Category Archives: Vinyl Rewrite

Vinyl Rewrite-The Cars: Heartbeat City (1984)

 

1984! Man what a year for new Releases in the Rock Field! Tons of huge sellers, especially in my chosen expertise and that would be METAL!

One of the bands that I always dug well actually two groups that I dug back in the day (the 1980s) and still do to this day are Cheap Trick and The Cars!

Cheap Trick was and still are to me Quirky Rock. Borderline Geek band with Nerds and two Cool guys up front and the classic songs to go with it. I’m talking CT from the 70s and 80s folks.

The Cars looked like nerds but in a new kind of way. These guys well  Cars lead singer and primary songwriter Ric Ocasek(RIP) were, even more, geekier than Cheap Trick but The Cars had hits folks! Tons of them.

Heartbeat City was no exception when all was said and done this album spawned 5 hit singles(in North America) Half the album was hits!

1. Hello Again
2. Looking for Love
3. Magic
4. Drive
5. Stranger Eyes
6. You Might Think
7. It’s Not the Night
8. Why Can’t I Have You
9. I Refuse
10. Heartbeat City
Much of that  I’m sure has to fall at the hands of producer Robert John Mutt Lange! Safe to say Mutt knew a thing or two at the time about making rock radio-friendly hits and this album was one of them!

From AC/DC to Foreigner to Def Leppard Mutt knew the deal of rock radio and The Cars are another band that you can add to that list!

Ric Ocasek knew the art of writing catchy song’s! You Might Think is one of those tracks, especially the video that went along with it.  Magic another Ocasek composition is a wicked track fusing a quirky verse that segues into a brilliant chorus!

Not to be outdone though Bassist Ben Orr(RIP) scored the biggest hit off of this album with Drive.  Drive was a ballad plain and straightforward and was everywhere back in 84-85 when I was in high school.  Orr was the Cars secret weapon contributing an odd track here and there, but Ben scored huge with this track.

Give it up for Bass Players Folks! Orr with Drive and another talented 4 stringer John Deacon wrote Another One Bites The Dust for Queen! I mean 2 fewer strings these guys had and look at what they could muster up.

It’s refreshing to be collecting the Cars music now on vinyl as like many I had the Greatest Hits set, but when you step inside The Cars studio records and get into the deeper tracks.  The music takes you on a different ride sonically.

An added bonus is if you score this on vinyl it comes in a gatefold sleeve!

VINYL REWRITE VERDICT:

The Cars stepped up huge on this release and what can you say when you have 5 singles released! (those were the days)

Ocasek knew the fine art of crafting catchy Ear Candy tunes! Plus the added addition of Mutt Lange dialing in the sounds was an added coup for The Cars!

R.I.P Mr. Ocasek and Mr. Orr. You both left a huge mark on crafting 3-minute masterpieces!

Kim Mitchell: Kim Mitchell(1982)

Are you going to find a better 5 song studio solo E.P than Kim Mitchell’s 1982 self-titled release?

Maybe but probably not. For myself, I missed the boat at the time on Kim’s time fronting his former band Max Webster at the tail end of the ’70s.

It was a Canadian magazine Music Express that put out the word that here was Kim. Now solo and trying to make a go of it with his name on the marquee.  I bought this way back in 82 on cassette tape and lo and behold saw it sitting in the used bins on vinyl a few weeks back.

A no brainer pay in cash and dash out the door!

Kim goes balls out in power trio mode with Paul DeLong on drums and Robert Sinclair Wilson on Bass. Kim has always played some killer guitar on all his albums but this EP has Kim going to a whole other level on the fretboard.

Kids In Action sets the table as Mitchell gets right down to business and with Jack Richardson dialing in the sounds with Kim these songs sound live with few overdubs in the studio.

Put it this way all these cats can play and of course along for the ride is Pye Dubois who handled all the lyrics while Kim took care of the music.

Kim has that cool summer breezy cool guy vocal vibe which comes across huge on these songs. 5 songs/no ballads just Kim lifting off on what would become a pretty good career in Canada.

If your a guitarist check out this EP for a crash course on exceptional soloing as you won’t be disappointed.

