Coming into 1984, hard rock and metal bands started popping up everywhere in the mainstream. Magazines moved their reporting from different styles of music to cover only hard rock. The labels even started promoting rock music with glam metal, hair metal, glam rock, heavy rock and melodic rock suddenly becoming genres. And regardless of what “genre” a band got labelled with, we still found the albums in the heavy metal category of the record shop.
Judas Priest still had the world in the palm of their hands with “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin” released two years before. And then they dropped “Defenders Of The Faith”.
Judas Priest – Defenders Of The Faith
Before Judas Priest there was metal music, but the mighty Priest woke us all up and got us addicted. With “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin”, they infected television, radio and the jukeboxes around the world. So the world was waiting with what they would unleash next.
“We’ve always maintained that albums are important from year to year, but especially after topping the platinum mark in the States, we knew that we had to come up with a follow-up which was going to carry on from there and take us to even greater heights.”
Rob Halford, Heavy Duty official biography, 1984
What an album.
Rising from darkness where hell hath no mercy and the screams for vengeance echo on forever. Only those who keep the faith shall escape the wrath of the Metallian… Master of all metal.
How good is this song?
The speed, the lyrics, the riffs and those lead breaks. It’s all break neck stuff. I am pretty sure a few members from a band called “Helloween” were listening intently.
Fast and furious / Look before you leap has never been the way we keep / Our road is free / Charging to the top / And never give in never stops the way to be
The words that leap off the vinyl instantly capture the essence of the metal spirit of never giving in and dealing with whatever comes our way. And it sets the tempo for what the album is, fast and furious all the way.
There are no radio hits on this album, just songs made for the artist and the fan.
Rock Hard Ride Free
That guitar intro and harmony lead is enough to hook me in. And the lyrics sum up the 80’s movement to a tee.
No denying we’re going against the grain
So defiant they’ll never put us down
By this stage, rock and roll wasn’t becoming part of the grain and by 1986 it was the grain. But we still loved the “us versus them” lyrics.
Rock hard, ride free
All day, all night
Rock hard, ride free,
All your life
It’s what we wanted to do all day, to rock hard and be free.
My favourite track on the album. I could listen to it over and over again.
This is music made for the sound system and not the earbuds. I would crank it up and the whole room would be filled with the sound. And it felt good. Halford sets the scene along deserted avenues with figures primed and ready for a quick surprise.
Sworn to avenge
Condemn to hell
Tempt not the blade
All fear the sentinel
It’s an arena rock chorus but it’s lyrical message is so far removed from the pop charts and the “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “Cum On Feel The Noize” type of messages.
And how good are the riffs underneath the Chorus vocal melody.
Some Heads Are Gonna Roll
If the man with the power cant keep it under control
Some heads are gonna roll
So relevant today as it was back in the 70’s and 80’s. Especially with so many men in power with ego’s to match.
The power mad freaks who are ruling the Earth
Will show how little they think you’re worth
And these power mad freaks are not just the leaders in charge, they are the giants in control of the biggest global corporations we have ever scene.
Heavy Duty/Defenders Of The Faith
The simple drum intro reminds me of “I Love It Loud” from Kiss and then the riffs come crashing down. Brilliant. It sounds heavy and it suits the title to a tee.
And prove to all the world
Metal rules the land
We’re heavy duty
So come on let’s tell the world
And for a brief moment in time in the 80’s metal did rule the world.
Bon Jovi – Bon Jovi
The debut album from the “guys from Jersey” is tiny compared to the albums that came after, but still has some worthy riffs to talk about.
The keyboard riff and the synchonrised drums and guitar all work together.
As much as Jovi hates playing this song or any song from the first two albums live because of the silly lyrical themes, “Runaway” has become a favourite amongst the “Slippery” fans who purchased the back catalogue once “Slippery” exploded.
And yeah, the lyrics are clichéd, but no can deny it’s catchiness.
I actually dig the riffs on this, hence the reason why it’s on here.
She Don’t Know Me
It’s a cover song, and it’s perfect for Jovi’s first album.
Shot Through The Heart
Funny story, when I heard “You Give Love A Bad Name” on the TV music channels, I came in halfway through, so I thought the song was called “Shot Through The Heart”. So when I went to purchase the album, I saw the “Slippery When Wet” album first and it didn’t have a song on it called “Shot Through The Heart”. I picked up the debut album and saw it on there, so I purchased that instead.
