It’s time for another 1984 post. Part 1 can be found here, Part 2 can be found here and Part 3 can be found here.
And here is the Spotify playlist.
Quiet Riot – Condition Critical
This album was always going to be a hard sell. Kevin DuBrow had troubles controlling his ego. He slagged off other LA bands who got signed to major labels post Quiet Riots success.
He said Ozzy sings like a frog, then Nikki Sixx and Rudy Sarzo got in a slanging match, with Rudy winning the day, with his quote of “the only difference between Quiet Riot and Motley Crue is that QR had a hit with somebody else’s song and Crue didn’t. But Nikki Sixx won everything else after that. And Peter Mensch who was managing Def Leppard at the time, said that QR had already peaked. If you don’t believe me, check out the article over at LouderSound.
So how do you follow up a number 1 album that had a cover song which also went to number 1?
You release an album with a different cover song but from the same band the first cover song came from.
All Quiet Riot did was make a shitload of money for the original writers of the songs from the band Slade.
The rewards go to those testing the limits. And Slade got the rewards, while Quiet Riot got their 15 minutes of fame, because apart from Bang You Head, Quiet Riot (the 80s version) really struggled in the songwriting department.
On this album, “Mama, Were All Crazee Know” and “Condition Critical” are worth a mention.
Actually what came first “Condition Critical” or Motley Crue’s “Louder Than Hell” (as it was called “Hotter Than Hell”) for the “Shout At The Devil” demos. Even the drum feel reminds me of “Too Young To Fall In Love”. And I dig the “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” Bridge/Solo section.
In the end, the audience might like where you’ve been, but if you stay where you are, others pass you by. That’s the Quiet Riot story.
And according to Wikipedia, this album is famous for a two word review: “Prognosis: Terminal”.
Strangeways – Strangeways
Not sure when this was released 1984 or 1986. Regardless, I’ll take the earlier date.
Tony Liddell is on vocals on this one and he would be replaced by Terry Brock who would be known as fronting the “classic” line up.
When I heard the debut, the following three tracks rock hard.
“Hold Back Your Love”, “Power Play” and “More Than Promises”.
Helix – Walking The Razors Edge
My cousin Mega likes the whole album, but for me, it’s these four songs; “Young and Restless”, “Animal House”, “When The Hammer Falls” and “My Kind Of Rock”.
Actually I dig the typical head banging riff, in “My Kind Of Rock” as it’s in the vein of Y&T.
Anthrax – Fistful Of Metal
The definitive story is over at loudersound.
Give it a read, but be warned, you just need to survive all the ads.
“Deathrider”, “Metal Thrashing Mad” and “Death From Above” are the standouts for me. And vocalist Neil Turbin is a bit over the shop, but hey, it’s energetic and trashy and that’s exactly what we wanted.
Hanoi Rocks – All Those Wasted Years
I don’t know what to make of this band or album. During my reefer days, “Up Around The Bend” always got me laughing and I thought “I Can’t Get It” was a Rolling Stones song.
Alcatrazz – Live Sentence
I picked this up on vinyl at a record fair in the 90s. I enjoyed listening to it and hearing Malmsteen before he became the fury.
Hiroshima Mon Amour has got the dumbest lyrics about a serious subject matter, but musically Malmsteen brings it.
There are a lot of Rainbow songs like “Since You’ve Been Gone”, “All Night Long” and “Lost In Hollywood” plus a cool cover of Michael Shenker’s “Desert Song”. The last two mentioned songs are not on the vinyl version.
And of course, Malmsteen is the star here, so he gets to introduce “Evil Eye” an instrumental song which would appear on his debut album.
Queensryche – The Warning
It was a game changer. Fates Warning built a career on this style. Mike Portnoy made the decision he wanted a Geoff Tate like vocalist for a band he was about to start up called Majesty after hearing this album.
“The Warning had a prophetic tinge, with an apocalyptic element. I suppose you could say it was a mystical look into the future.” Chris DeGarmo, Raw, November 1988
“The song was about this gifted child who could see everything and knew what was coming, and it wasn’t a very good picture. A warning was being issued.” Chris DeGarmo, RIP, October 1991
Now see the hands of the working man
He’s leaning back against the wall
Once busy hands are idle.
Standing ready for the fall
We attach our status to the money we earn, the job we have and the life we portray to others. Unemployment is real and scary. And in the times of today, nothing is certain, not even employment.
The battered remains of a world gone insane
What’s happening to the world?
Money rules the day while all sides of religion are trying to keep their control. In the end, the ones who control the money will get a win in the short term but in the process there will be long term pain.
It’s the embryo of “Speak” from the “Operation Mindcrime” album.
This one is about a king who will die, to be reborn, so he can deliver them from the wrongs.
Oh, can’t you see the lies in front of you
A lot of us try, and the rest surround them selves with people who hold the same point of view as them.
Until the end I’ll fight and die to be free
No you won’t. You’ll do what you need to do to remain comfortable. No one likes to operate without a safety net these days and the ones who do, end up changing the world.
It could have been on a Megadeth album about a dystopian Orwellian future.
Now social control requires population termination
When social control is needed, a war is just around the corner. Anyone seen the movie “The Purge”. For a 12 hour period, all murder and crimes are legal, so basically you have the poor and homeless who can’t afford security systems get eradicated.
Is that future closer to becoming a reality?
Have we no more thought
I see people everyday spend forever on their Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Snapchat feeds. Just aimlessly scrolling without any thought, squandering their potential and power by clicking and following instead of innovating and leading. It’s exactly like they have no more thought and the microchips are the social tools who make billions from our personal data.
Take Hold Of The Flame
You can hear the embryo of the ‘Operation Mindcrime” album in this song.
“The song is about people who have missed opportunities. The opening line is, “We see the line of those who find the world has passed them by / Too late to save a dream that’s gone cold.” It’s about people who have missed their chance; they didn’t capitalize on their potential for whatever reason. The light just seemed to pass them by. We felt that we had ahold of the light, and when Geoff wrote the chorus, he rewrote it as, “Take hold of the flame.”
Chris DeGarmo, RIP, October 1991
So take hold of the flame
You’ve got nothing to lose but everything to gain
People don’t realize how much power they actually have. Our data made Facebook, Google, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram billions. We watch YouTube videos instead of making them.
But it’s uncomfortable to take hold of the flame and the majority of people don’t like this responsibility.
Child Of Fire
It’s like “Children Of The Damned” from about the 2 minute mark.
Conquering masses in wonton deception
Blood red your black flag waves high
Any leader in a democracy who does the bidding of the Corporations instead of the people.
Road To Madness
Most of this is memory now
I’ve gone too far to turn back now
I’m Not quite what I thought I was but
Then again I’m maybe more
You know those times when people tell ya “trash is all your worth”. But it’s not the case. No one is special but everyone is worth so much more.
Foreigner – Agent Provocateur
Yeah, everyone knows the story about how “I Want To Know What Love Is” sold this album, but man, I was really surprised by the other songs, which are more or less ignored and “Tooth And Nail” became a staple for me.
Tooth And Nail
It sounds over produced on the album but I used to cover this song in one of my bands and that opening riff on my 5150 amp sounded heavy as fuck. People even thought it was an original.
Other tracks outside the mega ballad worthy of a listen are “That Was Yesterday”, “Growing Up The Hardway” and “Reaction To Action”.
That’s it for Part 4, stay tuned for Part 5.