Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, Unsung Heroes

1985 – Part 7

All of these album I came across much later than 1985. Some even well into the 2000’s and courtesy of torrents.

Armored Saint – Delirious Nomad

I never got into em at the time nor did anyone I hanged with, talk about em. But the 2000’s gave me access to their music and man, there is a lot of good stuff on their albums.

Like “Nervous Man” on this album. The riff would have subconsciously inspired Hetfield for “Cyanide”. “For The Sake Of Heaviness” sounds like a Dokken cut without the melodic vocals. “Aftermath” sounds like a cut that Crimson Glory would write in a year’s time. Then again Evergrey’s first album had cuts like this.

Saxon – Innocence Is No Excuse

Saxon are one of my favourite acts. A lot of fans hated the albums on the EMI label, but it’s those albums that made me a fan. The switch from Carrere was going to happen eventually as the band wasn’t getting their royalty cut.

“Rockin’ Again” feels like a Def Leppard cut. I was hooked as soon as the clean tone arpeggios started. “Call Of The Wild” starts off with a classic fast riff like the old albums, but once the verses kick in, its melodic metal baby.

“Devil Rides Out” has a verse vocal melody that is reminiscent of “Breaking The Chains” from Dokken. “Everybody Up” has a riff that reminds me of the one riff to rule them all.

“Broken Heroes” has been a favourite for a while. “Give It Everything You Got” has that LA Sunset Strip vibe that a band from Pasadena brought to prominence.

And if you want to read a review that puts it nicely, head over to HMO.

Kix – Midnite Dynamite

I love the “Sin City” feel to kick off “Midnite Dynamite”. And the pre-chorus is totally different, more in the vein of Def Leppard with open string arpeggios and a melodic rock hook. Then the Chorus moves into a Judas Priest like riff. And that my friends, is why Kix became a band I like.

Main songwriter Donnie Purnell had a unique way of blending a lot of different influences into a cohesive hard rock track. On this album, he teamed up with Bob Halligan Jr for 7 tracks. The title track being one of em. And if you don’t know who Bob Halligan Jr is, then you’ve never listened to Kiss, Helix, Judas Priest, Bonfire or Icon.

Then there is “Bang Bang (Balls Of Fire) which has Kip Winger contributing a song writing credit with Purnell and Halligan Jr. It’s melodic rock.

“Walkin’ Away” is a synth heavy ballad with a great arena rock chorus. It could appear on a Duran Duran album and not be out of place. “Scarlet Fever” is the embryo to “Blow My Fuse”.

And 3 years later, Kix would really hit the top with the excellent “Blow My Fuse”. But that’s for a different year in review.

Icon – Night Of The Crime

Eddie Kramer produced it. Ron Nevison mixed it. Mike Clink assisted the mix.

Capitol Records spared no expense in making sure this album had everything it could have to make it. Bob Halligan Jr song writing contributions are all over it. Six of the songs are either written or co-written by him.

It’s melodic rock. Like all of the current Frontiers artists. Kerrang readers voted this album number 3 in an AOR list. Only “Journey –Escape” and “Michael Bolton – Everybody’s Crazy” were in front.

Unfortunately Capitol had no idea how to market the band.

Well they had no idea either, as the album brings to mind Judas Priest, Def Leppard, Dokken, Night Ranger, Europe, Coney Hatch and Y & T.

The first two Halligan Jr cuts “Naked Eyes” and “Missing” establish that his album is going to be an AOR behemoth.

A favourite is “Danger Calling” at track three, a cut written by Halligan Jr and Icon guitarist Dan Wexler. This song could have appeared on a Judas Priest album and not be out of place. And the AOR rock continues with the Wexler and Stephen Clifford cut, “(Take Another) Shot At My Heart”.

“Out For Blood” is written by Wexler and co-guitarist John Aquilino. It has a two minute and ten seconds “acoustic guitar/electric guitar solo” moment like those Shrapnel Records. Then the song begins.

But the best song is “Raise The Hammer”. It’s written by Halligan Jr. The intro/verse riff is one of the best Judas Priest riffs that Tipton and Downing didn’t write. Then that Chorus. You’ll be singing it. Bonfire took this melodic metal style and sound and ran with it a few years later.

The keyboard led “Frozen Tears” (another Halligan Jr cut) reminds me of Toto.

“The Whites of Their Eyes” has this Lynch meets Scorpions style riff, which a band like Leatherwolf would take and run with a few years later. “Hungry for Love” is your typical “Fallen Angel” lyrical theme with a catchy chorus and metal verse riff.

“Rock My Radio” closes the album. It’s got some decent guitar work, a driving beat and a derivative but catchy, harmony chorus you will like.

Phenomena – Phenomena

This project was awesome. Formed by record producer Tom Galley and his brother, Mel Galley fresh from a stint with Whitesnake.

It’s another melodic AOR rock classic and it’s a who’s who of artist on the tracks.

The first track, “Kiss Of Fire” is written by Richard Bailey (the keyboardist from Magnum) and Tom Galley. It has Glenn Hughes on vocals, Cozy Powell on drums, Neil Murray on bass, Richard Bailey on keyboards and John Thomas (from Budgie) on guitar. And it’s a great melodic rock song to start the way.

“Still The Night” is from the Thrall/Hughes project (written by Pat Thrall and Paul Delph) from a few years before and again, it has Glenn Hughes on vocals, Ted McKenna (MSG) on drums and John Thomas/Mel Galley on guitars with Robin Smith (songwriter and studio muso on various sessions) on the keys. This song is a favourite.

“Dance With The Devil” is written by Richard Bailey, Mel Galley and Tom Galley. Glenn Hughes wails away on vocals, while the band is rounded out by Cozy Powell on drums, Neil Murray on bass, Richard Bailey on keyboards and John Thomas/Mel Galley on guitar. There is a mean fiddle melodic riff which sounds like Kansas.

“Phoenix Rising” is written by Bailey and the Galley brothers. The band this time around is Hughes on vocals, Powell on drums, Murray on bass, Mel Galley on guitar and Bailey on keyboards.

I love the way this starts off with a clean tone guitar playing arpeggios and keys adding effects. It sounds like a soundtrack to a Christopher Nolan movie.

