Classic Rock Bottom

There's a few CDs I have that I haven't or hadn't gotten around to listening to yet. Whether they are too "old" or I end up not really having much to say about them, I'm not doing a full on review.

Instead, I'm just putting in a sentence or two about what I thought of them. I'll probably keep updating this thread as I get around to various albums that have been sitting waiting for me to play them.

Joe Bonamassa - Blues of Desperation - While there were a couple of tracks I wasn't all that enamored with, overall this album was another winning blues solo album from Bonamassa.

Boneyard Dog - Bluesbound Train - Another bluesy rock and roll record, this debut album was pretty much kicking my ass each time I listened to it.

U2 - The Joshua Tree 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition - Sadly, while I absolutely love the album itself (it is one of my all-time favorites), the anniversary edition isn't much to write home about. Disc 1 is the original album while Disc 2 is a live concert from the Joshua Tree tour. It's not bad, but there's nothing special about it really.

Inglorious - S/T - I was really kind of hyped up about this album but I think the fact I've already sold it off on eBay might give you a hint about my final reaction to the album. Okay, that might be slightly unfair but after listening to the album four times and I couldn't really pick a single memorable song out of it, there's obviously something of a disconnect.

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Creatures of the Night
Casablanca Records (1982) / Mercury Records (1997 Remaster)

After two albums in a row (Dynasty and Unmasked) that saw the band gear their music towards more of a pop sound, Kiss came back in 1982 with the Creatures of the Night album, which is billed as one of their heaviest. (Side note: I'm listening to the 1997 "The Remasters" edition of the album I picked up on the cheap at a store closing sale.)

The funny thing about this album is how it got made in the first place. While Ace Frehley is credited on the album, he did nothing musically for the recording and would soon leave the band entirely. Most of the guitar work was handled by Vinnie Vincent (prior to becoming an actual member of the group). However, the guitar weirdness doesn't end there. Mr. Mister's Steve Farris played the lead on the title track (which also featured Toto's Mike Porcaro on bass) while blues guitarist Robben Ford featured on "Rock and Roll Hell" and "I Still Love You".

Perhaps even nuttier is the fact that Canadian pop singer Bryan Adams along with Jim Vallance co-wrote "Rock and Roll Hell" and "War Machine". I don't know, it just strikes me funny to think of the guy who sang "Heaven" and "Everything I Do (I Do It For You)" writing a monster heavy track like "War Machine".

The band's commercial fortunes might have faded a good deal at the point in time that the album came out originally but the intended return to a heavy sound did come to realization. I'm not completely in love with all of the album, there are some cool tracks for sure.

The title cut is really good and "Keep Me Comin'" has deep intense vibe to it. The solo on "Danger" is cool and gives pulse-pounding song just that much more of a kick. The blazing tempo of "Killer" had me enjoying the song from start to finish. And while "Bitch is insane / She deals in pain" won't win any fans among my feminist friends, I chuckled at that line in the song.

Unfortunately, the aforementioned "Rock and Roll Hell" didn't work for me because there is a distracting echo to the vocals. Call it the tin can effect, but it just served as annoyance to me.

The nine track album features just one straight up ballad. "I Still Love You" is also the longest song on the album. The track is pretty dark and heavy sounding despite its pretention to balladry. It's okay but definitely one of the lesser lights for me.

The two best known songs from the album are probably "I Love It Loud" and "War Machine". The former was the big single/video release for the album and it is all that you could imagine. Whatever problems you might have with the album or the band, "I Love It Loud" just kicks you in the ass! As for "War Machine", that track is just a stomping good rock song.

The album may not have relit the commercial fortunes of the band at the time but it is a step in the right direction and I found myself enjoying the disc overall.

I Love It Loud is probably my least favorite song on the album.  And I've always liked I Still Love You.  

Overall, it was certainly heavier and a return to form for the band, but honestly, I enjoyed Dynasty and Unmasked. I also think Lick It Up, the following album, is better than Creatures overall.

I don't have an opinion on Dynasty and Unmasked myself. I haven't heard them. I just mentioned them in the beginning because of the history leading into this one.

You strike me as someone that would prefer Dynasty to Unmasked, but that's just a guess.  Surprised you've never heard either.

Kiss has always been more of a radio band for me. I hear the songs on the radio and love them but other than the Crazy Nights album, I never owned any of their releases. 

So now I own Crazy Nights on LP (looking to get a CD edition) and Creatures of the Night on CD.

I love Dynasty, its a top 3 KISS album for me.  I know its a divisive album for fans but I've always loved it.  Unmasked?  Eh...  not-so-much, but it has some bright moments.  Interesting that you skipped Music From The Elder as a lead in to COTN, I've always though that was the reason for the return to Rock and Roll.  It could be a culminating effect however...

As far COTN goes, I'm also a fan. I loved the sound, vibe and heaviness they recaptured.  It was needed!

Scott, I've never heard anything from Music From The Elder so I can't really say much about it. 

I'm pretty much cherry picking the COTN album because I was able to buy it cheap from a store that is closing. Otherwise, I probably wouldn't have even bought it.

