Category Archives: Impact Albums

These are albums that over time have impacted my listening tastes. Some of these writeup’s will not be about a bands biggest selling album but to me its some of there best work….

Impact Album: Iron Maiden- A Matter of Life and Death (2006)

 

When “A Matter of Life and Death” came out in 2006 it was easily a first day buy.

Why wouldn’t it be as  Bruce Dickinson returned 7 years earlier back in 1999 to regain his throne as the lead vocalist in Iron Maiden. In return, Maiden started to deliver some stellar studio albums.

“Brave New World” in 2000 followed by “Dance of Death” in 2003 let everyone know that Maiden was back. They were not going to rest on their previous success (pick any studio from the 80s).

“A Matter of Life and Death” was released August 8th, 2006 and as you can tell by the cover ‘War’ is going to be somewhat the theme on this album.

With Maiden, you know what you are getting. 10 songs clocking in at just over 71 minutes. You know with Steve Harris and company there are no cutting corners!

“Different World” the first track sets the pace and as any Maiden fan knows Maiden starts off their albums with rockers. Written by Harris and Adrian Smith Different World has that great catchy chorus and a phenomenal guitar solo by Smith that you would expect when you see Adrian’s name attached to any song he has written in the confines of this band.

The rest of the album has a ton of tempo changes. Prog Maiden to Galloping Maiden to Acoustic Maiden back to Prog back to Galloping. “These Colors Don’t Run” builds up then kicks off into another gear and then ramps down. What Maiden album would be without a round of ‘Ooooh, Ooooh, Ooooh’ during the chorus. Bruce Dickinson you know is going to make every last person in that arena stand up and join in on the fun!

Speaking of Dickinson Bruce really gives it his all (well he always does) on “Brighter Than A Thousand Suns”. I have to say that this song is one of my favs as there is a killer riff throughout and Bruce goes from all-out metal mode to chill out with a snap of the fingers. At 8 minutes long this song is so well written (take a bow Smith-Harris- Dickinson) and performed that it’s hard to believe that 8 minutes of time has passed!

Janick Gers gets into the swing of things in a co-write with Harris on “The Pilgrim” which has the slow beginning and then everything starts boogying at a clip. Speaking of Gers I love his loosey-goosey style of guitaring in Maiden as Dave Murray and Adrian are more on the technical side of the fence. It all gels together.

“The Longest Day” has that galloping Maiden vibe as Harris and his four-string start as Nicko McBrain sets the table with his drumming as the others follow Nick’s lead on it. More twist n turns on this tune. That’s the great thing about this album. It has many tempo changes you don’t know what’s coming up around the bend! If you don’t believe me check out the 5-minute mark as the guitars will slam your noggin against the wall!

Bruce and Steve team up and deliver “Out of the Shadows” which could have slotted in nicely on 92’s Fear of the Dark album as Out of the Shadows has that “Wasting Love” vibe about it. Not a ballad per se but Maiden taking the foot off the gas pedal shall we say!

Being a Maiden fan since the summer of 1981 one of my favorite things about them is that they do it there way (just as RUSH did) as when it comes to singles.  How about a 7-minute 21-second track called “The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg”. Being a single(ha) I have to add this another standout track composed by Harris and Dave Murray. Once the song lifts off after the moody intro all bets are off as the song is so brilliant during the chorus as Bruce takes over while there are moveable musical tempo changes under his voice which is the selling point! Blown away by this track. Simply put on the best!

When I caught “The Legacy of the Beast Tour” last year, Harris and company played “For The Greater Good of God” which was a surprise addition as with a catalog as deep as Maidens it was nice to see them polish this one up and play it live for the first time since 2006! Tempo changes, Drums, galloping Bass, lots of Guitar magic. It’s all delivered in this song. All 9 plus minutes!

“Lord of Light” begins chill and then explodes into the fireball frenzy that we expect from Maiden. Lord of Light is the third song on this record to feature the writing talents of Smith-Harris- Dickinson. When these three put their talents together on songs watch out!

Ending the album is “The Legacy” written by both Gers and Harris and if anything it’s like a mash-up of Zep and Maiden as there is that slowly but surely build-up which takes the listener on a journey for an album closer which clocks in as the longest song on the album at 9 minutes 23 seconds. 

I have to thank Mikey Ladano who put the bug back in my ear about this album a few weeks back. We were talking Maiden and I said that  2015’s “Book of Souls” was the best record they have done since Bruce returned in 2000. Mikey came back with A Matter of Life And Death and in saying that stopped me in my tracks.

It got me thinking. Is Mikey onto something? An under the radar album from Maiden. I listened to it that day after our conversation on my iPod and by golly, Mikey makes a strong case.

So strong that I ordered it from Amazon on vinyl! The pictures you see here are from the vinyl version. Double Vinyl. Gatefold Sleeve. A thing of beauty. Maiden albums give you your money’s worth on how a reissue should be done!

I’m thinking this may be my fav studio Maiden album since Bruce’s return 21 years ago. 

 

 

Vinyl Rewrite- Metallica: Master of Puppets(1986)

 

Metallica really first came across my radar in early 1985 when a Canadian magazine called Metallion was raving about this band from California.