“Who’s Watching You” is written by Tom Galley and Mel Galley. It has McKenna on drums, Galley on guitar, Don Airey on keyboards, Glenn Hughes on bass and vocals. As soon as the riff kicks in, I’m all in.

“Hell On Wings” is written by the Galley brothers with Bailey. The band is Murray on bass, Powell on drums, Galley on guitar, Bailey on keys and Hughes on vocals. It’s got this harmony lead in the start that screams Thin Lizzy.

“Twilight Zone” is written by Bailey and Tom Galley. The band is Murray on bass, Powell on drums, Thomas and Galley on guitars, Bailey on keys and the mighty Hughes on vocals. The intro lead hooks me, the verses lose me, the Chorus loses me, but the music keeps me interested.

Helix – Long Way To Heaven

Helix are severely under-represented on Spotify. This album is not on it. But YouTube has it.

It’s on Capitol Records, the same Capitol that had Icon and Bob Halligan Jr working together and the same Capitol that had a reputation as a label which didn’t really know how to promote their metal and rock acts.

“The Kids Are All Shakin” could have appeared on an Autograph album. It’s a perfect major key radio rock anthem.

Mr Bob Halligan Jr makes an appearance again in the song writing department, with “Deep Cuts The Knife” a co-write with Paul Hackman and “Ride The Rocket” a co-write with Brian Vollmer. I should have called this post the Bob Halligan Jr post.

As soon as the arpeggios kick off “Deep Cuts The Knife” I was hooked. Then the vocal melody started and I was all in. This song is a perfect piece of melodic rock.

The intro to “House Of Fire” is brilliant. Then the fire bell starts ringing, the riffs kick in and it’s time to rock and roll. Hackman and Vollmer wrote a classic here. “Christine” is typical of 1985. So many songs had the similar major key riff. “Turn On The Radio” comes to mind immediately and I’m all in because of the similarity and familiarity.

How good does “Without You (Jasmine’s Song)” start off?

It’s a perfect AOR track and that Chorus remains me with long after the song is finished.

Well that’s a wrap for another 85 post, so off to 1977 for part 7.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Saxon – The Eagle Has Landed

It’s very Sabbath like in the Intro, just plodding along and slowly percolating. It almost feels like Hetfield was listening and wrote “The Outlaw Torn” many years later based on this song. 

When the “Stormbringer” influenced riff from Deep Purple comes in, well, it’s time to bang that head, cause metal health has got me going crazy.

That clean tone melodic riff that appears at about 2.30 for the verse, if it was in the hands of Tool, would be jammed on until it’s a twelve minute song.

Travelled across the universe
And placed the lonely flag
Out there in isolation
At the final, the final frontier

The U.S had a lot riding on this Moon mission in their Cold War showdown against the U.S.S.R. The Wright Brothers made the first controlled, sustained flight of a powered, heavier-than-air aircraft on December 17, 1903. 60 plus years later, engineering and innovation put man on the moon, and mathematics returned them home.

I remember in Superman 2, when General Zod and his accomplices arrived on the moon and heard the term “Houston”, believing that is the name of this new world that was going to be theirs for the taking. But the son of their greatest enemy was also on Earth (aka Houston). They don’t make movies like that anymore, with great script writing because the effects and the technology just wasn’t there to fill up space, so dialogue had to take the place of green screens.

The world’s in celebration
As we wait for your return
You took a giant leap for mankind
On another, on another world

The moon landing fascinated people.

After another half a dozen more trips, the moon trips got canned. People got bored and didn’t really care anymore. That great leap for mankind was like blah, many years later.

And conspiracy theories exist about the images shown to the world.

Are they filmed in a studio or are the images the real ones from the Moon?

Also, in order to bring the astronauts home, the engineers still weren’t sure. They were using mathematics on the fly, trying to calibrate how and when.

Take it easy, take it slow

And for the last 40 seconds, Saxon ramped it up.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Saxon – Nightmare

A simple high hat drum groove and arpeggio riff sets up the groove. According to the gospel of Saxon, a broken heart is a nightmare. Nice play on words.

And a film clip was also created with vocalist, Biff Byford laying on a bed, having a nightmare and stuck within his four walls.

As night closes in, l lay in my bed

Our thoughts within four walls. Who would want to know them and we will never share them?

That my nightmare begins where reality ends

“Take the blue pill or the red pill”, Morpheus said to Neo.

Where were you, I was caught in a nightmare

Our tribal instincts to survive is to be part of a group, hence the reason why we seek out relationships. And when relationships turn bad, and friends pick sides, we are left alone, in a nightmare. Starting over is hard for a lot of people.

The guitar solo is brilliant, starting of subdued and picking up as the song picks back up. Actually, the guitar attack of Graham Oliver and Paul Quinn, isn’t as celebrated as the Thin Lizzy Gorham/Robertson duo or the Maiden Murray/Smith duo or the Def Leppard Collen/Clark duo or Clark/Willis duo but man, these dudes could solo and riff and harmonize their way as good as all of em.

In addition Steve Dawson on bass, holds the foundation along with Nigel Glockler on drums.

And how good is the double bass drum at the end?

Where were you in the night?

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Saxon – The Power And The Glory

It’s the title track, produced by Jeff Glixman and their last album on Carerre before their “supposably” big money move to EMI Records in 1984.

The album was written during the British Invasion of the Falkland Islands and you hear the aggression in it as it focuses on the life of mercenaries and includes tributes to mans first landing on the moon and “E.T.”

Saxon is all about grit. A working class band that had to keep working hard to remain relevant.

I could never understand why the critics didn’t like it, to be honest. It didn’t get really great reviews. But I like it. “Watching the Skies” is one of my favourites. And the actual title track, “Power and the Glory,” is brilliant to play live, absolutely. One of the best things ever.
Steve Dawson from Saxon

“The Power And The Glory” kicks off the album with a riff that would have influenced Iron Maiden’s “Two Minutes To Midnight” and when the drums come in, its “Dirty Deeds” on steroids.

I’ve actually done a post on the one riff to rule them all. It was a general riff used by many metal and rock bands between 1976 to 1986.

