“Trick Or Treat” and “Black Roses” played on the fears of the bible belters. This fear, that rock and roll music and now heavy metal music was causing kids to commit suicide and live disobedient and decadent lives led to fertile story telling in film.
I didn’t see “Black Roses” or know about it or purchase the soundtrack until sometime between 94 and 96 even though it came out in 1988.
I purchased the LP first and then many years later, I didn’t know that I had the LP, so I purchased the CD for it.
So in the movie, a heavy metal band named “Black Roses” turns a sleepy towns kids into rockers first and secretly into demonic monsters.
Wikipedia mentions how the soundtrack features many prominent bands at the time such as King Kobra, Tempest, Hallow’s Eve, Lizzy Borden among others. I wouldn’t say prominent but hey the past is always rewritten to suit a narrative.
But the reason why I wanted to hear the album is because of guitarist Alex Masi who had a lot of advertisements running in the guitar magazines when his “Attack Of The Neon Shark” album came out in 1989, plus he got a Grammy nomination for Best Instrumental Rock Album.
But then again, I’m not sure if getting a Grammy is a good thing when it comes to metal and rock music, because, Jethro Tull did get an award over Metallica and then recently, the Grammy sound people played “Master Of Puppets” when Megadeth got the award. Ouch.
Anyway, the Black Roses band is Carmine Appice on drums, Mick Sweda on guitars, Chuck Wright on bass and Mark Free on vocals with Alex Masi assisting on some guitar tracks.
And because we didn’t have the internet to research stuff, I found out that Masi only played the Rhythm’s after purchasing the album.
Damn, No Leads. That was Mick Sweda.
But when I heard the songs, Sweda was never known for having sweep picking in his repertoire of licks, and when you go deep into the credits of each song, you see that Masi is the shredder on the songs from the band titled Black Roses/Masi.
Anyway, lets unpack this soundtrack (which is not on Spotify), but hey YouTube has it. By the way, there is a user called DannyWaysted who has a lot of 80’s album on the account. Some very obscure favourites of mine. Check it out. Just search for the user name.
“Dance on Fire” kicks off the album and it is from the Black Roses band. The riff is derivative, basic and nothing original. But it’s still a good listen.
The next track “Soldiers of the Night” is mentioned as Black Roses/Masi. This song could have appeared on a Manowar album. The difference that production makes to a song is huge. In a Manowar environment, it would have sounded metal, cranked to a Spinal Tap’ish’ 11. In the hands of lesser mortals, it sounds like a pop rock song with keyboards with a catchcry of raising our fists forever high.
Then we get a song “I’m No Stranger” from an underrated hard rock group in Bang Tango. This song rocks.
There was something about Bang Tango that I liked. I once said to a friend that the band takes something from Motley Crue, Y&T, Guns N Roses, Ratt, Scorpions, Judas Priest and Poison and puts them in a blender. That’s Bang Tango to me.
The Black Roses/Masi version is back with “Rock Invasion”. Of course the song is going to kick off with a lot of shred from Masi. And the chorus is derivative, but hey, rock did really invade the masses in the 80’s.
There is this cool bass and drum groove from Carmine Appice and Chuck Wright in the middle when Masi gets a chance to play with his whammy and force out a million notes in 20 seconds.
And Black Roses closes off Side 1 with the ballad “Paradise (We’re on Our Way)”.
And it reminds me of those Stan Bush ballads he did for various movies.
Now Stan Bush was an 80’s movies voice. Who can forget “The Touch” which basically is another derivative version of “Jump”?
The lead break from Mick Sweda is emotional and perfect, but the star on this song is Mark Free, known since 1993 as Marcie Free, who delivers a vocal hero performance. And if you want to know which band does music like this today, look no further than Revolution Saints.
Lizzy Borden’s, “Me Against the World” kicks off side 2 and it’s basically “Rock N Roll’s Gonna Save The World” from Y&T done in Lizzy’s way. I never got into Lizzy Borden and I don’t why, because I do like this song. Especially the harmony solo section. If you haven’t heard it, find the song on YouTube and crank it. It rivals the harmony solo from “Round and Round” by Ratt.
“Take It Off” from King Kobra is okay. I always gave King Kobra a chance because Johnny Edwards is one hell of a vocalist.
The only time I’ve seen and heard of David Michael-Phillips is via this soundtrack. “King of Kool” is the song. And it’s AC/DC in the verses with a melodic rock style chorus attached. But in the end, I kept thinking of Britny Fox and I couldn’t bite.
Tempest with “Streetlife Warrior” is up next and it was the first time I heard the band. That 10 second intro had me interested, the verses lost me, and the chorus really lost me, then that brief melodic lead after the chorus had me interested again. So I listened through the verses and chorus again to see what else they could do instrumentally. But I didn’t commit any further than this song on the soundtrack.
The NWOBHM was alive and well with Hallow’s Eve and their song “D.I.E.”.
Even early Metallica was alive and well in Hallow’s Eve.
I really liked this song and I have no idea why I didn’t go deeper into their catalogue in the mid 90’s when I got this soundtrack. There are lyrical themes like don’t live your life worrying about things you can’t stop (in this instance it’s about death) because if you give into your fears, you became a slave to them.
Death in effect…..
And that’s it, the “Black Roses” soundtrack is a wrap….