Then a few months later I was at A&A Records (long since defunct) and purchased two records that day. One was Deep Purple’s Perfect Strangers release which was the 5 old British Geezers reunion album and the other one was Ride The Lightning by Metallica who were a hell of a lot younger than Deep Purple, to say the least.

Both albums were awesome but Metallica kind of blew my mind as these guys weren’t that much older than me as I was 17 at the time yet here are these four long hairs writing tunes musically/lyrically like Fade To Black. James Hetfield blew my mind that he knew how to handle the English Vocabulary with his lyrics as I was just trying to pass Grade 13 English back in 86!

I knew and many knew as well that Metallica was a band on the fast track to superstardom.

So in March 1986 drops into the Record Shops Master of Puppets and it was an easy purchase which I bought on cassette for the trusty old Walkman at the time.

1986, let’s think about that year musically in the Hard Rock Spectrum for a second.

Lot’s of Hard Rock was coming out that year in which I was trying to keep up. Judas Priest had the Synthy driven Turbo album and even my Homeboys Iron Maiden went synthy on the brilliant Somewhere In Time release.

Here in Thunder Bay, some new bands were entering my radar in 1986 three of which come to my mind right away are Europe’s The Final Countdown, Poison’s Look What The Cat Dragged In and Tesla with Mechanical Renonsnance.

That was the Hard Rock stuff. Even my pal Tbone was exploring those as well and was digging Huey Lewis And The News with the Fore release and Loverboy with there Loving Every Minute of It album.

I was a little concerned with Tbone shifting musical directions as I thought “Is he going all in Top 40?’ but by 1987 Tbone was back once The Cult hit the streets with the fantastic Electric album.  Tbone dabbled in other areas of music and rehabbed himself musically even after the Y&T Down For The Count debacle as well in 1986.

Sorry, I’m fast-forwarding here. Need to rewind a bit back

I guess what I’m trying to get at was Metallica went for a very dry sounding heavy record and they succeded on many levels. Master of Puppets sonically sounds the exact opposite of what everything else was sounding that came out in 1986.

Even the cover is a grave reminder(get it?) that not all music had to be happy go lucky (Hello Poison) as the cover is dark in nature. Even the back cover shots. They look tough in a 1986 way. Love that stadium shot from the backstage area. Just the pics alone pull you in.

No Hard Rock Gloss more like a Fist To The Face in the songs as opener Battery proves nice little classical guitar opening than the slam of the guitars. A complete wall of sound as the Bass/Drums and vocals and lyrics of James Hetfield make you take notice.

Lashing out the action, returning the reaction
Weak are ripped and torn away
Hypnotizing power, crushing all that cower
Battery is here to stay.  

Smashing through the boundaries
Lunacy has found me
Cannot stop the battery
Pounding out aggression
Turns into obsession
Cannot kill the battery
Cannot kill the family
Battery is found in me
Battery
Battery

The whole album just rips at such a huge clip!

The second song is the title track that being Master of Puppets which in all its just over 8 minutes takes you on a sonic journey with all kinds of tempo changes throughout. Love that breakdown and buildup before the song lifts off again into the solo.

The Thing That Should Not Be and Welcome Home Sanitarium(songs 3 and 4 respectively) have Metallica taking their foot off of the gas pedal in tempo for the most part.  The Thing That Should Not Be crawls along with real cool verses and choruses while Welcome Home Sanitriuom picks up the pace somewhat especially when Kirk Hammett(before he fell in love with the wah pedal) lays done a brilliant solo.

Speaking of which that’s all Kirk did was show up to the studio and play solos as Hetfield handled all the rhythms and only James. Back then that is. Did someone just holler out ‘Control”??

Side 1 is officially over, What a Power Surge!

Side 2 lifts off with Disposable Heroes. All 8 minutes and 17 seconds of it! Speed Metal did Metallica style. If you were fooled by the tempo of the last two songs on Side 1 think again as Disposable Heroes kicks your senses to the curb!

Leper Messiah has a groove similar to AC/DC but a quicker tempo mind you that goes out the door come solo time but Leper Messiah does not fool around at all.

James gets to rest his larynx as the musical driven Orion plows through which is like if Geddy/Neil and Alex got into a bottle of Vodka washed it down with speed and jammed out a metal-like tune. Speaking of RUSH they are thanked in the credits of the album so three cheers to Metallica back in 86 for recognizing brilliance! Course there was the rumor floating around that Geddy was considered to produce this album. Imagine that? Rickenbachers Rejoice!

Damage Inc ends the album with a furious blitz of riffs n drums as Lars pounds those drums like artillery is going off! Frantic is the pace and basically the pace set forth by Metallica on this album.

In these Vinyl Rewrites, I usually don’t go song by song but once I started I couldn’t stop if I only wrote about half the songs that’s not cool either so… Thanks for sticking around to the end!

Not only did I mark this as a Vinyl Rewrite I included in another category(Impact ALbums) and that’s because when I first heard Master of Puppets in 1986 this was a sound I had never heard.

Sure there were other metal acts out at the time like Anthrax and Slayer but I didn’t really take to them. Well, Anthrax I did buy 1988’s State of Euphoria at the time (thanks HMO for the bonus tracks with the Anthrax reissue) and Slayer well just plain scared me! In Slayers defense they did an ass-kicker cover of In A Gadda Da Vida on the Less Than Zero soundtrack.