And the verse riff reminds so much of Thin Lizzy, it connects straight away. Its probably why this song is one of my favourite Saxon tracks. All of those little connections to previous bands, all blended up and out comes, Saxon.

I’m fighting for freedom
I’m safe, I’ve got God on my side

It’s what the generals told the soldiers, because they are fighting for freedom, god is on their side, so don’t fear, you will prevail. Yep, tell that to the solider with machine guns from the other side, who also believes the same and is fighting for their own freedom.

The General says we’ll will win the war,
Just sacrificed a thousand more

We commemorate Anzac Day in Australia and if you read Anzac history, you will see how the British Generals sent the soldiers of their Commonwealth countries into battle first. While these young men got cut down by machine gun fire, the Generals watched from afar, safe from all the hell. All in the name of power and glory, for whose god is more divine and for who has more lands and resources under control.

To the power and the glory
Raise your glasses high

Raise your glasses indeed.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

1984 – VII – The Crusader Blitz Lays Down The Law To Steal The Light

Here is the playlist for 1984-7.

If you want to read the previous 1984 posts, here are the links.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Keel – Lay Down the Law

Ron Keel did everything at 12. When he delivered a vocal, he was up there at an 12 intensity.

I really thought Keel would go on and do great things. They had Gene Simmons writing and producing the band at one stage. By 1987, they had Jimmy Bain from Dio writing with them, along with Jack Ponti. But each new album started to become the same as the previous album, that even the core audience started to move on. I felt like the same theme carried over four separate albums.

How many times can you re-write, “Metal Generation” into “The Right To Rock” into “Raised On Rock” into “The Final Frontier” into “United Nations”?

Anyway.

“Born Ready” starts off with a “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” style riff for a song about coming of age and being ready to take control.

“Metal Generation” has this Ratt like riff based on “Lack Of Communication”, but hey, the LA scene was awash with similar sounding riffs and bands. And while the song sounded generic, the lead break is worthy of guitar hero status. Listen to it, and if you are not playing air guitar by the end of it, you don’t appreciate shredding.

“You’re The Victim (I Am The Crime)” is just a fast dumb song that’s too good to turn away. The double kick throughout brings back memories of “Overkill” from Motorhead and the riffs are that fast, that they could have been lifted from “Kill Em All”. But the lead break steals the show again. Marc Ferrari and Brian Jay proved to be a dynamic guitar duo.

If you dismissed Keel because of the vocals or the generic themes, you need to revisit them just to hear the lead breaks.

Hagar Schon Aaronson Shrieve – Through The Fires

What a great idea to get a few guys with chops in a room and letting them jam. HSAS is a perfect example of what is beautiful about music. These guys didn’t get together to create songs to sell millions of albums. They got together because they wanted to create. And from those creations, they wanted to gig. And then they ran out of time to record more studio albums because Schon went back to Journey and Hagar joined Van Halen.

“Top Of The Rock” has this foot stomping riff to kick it off and Sammy Hagar during this period is in top form. And his lyrics about life, status and society are brilliant.

It aint easy speaking out, some people take it to heart

And if you’re not standing on top of the rock they will tear you apart

“Missing You” for such a generic, ballad sounding title is nothing as such. If you want to hear where “Ghost” takes his influences, then you need to check out this song. Take out Sammy’s voice and add the voice of the clergy and you will have a Ghost song. The vocal line that Hagar delivers here is out of the park.

And Neal Schon, is referencing his “Don’t Stop Believin” riff with a few tweaks here and there for the Chorus. Plus he really lets loose on the lead break, as Journey Neal Schon started to become a decorator instead of a shredder.

“Valley Of The Kings/Giza” has everything, as HSAS become world musicians and take the exotic Phrygian Dominant scale into their set list. “Whiter Shade Of Pale” is a song I always enjoyed playing and hearing, as it was one of the first songs my guitar teacher showed me back in the day. It’s got such a cool chord progression that soloing over it is awesome and Neal Schon does exactly that. “Hot and Dirty” while dumb lyrically, is great melodically and musically.

“He Will Understand” has a riff which should have been a number 1 pop riff. Sammy again delivers a great vocal, although lyrically the song didn’t connect. But the music. It’s excellent. And check out these lyrics.

“Friendships can fade away”

“There’s not much to talk about because there’s too much to say”

And then Neal Schon starts to deliver a metal like riff from the 2.20 minute mark and then the band morphs into a 70’s progressive style band, in the Chorus. Plus have I mentioned how Neal Schon goes to town in each song and shows the world why he’s one of the great guitarists.

I thought “My Hometown” would have been a ballad when I saw the title, but man, in my mind, it’s a song that is influenced 100% by Van Halen and ZZ Top. And that Chorus riff, is the Seattle sound and groove. Check it out if you don’t believe me.

The Rods – Let Them Eat Metal

When Johnny Rod joined WASP, I thought he came from a band called The Rods (it was actually King Cobra). I was always curious to hear the origins of musicians, but to hear an album meant I had to spend money on it and I had other more higher profile releases earmarked for that. So I didn’t hear these guys until well into the 2010’s decade and it was all because I thought a bass player came from the band but he didn’t.

And this album is a cool listen. You can’t take it seriously but you can enjoy the hell out of it.

There isn’t really a stand out song, but there isn’t a bad song either. But if I was been tortured by some doctors from a dictatorship government and I had to pick a favourite, it would be “Nuclear Skies”, for its enlightening lyric, “from the air we are breathing, we should all be dead” and its vocal harmony chorus.

And I don’t know how they had the balls to release “Bad Blood” because man, that song is “Breaking The Law” from Judas Priest. But hey, music is based on the sum of our influences and you can hear in this song, The Rods had a pretty big Judas Priest influence.

Saxon – Crusader

They’ve had a career in music for a long time and they still write and record albums today. When they came across my radar, my initial impression was that they would be as big as Iron Maiden. And it didn’t happen and I was confused as to why.

The “Crusader” intro was enough to get me ready to break desks. The bass rolls along like “Heaven And Hell” and the guitars decorate.