“Shot Through The Heart” is written by Jon Bon Jovi and Jack Ponti and the track has this infectious piano riff in the intro and Sambora goes to town in this song, showing his melodic chops in decorating the song.
Burning For Love
It is written by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora. As with all of the earlier stuff, Sambora goes to town during the lead breaks, showcasing his abilities as a melodic shredder.
It’s got some cool riffs and the lead break is very different.
Yngwie Malmsteen – Rising Force
For some insane reasoning, this album is not on Spotify Australia. It still blows me away how artists or the label/corporation who hold the copyright believe that geo-restrictions are a good thing in a world where we are all connected to each other. But it’s on YouTube, which pays less. Yep, it sure sounds like good business logic.
Marillion – Fugazi
The Fish led era of Marillion was an acquired taste and I enjoyed the music more than the vocals. Actually, certain sections of music, which I even used as templates for interludes for my own songs.
Punch and Judy
How good is the start from 0.00 to 0.22? Yep, those 22 seconds hooked me. That’s all it took.
Again, the intro hooks me in from 0.00 to 0.42.
Cinderella Search – 12” Version
And again, the intro hooks me.
And then from 3 minutes onwards, the piano starts playing a riff that is addictive, as the drums and guitars start to pick it up and I am hooked all the way to the end, while Fish is singing, “Welcome To The Circus”.
Assassing – Alternate Mix
Dream Theater have used this song as influence for quite a few DT songs. I think it’s one of Marillion’s best songs, combining a lot of influences and genres into one song, as it moves from Pink Floyd like grooves into more progressive adventures and new wave pop.
Three Boats Down From The Candy
Again the first minute of the song gets me interested and then when that guitar melodic lead comes in at 2.49, I am all in.
Metallica – Ride The Lightning
When I first heard the album I was blown away lyrically. Musically I didn’t even know what kind of music it was. I felt like a chainsaw assaulted my earbuds. Because it didn’t sound like the hard rock mixes I was used to, it took me a while to get used to it. What can I say, my ears were conditioned to enjoy the Tom Werman, Keith Olsen, Bruce Fairbairn produced albums.
And I still contend that “Ride The Lightning” is the album that should define Metallica. It was original, progressive and it set the track list template for future albums which followed.
Fight Fire With Fire
Man, those acoustic guitars at the start is the calm before the storm. Because once the chainsaw riff starts, it’s circle pit time and James Hetfield’s vocal delivery is bordering on death metal.
And it ends with a nuclear bomb going off, just before the harmonies of “Ride The Lightning” kick in.
Ride The Lightning
The harmony guitars and the drums in the intro hook me straight away.
For Whom The Bells Toll
A bell tolls. And there is a pause.
A bell tolls again. And there is another brief pause.
Then the staccato F#5 power chord comes crashing down, before it goes to the E5 power chord to ring out. Then the bass solo . Then the descending chromatic riff which mimics the bass solo. And when you think the first verse is about to come in, a harmony guitar lead happens, which is repeated over and over again, until the riff which underpins the Chorus comes in.
And then the first verse happens. 2 plus minutes after the song started. The approach to song writing is progressive and impressive, especially when you take into account the ages of the members.
Fade To Black
It’s a game changer song. The intro is influenced by the intro in “Goodbye Blue Sky” by Pink Floyd from 1979. The start of the outro when James is singing is influenced by the intro from Black Sabbath’s, “A National Acrobat” from 1973. And from all of these influences, the song still sounds original.
By the end of Side 1, I was floored by a four punch knock out. The needle went back to the start and I had to turn over the LP to side 2. But I played Side 1 again and again and again, until I basically overdosed on it.
Then I switched to side 2.
Trapped Under Ice
This song doesn’t get any love, but it’s a tribute to their NWOBHM roots. Kirk also provided the verse riff, which originally appeared in the Exodus song “Impaler”.
I don’t know how to live through this hell
Woken up, I’m still locked in this shell
Frozen soul, frozen down to the core
Break the ice, I can’t take anymore
Yeah, it could be about being trapped under ice or could be all metaphors. The “ice” is the home and the “frozen soul” is a life controlled by others.
The intro is excellent.
For the “fans” who criticised the “Black” album, they should really not forget tracks like “For Whom The Bells Toll”, “Escape” and “Leper Messiah” from “Master Of Puppets”. Slower tempo songs that would not be out of place on the “Black” Album. The theme of control and manipulation will come up again in “Welcome Home”, “Dyers Eve” and “The Unforgiven”.