I’ve been slowly collecting Kim’s output on vinyl in the 80s as I come across it.  Now with the inclusion of this EP on vinyl along with Akimbo Alogo(1984), Shakin Like A Human Being(1986) and Rocklandwonderland(1989) my KM collection is coming along nicely!

Rah Rah Ole!

 

Dokken: Beast from the East(1988)

You know when you really get down to it Dokken that being the 80s version featuring Don Dokken/George Lynch/Mick Brown and Jeff Pilson put out some decent albums that have stood the test of time.

Dokken’s output from the 80s I can listen to now in 2020 whereas some bands from that era I can’t handle anymore so I guess that’s saying something.

Dokken’s four studio albums those being Breaking The Chains(83)/ Tooth And Nail(84)/Under Lock And Key(85) and Back For The Attack(87) are classics and should be in your collection.

When you have a guy whose last name is Lynch on the guitar that right there tells you these guys songs don’t suck.  What does suck and I have written about this countless time is these guys could not get along and they imploded during the last half of 1988 just as Dokken was gearing up for the release of Beast From The East which is a shame but that’s what happens when you combine party treats and pissy pants.

These guys had the holy grail meaning a massive breakthrough into headliner status of arenas and they tossed that away and never recovered.

Shame but even though they fucked up personally with each other the music didn’t suffer through which is evident on this massive double live album recorded in April 1988 in Japan.

16 Live Tracks and the standard tacked on the end of the album studio track (Walk Away) to entice the buyer.

In the fall of 1988 when this album was released I didn’t need to be enticed to buy it for the lone studio track. No siree it was for all the killer stuff before it.

For instance, look at Side 1. What a killer 5 pack of tracks to launch this album. Unchain The Night the mid-tempo rocker sets the plate for Lynch to go into hyper overdrive on Tooth And Nail! George rips what I would think is one of the best solos to come from the genre called Hair Metal.

Ending Side 1 is a 3 pack of tracks(Standing In The Shadows/Sleepless Nights/Dream Warriors) from the current at the time Back For The Attack album. (which is perhaps my fave of the Dokken catalog).

Side 2 lifts off again with Lynch and Kiss of Death which is a galloping rocking tune which has all the trimmings of a classic track which it still is today. When Heaven Comes Down and Into The Fire both from the Tooth And Nail release are up next followed by the Lynch guitar extravaganza in the form of Mr. Scary in which Don gets a 10-minute coffee break(cough cough) while George/Jeff and Mick flex their musical muscle and show that they were above and beyond way more talented than some of there peers during the roaring 80s!

Side 3 shows Dokken’s melodic rock side where they can take the foot off of the hard rock pedal (Alone Again)  yet still deliver some ass-kicker tracks in the form of Heaven Sent and It’s Not Love. Another one of my favs from the Dokken repertoire is Just Got Lucky which has Brown leading the charge on the drums while Lynch solos all over the place.

The fabulous Breaking The Chains charges out of the gate on Side 4 followed by In My Dreams and wrapping up with Turn On The Action!

Walk Away was tacked on the album and its a studio track which is actually quite good ( the video version has Don looking bizarro with his hair)  which is a shame as Dokken did indeed Walk Away when this album was released.

Take away the look of Dokken in the 80s and listen with your ears and these guys put out some killer albums. Actually, their 80s stuff is very solid. Too bad at times there look gets them lumped in with the Hair Metal comments which are kinda unfair but make no mistake these guys had the goods as this double album shows.

Too bad they hated each other…

 

KISS: Asylum(1985)

 

Crazy to think that Asylum by KISS is now 35 years old. KISS in the 80s was an interesting time in the KISSTORY of the band.

A quick timeline folk’s leading up to Asylum through the eyes of a 41-year fan that is Me!

Unmasked 1980– A poppier direction by the band as people start to look elsewhere for hard rock in 1980 ie. AC/DC -Judas Priest-Van Halen-RUSH

The Elder 1981– Gene and Paul think they are Pink Floyd and can produce a concept album. They put out The Elder it goes nowhere sales-wise.  SS KISS is taking on water. While all this is going on Ace Frehley checks out.

Creatures of the Night 1982– Demon and Starchild ramp up the game back time and put out what many consider the best KISS album or close to it and I agree. At the time though the public wasn’t buying into it and the tour was not selling tickets. Big trouble.