“Fight the good fight, believe what is right”

The song is about the Crusades, but some of the lyrics can be interloped with the current world situation. We have democratic countries, with democratically elected leaders, spying and carrying out surveillance on their citizens, in the same way that dictatorship governments do/did. And the hypocrisy is that our leaders then stand on their soapbox and condemn these kinds of governments, but it’s okay for our leaders to do it, because they tell us they are the good guys, but we all know they are beholden to the corporations.

“Sailing To America” actually took me by surprise, because the vocals sounded like a cross between Sting and Steve Perry and I really dug that vibe. And this is probably the predicament Saxon had. They dabbled in many different styles, but the record labels like to promote (in other words pigeon hole) an artist in a particular genre/style, which is totally wrong.

“Do It All For You” has one of those intro’s that makes you pay attention, like “The Hellion”. And when I was expecting an “Electric Eye” style riff it goes into a ballad, which was okay, but not worthy of the intro. And I enjoyed “Just Let Me Rock” and “Rock City” but they didn’t connect. I think I was over all the song titles coming out with “Rock” in the title. In saying that, did Dee Snider get influenced by this song for a certain song on “Come Out And Play” called “You Want What We Got”. As “Rock City” states, you want it, we got it.

Krokus – The Blitz

I think they tried really hard to shake their AC/DC tag on this one, bringing in a lot of Judas Priest like elements, a cover songs and some outside writers. But when you have a vocalist who sounds like an AC/DC vocalist, it’s hard to shake that tag.

The production team behind the album is unbelievable. Bruce Fairbairn is producing, Bob Rock is an engineer and Mike Fraser is an assistant engineer. Even Survivor’s Jimi Jamison makes an appearance as a backing vocalist.

I want to talk about “Hot Stuff”. Now this song is what Krokus is all about to me. The intro is like “The Hellion” from Judas Priest, while the verses roll along like AC/DC and the Chorus is very LA sounding. And the lead break combined elements of Schenker, Young and EVH.

On “Boys Nite Out”, Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance are also co-writers, so the label really wanted this album to succeed.

Legs Diamond – Out On Bail

So Legs Diamond (stupid band name by the way) came into my radar because I kept hearing from the one person in the area I grew up in (that seemed to have every single rock and metal album), that if I liked Tom Keifer’s voice, then I would like Legs Diamond. The band could play, and they bordered on NWOBHM and melodic rock.

The electronic drums. You either like em or you don’t. To me, they are a major distraction from the rawk and roll of the music.  

The band was actually broken up, but when they saw that their albums started to sell here and there, they reformed to capitalise on this new found interest.

The way I see it, “One Way Ticket” captures what the band is all about, combining all of their rock, metal and melodic influences into their own style. And at seven minutes long, it wasn’t long enough for me. It made me, press repeat. To compare, the title track “Out On Bail” comes across as rooted in the AC/DC/NWOBHM groove, “Radio” feels like a ZZ Top/Deep Purple medley and then “Fugitive” comes across like Journey synth AOR. Three distinct compositions. “Walkaway” should have been a Top 10 hit, but it wasn’t.

But “One Way Ticket” is the song and its unknown.

And the other song that defines their sound is “One Last Kiss”. Musically, it has so much happening, it has a flute solo and its over pretty quick.

Tony Carey – Some Tough City

I didn’t know what to expect on this album. I saw it on a melodic rock list, so I cued it up as the name Tony Carey appeared on a few Rainbow albums as a keyboardist. And I swear, it feels like “Lost Highway” from Bon Jovi was written after hearing the song “A Fine Fine Day”, then again maybe Mellencamp was an influence here.

Q5 – Steal The Light

I knew about this band, because Floyd Rose played guitar in the band. And for those who don’t know, Floyd Rose invented of course,  the “Floyd Rose” tremolo locking system that stopped guitars from going out of tune whenever the whammy bar was activated. In a Guitar World issue, years ago, this invention was rated as one of the most ground breaking guitar inventions.

So one day in the 90’s, my fingers were walking over the $1 bin LP’s in a second hand record store and it was there I came across Q5’s album. I took it and a lot of other obscure metal and rock bands home, dropped the needle and I just enjoyed every note and every word. There is not a bad song on it.

The opening NWOBHM style riff of “Missing In Action” hooks me. The intro harmony leads in “Lonely Lady” get me playing air guitar. “Steal The Light” has an intro riff that forces me to pick up the guitar and learn it.

“Pull The Trigger” is AC/DC all metalized. “Ain’t No Way To Treat A Lady” could have come from the “Highway To Hell” album. “Rock On” feels like it’s a metal version of “Peter Gunn” in the verses and “Hells Bells” like in the Chorus.

They had one more album on Polygram a few years later, argued when it didn’t do anything commercially and disbanded. Frontiers then resurrected the band around 2014 and a new album came out a few years after that.

Well that’s it for another 1984 post, I am pretty sure I have a few more to go.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories

1983 – VII – Choirboy Lemmy Is Making Contact With Slayer and Queensryche

The Vinyl Story

By 1994, the compact disc industry (CD) had taken over. The most cherished vinyl collections of people became a distant memory. Add to that list cassettes. But something unexpected also happened in 1994. The third album from Pearl Jam called “Vitalogy” was released on vinyl for the first two weeks. And it sold and it showed the recording industry that there is life in vinyl. Fast forward to 2017 and vinyl releases are now becoming the norm.

But in 1983, vinyl and cassettes ruled. But the story of vinyl is more nuanced. In the same way 1998 was the peak of the CD, 1978, was the peak of Vinyl, according to the RIAA. Sales of vinyl decreased each year after 1978 until 1993.

By 1983, the mighty cassette overtook vinyl sales and it stayed this way until 1991..

And speaking of vinyl, check out the back cover of the first Metal Massacre album. Look at the Ratt, Steeler and Metallica line up. Hard rock bands, metal bands and more abrasive metal bands are all together. United.

The Punk and Speed Metal Crossover Story

It all started with the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. As Punk music became a commercial force in the late Seventies, metal bands had to adjust their sounds and tempo’s in order to compete with it. So even though most metal bands hated punk bands, there is no denying an unconscious influence on the metal genre. As the article at Vice states;

“Consciously or not, a lot of the anger, aggression and speed of punk started seeping into the music, and Iron Maiden even showed their mascot, Eddie, with punked-out, spiked red hair on the cover of the band’s debut album. NWOBHM bands also adopted the DIY ethic of the punk scene, putting out their own albums and singles instead of waiting for the mainstream to catch up to their sound and give them a record deal.”