One last thing is I need to thank my daughter Lexie for buying Master of Puppets for me on vinyl this past Xmas.

We had a laugh as 3 out of the last 4 Xmas’s Lex has bought me Metallica albums for gifts (And Justice For All/Hardwired/Master of Puppets) without knowing there was a pattern developing.

 

 

 

 

Impact Albums: The Tragically Hip: Day For Night(1994)

Living in Canada back in 1994 one of the biggest releases came in September of that year.

The Tragically Hip were putting out the fourth studio release and the ‘HYPE’ was huge! So much so that our local record stores(remember them?) were going to open at Midnight the day of release.

This was the second time in Thunder Bay that the record shops did this as they did the midnight opening in late 92 when The Hip released Fully Completely and we all headed to the record store at midnight on the dot!

Both times the store I was at was packed as people were not only grabbing Hip stuff but other CDs as well!

Tbone and I were there right at midnight as I didn’t want to lose out and not get a Hip disc as they could possibly sell out. As soon as we set foot in the door it was to the New Release Rack to grab our copies of Day For Night and then we could browse for other bands etc.

Being it was midnight, how the hell do you go home and go to bed?

Umm, you don’t!

No need for sleep at this point as we wanted to hear what The Hip had been up to!

Having said that they cooked up a real different batch of rock which was a brilliant move as by this point no two Hip records sounded the same. They changed up the style/songs on this album and it only takes about 10 seconds of opening track Grace Too for you to realize this song and perhaps the rest of the album is going to bring a whole different vibe to you the listener!

This being the fourth long-player in the Hip catalog shows the band not slowing down in regards to there creative juices.

The late Great Gord Downie is up to his usual mixed bag of lyrics (which make you think and take notice) and his vocals where he can soar at times singing or almost a holler like vibe but keeps it in check.

I dig Gord Sinclairs Bass playing as he drives some of these tunes like Grace Too and how about his Bassing on one of my favs of the Hips batch of songs anywhere in the form of ‘Invevialbity of Death.’

Actually, the whole band stepped up on this album. The guitar work of Bobby Baker and Paul Langlois is superb. There almost a Canadian version of Keef N Woody from the Stones. Johnny Fay as well keeps the album moving forward from behind his drum kit not letting slack off.

Some excellent weaving with the guitars throughout this album in general. I like the dry like production as well on Day For Night after the crisp rock sound of Fully Completely(1992). The Hip changed it up on this record and it shows in spades. Even the production sonically gives off a whole different vibe.

Living in Canada pretty much everyone has a fav Hip album. I always flip between 1991’s ‘Road Apples’ and The Hips 1989 Major Label release ‘Up To Here’.

But a few years back I did a Top 20 all-time fav studio records lists and asked some pals to contribute. Tbone’s brother Darr did participate and sitting in his all-time Top 20 was Day For Night. I thought it was a brilliant pick. ( I went with Road Apples on my list)

Day For Night is kinda that Hip album that sometimes flies under the radar as they have so many albums out. But all things considered, it shouldn’t. I still hear on out local crap radio at times about 5 tracks that are still played on the airwaves from this record.

Great to hear this and now own it on vinyl.

So maybe it’s not under the radar as much as I think it is!

In my case, this album could easily be my favorite  Hip record at this moment.

Yeah, it’s that crazy good!

 

Impact Album: Sloan: Navy Blues (Deluxe Vinyl Edition)-2019

Sloan to coincide with there Navy Blues Tour which hit Thunder Bay a week ago has released this fantastic Vinyl Edition of Navy Blues (limited to 1200 ) that gives you the listener a first-hand account of this masterpiece from 1998.

Crazy that it’s been 21 years since the original album came out and here we are now in 2019 and what a fantastic looking set put together by Sloaners Jay Ferguson and Chris Murphy.

Here are the Facts Folk’s at what’s included

SLOAN 
Navy Blues Deluxe Vinyl Box Set includes:
  • 3 LPs each with 11” x 22” lyric inserts
  • 12” x 12” 32-page full-color book
  • 2  7” singles
  • 11” x 24” color poster
  • High-quality digital download (mp3 or FLAC) of the entire box set
  • Limited edition of 1200 only

Thanks to my good pal Tbone I received this Box Set as a Birthday Gift! How sweeeet it is!

First of all the cool thing is when you get these box set reissues from Sloan the money they make is going straight into there own pocket which is how it should be.

The 32-page book that comes gives a very candid detail look at how the biz works and what kind of hoops and such these guys had to jump through to own all there own publishing from 1996’s’One Chord To Another’ from there and beyond. Each guy in Sloan (along with Jay and Chris in the band are Patrick Pentland and Andrew Scott) is interviewed in the book and gives a great detailed explanation back in the era that this album was recorded(1996-1998) along with the touring/videos made and the business involved with running a band which is a fascinating read.

The 3 vinyl albums are awesome. LP 1 is the full album that is the domestic release that we all know and love. (13 Tracks)

Navy Blues (LP #1)
Side A
1. She Says What She Means
2. C’mon C’mon (We’re Gonna Get It Started)
3. Iggy & Angus
4. Sinking Ships
5. Keep On Thinkin’
6. Money City Maniacs
7. Seems So Heavy
Side B
1. Chester The Molester
2. Stand By Me, Yeah
3. Suppose They Close The Door
4. On The Horizon
5. I Wanna Thank You
6. I’m Not Through With You Yet

 

LP 2  features all 13 tracks in demo form( and they sound amazing) and the demos have the same running order as the LP 1!  Pretty cool to hear a pretty sped-up version of Iggy and Angus which is really cool at how the song was tweaked before the final version that ended up on the album.