Lick It Up 1983– KISS drop the makeup and the career has an upswing as sales take Lick It Up to Gold status with the help of everyone’s favorite whack job Vinnie Vincent who went nuts and Gene and Paul than punted Vin to the curb.

Animalize 1984– Out goes Vinnie in comes Mark St John for the studio album and for about a show in a half and out Mark goes and in comes Bruce Kulick to finish off the tour and is enlisted as the new guy. The Animalize Tour sold well KISS were back.

So out comes Asylum September 1985 and like many, I was a first-day buyer and why wouldn’t I be? KISS was as the kids say today trending upwards but there was a bump in the road (more on that later).

There were so many albums and magazines I had to keep up on back in 85 it was ridiculous. KISS was always a no brainer purchase.

For some reason Asylum while I thought it was good was not great. I’m talking 1985 terms that is.

10 songs crafted by KISS ( 6 by Stanley. 3 by Simmons and a co-write between them) and a heavy hand in the songwriting department by Desmond Child who co-wrote 5 songs on the album.

So here we are in 2020 and I recently acquired Asylum on vinyl as I wanted to keep adding KISS albums to my vinyl collection.

Hearing this on album again was a decent listen which in some parts surprised me(keep reading) and in some other parts kinda fall a little flat.

Eric Carr, I will add drums his ass off on this album which next to Creatures may be his best-recorded work. Check out opener King of the Mountain and Loves A Deadly Weapon.

New guy Bruce Kulick lays down some good leads on the songs as I’m sure Gene and Paul were breathing down his back. Give Bruce credit he stepped up as well.

Now onto the songs. Gene even though he was producing other bands and dicking around in Hollywood the three solo tracks he came up with here are pretty good. I mean here’s some of Gene’s fine handy work from Any Way You Slice It.

“Why settle for seconds when you can have the best
So let me be your king bee, I want your hornet’s nest”

Simmons, when he wants to put the time and effort into it, can pull some catchy KISS rock with some real cool pre-choruses like Trial By Fire and Secretly Cruel.

Stanley delivers some great tracks. King of the Mountain and the two singles that kind of went nowhere in Who Wants To Be Lonely and Tears Are Falling especially Tears which features some great guitar work.

For all the great tracks that are on this, there is a couple of iffy ones from Paul as well. I’m Alive sounds like Under The Gun from Animalize and other than Carr’s double rubble drumming the song kinda falls flat.  Radar For Love skids right off the map as it really goes nowhere with me. The chorus considering Child was in on the co-write does zippo for me as a listener.

Now here’s the SHOCKER.

UH, ALL NIGHT. A song that many know I’m not fond of is when you get into the meat and potatoes of it is a great rock track. The verses are stellar the chorus I find goofy still but the verses are solid gold in a KISS kinda way. I think blogging pal, HMO may have just passed out reading this!

When KISS hit the road in support of Asylum they had to scale back the production three times as tickets weren’t selling as good as the Animalize tour the year before. Finicky market. Give KISS credit they were trying to keep their heads in the game. The tour grossed over 4 million which is a ton of dough whether its 1985 or 2020 but after KISS paid off everything (roadies/travel expenses etc) they grossed $700,000 between them.

UGH, ALL NIGHT!

Asylum over time is a decent spin when the mood hits and I’m glad I got it on vinyl as it ended up being a better revisit than I thought it would be.

Georgia Satellites: Georgia Satellites (1986)

 

 

I still remember like it was yesterday even though it was over 30 years ago when The Georgia Satellites back in December 1989 rolled into Thunder Bay and played their barroom boogie rock for the faithful.

During the encore Satellites frontman/guitarist Dan Baird asked the crowd that had somewhat filled our auditorium if there was anything they wanted to hear.

Tbone not wasting a second hollered out ‘Red Light‘ and Baird acknowledged the shout out and they played it! After the show as we headed home in that cold December air, I asked Tbone while chuckling ” Why Red Light?”

Tbone replied with a verse from Red Light.