In the State’s the crossover of punk and metal happened around 1983.

As the Vice article states, each band had a member who liked punk and brought it in.

“In Slayer, it was the late Jeff Hanneman, and in Anthrax it was Scott Ian (and it also has to be said that even though Cliff Burton was a bell-bottomed hippie, he had more of a punk attitude than anything). As Hanneman recalled in a 2004 documentary, “I was really into punk when we were getting together… I forced it on the other guys…I loved the speed and energy, but I didn’t want to go with just playing chord patterns all the time, because that’s basically what punk is. I wanted to make it fast with good, heavy riffs.”

So what a fitting way to being Part 7 of my 1983 series with Slayer’s “Show No Mercy”. If you want to get re-acquainted with the other parts, here they are.

For Part 1, click here. For Part 2, click here. For Part 3, click here. For Part 4, click here. For Part 5, click here. For Part 6, click here.

Slayer – Show No Mercy
Slayer’s debut hits the shelves in 1983, but I didn’t actually hear it until the late 90’s. This whole thrash movement has one unsung hero in Brian Slagel and his Metal Blade label. It all started from the “Metal Massacre” compilation and it kept on growing. A whole genre owes its success to Slagel.

It was Slagel who saw Slayer opening a show for Bitch (a band that was on the original “Metal Massacre” album. Impressed, Slagel asked the band to submit a song for “Metal Massacre III”. Soon after, Slayer had a recording contract and a few months later, “Show No Mercy” hits the streets.

“We did it every night from 11PM to seven in the morning. It was the only time this guy could get away with charging us next to nothing. We paid him for his time and for the tape. ‘Here’s a $400 check.’ We spent $1,500 for it in total. Kerry borrowed money from his dad to pay for half, and I paid half.”
Tom Araya – Loudwire

Evil Has No Boundaries
When certain scenes happen, the majority of the bands have the same influences or similar influences, so they start to do the same thing as other bands and there is a lot of copying going on. You can hear the NWOBHM (Judas Priest and Iron Maiden) in Slayer, with a special nod to Venom and Danish metallers Mercyful Fate.

Can someone tell me the difference between “Whiplash” from Metallica and “Evil Has No Boundaries”?

Who cares anyway, both songs are relentless and anarchic. The next re-iteration of the “heavy metal thunder” was faster heavy metal thunder.

Lyrics in the song are written by Jeff Hanneman (RIP) and Kerry King, while King is responsible for the music.

Midnight has come and the leathers strapped on
Evil is at our command
We clash with God’s angel and conquer new souls
Consuming all that we can

I’ve always classed the “WE” in the song as a movement/musical culture. In this case, it’s the aggressive speed metal movement taking on the status quo.

Die by the Sword
It’s written by Jeff Hanneman (RIP) way before they were signed and it’s brilliant. The song has so many movements and so many different guitar styles/elements in it. It’s basically the style that Metallica would push even further between “Ride The Lightning” and “Justice For All”.

Mindless tyranny, forgotten victims

Governments create systems and Corporations create ways to make money from these systems. The Corporations then employ us to work. The banks then offer us ways to borrow from them and once we are in debt we are no better than slaves, the forgotten victims.

Metalstorm/Face the Slayer
The first 19 seconds is the embryo of the “Creeping Death” intro. James Hetfield or Kirk Hammett would have been influenced by it. Musically, it is a Kerry King composition and lyrically, it’s written by King and Hanneman

Your life is just another game

For the Corporations the game is to make money. How many lives they destroy in the process, is insignificant.

Queensrÿche

There is something unique about hearing the early recordings of bands. It could be the youthful enthusiasm or the fact that they wrote songs without thought of reward. When Queensryche started back in the early Eighties, they were called the Mob. Once they got management and a label interested, a simple search found another band with  that name.

“At the time, Chris DeGarmo, had the song “Queen of the Reich,” which was [inspired by] a nightmare that he’d had. We combined “queen” and “reich” and gave the result a new spelling. There weren’t many bands in the Q section of record stores back then, so that helped us stand out.”
Michael Wilton

Between 1981 and 1983, The Mob worked hard to save up enough cash to record a four-song EP. But they still couldn’t find a singer. They called up Tate who was still in the band Myth, and asked him to lay down the vocal tracks for the EP, and Tate agreed.

At the time of the recording, The Mob had three finished songs in “Queen of the Reich,” “Nightrider,” and “Blinded.” The music for another song was complete, but it had no lyrics. Tate liked the music and decided to write lyrics for it. The song would become “The Lady Wore Black.”

The completed EP generated a buzz in the Seattle scene, however major labels rejected it and Geoff Tate went back to Myth.

“We had four songs that we recorded at a local studio called Triad Studios. It was an eye-opener for us to be in such a big room and use analog tape and a big mixing board. We had a lot of fun, and it was a learning experience. Then we pressed about 20,000 EPs. Soon after, we got this amazing review in Kerrang! magazine, and that’s when everything took off. We all had day jobs—I was a resistor twister at this electronics place—and all of a sudden I hear “Queen of the Reich” on the local radio station. People thought it was some European band. They didn’t realize it was us!”
Michael Wilton 

It was the Kerrang review along with the sales of the EP that sealed Tate’s fate and he decided to leave Myth and join Queensryche full-time.

Queen of the Reich
While the demo was released in 1983, the songs are originally recorded in 1981. It’s a progressive metal composition that was way ahead of its time. The world also got to hear Geoff Tate, and they got to know one of the best songwriters in Chris DeGarmo via this song. I think it’s safe to say that Queensryche started off a New Wave Of American Metal Mastery.