Quiet Riot
Metal Health
Epic Records 1983 / Rock Candy Records 2012

The reason I decided to take a look at this album was because a Facebook friend of mine, who is a musician, had posted a while back that he was listening to the album and wondered what everyone's favorite songs were outside of the two best known tracks from the album. I went to grab up my cassette copy but lo and behold, I couldn't find it. I am pretty sure it must've worn out, got thrown away and I forgot to replace it. So I ordered the Rock Candy Records edition so that I could answer his question. Apologies to David Hope, drummer for Apocalyptic Lovers, for making you read this in order to get my answer to a question you probably forgot you asked.

Given how much has been written about the two tracks that lead off this album (of which I am listening to the 2012 remastered edition), let's just get the fact that both "Metal Health" and "Cum On Feel The Noize" are about as classic as you can get when talking about all time great metal tracks. The fact that the latter of the two songs is a cover of the Slade original doesn't matter because for all intents and purposes, Quiet Riot made the song their own. In truth, I've never even heard the original Slade version. I love the songs and whenever I happen to hear them I stop to listen because they are just phenomenal each and every time. There's really not much more to say about the tracks.

So I'm skipping to the other 8 tracks on the original track listing and weighing in on them.

What I found is that while the six million plus copies of this album that have been sold are most assuredly based off the two monster hits, there are a number of really good songs that likely don't get the appreciation they probably deserve.

Okay sure, "Love's A Bitch" lacks that stick to your ribs feeling but whether the band is going out with the throttle wide open or displaying a more deliberate subtlety to their performance, they really did have the material to make this album as great as it was.

They convey a sense of being at full gallop across a wide open plain on "Breathless" and unleash a whip cracking intensity on "Run For Cover". Carlos Cavazo shreds all over the place on these songs and I did really like his instrumental showcase "Battle Axe".

The dedicated to Randy Rhoads track "Thunderbird" is good to begin with but it definitely took on a different feeling when Rhoads died before the Metal Health album was ever released.

The first of the 5 bonus tracks on the album is a new-to-me studio track called "Danger Zone". I really enjoyed the song and might've considered it as a particular favorite until the annoying backing vocals on the chorus kind of ruined things a bit. The other four bonus tracks are live versions of "Metal Health", "Slick Black Cadillac", "Let's Get Crazy" and "Love's A Bitch". They are fine but don't really add anything to the album overall.

So for me, the tracks I liked the most outside of the megahits would have to be "Don't Wanna Let You Go" and "Slick Black Cadillac". The first of the two songs has an intro that gives the cut a strange sense of edginess. The song is a bit of a slow burner, but after the first two tracks on the album go at you with breakneck speed, it is a nice downshift by the band as a whole and with Kevin Dubrow's vocal take in particular. As for "Slick Black Cadillac", that song is an electrifying shock to the system as the band gets right back on the relentless attack. The lead vocal is only further enhanced by the big gang chorus backing vocal. I love this song and wish it had been as big as both "Cum On Feel The Noize" and "Metal Health".

I know that this album was pretty much the beginning of the band's career and it's commercial peak but whatever happened to them after this album (and if you've watched the documentary about the band, you know it was a whole hell of a lot that happened) cannot take away the fact that for even the briefest moment in time, Quiet Riot were the Kings of Metal!

Seen Whitesnake open for this band on their Condition Critical tour.  I suckered into buying Metal Health because  those two songs were HOT!  And truth be told the follow-up also contains a very cool Slade cover of Mama Were All Crazy Now, but that's where it all ends. Whitesnake blew them into oblivion that night and we could've left before QR took the stage and we would have gotten our moneys worth...

I don't know maybe time has been good this album, both albums I own are sitting in a box in my storage, probably been there for the past 20 years.  Never really wanted to them buy on CD...  I am interested in that documentary though!

I saw the documentary and it is pretty interesting.

Ozzy Osbourne - Diary of a Madman

This CD came to me via a store closing sale. It's the 2011 reissue edition from Sony Legacy. This is the single disc version with just the original 8 songs. This version of the album includes the reinstated playing from Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake, at least according to what I researched online.

The first four tracks on the album ("Over The Mountain", "Flying High Again", "You Can't Kill Rock And Roll" and "Believer") are definitely classic Ozzy songs.

Unfortunately, what would've been Side two on the original release of the album in 1981 is a little more problematic for me. I didn't really care for "Little Dolls" at all. "S.A.T.O." is okay, but not terribly memorable. "Tonight" starts out a little slow but does get better as the song goes on. The title track closes the album and that one is a monster, definitely the most enjoyable song of the "Side 2" tracks.

Overall it is a good but not great album in my opinion. Yes it is great to hear the studio versions of Randy Rhoads guitar work, but that doesn't make all the songs automatically great.

Ozzy Osbourne - Bark At The Moon (1983 / 2002 Reissue)

Surprising as it may seem I never owned this album before. Yes I love the title cut but I never bothered to buy the album. Thanks yet again to a store closing sale however, I got my hands on the 2002 reissue. According to what I read online, there is some unrest over the reissue because the album was remixed and some changes were made.

That aside, I really loved this album! The main 8 tracks on the disc are all superb. In fact, the one song that I thought was the weakest, the ballad "So Tired", is actually still quite decent.

Okay, the two bonus tracks are merely okay but wow, considering this was the first time I'd heard the album in full, it is like I'm falling in musical love with Ozzy's solo work all over again. Maybe it has something to do with this being Jake E. Lee's first time recording as the new Ozzy guitarist (my favorite album from Ozzy is The Ultimate Sin), but was overwhelmingly entertained by the disc and can't wait to throw this one in the player again!


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