“Yeah my baby called up said I done made her mad
she’s takin’ me off for everything that I had
ran out of town and now she’s come back
got Van Halen wailin’ on the stereo eight track
watch out baby that’s what I said
there’s a red light, roadblock, bridge out ahead”

Ah, the Van Halen line.  I should have known better but good on Dan and the boys as still to this day I have never heard a band that loud before or after in our crappy auditorium. Crank Up Red Light Below. Under 3 minutes of fine Barroom Boogie Rock!

So when I saw the self-titled album from these fella’s sitting in the used bins with the cover staring at me.  Recalling Tbone hollering Red Light at Baird. It all resonated with me so it was an easy grab and dash so to speak.

Sure everyone knows the biggie hit Keep Your Hands To Yourself which went bonkers on not only video but the single charts as well(reaching Number 2).

But if you were to say erase Track 1 that being Keep Your Hands To Yourself from this album the other 9 tracks are all solid keepers even the cover of Every Picture Tells A Story is done Satellite style that they make it there own.

I was talking to Tbone’s brother Darr and he commented that this record is very underrated and Darr totally makes the case as everyone talks about ‘THAT SONG’  but dig deep and there’s some Gold in them grooves.

Have to hand it to them as well as they did not give a shit about fashion as it was a T-shirt and Jeans for the Satellite  guys which were the exact opposite of some other bands in 1986( Take a bow Poison!)

What you find on this album are a bunch of tracks of which 7 are written solely by Baird while Lead Guitarist Rick Richards wrote and sang the slide guitar-driven Can’t Stand The Pain. 

Baird is a crafty very underrated lyricist and the songs here prove that theory. Mauro Magellan (drums) and Rick Price(bass) drive the rhythm bus at times almost AC/DC like on tunes like Railroad Steel

The album produced by Jeff Glixman kept it a little rough around the edges and didn’t add to much polish so it sounds pretty live which is another endearing quality to my listening habits. 

This album and band I will always dig as they went against the grain of what was selling at the time and they succeeded for the most part.  

It was. shame that the public never really got behind 1988’s Open All Night or 1989’s In The Land of Salvation and Sin(my personal fav)  but never the less to my ears The Satellites even though only 3 albums came out of this lineup they were all stellar albums so check em out if you haven’t and listen to some brilliant no-frills rock!

Baby I got my finger right on your pulse
poundin’ just like a drum
I need a little bit of Coca Cola
I need me a shot of Ron Rico one fifty one
ain’t nothing in this whole wide world
worth havin’ ever comes for free
and I swear to God in Heaven that little girl’s
gonna remember a man like me

Baby’s got to know about the way I feel
I got a heart that’s made out of railroad steel
cold, hard, true, and mean but when her train
rides through it’ll make me sing

 

OZZY OSBOURNE: Bark at the Moon (1983)

 

When you really get down to it Bark at the Moon from Mr. John Osbourne may indeed be my favorite studio output of his.

Let me explain my side of the story folks.

Christmas time 1982 my folks purchased Speak of the Devil for me which really was my first foray into the world of Black Sabbath. (SOTD, as you may recall, was a double live album of Sabbath tunes as Ozzy refused to release his Randy Rhoads live material as in March of 82 Rhoads perished in a plane crash)

I had the first two solo Ozzy albums on cassette tape(Blizzard of Oz and Diary of a Madman). Great rock albums make no mistake about it but what really got me on board with some Ozz hype was when he introduced his new guitar guy Jake E Lee.

I think it was in Guitar World that I first read about Jake being the new fella in the band.

Come Christmas Time 1983 my fine parents once again delivered on my list of records and Bark at the Moon was at the top of that list!

The opening tune  Bark at the Moon sets the bar high before Ozzy drinks it dry as Jake doesn’t fuck about and gets down to some serious riffage as the tune has been iconic over the last 37 years since its initial release.

Bark at the Moon (the album)I hear it differently now in 2020 than I did in 1983.  The two slower like tracks You’re No Different and So Tired confused me back in 83 as I wanted was blistering riffage rock, not some soft Pop-Tart like tunes.

But I get what Oz and the band were doing. An album that isn’t balls to the walls rock at some points but to open one’s ears to other sonic perspectives to songwriting.

Its the rock stuff that really yanked my crank back than and even to this day.

How about the mashup of Jake’s guitar and Tommy Aldridge‘s drums in Now You See It Now You Don’t. The fast as a shark rock track Rock N Rebel. The awesome riffage of Centre of Eternity.

