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Quiet Riot – QR III [Review]

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Quiet Riot – QR III
1986, CBS Records/Pasha Records

1. “Main Attraction”
2. “The Wild and the Young”
3. “Twilight Hotel”
4. “Down and Dirty”
5. “Rise or Fall”
6. “Put Up or Shut Up”
7. “Still of the Night”
8. “Bass Case”
9. “The Pump”
10. “Slave to Love”
11. “Helping Hands”

Band:
Kevin DuBrow – Lead Vocals
Carlos Cavazo – Guitar
Chuck Wright – Bass
Frankie Banali – Drums

Additional Musicians:
John Purdell – Synthesizer

Producer: Spencer Proffer and John Purdell

QR III is actually the band’s 5th album but I guess they aren’t counting their first two albums that were released only in Japan in the late 1970s.

I tend to think of Quiet Riot just as I think of Twisted Sister: both were solid metal bands, both had singers with powerful voices and both bands had great commercial success fairly early and then saw those sales fizzle out pretty quickly with each subsequent release. Also, when the going got tough, both bands tried using a much lighter sound in an attempt to stay commercially relevant (it still didn’t help).

Well, like I said, after the multiple platinum success of Metal Health and the disappointed of Critical Condition (it “only” went platinum), the band went with much lighter and more commercial sound in order to increase sales. This new synthesizer-heavy/AOR sound is none more apparent than on the opening track, “Main Attraction”. The first notes you hear on this album are not provided by guitar, drums or even by a bass guitar but by keyboard! The song is actually a great piece of cheesy pop-metal but I can imagine that it did the band no favors with all of the fans that bought Metal Health back in ’83.

“The Wild and The Young” is a more like the Quiet Riot of old but then “Twilight Hotel” moves back into AOR territory and sounds nothing like the band at all. “Still of the Night” is another slow melodic rock number that makes you wonder how this is Quiet Riot, but I think it’s another excellent song. “Slave to Love” is another AOR-style song but again, I like it, though I will admit the female vocals really seem out of place on a QR song!

“Bass Case” is a cool bass instrumental performed by Chuck Wright. Rudy Sarzo, the band’s bassist from the “classic” line-up had left the band in early 1985 after growing tired of Kevin DuBrow’s ego & attitude.

“Put Up or Shut Up” is a rocker that could’ve fit in on the two previous albums while “Down and Dirty” and “Rise Or Fall” could’ve been two really good hard songs but they are cut off at the knees by synthesizers and an overly polished production.

There is one song on this album (“The Wild and The Young”) that I would put up there with the rest of Quiet Riot’s signature songs. The rest is good, cheesy ’80s melodic rock. It’s not what anyone expected or wanted from this band and sure you could throw the “sell out” label on them for releasing these songs but I find QR III to be a guilty pleasure melodic rock album. The album probably deserves another look from people who stuck their nose up at it the first time around.

Highlights: “Main Attraction”, “The Wild and The Young”, “Twilight Hotel”, “Down and Dirty”, “Still of the Night”, “Slave to Love”

http://www.officialquietriot.com/
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Buy the album at Amazon.com

Monster Madness

Various Artists – Monster Madness (2000, Razor & Tie Music)

1. “Dr. Feelgood” – Motley Crue – 4:51
2. “Unskinny Bop” – Poison – 3:48
3. “I Remember You” – Skid Row – 5:15
4. “Kiss Me Deadly” – Lita Ford – 4:01
5. “I Wanna Rock” – Twisted Sister – 3:04
6. “Silent Lucidity” – Queensryche – 5:49
7. “Epic” – Faith No More – 4:54
8. “Up All Night” – Slaughter – 3:47
10. “Don’t Treat Me Bad” – FireHouse – 3:58
11. “Hole Hearted” – Extreme – 3:40
12. “Bang Your Head (Metal Health)” – Quiet Riot – 5:20
13. “In My Dreams” – Dokken – 4:21
14. “Wait” – White Lion – 4:03
15. “Easy Come, Easy Go” – Winger – 4:03
16. “I Saw Red” – Warrant – 3:50
17. “I’ll See You in My Dreams” – Giant – 4:45

Following Razor & Tie’s success with Monsters of Rock and Monster Ballads, here comes Monster Madness! Monster Madness is essentially Monsters of Rock 3 (Monsters of Rock 2 was released a few months before this album) and is certainly superior to MOR 2 (which was already scraping the bottom of the barrel) and is just as good as the original MOR album in my opinion.

I mean, just look at the songs here. “Dr. Feelgood”, “Unskinny Bop”, “I Remember You”, “I Wanna Rock”, “Wait”, “Bang Your Head”, “Hole Hearted”, “Don’t Treat Me Bad”… It’s a hair metal dream! Even the odd inclusion of Queensryche and Faith No More is welcomed because those are killer songs.

The album takes me back to my youth. No, not the ’80s but the year 2000 when I bought this album and my girlfriend at the time loved it because it had Lita Ford’s “Kiss Me Deadly” on it. I still remember her getting all excited when she heard it for the first time in years.

Just a great “feelgood” album filled with major acts and songs.

