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The Decline of the Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years [Album Review]


The Decline of the Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
2011, Capitol Records
Originally Released: 1988, Capitol Records
Buy the album at Amazon

1. “Under My Wheels” – Alice Cooper w/ Guns N’ Roses
2. “Bathroom Wall” – Faster Pussycat
3. “Cradle to the Grave” – Motörhead
4. “You Can Run But You Can’t Hide” – Armored Saint
5. “Born to Be Wild” – Lizzy Borden
6. “In My Darkest Hour” – Megadeth
7. “Prophecy” – Queensrÿche
8. “The Brave” – Metal Church
9. “Foaming at the Mouth” – Rigor Mortis
10. “Colleen” – Seduce

Any metal-head worth their weight in steel is well aware of this documentary that was released in 1988. It’s a truly fascinating look at life as rocker in the 1980s. For better or worse, warts and all, it absolutely captures a time and a vibe & scene that can never truly be replicated no matter how “retro” a band may act.

As it stands, the soundtrack to The Decline of the Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years is a solid compilation. Sure, bands like Seduce and Rigor Mortis didn’t stand the test of time but when it comes to the ’80s metal scene, you can’t really argue against the inclusion of bands like Motorhead, Lizzy Borden, Megadeth, Alice Cooper, Guns N’ Roses, Metal Church or even Faster Pussycat. It was all metal one way or another.

The documentary itself was actually what turned me on to Megadeth as they performed “In My Darkest Hour” in the film and it certainly made an impression on me.

The lack of Ozzy Osbourne, Aerosmith, Poison, KISS or W.A.S.P. is a bit odd given how their stature and appearances in the documentary but the soundtrack isn’t meant to be all encompassing. If it was, we’d be putting up with having to listen to the likes of London, Tuff and Odin, too. A few tracks either start or end with audio clips from the film.

We could argue for hours over who truly deserves to be included on a compilation of ’80s metal but this soundtrack is just a taste of what that era had to offer and is meant to tie in most closely with bands featured in the documentary. Keep that in mind and what you’ve got is a good collection of ’80s rock & metal that will fit right in with your retro denim vest.

Highlights: “Under My Wheels”, “Bathroom Wall”, “Born to Be Wild”, “In My Darkest Hour”, “Prophecy”

Metal Church – Metal Church

Metal Church – Metal Church (1985, Elektra Records)

1. “Beyond the Black” … 6:23
2. “Metal Church” … 5:03
3. “Merciless Onslaught” … 2:54
4. “Gods of Wrath” … 6:41
5. “Hitman” … 4:39
6. “In the Blood” … 3:31
7. “(My Favorite) Nightmare” … 3:12
8. “Battalions” … 4:53
9. “Highway Star” … 4:39

David Wayne – Vocals
Kurdt Vanderhoof – Guitar
Craig Wells – Guitar
Duke Erickson – Bass
Kirk Arrington – Drums

Producer: Metal Church and Terry Date

I have owned Metal Church’s second album, The Dark, for YEARS. For whatever reason, I was never a fan of it but constant praise for this group has convinced me to start from the very beginning. And what an album this debut is! Classic metal through and through as the band uses a more melodic brand of thrash and speed metal while also employing power metal as well.

Songs like “Beyond the Black”, “Metal Church” and “Battalions” are out and out metal classics that I have lived far too long without. They even do a great amped up version of “Highway Star”. It’s amazing that even with just this one album, the band wasn’t able to become metal superstars. They were even on the same label as Metallica… why didn’t this work out ?!? And that cover? Man, that cover is one of the most metal and evil looking album covers of all time!

Again, this is one of those great classic metal albums where I’m really at a loss for words other than to say that I think it’s great. I’ve even ordered a few more Church CDs and plan on revisiting The Dark in the near future.

Highlights: “Beyond the Black”, “Metal Church”, “Gods of Wrath”, “Battalions”, “Highway Star”

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