The Demos (LP #2)
Side A
1. She Says What She Means (July/Aug 1996 demo)
2. C’mon C’mon (We’re Gonna Get It Started) (Autumn 1997 demo)
3. Iggy & Angus (Jan/Feb 1997 demo)
4. Sinking Ships (Oct 1997 demo)
5. Keep On Thinkin’ (July 1997 demo)
6. Money City Maniacs (Aug 1997 demo)
7. Seems So Heavy (Sept 1997 demo)
Side B
1. Chester The Molester (July 1997 demo)
2. Stand By Me, Yeah (Aug 1997 demo)
3. Suppose They Close The Door (July 1997 demo)
4. On The Horizon (Oct 1997 demo)
5. I Wanna Thank You (Autumn/Winter 1997 demo)
6. I’m Not Through With You Yet (Aug 1997 demo)
The third LP  (The Outtakes) is really interesting as its basically stuff that I had never heard before. It’s pretty much an unreleased full album of Sloan tunes! Total score on this one as well.
The Outtakes (LP #3)
Side A
1. So Beyond Me (Studio outtake)
2. Just One Shot (July/Aug 1996 demo)
3. I Feel Lied To (July 1997 demo)
4. Mother’s Day (Studio outtake)
5. Style Is Still Style (Studio outtake)
6. 2, 3 Hello (Aug 1997 demo)
7. Open Your Umbrellas (Early 1997 demo)
Side B
1. Daddy Be Cool (Studio outtake)
2. Family Tree (Oct 1997 demo)
3. All By Myself (Studio outtake Version 2 )
4. Glen Campbell (July/Aug 1996 demo)
5. I’ve Enabled Myself (Aug 1997 demo)
6. Helen (Oct 1997 demo)
7. Yours To Steal (July 1997 demo)

Another interesting tidbit from The Outtakes is that the second song ‘Just One Shot’ from July/Aug 1996 was fixed up and ended up being retitled on Sloans album from 2018 called 12. The song on 12  was retitled ‘That Day Will Be Mine’
That’s not all folks. How about 2 Sealed 7 inch Singles:
7″ Single 1
Side A
1. Rock Star Admit It (July/Aug 1996 demo)
Side B
1. Out To Lunch (Aug 1997 demo)
7” Single 2
Side A
1. Hammond Jam Pt. 1 (Studio outtake)
Side B
1. Hammond Jam Pt. 2 (Studio outtake)
Such a wicked awesome set!
Tbone picked this up as I mentioned earlier at the Sloan show here in Tbay last week and we got together this past Saturday Night at Tbone’s and spun the three albums in succession. We went with LP 2 first, then LP 3 than back to LP1. Why did we do it this way? Why not lol!
A real cool listen to all these songs as the sound is excellent on everything. I also like the fact that Sloan also included an mp3 download coupon so I was able to put everything onto my iPod!
Great album by a Great Band!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Impact Albums: Aerosmith: Night In The Ruts(1979)

 

Hell, if you really want to get down to it. All of Aerosmiths 1970’s output would have to fall under the Impact Album in my world!

Night In The Ruts released in 1979 is Aerosmith all stoned and boozed up and Night In The Ruts would fall under the category of Sleeper Album in all things Aerosmith along with 1985s fantastic Done With Mirrors release!

But I’m getting ahead of things here so back to 1979 and when Aero dropped this album into the hands of the public it sold nowhere at the level Aero was selling albums back a few years earlier!

This band was cooked and basically, Joe Perry was done. Night In The Ruts boasts 9 tracks. 7 original tracks and 2 cover tunes.

RIGHT IN THE NUTS!

The writing partnership of Steve Tyler/Joe Perry could only muster up 5 tracks on this album but the 5 they wrote are all stellar!

This album is fractured and it took me a lot of years to get what was going on here. Toys in the Attic and Rocks set the musical bar so high in camp Aerosmith there is nowhere to go but down. But over time this album has grown on me. Ok, make that decade’s it has taken to grow on me but for a band that was in trainwreck mode in 1979 they pull it off.

Basically, this album if Aero added 2 more cover tunes It could have compared it to Van Halen’s Diver Down release from 1982.  The cover tunes here are pretty decent but the originals are brilliant!

 No Surprise is one of the best Aero tracks ever composed by Tyler/Perry. Lyrically/Musically it’s all here in No Surprise. One of the best opening tunes on any Aerostoned album!

Just as Done With Mirrors did a little way down the road NITR’s reeks of Booze n Drugs. Aero is in fine form plowing right into Chiquita with that deranged sax driven solo over Joey Kramers drums.

That’s the thing with NITR as when you dig in the Aero originals theres some gold in these tracks. The three-pack of Perry/Tyler written songs Cheesecake/Three Mile Smile and Bone To Bone(Coney Island Whitefish Boy) have Aero firing on all cylinders.

The three cover tunes are pretty dripped in the Aero Philosophy of slop rock where they pull off these cover tunes and make em sound like there own!

