to be a good year!

W.A.S.P. - Still Not Black Enough

W.A.S.P. – Still Not Black Enough (1995, Castle)

  1. Still Not Black Enough
  2. Somebody To Love
  3. Black Forever
  4. Scared To Death
  5. Goodbye America
  6. Keep Holding On
  7. Rock And Roll To Death
  8. Breathe
  9. I Can’t
  10. No Way Out Of Here

U.S. bonus tracks:

  • Skinwalker (replaces ‘Breathe’ from the European release)
  • One Tribe
  • Tie Your Mother Down
  • Whole Lotta Rosie

Musicians:
Blackie Lawless – Lead & Background Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Sitar, Piano, Organ & Synthesizers
Frankie Banali – Drums
Bob Kulick – Lead Guitar
Stet Howland – Percussion (on ‘Scared To Death’)
Mark Josephson – Electric Violin
Tracey Whitney – Background Vocals
K.C. Calloway – Background Vocals

Total Time (European) - 38:30
Total Time (U.S.) – 51:23

W.A.S.P. official website

By the end of 1989, W.A.S.P. as a band was all but a one man show, the Blackie Lawless show. After lead guitarist Chris Holmes left the band in the Summer of ’89, Blackie Lawless effectively began his solo career. Due to contractual obligations, THE CRIMSON IDOL (1992) was released under the W.A.S.P. moniker. That album was all Blackie with hired guns Frankie Banali (drummer-Quiet Riot) and Bob Kulick (guitarist) helping out. Fast forward to 1995, Lawless creates another solo album with Banali and Kulick, STILL NOT BLACK ENOUGH. Due to label and fan expectations, the album is released under the W.A.S.P. name also.

The album is solid but not in the traditional party-time L.A. vibe that the band was famous for. Blackie writes excellent songs and assembles very talented musicians to interpret his ideas but some of the songs, mostly the slower tracks, show Blackie’s introspective and conceptual style that was the basis of THE CRIMSON IDOL.

Many of the songs sound like vintage W.A.S.P. : ‘Still Not Black Enough’, ‘Black Forever’, ‘Goodbye America’, ‘Rock And Roll To Death’, and ‘Skinwalker’ (from the U.S. version). Any of these songs could have easily fit on albums like THE LAST COMMAND (1985), INSIDE THE ELECTRIC CIRCUS (1986), or THE HEADLESS CHILDREN (1989).

The slower songs sound a little out of place. ‘Scared To Death’ is a superb song, with a great arrangement and accompanying vocals from Tracey Whitney, but it just doesn’t have the W.A.S.P. feel. Same with ‘Keep Holding On’, cool ballad but you don’t really expect a love song from one of Hard Rock’s most notorious frontmen. It’s these songs, along with ‘I Can’t’, that point to the different direction Blackie was taking with his solo material.

My only major complaint is with the cover songs. This version of the Jefferson Airplane classic ‘Somebody To Love’ is plain awful. The European release would be that much better if it was dropped and replaced with ‘Skinwalker’ from the U.S. pressing. At least the European press only has one cover tune, the U.S. has three! Queen classic ‘Tie Your Mother Down’ is forgettable but this version of AC/DC’s ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’ isn’t that bad, but how can you really screw up an AC/DC song?

Bottom Line:
So is it a W.A.S.P. album or a Blackie Lawless solo album? A little of both actually. Any material Blackie sings is immeadiately linked with W.A.S.P. and some of the old school vibe is included on half the album. It’s the other half of the album where Lawless creates a more emotional concept that doesn’t fit the band history. It’s a solid album but not a great album, I favor the European version due to the least amount of covers. Favorite songs here: ‘Still Not Black Enough’, ‘Black Forever’, ‘Scared To Death’, ‘Skinwalker’, and ‘Goodbye America’.

From Bravewords:

SPV has issued the following press release:

“The Big One Is Back!

SAXON, the iconic hard rock act which dominated the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal scene in the early 1980’s along with IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST, MOTÖRHEAD, DIAMOND HEAD and DEF LEPPARD are returning for this one-off gig at Sheffield City Hall on January 26th with legendary promoter Harvey Goldsmith of THE WHO, Live 8 and Live Aid.

Saxon, whose title track of their album Denim And Leather was seen as an anthem of the early 1980s metal movement, are British through and through and are returning with the band’s full European production – including their legendary Eagle. Refreshed, re-charged and ready to rock, the mighty Saxon have a whole new sound and hunger after working with renowned producers Mark Wallis and David Ruffy of RAZORLIGHT, U2 and THE STRANGLERS.