Feed my brain with your so called standards
Who says that I ain’t right
So let it be written that I loved covering this track with the bands I was in. It’s a classic metal song for the ages. “Am I Evil” and “Blitzkrieg” are covers that ended up as B sides to the “Creeping Death” single, but still worthy additions to be included here as people believed these to be proper Metallica songs.
The Call Of Ktulu
Another game changer track, a progressive 7 minute instrumental track. It’s got a bit of everything, written when Mustaine was still in the band and it’s got the embryonic riff of what will become “Hanger 18” in Megadeth many years later.
Y&T – In Rock We Trust
I didn’t know it in the Eighties, but Y&T would became one of my favourite bands in the Nineties, as I managed to pick up all of their albums up to “Ten” from a second hand record shop. Their big money Geffen move didn’t happen until the late 80’s and A&M was the wrong label for these classic albums. Regardless, Y&T’s music goes through my brain on a regular basis. They’re embedded there, part of my DNA.
Rock And Roll’s Gonna Save The World
Y&T always started off with a strong cut. This was even more important in the CD era as there was only one side and a lot of people never made it to the end of the album.
Kings and queens and presidents
Are tryin’ to take the world in hand
Jokers and freaks and Arab sheiks
Are fightin’ over chunks of sand
The same problems that exist today existed 30 years ago and way before that. Guess they never really went away.
Rock & Roll’s gonna save the world
Don’t you know that’s the way we’re gonna change it?
Rock & Roll’s gonna save the world
Rock & Roll
We believed we could change the world. Then we got jobs and got loans and became exactly what the institutions wanted us to be. Slaves by choice.
Tin soldiers march around the world
No matter what the people say
One man makes all the policies
While the rest of us get blown away
It’s what our leaders are fighting about right now. Who should make the policies? Who should tell others what to do? And democratically elected leaders want to dictate how people should live and then they take up arms against dictators. Ironic isn’t it.
Life, Life, Life
It’s a bloody scene
Hear the population scream
As the missile rushes in
Can’t you feel the flames of hell?
What’s changed in 2018 from 1984? Missiles are still rushing in and for people living in these war zones, it is hell. And for all of our technological advancements to integrate and socialise, we are even more divided.
We let the insane play their fools game
They’re runnin’ a race for death
These lyrics might have referenced a dictator, however democratic leaders today are no better.
It’s time to make a stand for
Life, Life, Life
It’s time to break down the chain of command
We are the only ones who can make change happen, but we choose to opt out so we don’t upset other people.
Masters And Slaves
What a song and how good are the lyrics.
It’s such a dirty game
That it fills you with rage
There’s only kings and queens
And you’re a pawn in their game
Truth in these words. If you don’t believe me, name me the one thing keeping you up at night. Money, security, safety. Kings and queens don’t have that problem. And if you borrow money, guess what, you become even a bigger pawn in the game.
Of masters and slaves
We’re divided that way
Are you a master or slave?
Do you rule or obey?
We are born, our parents rule and we obey. We go to school and our teachers rule, while we obey. We go to work and the boss rules, while we obey. We get married, and the other partner rules while we obey.
When they tell you it’s the home of the free
Well, they must be insane
Who would have thought that living in a free country would be so expensive?
‘Cause it’s dog eat dog from morning ’till night
And only the strongest survive
It’s the law of the jungle, only winners have rights
The losers relinquish their lives
There is no story about the losers. Only the winners. And they re-write history to suit their point of view.
So, you think you’re made
When you have your fortune and fame
But don’t you realize
Oh, someone’s running the game
These lyrics reference life, experience, skin in the game. It’s not all about being a red hot live wire, wanting to feel the noise. How many artists lost all the money they made when their career and the public acceptance of their music started to fade.
I’ll Keep On Believin’ (Do You Know)
I’ll keep on believin’
I won’t let our love slip away
Again, words of life, about being out on the road for long periods, leaving relationships and friends behind, only to find out when you come back home, they have moved on.
Break Out Tonight
The streets are misty in the mornin’ light
The fog hides everythin’ from view
It’s time to make a move to change my life
I gotta make my dreams come true
The song is simple, like the band just rolled the tape in the studio and when Dave Meniketti opens his mouth, truth comes out (courtesy of the lyrics written by bassist, Phil Kennemore). If you want to make your dreams come true, it rarely happens when you are sitting in the comforts of your hometown. You need to break out.
Don’t Stop Runnin’
Ahh, yes a song about being with someone as you are rising up the ladder of stardom and suddenly when you hit a rough patch, that person leaves, and as soon as your fame star starts to rise again, they want to come back into your life.