Ozzy knew what we wanted and delivered it in spades on this album. Hell, even Oz pulls off some good singing on this album which no one ever talks about.

How about that cover and back cover shot? Rock Candy Magazine has a feature where they dissect album covers and Bark at the Moon was covered.  The album cover with Ozz was actually taken outside in the wee hours of the morning as was the back cover shot. No studio props whatsoever.

The only knock I have on this album is the fact that Ozzy says he wrote this album all by himself which we all know is a crock of shit!

Jake and Bassist Bob Daisley I know had a hand in the creating of these tracks. Jake being the new kid on the block probably got strong-armed in relinquishing songwriting credits while Daisley being around the block a few times with Sharon and Ozzy would give up a piece of the pie is beyond me.

Who knows for sure what went on behind the scenes but Bark at the Moon is one monster of an album.

Vinyl Rewrite: AC/DC- Flick of the Switch(1983)

 

So cool that my first used vinyl purchase of this decade(2020) is one of my all-time favs and that is Flick of the Switch!

I’m thinking that this album is like my third review of it so that tells you right there my deal with it. Except for this time, it’s vinyl. So for a whole total breakdown track by track of Flick of the Switch, you can find it elsewhere on this site.

But for now..

1983 and we are all fun-loving fanboys of those fellas AC/DC. But for some funny reason, things went a little sideways for Angus Young and crew on this album.

Did I tell that I like sideways in regards to some albums this being one? For starters, AC/DC canned Mutt Lange who dialed in the sonics on the previous three AC/DC records (Highway To Hell-Back In Black- For Those About To Rock). AC/DC fired two managers and decided to do everything in house on Flick of the Switch including producing it themselves. As well, long time drummer, Phil Rudd got the boot as well after the recording was done(replaced by Simon Wright)

Hey, as a 16-year-old in 1983 I had no idea the inner turmoil these guys were dealing with then. To me, it was like ‘Cool, a new AC/DC album”.

Course myself and many others new about this album but for some reason the masses didn’t take to this album and maybe that’s the charm I still find with this album. A snooze you loose kinda deal meaning there are some gems on here that many people missed the boat on.

Sure AC/DC was still a huge draw in concert but the album stalled quickly as there was no real apparent single which you and I both know irked the Atlantic Records Suits. Imagine telling Malcolm Young back in 1983 “umm where’s the hit single?”

Exactly,

This album for me at the time of its release (August 1983) just hit at the right time. While Mutt Lange had Def Leppard with Pyromania all over the airwaves AC/DC forges ahead with a sound that is the exact opposite as in raw.

The guitars on opening track Rising Power set the pace as the other 10 songs sound like two buzz saws going off while Brian Johnson screeches and knarls his way vocally through the albums 10 tracks.

Tons of personal highlights on this record as AC/DC does not give a shit about anything or anyone as they just do what they do. Love that  Nugent like boogie rock guitar at the beginning of Landslide while the title track has the evil signature lock-up with Malcolm and Angus. Don’t those riffs sound pure demonic?

The band of course in 1983 played about 4 tracks (Guns For Hire opened the shows) off of Flick to promote it but every tour that has followed this album the band decided to go elsewhere when putting together the setlist.^^

Fair enough. There band, there rules!

The 80’s from 1983 to 1988 was an interesting period for AC/DC. Sure their sales kinda lagged (until 1990s The Razors Edge) yet you have to hand it to them as they still kept putting out product.

VINYL RECORD REWRITE VERDICT:

Sometimes latching onto an album that isn’t the big zillion seller in one’s catalog is the way to go and Flick of the Switch is that to me as its a no-frills straight-ahead album that will boot you hard up the ass

^^-Check out the Plug Me In DVD set that features the Flick Tour in all its glory! Fantastic.

 

 

 

 

 

Vinyl Rewrite: Robert Plant-Now And Zen(1988)

 

Bells and Whistles and by that I mean a ton of technology that was current at the time(1988) that has Robert Plant heading headfirst into huge swirls of synthesizers and for that you would think I would turn the other way.

Nope, not even close. I love this record and Now And Zen is my favorite of the Plant solo catalog. Weird huh?