Remember(Walking in the Sand), Reefer Headed Woman and Think About It reek of Aero delight and I will tell ya something when I first acquired this album in the early to mid-’80s on cassette there were no credits inside the tape so guess what! I thought these were all Aero’s own tunes!

Ah, silly dEke’s!  To my defense though there was no wiki or internet around (the 1980s) and Aerosmith themselves sure as hell wasn’t talking about NITR at that point either!

So a few months back when I saw this sitting in the bins at the used shop it was a quick buy and run out the door!

Score and kudos to the original owner who kept the album and inserts in mint shape!

I think loyal Arena Rock Reader ‘Da Heff’ should order that Aero 3/4 sleeve shirt! You lead Heff we will follow!

Impact Albums: Dokken-Tooth And Nail(1984)

You know over the past 35 years Tooth And Nail has become looking back at it one of those Impact Albums that shaped my listening curve as a young fella upon this albums release back in September 1984 as I was just starting Grade 11 at Highschool!

Two reasons jump out when I look back on this album!

1- This was my first purchase of a Dokken album. The debut from 2 years earlier ( Breaking The Chains) I had on cassette tape for that old Walkman. While Breaking The Chains was ok to me then again as I always say there was so much music coming out how the hell do you keep up!  Before Tooth And Nail hit the record shops the magazines like Circus and Hit Parader had adds for the album. Right away, the look of the cover caught my eye, as well as the magazines, were falling all over themselves about George Lynch’s six-string playing! I was sold, and it was a quick purchase!

2- My Pal, the one and only Chico, had just gotten his Drivers License(circa 1984) and had his own set of wheels. Chico, as you may remember, was the guy I had first heard AC/DC’s Back in Black in 1980 on 8 track in Chico’s Moms car.  Chico’s older sister had purchased  Back In Black as well as Queen’s News of the World which was the first-ever Queen record I had seen as well.

Chico anyways wasn’t the music junkie I was but when he got his own car the first order of business for Chico was the cassette deck in his vehicle needed tunes!  He gave me a bunch of blank Maxwell tapes with strict rules of rocking tunes only. Not a problem and I was happy to oblige.

What I am getting at is the first two songs on Tooth and Nail were the first two tracks I taped for Chico ( Without Warning a little Lynch guitar ditty that launches into the frantic power-driven album title track Tooth and Nail!)

Wonder if Chico ever got pulled over by the cops as Tooth and Nail just lift’s off like a rocket and don’t get me started on the Lynch solo as he lays down who is Boss on this song and album as a matter of fact.

In the 80s you basically needed a slick guitar hero to survive and for your band to get over the hump of all the other bands going at the time(1984).

George Lynch may have done some silly goofy hair dyes at the time but as Lynch couldn’t dye his hair properly he sure made up for it in the guitar playing on the Dokken albums all through the 80s!

Case in point George co-wrote 9 of the 10  tracks on Tooth and Nail. George shaped this album(along with Jeff Pilson) with his ax work on the tracks. Don Dokken only co-wrote 4 tracks if that tells you anything!

This album is built on the formula of a successful album.  10 songs! 9 rockers and 1 Ballad! Power Ballad!

Dokken nailed it to a T on this album on writing great catchy tracks! Just Got Lucky is one great written song that sounds like a Lynch guitar solo throughout! Heartless Heart /Don’t Close Your Eyes /When Heaven Comes Down/ Turn on the Action/ Bullets To Spare are just hard-driving straight-ahead rock tracks!

Thing is with Dokken I dug  Don’s melodic rock voice mixed with George’s firepower on the fretboard!

When this album came out it didn’t really take off in the sales department. I’m sure there was a freak out in the Dokken camp when Tooth and Nail wasn’t selling!

Now the album made it into the Billboard Top 100 (at #71) than stalled! You would think that the first two singles Just Got Lucky and Into The Fire would push sales along right?

Nope. Both songs didn’t take off for some reason and the album was starting to slide out of the Top 100 when the power ballad Alone Again was issued as a single!

The result! The ballad worked it’s magic and resurrected the album pushing it into the Top 50 with Tooth and Nail finally hitting Gold status a full 10 months after its initial release!

Alone Again is an interesting story as it was composed by Don Dokken and Jeff Pilson. George Lynch I have read was against this song being on the album at all costs as Lynch didn’t care for the song at all! It resulted in a ton of friction between Don and George which even resulted in producer Tom Werman quitting because of the ego clashes between Dapper Don and Curious George!

Roy Thomas Baker and Micheal Wagner came into finish producing the album!

Dokken, I have written about lots here at the blog. I always made the point that these guys were so close to becoming headliners in their own right and by 1988 they had tossed that away by being pissy pants with each other!

When you really think about it. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise as we all know what happened to the musical climate once the early 90s came.

Dokken who knows what would have happened to them but it makes for an interesting conversation as when Kurt and his tattered up Cardigan demolished a ton of bands popularity it really didn’t take out Dokken in that grunge tsunami!

Say Whut??

In 1995 Dokken with the original lineup (Lynch/Brown/Pilson and Don) released a comeback album of sorts in the form of  Dysfunctional (great album title) and in 1995 not many LA bands were surviving but Dokken pushed that album over 400.000 copies in the U.S to almost Gold Status until the wheels came off of Don and George as the relationship hit the skids once again! Dysfunctional I will add is a strong effort as that album had Dokken do what they do best which is Rokken! (ok I admit that was lame!)