Their brand new single, ‘If I Was You’ – about gun culture, is released on Steamhammer/SPV on January 20th and this will be closely followed by a celebrated 18th studio album, The Inner Sanctum (artwork pictured), released early in March in Germany and Europe and early April in the USA on Steamhammer/SPV.

Their new album offers powerful sounds and ambitioned lyrics about Eastern Revolutions, British Kings and Queens and the attitude of Great Warriors.

At the same time, lead vocalist Biff Byford displays an energy that’s almost physically perceptible. Byford rightly explains: “The Inner Sanctum is the most powerful album we’ve ever recorded. The following tour is the biggest tour the band has ever done in Europe!”

He also notes about their new single, “I wrote the lyrics for our new single based on gun and knife crime having seen so many tragic stories of somebody getting knifed to death for a mobile phone and three quid or some young mother caught in the crossfire between two idiots with guns. “If I was you and you were me, would you live your life differently?”

If that’s not enough, they are also going to mark the release of the new single on worldwide download, and their return to the British metal scene with an electrifying new Guinness World Record for ‘Air Guitar’ at Sheffield Wednesday Football Club on Saturday, January 20th.

Have you got what it takes to make history and join around 30,000 strong fans at Hillsborough Stadium to rock out with the mighty Saxon?

The Guinness World Record and gig will also be part of a one hour special Channel 4 TV programme called Harvey Goldsmith Presents, which is set to air in April as part of a new six part series.

Tickets for “Saxon Returns”, January 26th at Sheffield City Hall in Sheffield, England are £15.00 and are available from telephone number 0114 2789789 or via http://www.aloud.com .

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Exciting news! Saxon is in my Top 5 of favorite bands so anytime they release a new album, it’s big news here. Both SPV and SPVUSA did not have any updated information regarding this release, as I get more info, I will pass it along.

Silent Force will be releasing their new album, WALK THE EARTH, February 16, 2007 on AFM Records. To coincide with the new album, AFM Records is reissuing the band’s first two albums: THE EMPIRE OF FUTURE (2000) and INFATUATOR (2001).

THE EMPIRE OF FUTURE reissue includes one bonus track: an acoustic version of the song ‘Saints And Sinners’ from the album. The INFATUATOR reissue will include a bonus video of the title track live.

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I have all three Silent Force albums, the missing one up top being WORLDS APART (2004) on Sanctuary, and they are all good Power Metal albums. The first two albums were on Massacre Records and it looks like the band retained the rights and is releasing them on their new label. As is the trend, we get bonus material, but one track each isn’t enough to get me to buy again.

Saxon released a new official three disc compilation, THE VERY BEST OF SAXON (1979-1988), Monday 1/15/07. I’m not sure how this escaped my radar as Saxon is one of my favorite bands, looks like I’ll be purchasing online later today.

The Very Best Of Saxon

The tracklist is as follows:

Disc 1:

01. Wheels Of Steel
02. Stand Up And Be Counted
03. 747 (Strangers In The Night)
04. See The Light Shining
05. Suzie Hold On
06. Judgement Day (Live)
07. Motorcycle Man
08. Street Fighting Gang
09. Backs To The Wall
10. Militia Guard
11. Big Teaser
12. Rainbow Theme
13. Frozen Rainbow
14. Stallions Of The Highway
15. Strong Arm Of The Law
16. Taking Your Chances
17. Dallas 1 PM
18. And The Bands Played On

Disc 2:

01. Hungry Years
02. Heavy Metal Thunder
03. Never Surrender
04. 20,000 Ft
05. Midnight Rider
06. Princess Of The Night
07. Fire In The Sky
08. Motorcycle Man (Live)
09. 747 (Strangers In The Night) (Live)
10. Strong Arm Of The Law (Live)
11. 20,000 Ft (Live)
12. Wheels Of Steel (Live)
13. Dallas 1 PM (Live At The Hammersmith Odeon)
14. Midnight Rider (Live At The Hammersmith Odeon)
15. Power And The Glory
16. Nightmare
17. Midas Touch
18. Redline

Disc 3:

01. Sailing To America
02. A Little Bit Of What You Fancy
03. Do It All For You
04. Just Let Me Rock
05. Crusader
06. Back On The Streets
07. Live Fast Die Young
08. Rock ‘n’ Roll Gypsy
09. Krakatoa
10. Waiting For The Night
11. Chase The Fade
12. Rock The Nations
13. Northern Lady
14. Everybody Up (Live)
15. Ride Like The Wind
16. Red Alert
17. I Can’t Wait Anymore
18. Broken Heroes