“A lot of people don’t know about that song. A lot of people don’t care about that song. It’s an early song that was written and it shows. It’s funny the reaction you get, because it’s a lot of blank stares. In fact, it’s the same stare you get when you play a new song that nobody’s heard before. People just aren’t that familiar with it. Given there are a few hard-core fans that might know that song, or like that song, and know what it is, but the majority of the people there don’t. So it’s not really a song that I enjoy singing, strictly because, lyrically, it’s pretty adolescent. It was the first song written thirty-some-odd years ago and obviously I cannot relate to it anymore. I think, for performance, it’s always best for the performer to really believe in the material they’re singing or playing. If you don’t believe in it, it’s really difficult to get behind a song, do it well and do it at a level that comes across with any kind of believability. For me, I honestly can’t relate to the whole dungeons-and-dragons lyrical content of that song; it’s really cartoonish and juvenile to me”.
Geoff Tate 

While musically, the song is brilliant, it’s easy to understand why artists as they get older seem to steer away from certain songs because of the lyrics.

The Lady Wore Black

We sat for some time together in silence
Never speaking in words
Of all her thoughts she spoke with her eyes
And I listened remembering all I heard

All songs rooted in mysticism have their roots in real life situations and I am sure “The Lady Wore Black” would be no different. Hell, the verse above could be about a relationship going sour.

UFO – Making Contact
UFO is one of those bands who worked and toured quite hard and got stiffed on the money by managers and record labels. Even to this day, the re-releases of their classic albums just means a bigger pay-day to the record label instead of the songwriters.

To understand “Making Contact” you would need to go back to 1980 and Neil Carter is looking for a new gig, while still in “Wild Horses”. Phil Collen introduces Carter to UFO, who had just gotten rid of Paul Raymond. An audition was set up and Carter joined in the middle of recording “The Wild, The Willing and The Innocent”. Carter’s input came via backing vocals and the sax solo.

Then came the expensive “Mechanix” album, written and recorded at Queens’ studio in Montreux, Switzerland. After another commercial disappointment, Pete Way just stopped turning up and Paul Chapman with Neil Carter took over the bass duties for “Making Contact”.

“If there had been an offer I would have gone long before UFO made a move, to be honest. I have to credit them for giving me my first rock break, but the band were very limited on song writing ability and were always regarded as a pale THIN LIZZY clone. They were rock ‘n’ roll with a capital “R” and that led to some crazy times, poor performances and excess as you can imagine. I cannot imagine these days how I got through some of the situations that I was faced with over that period, and in UFO!”
Neil Carter

The line-up was Phil Mogg on vocals, Paul Chapman on guitars, Neil Carter on keyboards/bass and Andy Parker on drums while Gary Lyons was on board originally and then replaced by Mick Glossop as producer.

They had a bizarre way of working as a lot of the songs were basically written as backing tracks with little or no thought of the melodies or lyrics until Phil Mogg actually did the vocals. A lot of the tracks were written and formed in the studio which is rather an expensive way of doing things! Sad in a way, but we had to get on with it and musically it made no real difference, surprisingly. I read a few things that Pete said about the direction the music was heading and, under my influence, how there were more keyboards etcetera, but UFO had always tried different things in the studio, long before I joined. For “Making Contact” Paul [Chapman] and I had to take control and use the studio time effectively. We were a bit more organized on that one and spent several weeks writing at a hotel in Sussex before recording it at the Manor Studios in Oxfordshire. A lot of “Mechanix” was written in QUEEN’s studio in Montreaux… and that was expensive!
Neil Carter 

Blinded By A Lie
It’s written by Neil Carter and Phil Mogg and it’s got a pretty wicked riff.

I got the information from a friend last night
And it looks so very different in black and white
I was “part of the second party”, that was me
Signed away my life, really couldn’t see

Is it about those dubious recording contracts artists signed in their quest for fame.

Call My Name
It’s written by Neil Carter and Phil Mogg.

I met you watching the cars go by
You were there, every night, at the corner of elm and vine
And you had nothing to hide
For just a few bucks and you know it’s a free ride

One of the biggest problems for UFO was their lyrics. In 1983, we wanted the “rebellious, standing up to the authority” lyrics. Instead Mogg is singing about being in love with a lady of the street.

All Over You
It’s written by Neil Carter and Phil Mogg.

Dumb lyrics ruin a good musical song.

By 1983, UFO was playing the MTV catch up game and their past 70’s success was not enough to keep them going, so it was no surprise that they disbanded. Billy Sheehan started off the “Making Contact” tour, but things didn’t go too well and after Phil Mogg performed wasted in Athens, Greece, UFO was no more.

Motorhead – Another Perfect Day
Another band that was playing the MTV catch up game was Motorhead. Although Lemmy was a legend of all legends, the Chuck Norris of the metal world, he wasn’t a superstar in a commercial sense and would never really become one. But the man had a way with words. Eventually, he would make more money writing lyrics for Ozzy than what he did with Motorhead.

Here is a quick snapshot of some golden words in each track from “Another Perfect Day”.

I really like this jacket but the sleeves are much too long
From “Back At The Funny Farm”
Lemmy’s take on a straight jacket.

Bet ya thought I wouldn’t have no style
From “Shine”
Don’t judge Lemmy based on his looks and appearance.

But you know you ran out of money
Wound up on your knees
From “Dancing On Your Grave”
A Lemmy tale for a cold winters night, about Lemmy’s favourite topic, a woman out of money and resorting to a career on her knees to make it through.

Rock’n’roll music gonna stop the world
From “Rock It”
The start instantly reminds me of “Under The Blade” from Twisted Sister. I would have used the words, rock and roll music gonna change the world.

Two faced women, two black eyes
From “One Track Mind”
The social lynch mobs would tear this line apart for promoting violence against women.

The truth is only black and white
No shade of grey
From “Another Perfect Day”
The legal profession deals with the grey.

Never rise again, we lost a million friends
From “Marching Off To War”
World War 1 and the end of worlds’ innocence.

Here’s the story, there’s only me
From “I Got Mine”
Damn right, it’s only Lemmy and no one else.

You’ll find that I’m real bad luck
From “Tales Of Glory”
It’s as heartfelt as Lemmy would get.

Deal with the misfits, wipe ’em out
From “Die You Bastard”
Lemmy’s take on governments trying to wipe out the punks.

Musically, this album is excellent. The problem was MTV and Motorhead didn’t fit the MTV bill of marketable bands that looked good on video. So Motorhead would be that cult band that is forever respected but not as commercially successful as they should be.