But back to Tooth and Nail which for me started a real decent run of Dokken albums in the 80s. Under Lock and Key(1985)/ Back For The Attack(1987) and the Double Live Beast From The East(1988) had Dokken firing on all cylinders yet the personal shit between Lead Singer and Guitar Hero couldn’t save this band from imploding!

 

 

Impact Albums: Iron Maiden- Powerslave(1984)

 

Monday, September 3rd, 1984, started off like any other day. Grade 11 just began for Tbone and me.  It was back to the books so to speak except by the end of that day I was totally absorbed with the new Iron Maiden release ‘Powerslave’ that I picked up after school. Let’s just say that the first week of Grade 11 was a complete write-off!

IRON MAIDEN is Gonna Get Ya!

Indeed Iron Maiden! Hell, Tbone scored a copy of Powerslave on cassette tape none the less, so we were both off to the races!

When I got ahold of my vinyl copy of Powerslave I was blown away! The cover drawn by Derek Riggs is brilliant. What a fantastic total color scheme instead of using the natural colors( Black) of Metal album covers back in 1984!

Such intricate detail in the artwork on the cover! It was crazy good as I almost went crosseyed looking at all the hidden little messages that Riggs incorporated in the cover! I posted a small gallery below so you can see why I went studying the artwork of Riggs as opposed to studying Darwin! Click the pics below and see if you can find the sense of humor that Maiden could incorporate on there covers!

Now onto the music at hand! 51 minutes plus of Maiden wizardry spread over 8 tracks!  Hows that for getting your money’s worth?

Side 1.

The one-two opening punch of Ace’s High and Two Minutes To Midnight just blew my mind (and still do) as Maiden just soars into all things Metal with Steve Harris and his galloping bass locked in with Nicko McBrain on the drums.

The guitars of Dave Murray and Adrian Smith dip n dive into all kinds of zany metal notes that are brilliant riffs of rock! (how about that opening riff of Two Minutes to Midnight?)

Bruce Dickinson like he did on the previous two Maiden albums sings for his supper and delivers in spades as he always does and still does for that matter whether it is Bruce’s solo or Maiden tracks.

Losfers Words  (Big ‘Orra) is Maiden flexing their musical muscle as Bruce gets the day off for writing lyrics and singing as the rest of the boys romp n roll all over on this track. Pretty cool groove put forth by McBrain which the others follow!

The next two tracks Flash of the Blade and The Duellists are excellent tracks that have never been played live before which is a shame as they are stellar tracks.

Flash of the Blade solely written by Bruce tells the tale of his passion for fencing and this song drives forward at a crazy clip. Harris not to be outdone chips in with The Duellists which clocks in at close to 7 minutes that features some dynamite soloing along with Bruce taking the reigns vocally!

Side 2.

Back in the Village, a tune that was written by Smith and Dickinson deals with you guessed it War! The song drives at a super rate of speed, and both Adrian and Bruce hit this one out of the park come chorus time. Such a fireball of a track!

Powerslave another Bruce only written track is simply put, Brilliant! Everything about Powerslave is classic. Creepy Creeky opening followed by Nicko launching a full out metal assault of the tune. Powerslave deals with the Eye of Horus, which mean protection. Wisdom, health, and prosperity! The song builds up and then breaks down at the solo section only to ramp up again. Nicko, like he does, plays some awesome fills as Dave and Adrian lift off some fantastic soloing. Bruce must have known he had an ace up his sleeve when he presented Powerslave to the rest of the band considering the whole album and tour was based around this song!

Powerslave ends with Rime of the Ancient Mariner which is a 13 in a half minute musical tour de force written by Harris which is based around the poem written by Samuel Taylor Coolridge back in the 1700’s! Harris had a real knack for taking stories or movies and turning them into epic metal tracks. Rime is one of them. Considering its length the song moves at a decent clip as Bruce tells the tale of the Mariner while the boys deliver some severe playing and chops throughout.

When I was just about to turn 17 about a month after Powerslaves release tracks like Powerslave and Rime blew my mind as here are the Maiden guys in there mid 20’s writing about serious life stuff, not your ‘Hey Baby’ deal that was very prominent in 1984. Rime, especially as this, was a significant number when Maiden hit the road supporting it.  Maiden liked to party I’m sure of it, but man Bruce had to remember the lyrics while the fella’s had to know their music as shit could south quickly!  Amazing is the word that pops into my noggin!

Not only did Bruce have to memorize all the lyrics night after night on the 13 month World Slavery Tour as  Steve/Adrian/Davey and Nicko had to know there parts as well but Rime was also played night after night on 1986-87’s Somewhere On Tour!

Impressive!

What a huge game-changer of a metal album in my world in September 1984!  Maiden with Powerslave grabbed me by the throat and wouldn’t let me go and basically derailed me for a good week in getting any serious schoolwork done!

 

 

Impact Album: Aerosmith: Rock in a Hard Place(1982)

When I think of Aerosmith’s Rock in a Hard Place, two things pop into my noggin right away!