Lita Ford banned original front cover Lita Ford common front cover Lita Ford - Out For Blood inner sleeve

Lita Ford – Out For Blood (1983, Mercury/Polygram)

  1. Out For Blood
  2. Stay With Me Baby
  3. Just A Feeling
  4. Ready, Willing And Able
  5. Die For Me Only (Black Widow)
  6. Rock’n Roll Made Me What I Am Today
  7. If You Can’t Live With It
  8. On The Run
  9. Any Way That You Want Me
  10. I Can’t Stand It

Band Lineup:
Lita Ford – Guitars & Lead Vocals
Neil Merryweather – Bass
Dusty Watson – Drums

Total Time – 35:22

(No official website available)

Lita Ford’s debut album is an interesting one. We are all familiar with the Lita Ford circa 1988, with the singles ‘Kiss Me Deadly’ and ‘Close My Eyes Forever’ that pushed her to major stardom. This debut is a far cry from the polished Hard Rock Lita put out in the late ’80s to mid-’90s. This album is basic and raw, not uncommon for a first effort in 1983.  The production is not good, a very uneven and muddy mix. It lacks cohesion, probably due to the producer who was also the bass player, Neil Merryweather. Lita is a fine guitar player and Dusty Watson delivers a surprisingly superb performance but it is obvious that Merryweather is the weak link. Where’s the bass?

The songs are hit or miss. Some are just bad (‘Any Way That You Want Me’) but there are some real gems here: ‘Out For Blood’, ‘On The Run’, and ‘Just A Feeling’. It’s obvious that this is the building block that Lita will build her career on, the three aformentioned songs being a look into the future sound Lita would create. I’m surprised that ‘Just A Feeling’ wasn’t a big hit single, it’s a great ballad that probably would have definitely been huge three or four years down the line.

Bottom Line:
Not bad for her first album but it could have been better with a better player on bass, some more guitar layered to enhance the songs, and a better production job. If this was made by a proper band rather than as a solo project, there would be a serious difference. Good, but not great. Best songs: ‘On The Run’ and ‘Just A Feeling’.

Since my back is still screwed up and I’m barely able to do anything without help, I decided to catch up on some Heavy reading. Here’s a list of the last few books I’ve read:

When I was focusing on the Tony Martin era of Black Sabbath, I read an excellent book Black Sabbath: Doom Let Loose by Martin Popoff. Martin is one of the editors for Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles, the premier Metal magazine, and has authored some excellent books along the way. The Sabbath book starts at the beginning and runs right through to present day, very detailed and many pictures of the band and memorabilia.

I immeadiately dove into Black Sabbath – Never Say Die by Garry Sharpe-Young. Extremely in depth focus on everything Sabbath post-Ozzy from 1979-1997. Want to read an eye-opener? Drop the dollars on this book. Full coverage on Ozzy’s departure/firing, the Dio years, the Gillan experiment, Hughes, Gillen, Martin, Halford and who David Donato and Jeff Fenholt really are within the Sabbath realm. I make it a point to read this book twice a year, it’s a great read. Check Rockdetector for more info.

Being stuck in a chair with heating pads and heavy prescriptions doesn’t leave many options: TV, TV, and more TV. To break up the monotony of SpongeBob reruns and VH1 Classic, I grabbed my new copy of Dio: Light Beyond The Black by Martin Popoff. Kind of keeping in touch with my Sabbath direction, this book is purely about the band Dio. Culled from interviews with Ronnie James Dio and band members past and present, Light Beyond The Black stays strictly to the making of each Dio album and the subsequent tours. It starts from RJD’s depature from Black Sabbath and ends with the last Dio studio album: MASTER OF THE MOON (2005). I have ten pages to finish when I get off the computer, it has been a highly informative read, very easy to get into. Of course, I’ve had the Dell DJ playing each album as I read the chapter so I can hear the things that are talked about. I forget sometimes just what a great band Dio is.

On deck: Gimme An R! (The Story of Brian Vollmer, Lead Vocalist of Helix). Picked this book up through the Helix website for $25 and it came with a DVD: HELIX – 30 YEARS OF HELIX. Has Helix really been around for 30 years?

Not bad for $25, the book alone costs that much but the Xmas bundle made it all worth it. I admit that I never really got into Helix but I recently heard ‘Heavy Metal Love’ on the radio and I decided to explore the back catalogue. Gimme An R! is close to 400 pages so that should keep me interested for a few days, the reviews I’ve read are all great. Go to PlanetHelix.com to order.

Well, off to bed my friends. I have a day of heating pads, muscle relaxers, Vicodin, and IcyHot to look forward to tomorrow. Cheers!