Plant assembled a bunch of young rock guys and what an ass-kicker band Robert put together. Phil Johnstone who handled the keys co-wrote all the tracks on here with Plant.

Heaven Knows is a brilliant opener. A ton of keys swirl around the techno edge brought by Plant and his crew. The sound on vinyl is clear n crisp. Some may view it as overproduced and I would agree but for some reason I like this overproduced slab of rock!

I dug it back in 88 and I still dig it 2020!

Heaven Knows features Plants old sparring partner Jimmy Page who plays guitar on the opener but the biggie single Tall Cool One as well.

Tall Cool One, what a great track. The song bops and bounces along at a decent speed and what is brilliant is back in 88 sampling music was becoming the big thing to do with artists sampling tracks from other artists but Robert goes one step further where he samples himself.

Plant sampled 5 snippets of songs from his previous band those being  Whole Lotta Love/Dazed and Confused/Black Dog/Custard Pie and The Ocean) that are all mashed up together as Tall Cool One heads towards the finish line.

I guess if you are going to swipe. Swipe from yourself. Kinda!

 

One of the better ballad tracks that reared its head back in the late 80s was Ship of Fools. What as stellar track. Even though Jimmy Page is on this album on two tracks. It’s Doug Boyle that steals the show here. Boyle’s picking on the 6 string on this song is crystal clear. Such an original style as Boyle makes a left turn with his playing on what would be deemed a ballad. Next to Plant’s voice on this track Doug’s chill like axemanship is worth the listen.

Reading Steve Gorman’s brilliant book on the Black Crowes Steve mentions that Boyle told him that he purposely avoided playing Gibson guitars on stage and stuck with Fender’s instead as Boyle said he didn’t need the Jimmy comparison.

Well, even though Page is on this album with two tracks it’s Boyle that is brilliant on this album. Case in point Ship of Fools.*

I rest my case, your Honor!

Looking back my first Zeppelin album I ever bought was Coda back in1982. So I have always dug that one while for many its a so so album.

Because of that I bought all of Plants solo stuff from the debut Pictures At Eleven (1982)to Fate of Nations (1993). Bob never made the same album twice. Now And Zen proves that without a doubt.

Robert Plants Best!

*-For further Boyle brilliance check the wicked acoustic ‘Liars Dance’ which is just Plant and Boyle. A track from 1990’s Manic Nirvana.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Vinyl Rewrite: KISS- Animalize(1984) aka “Tbone-KISS-Trilogy”

I was watching some clips on the Tube of You recently and KISS is doing these KISS Cruises and they get a bunch of bands and they do shows and whatnot on the high seas.

Bruce Kulick as you know was KISS’ lead guitarist from 1984-1996 and was a team player if there ever was one.

So on these cruises, KISS has invited Kulick to put together a band and Bruce plays the stuff that KISS themselves ignore now and I have to tell you that Bruce and his band do a phenomenal job on the songs from the ’80s into the early ’90s.

Anyways to make a long story shorter I watched as Bruce and his band ripped through a medley of KISS classics from 1984’s Animalize album.

That got me thinking about doing a revisit with this on the album as I picked it up this past March and really found a whole new appreciation of it. Course it sounds better on vinyl than CD!

Shall We?

Changes were on tap for KISS in 84. Vinnie Vincent(guitar) was sent packing and was replaced by Mark St John(RIP) who was first and foremost a shredder which when you think about it that’s where guitar playing was headed into the mid to late ’80s.

KISS in 1984 was in no man’s land at the time. There they are after some lackluster sales of there early 80’s output (The Elder and Creatures of The Night) and finally found a resurgence with 1983s Lick It Up which gave them there first Top 40( in a few years) hit in Canada with the title track.

By 1984 though Gene Simmons and more importantly, Paul Stanley must have been wondering what do we do now in the 6 string department after Vincent got sacked.

Get another shredder as in 1984 guys like that crazy mo-fo Yngwie Malmsteen were starting to make noise with million notes per second’s which to be fair made me nauseous at times with that speed on the fretboard. Impressive but not my deal.

So Stanley and Simmons recruit St John and dump a bunch of tracks on his lap to see what he can muster up.

St John pulled off some good playing on here at being a hotshot but over the years Stanley has said that St John had issues in the studio at getting the solos out of his guitar that Paul wanted to hear.