1- Rock In a Hard Place was my first ever studio album purchase of an Aerosmith album at the start of Grade 10(September 1982) If your counting Aerosmith ‘Live Bootleg’ I bought in the summer of 1981 whereas around that same time my Dad’s friend gave me a copy of Draw The Line! Get all that?

2-Aerosmith probably when they entered the studio had to use a snowblower to move all that ‘White Snow'(Ahem!) to get to the recording console!

Whatever the case and I don’t know how they pulled it off but the first three songs on this album(Jailbait/Lightning Strikes/Bitches Brew) are three classic songs that could have fit on any previous Aero album!

Joe Perry/Brad Whitford^ were long gone at this point. Jimmy Crespo/Rick Dufay had the task of replacing the two original ax slingers which were no easy task.

Crespo and Dufay^^ do pull it off as Jimmy throughout RIAHP just bulldozes his way riffing along with the albums 10 tracks 7 of which Jimmy co-wrote with Steven Tyler!

Speaking of Tyler considering he was whacked out of his tree, he pulls off an incredible performance! Steven just lets his vocals rip right out of the gate and gets down to the dirty business known as Tyler with the lyrics!

Course, Tom Hamilton, and Joey Kramer were still round on Bass and Drums respectively. I mean what were those guys going to do without a Lead Singer and Guitar player kicking about! Fortunately, Crespo kicks everyone in the ass, and these guys dial up a massive fireball of Molten Rock.

To me at that young age of 15 going on 16 a few weeks after this album came out I had no idea as Tyler explained a few years later on Rockline( a weekly American call-in radio show) in 1987^^^  that RIAHP cost $1.2 Million to record. Steven added that he “Promised to never do that again.”

I liked that Aero bookended each Side with the AeroBallad ( Cry Me A River and Push Come To Shove) as Aerosmith didn’t puss out on any ballads up until the late ’80s with Angel and later on in the late 90s that Gosh Darn Awful Disney Track. Yeah, that one!

Still though when Tyler was beyond pickled up back in the day, he sure knew how to belt the Aeroballad out!

Rock in a Hard Place came out at a time(1982) when the masses didn’t care about Aerosmith. The album stiffed, and the tour wasn’t as successful as it should have been.

For myself, though. And my pal Tbone we “got it” with this album as we did when Joe and Brad returned to Aero and they released the very ” were still polluted and if this is our last hurrah than…hurrah” crispy Done With Mirrors release in 1985! You can smoke your last seed in your bong that there will another Impact album on Done With Mirrors at some point!

^ Mr. Whitford played guitar on Lightning Strikes and then went home to never return until his sidekick Joe came back.

^^ Rick Dufay is pictured on the back cover, but he didn’t play a note on this album. Crespo did most if not all the ax work. Dufay knew how to rock a sweater back in 82!

^^^ Steve and Joe were on Rockline plugging the Aerosobered Permanent Vacation record. (Fall/1987) I still remember Perry laughing when Steve mentioned how much dough was spent on RIAHP!

 

 

Impact Albums: Def Leppard -On Through The Night(1980)

 

Sure for some out there in Blogsworld one might think a little differently if you were to consider an Impact Album if you’re a Leppard fan but hear me out on this one folks!

I could easily consider the next two Leppard albums after the 1980 debut On Through The Night. Those being 81’s High N Dry and 83’s Pyromania more of an Impact Album perse and I totally get it and trust me at some point those will be tackled upon in a future Impact Album feature but this album  OTTN is a great debut!

I have written about in the past how back in June of 1981. Along with my buddy Muc we headed into a local Record Shop here in Thunder Bay together with just enough cash between us to buy one album each.

We both wanted two different albums. So we decided each of us would buy the opposite album that way we could spin em and then tape the other record that one of us didn’t have so we would each have a copy…

I picked the recently released Iron Maiden Killers while  Muc went with On Through The Night

We were blown away by both ..

Fast forward to April 2019 and as I put on the debut album of Leppard from 1980 It dawns on me that of all the bands that I discovered Leppard was the first band I had listened to that only had the debut out at the time that Muc purchased it.

Meaning we got into this band with only one album in its catalog!

Man, we are old! HAHA

That day I bought Maiden they were on their second release with Killers.

Below are some of the bands that I discovered back in 81 for the first time!

Van Halen, I discovered in Jan of 1981 with Women and Children First, which was Halen’s third release.

Rush, as well with Moving Pictures, had multiple albums out.

Triumph I had purchased Allied Forces as well in 1981, and they had a handful of albums out so…

Def Leppard is a band that I have followed since the summer of 1981 right from the debut on. Though the excellent material (80’s output). Through some questionable content (90’s and Beyond) as well as one primarily ignored piece of brilliance (1996′ s Slang)I have been on that Lep Ride for almost 40 years!

So when I spun OTTN recently  I than realized just how excellent this debut is even though at times Lepp themselves have distanced themselves from this release. Case in point is when I caught Def Lepp live back in 1992 the debut was totally ignored!

Blah and Gah.

Now of course when Leppard shacked up with one of those Vegas residency deals a few years back, they dusted off a lot of the material from the first two albums which I thought was a really cool thing to do…

But back to the debut.  From classic opener Rock Brigade to album closer Overture OTTN features a very young band basically going for it. Man, I love these albums when groups have no dough, and in Lepp’s case, it wasn’t until 83’s Pyromania blew up everywhere that these guy’s made any serious money!