Heavy Pettin – Lettin Loose

“Glasgow in the 1970s was all about learning through meeting people, going to gigs (Nazareth included), running around wild, listening to KISS, getting drunk and learning to play guitar, and meeting lovely creatures that produce little people from their insides. Most of my learning about music came from three distinct places during the 70s: The Glasgow Apollo (an amazing place to experience live music at the time), Listen Records, and my mates Mick and Stu (incidentally, I played in a band with these guys – we almost started World War III in Scotland with our band the Criminal Minds). Had it not been for these three elements I’d have struggled with learning about music and the music business. Glasgow itself was made up of many crazy people who lived in dreary rundown council estates. I was born in the backroom of a tenement house on one of those estates in a place called Castlemilk. I remember Castlemilk as a place of violence and early deaths. I also remember it as a place of adventure.”
Guitarist Punky Mendoza

Heavy Pettin are from Scotland and “Lettin Loose” is their debut album. Brian May was on board to produce and then disappoint three-quarters of the band with the final product. Roger Taylor was even asked to leave the room as his presence intimidated Punky Mendoza from recording a lead.

“When I joined Pettin the band was actually called Weeper. But it was only used as a transitional band name. I only played in one band before Pettin. It was basically a bedroom headache called Zero Trap. Incidentally, if you have heard of the band The Almighty, the original guitarist, Tantrum, was the bass player in Zero Trap.”
Guitarist Punky Mendoza

Music is a lifers game. You can’t enter it when you want and expect something gold to happen. It’s a long process full of highs and lows.

“We actually did better in America than anywhere else. The name was accepted in America without any problems. The record company had better fries to cook than Pettin. That was why we never made it in the States.”
Guitarist Punky Mendoza 

A lot of people asked why Heavy Pettin never made it. Was it the band name, was it the lack of a single or as a record label exec would say, was it the “Minnie Mouse on helium voice of their lead vocalist”.

In the 80’s, for a band to make it, they needed a large push from their record label. If that didn’t happen, their recorded product would not get out to listeners. I didn’t hear Heavy Pettin until the 90’s, when I picked up their first two albums in a second-hand record shop.

“There is no doubt at all that most of the band wanted to sound like a Mutt Lange production. In fact, partly due to the influence of Def Leppard, Pettin lost the chance to be managed by Peter Mensch and Cliff Burnstein – Leppard’s management team at that time.”
Guitarist Punky Mendoza

Why have two of the same acts, especially when Def Leppard in 1983 are still very current and active.

In And Out of Love
The first 17 seconds sets up the song by using minor key (sad) with major key (happy). Overall, it’s a great song musically and the Chorus is pretty cool.

As a bonus, the “Minnie Mouse on helium voice” was not really relevant on album number 1, but it would be on Album number 2.

(In and out of love) she told me she loved me
(But love is not enough) oh, lead me away
(In and out of love) I’ve gone all to pieces
She can’t hear a word that I say

It’s a cool Chorus. Nothing original, but melodically its good.

Victims Of The Night
The 90 second intro is quality metal and for any people who said to me that Heavy Pettin is too light for them, I always tell them to check out this song. Because for 1983 standards, this song is as metal as it gets.

Can you hear the cries as they scream out in the night
The children live in fear, the victims of the night
(Raging like thunder) flashes line the sky
(They’re going under) too many young were born to die

The only time the title of the song is mentioned, and that’s in the first verse.

Take no prisoners
No-one stands in your way
Fight for your life here today

It seems like that every single day, especially right now. We are all so over committed with our banks/lenders, it’s a fight every day to keep a roof over our heads. Our leaders like to make war and in the process invite war back to the streets of suburbia. The war on drugs has been going on since the 70’s and almost 50 years later, more drugs are on the streets than ever before.

Rock Me

(They’re out there waiting) anticipating
(No turning back now) so get on with the show

The Rock N Roll show.

Once upon a time everyone could get a ticket at a reasonable price. Today, everyone can get a ticket at a premium price and depending on which credit card company you are with, you might have access to early pre- sales.

Roll The Dice

It’s basically a speed metal song.

You can’t get it all in your life
It’s the way you roll the dice

Damn right. Small actions each day lead to great changes in the future.

For an audience that was eating up the pseudo-Satanic barbed-wire pop metal of Crue’s Shout at the Devil, Pettin’s breezy melodic rock didn’t quite deliver the goods.
Classic Rock Magazine 

Choirboys

“We used to rehearse in a friend’s parents’ garage. Then we went into a shop that was in a deserted building that we rented from somebody for about a year. We did recordings in there and we did rehearsals there. That was at Rosebery in Sydney. It was a classic garage band. We literally rehearsed in a garage.”
Mark Gable

Choirboys is an Australian band, formed in 1976 on the Northern Beaches, about 90 minutes away from where I live on the Southern Beaches. By 1983, they had a record deal with Albert Productions, after a demo found its way to George Young.

“And then George rang me up and said ‘I like what you’re getting together Mark’ and away we went… And then there was no turning back. As George described it, ‘you’re on the treadmill’ and it’s a wonderful treadmill.”
Mark Gable

As soon as they got some momentum going, Mark Gable’s vocal cords ruptured and 1984/85 was spent in hiatus. Of course, once “Run to Paradise” came out in 1987, the Choirboys, would go on to fulfil the potential they showed 4 years earlier.

Never Gonna Die
“Never Gonna Die” is the lead single from their self-titled debut.

When the Fridays bring the weekends
The night will be our home again

It’s a pub rock song, about playing in a pub. You can’t get any more Aussie then that. Maybe our PM Turnbull can add Pub Rock to his list of Australian values.

The smell of beer and perfume

All of these places still smell on beer and perfume and whatever else ends up on the floor these days.

I don’t live for music, no
I say I live for rock ‘n’ roll
We won’t let them push us
We won’t let them touch us

It’s a melodic rock anthem.

Other tracks of note on the debut album is the AC/DC inspired “Talk Big” with some cool lyrics about people I am sure we have all come across in our lives.

And I’ve seen you kiss the feet
Of someone better than you

Yes, how many of those people have we met in life?

Well you Talk Big
But you ain’t got nothing to say
All that big talk
But your mouth gets in the way

In the end, all of that big talk lends to empty houses and loneliness.