When I had the world in the palm of my hand
You never looked at another man
But when I started to slip, you said bye, bye, bye
With you one day, gone the next.
Well you heard I got my big break
So now you’re sayin’ that you made a mistake
And you wanna come back for the ride, ride, ride
Does it really happen like this? I’m still not convinced. Once it’s over, it’s over. For me there are no second chances.
Well the word is out all over town
You’re not the only girl that’s chasin’ me down
Take your place at the end of the line, line, line
It’s a cool revenge song.
I always dig a good power ballad with cool music. And this one has got some nice guitar playing with clean tone apreggios and distorted chords crashing together to create a cool foundation to build the melodies on.
Darling, I’ve been so afraid
To share what’s on my mind
But I believe you’re just like me
And I can trust in you this time, this time
Safety is what connects us and when you find someone with similar values, you feel connected and by default you feel safe.
The past is full of fallen stars
Of love that I’ve denied
But somehow I know we won’t make
The same mistake this time
Oh, all those missed chances or words unsaid.
Whitesnake – Slide It In
From a copyright point of view, how the hell would David Coverdale do the accounting for it. There are the songwriters who would deserve their royalty and then there are the two versions of the albums, with different members and because those members played on the album, they would get a performance royalty.
The remixed US version of the album had John Sykes replacing the guitar parts of Mel Galley and Micky Moody, while Neil Murray replaced the bass parts of Colin Hodgkinson.
Good luck in working out the percentages.
This little bluesy rocker opens the UK edition of the album, but not the U.S one. It’s written by David Coverdale and the very underrated and not very MTV friendly looking Mel Galley.
Slide It In
The Free/Bad Company style of blues rock influences this Coverdale composition about sliding a knife in butter right to the top. The lead breaks are different between the US and UK versions. For me, I prefer the UK version lead break as its more melodic and more sing-along.
Slow an’ Easy
The heavily influenced Led Zep “Slow an’ Easy” is written by Coverdale and Micky Moody. Lyrically it deals with a superstitious woman who will be taken down slow and easy. The US mix has a few pinch harmonic screams that the UK version doesn’t have.
Love Ain’t No Stranger
This classic is written by Coverdale and Galley. I liked the way Coverdale, had a slow intro before the whole band crashes in.
Give Me More Time
Another Coverdale and Galley cut that takes its cues from AC/DC in the verses. And the lead break is excellent and very reminiscent to the “Slide It In” lead break.
Standing in the Shadow
Another Coverdale composition. Seriously, is there a more broken hearted person than David Coverdale?
I’m running away from a feeling
Hiding my face in the sand
I’m scared to love and lose again
I don’t know if I can
It’s that moment in time after a relationship has ended. You are hurting and you feel betrayed. Then you come across someone who rekindles the fire. But you are still hurting and after being burned once, you are fearful to jump in, just in case it leads to another broken heart.
Life is short, so you need to live it. And that means, putting the fear away.
Spit It Out
Another Coverdale and Galley composition, which is basically saying if she doesn’t like it, she can “Spit it Out” while Kiss was singing, “Lick It Up”. I guess people just couldn’t make up their minds.
Guilty of Love
How cool are the guitar harmonies at the start, which again are written by the very underrated guitarist known as David Coverdale.
Cold Chisel – Twentieth Century
The final studio album for Australian band Cold Chisel before they went their separate ways in the 80’s. Hell the album even came out months after they played their final show in December of 83.
Side 1 had three Chisel classics in “Saturday Night”, “No Sense” and “Flame Trees”. Hard to believe that “No Second Prize” from Jimmy Barnes solo album that followed this was rejected from this album.
Piano player and band founder, Don Walker wrote it about his views of Sydney’s King Cross district, with vocals shared between guitarist Ian Moss and Jimmy Barnes.
“The band I’d been in for ten years was breaking up. I think it’s just a ‘kissing all that goodbye and moving on into the unknown’ song.”
A Jimmy Barnes composition, with a very reggae feel about people that make no sense at all.
Drummer Steve Prestwich co-wrote the music on a bass and Walker added the lyrics, about growing up and his dreams of leaving his birthplace behind.
It’s the only track I like on Side 2, written by bassist Phil Small and lyrics by Walker, about losing your place in the game, which to me, the game could be life, a relationship, a workplace or even a gambling table.
Well that’s it for Part 2, stay tuned for Part 3.