OTTN is a wicked album. Tom Allom who produced it kept it a little rough around the edges of course, which is a sound I really like as it would give you an idea how these young cats would sound live…

The late great Steve Clark along with Pete Willis became an excellent guitar duo. Neither guy is a shredder. Clark kept the ship steady with his playing as did Willis with each guy having their own songs to solo or at times do the dual lead thingy that became so prominent with a ton of acts throughout the ’80s!

Rick Savage especially on the earlier albums you can hear him playing Bass, and before you let out a chuckle check out album closer Rush influenced Overture to hear Rick slappa da Bass before Mutt Lange basically drowned him out by 1988’s Hysteria album.

Rick Allen was no slouch on the kit, and I think when OTTN was recorded, he was like 17 or 18 years old! Sounds like a seasoned vet who keeps the beat stable and check out Rocks Off on Side 2 as he plows the path at the halfway point of the tune before Clark lifts off on the solo!

Joe Elliott had that young throat and could sing right off the bat as he takes charge from Rock Brigade on. Joe knows his limits, and for that, you have to give him credit that he didn’t go on some high falsetto mumbo jumbo. Keep it simple…

On Through The Night made inroads in the U.S back in 1980 when Leppard hit America and opened for Pat Travers and Nugent among others. (Leppard didn’t play Canada until 1983!) So the U.S was the biggie for them.

That came at a cost to Leppard at home as England kinda busted there balls by writing a song called Hello America! Which back in 80 I get it as it sounds like a total cop-out, but it isn’t! I think Elliot spun the lyrics as a dude dreaming about going to California, but  Joe didn’t want to be messing with those Headbangers back in 1980!

I can honestly say I can listen to this album from front to back while not skipping tracks. Sure I suppose you could dig around whatever your preference of choice would be for a debut as some other Hard Rock debuts are better. I would tend to agree with you. For myself and I can probably speak for Muc as well that it was pretty cool to discover a band from across the pond with only one album under its belt which not too many had yet heard!

Well, Played Muc!

Impact Albums: Nazareth: It’s Naz(1981)

 

Pretty cool to come across this live album after so many years of not hearing it!

Nazareth recorded It’s Naz back on May 23 1981! So what better way than to post it today 38 years ago the day it was recorded live in Vancouver British Columbia!

Back in late 1981, it was my fellow Record A-Holic Pal Muc who got It’s Naz pretty much right away after its September 81 release.

Most people myself included called this album just Snaz but on the official Nazareth page, they call the album It’s Naz! HA..

I had heard the name Nazareth of course as I saw the Greatest Hits release which perhaps was Muc’s older sisters album but It’s Naz was Muc’s and man what a smack outside my head when I first heard the opening tune…

It’s Naz is a brilliant live album. Plain and Simple! Hell, you get the live feel vibe when you hear Pete Townsend Rough Boys playing as the intro tape before the start of opener Telegram!

Let’s press rewind on Telegram for a second. This is the very first Nazareth song I had ever heard and it takes Lead Vocalist Dan McCafferty to sing the opening verse and for me to go “WHUT?”

‘Sent a telegram today
Tomorrow you’ll be on your way
Could be Memphis or L.A.
No questions just get out and play.’

I had never heard a rock voice like Dan’s ever up to that point in my life. This dude did not give a shit that he was going to toss a lung at any given point while singing these songs.

In other words. Brillaint!

Posted below is Telegraph…check this action out…

But man when the rest of the band digs in the groove of Telegraph its apparent that Nazareth has a sound of there own and that is one of the reasons why I was so psyched to score my own copy of it recently on double vinyl! (I only ever owned on a prerecorded cassette tape that Muc taped for me back in 1981)

So after that moment of MaCafferty and his voice blowing my brains out comes, Dan as he speaks to the Vancouver crowd right before the second tune in Razamanaz ,with one of the greatest verbal one-liners ever on recorded vinyl!

‘Hey, Vancouver! Now I remember when we like to play you guys are alright”

Here’s some more Naz from It’s Naz doing Razamanaz!

Nazareth steamrolls through a bunch of tracks but the real wild thing is that 8 of the albums 20 tracks are cover tunes! (Juicy Lucy and Morning Dew are the lone two new studio tracks on the album) Yep, you read that right! See the thing is Nazareth can take a tune like Joni Mitchells This Flight Tonight or JJ Cales‘s Cocaine and make it there own!

The band that night in Vancouver was top notch! I love how Dan sings with that gruff Scottish tough guy voice yet the backing vocals are crisp and clear! What a sound and when you hear these guys on the radio even today you know its Naz!

This 1981 incarnation of Nazareth was a superb act and even though drummer Darrell Sweet and keyboardist John Locke have passed on this album shows what great musicians this band had.

The funny thing about Nazareth is that outside the Greatest Hits release it’s the only Nazareth I own! Weird I know but I’m cool with just this album. I’m sure I’m missing out but  I can be a puzzle at times, to say the least! haha

Such a mindblower to once again come across this album after all these years and finally own a copy! Speaking of which iTunes doesn’t even have it so vinyl is the only copy for me…

So brilliant! Get Its Snaz! Down n Dirty Rock at it’s finest!

One more thing…

How about a 5 and half a minute live version of Hair of a Dog before you start your day!

YOUR WELCOME!