Your With The Big Boys Now (Carrie)
The riffs in this song are brilliant and it’s got some tasty shred at the end.

You’re sleeping with a rock star
You’re with the big boys now

It’s all about trying to grow up to fast.

Fight by the Book

Another tasty guitar lead over an AC/DC inspired rhythm.

He gets his clothes
At the best store
He gets his hair cut for free
He never walks with the riff raff
He wouldn’t like to talk to me

We are the riff raff and we are the ones that drive society and culture. It would be great if we all realised it.

Bull Shit

I say the politics
Well they’re lunatics
They say it’s right
But we know it’s wrong
Spread the word

It’s all just
Bull shit to me

We used to call it once upon a time. These days, we still like to call it, however with social media and the need for everyone to be liked, we are hesitant.

On Twitter I see Zoltan Bathory get into a few exchanges with followers/trolls on his political and social views. Robb Flynn calls out Anselmo for racism and he gets his life threatened. Artists who supported Clinton, slam Trump and his followers and alienate a percentage of their fan base who voted for Trump.

Saxon – Power And The Glory

It’s their fifth studio album produced by Jeff Glixman and their last album on Carerre before their supposedly big money move to EMI Records in 1984.

Well, I always thought that was one of our best albums, because it was great to do it. We did it in Atlanta with Axis Studios with a guy called Jeff Glixman, and Jeff was great to work with, because he was sort of a pretty easy-going type, but he knew how to keep the band happy. So we’d go into the studio, and…he was a keyboard player and he’d have his Hammond organ, and he’d just say, “C’mon, let’s go jam some songs!” So we’d be there jamming some songs, and then he’d get off the keyboard, run into the control room, and say, “Right, we’re gonna do a take now!”
Steve Dawson from Saxon 

That’s a cool vibe to have recording an album, but not so cool when the band is forking out the cost of the recording. No wonder bands never recoup.

But Jeff got a good vibe out of us. But I could never understand why the critics didn’t like it, to be honest. It didn’t get really great reviews. But I like it. “Watching the Skies” is one of my favourites. And the actual title track, “Power and the Glory,” is brilliant to play live, absolutely. One of the best things ever.
Steve Dawson from Saxon 

The Power And The Glory
It kicks off the album with a riff that would have influenced Iron Maiden’s “Two Minutes To Midnight”.

The General says we’ll will win the war,
Just sacrificed a thousand more

We just commemorated Anzac Day in Australia and if you read Anzac history, you will see how the British Generals sent the soldiers of their Commonwealth countries into battle first. While the young men got cut down by machine gun fire, the Generals watched from afar, safe from all the hell.

Nightmare
This song has got a cool groove.

That my nightmare begins where reality ends

“Take the blue pill or the red pill”, Morpheus said to Neo.

The Eagle Has Landed
It’s very Sabbathy in the Intro, just plodding along and building. And when the very “Stormbringer” influenced riff from Deep Purple comes in, it’s time to bang that head. Actually, when I heard “The Outlaw Torn” from Metallica, I immediately thought of “The Eagle Has Landed” from Saxon. The songs are very similar in structure.

The world’s in celebration
As we wait for your return
You took a giant leap for mankind
On another, on another world

The moon landing fascinated people. After another half a dozen more trips, the moon trips got canned. People got bored and didn’t really care anymore.

I had Helix, Great White, HSAS, Krokus, Arc Angel and I-Ten on this list as well, but the albums are not on Spotify Australia, so no commentary about them.

And if you want to listen to 1983-Part 7, click here.

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Music

A Week With Kidney Stones And Saxon’s “Destiny”

Last Thursday I was in wicked pain. For some reason every time a big weekend is coming up for my family and I, someone higher up decides to put a few roadblocks and obstacles in my way.

Life keeps kicking you down
But you come back for more
You take all the knocks
Pick yourself up off the floor

And now there is pain everywhere. Kidney Stone pain. They reckon that trying to pass a stone is like childbirth. At least at the end of childbirth there is a beautiful child that enters your world. At the end of passing a stone, a very swollen and sore private part remains.

And the drugs these days for pain relief are a godsend. For the severe pain, the Dr prescribed a suppository. So apart from ripping my dick to shreds trying to pass a stone, I’m violating myself in the name of pain relief. Go figure.

So it’s five days later and I still haven’t passed the second stone. And I’ve read so many stories on the net and every one I have spoken to have a horror story of someone they know or have experienced themselves to share.

Believe in yourself, stand tall

When I got a CT scan done last Thursday (a few hours after I passed my first stone), the Dr told me that I have another stone in between my kidney and bladder that is 3mm in size.

The only time they surgically intervene is when the stone is 6mm or more. I have another CT scan tomorrow to see if it has moved along.

So in my time of soreness, Spotify is heaven-sent. Because regardless of what music I call up based on my mood, it’s there waiting for me to select.

Battered and torn
Ride out the storm

And for some reason, “We Are Strong” from Saxon came to mind. Maybe it was the review I read over at Heavy Metal Overload’s website that brought it back into my life.

Fans from the first three albums don’t hold “Destiny” in high regard, but it’s a good album. For me, “Destiny” was my first introduction to the band and it got me interested to seek out other Saxon albums.

We are strong
We will survive

Yeah, its commercial arena rock but still of quality.

“Ride Like The Wind”, “S.O.S”, “For Whom The Bell Tolls” and “Red Alert” are as heavy metal and as good as the old pre-Emi Saxon songs. Their power cannot be denied. “We Are Strong” and “I Can’t Wait Anymore” are the “hits” that missed back in 1988. These last two songs and their AOR melodic rock feel are the ones that caused a lot of backlash from the fans of the original trilogy of albums vs fans of the EMI era.

As I type, my right side is throbbing and contracting. I’m sweating because of it, but it’s cold outside. I’m trying to distract myself from it by doing something I like.  And right now, Saxon’s “Destiny” is doing a perfect job for me.

If you want a definitive excellent review of the album from a true Saxon’ite’, then head over to Heavy Metal Overload’s site. It will be worth your while.

And I’m just going to kick back with my headphones and allow Saxon’s “Destiny” to soothe me.

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