I always found these remarks interesting as Paul wanted a shredder than didn’t want a shredder so let’s toss the shredder under the bus when he doesn’t do as I say.

Well, that’s how I understood it.

9 songs make up Animalize and its a pretty decent snapshot of KISS in 1984-85.

Opener I’ve Had Enough(Into The Fire) is a pretty decent opener where St John lifts off right out of the gate and KISS is off and running.

Heaven’s On Fire was the biggie single on this album and you know you’re up to something when all of a sudden Tbone is back on board with buying KISS cassette tapes which began with Lick It Up in 83, Animalize in 84 followed by Asylum in 85!

Let’s for a second call this the Tbone-KISS-Trilogy!

Why those three would Tbone be interested in?

Easy peasy as each of those 3 KISS albums had singles! Tbone bought into the singles that KISS had mustered up. Lick It Up/Heavens on Fire and Tears Are Falling were the big tracks that helped push those KISS albums to Gold and Platinum. Gene and Paul should thank Tbone for his loyalty in the 80s when there was so much music being released!

Course Tbone had me babbling in his ear about this stuff as well so I think that was the reason more than anything.

Back To The Task At Hand..

Heaven’s on Fire was the SONG from this album that pushed sales and made Animalize the first KISS album to go Platinum in 5 years! It must have been a long 5 years for Gene and Paul to go Platinum.

Simmons has 4 tunes on Animalize and they are all quite good. Not as good as his songs on 82s Creatures release(or the Lick It Up album for that matter) but still pretty decent.

Burn Bitch Burn is Gene laying down the law of the jungle of big dumb arena rock which is always a hoot. Lonely Is The Hunter I like that sleazy Demon vocal in the pre-chorus that leads into the chorus! At times I just wanna yell “Ramsey” when Mean Gene is singing for his supper on these tracks!

While the City Sleeps which is track 8 is a phenomenal song. Great driving of the drums by Eric Carr(RIP) on this track. Great chorus/solo/everything its here man. A rocking rolling good time with a song no one ever talks about!

Murder in High Heels is decent Genie Gene song as well not as good as While The City Sleeps but still decent enough. Like that echoey voice during the chorus while the music is going all bonkers in the background.

The Stanley songs are good as well.  Paul hooked with Desmond Child and bashed out Heavens on Fire. Get All you Can Take is solid as well except for Paul’s vocals which he sings so high it’s no wonder he lip-synchs now! Under The Gun is a barn burner of a track with a ton of riffing underneath the double bass fury of Carr’s drumming.

The real money shot song on this album is Thrills In The Night. it has the trimmings of everything I loved about KISS back then. Stanley writes a song about a nice girl by day. Sleazy hooker chick by night! Bingo just the song we were looking for in 84!

The real deal of Thrills In The Night though is the solo laid down by St John. St John nails that wang bar like he’s the Boss and does all that crazy-ass tapping but fuck its brilliant! Brilliant when I first heard it in 84 still brilliant in 2019! Shredder St John wails on this one folks! Actually, I think its the best solo on this album!

As I mentioned earlier Paul was frustrated with Mark and brought in future KISS guitar guy Bruce Kulick to solo on Lonely Is The Hunter and Murder In High Heels! Back in 1984  I never knew this but nowadays its common knowledge about who did what on KISS albums!

St John got bad arthritis in his arm and was replaced by Kulick but I think the writing was on the wall for St John bad arm or no bad arm. It just made Gene and Paul not look so bad when they turfed St John to the curb.

Sadly, half the band that recorded this album has passed on!

VINYL REWRITE VERDICT:

Animalize over time is still a pretty decent spin. The production by Stanley is ok not as good as how Creatures sounded but still a decent sounding record.

The songs are good tunes. The playing is 1984 sounding. Shredder Guitar, Double Bass drumming and Starchild trying to blow out his voice! ( that comes a few decades later).

KISS was big news again in 1984/85 as they were in all the magazines out at the time and by most accounts, the shows were well attended and most importantly Tbone bought into what Gene and Paul were selling and at the end of the day that’s all that matters!

A decent revisit and one that I can still put on periodically and enjoy when I don’t want life to be taken too seriously!