Looking Forward to in 2011…

2011 has a quite a challenge in front of it. 2010 was filled with TONS of great albums. If 2011 can pull off even half of what last year did, it’ll still be a great year. This isn’t some complete list, there may be more projects in the works that I’ve forgotten about or don’t know about yet… but that doesn’t mean I’m not looking forward to them! This is just a list of stuff off the top of my head…

Wildstreet – II …Faster …Louder EP (January 25th)
One of my favorite albums of 2009 was Wildstreet’s debut. I would love a full album but if an EP is all I can get, I’ll gladly take it. Will be available for download at iTunes & Amazon on January 25th with physical copies to be available for purchase shortly after. I’ll have a review up for it sometime next week.

Stryper – The Covering (February)
Originally scheduled for the end of 2010, it was pushed back supposedly in order to increase awareness for the album. Even though it’s an album of covers, they’ve picked some good songs and the samples sound great.

Whitesnake – Forevermore (March)
Sure to be another highlight of the year for me. Good to Be Bad is one of my favorite Whitesnake albums and Coverdale has basically said Forevermore will be more of the same because he thinks they found the right balance of all eras of Whitesnake with that record. I couldn’t agree more.

Sixx A.M. This Is Gonna Hurt (April)
I’m a huge Nikki Sixx fan. I’ve loved all the new Crue material since Red, White & Crue and the first Sixx A.M. album was pretty good. James Michael is also a fantastic vocalist and is a great songwriter/producer. This one should be a winner.

Alice CooperWelcome 2 My Nightmare (AKA – Welcome to My Nightmare II)
2010 looked to be a lock for new Alice. He was already in the middle of writing the album but then hooked up with Bob Ezrin again and they decided to do a Welcome to My Nightmare sequel. The album Alice had originally planned was called The Night Shift and here are his own words on that project, taken from the Toronto Sun newspaper back in April:

“Ten songs are written already. It’s going to be called The Night Shift. The concept is, it’s a really dark radio show where I’m the disc jockey, and every song I play will be by a different fictitious band. At some point, you’ll realize this disc jockey is a little bit more than that. And I’m sure there will be some kind of a twist ending.”

I’m not sure if The Night Shift and Welcome 2 My Nightmare (the rumored title) are two totally separate projects or if Alice & Bob have decided to absorb the ideas from Night Shift into Welcome 2.

Saxon
My first Saxon album was Into the Labyrinth and I liked it a lot. Supposedly a new one should be coming this year…

Megadeth (Spring?)
New Megadeth is always a highlight for me, I was disappointed by Endgame but I think the band is gonna go out on a high note with their last album on Roadrunner. I think the band goes into the studio to record in February, so I’m guessing Spring 2011 is the release.

KISS (Summer?)
Easily the most anticipated release of the year for me. Sonic Boom was great and I was very happy to hear both Gene & Paul state in various interviews that a new album would be arriving on 2011. They wouldn’t do it if they couldn’t make money off of it (which had been a concern for years) so I guess Sonic Boom was very profitable for them. I know another tour is gonna start up in the summer so I’m guessing the release will be happening around then.

Riot (Spring)
So happy to hear that Riot is back to work on a new album. I just got into them a little over a year ago but quickly snatched up most of their albums. I haven’t heard a bad Riot album yet and this particular album reunites the Thundersteel line-up.

Skull Fist
They put out a great little EP in 2010, a full album should be even better.

Adler’s Appetite

A few songs from the forthcoming album can now be bought on iTunes and Amazon and they sound really good. I’ve had a good feeling about this album for a long time. It’s exactly what I was expecting — fun rock ‘n’ roll that stays true to Steven’s GNR roots and classic rock-influences.

AnvilJuggernaut of Justice (Spring)
Anvil is always good for some solid heavy metal. It’s a shame it’s taken them this long to release it though.

Quiet Riot
So there’s a new singer and Frankie Banali has been given the blessing of the DuBrow family to continue on with QR. If it’s good enough for Kevin’s mom then it’s good enough for me! Mark Huff sounds pretty close to DuBrow and I know they’ve been re-recording some QR classics but I’m hoping there’s going to be some new material too.

Still Waiting For… (albums originally scheduled for 2010)

AnthraxWorship Music
Originally planned for 2009! The band has gone through three different singers since then and went back to tweaking the album with Belladonna on vocals.

Peter Criss
At the end of 2009, Peter said he’d have an rock album coming out in Spring 2010 but I haven’t heard anything since. Maybe he’ll do what Ace did and release his solo album about the same time KISS releases their new album.

THIS IS ’80s HAIR METAL

This Is ’80s Hair Metal (2003, Deadline Records/Cleopatra Records)

Disc One: STUDIO FUELED
1. “Cherry Pie” by Warrant … 3:05
2. “Someone Like You” by Bang Tango … 4:24
3. “Cum on Feel the Noize” by Quiet Riot … 4:38
4. “Smooth Up” by Bulletboys … 5:03
5. “Pissed” by Dangerous Toys … 4:10
6. “Sex Action” by L.A. Guns … 3:53
7. “Leather Boyz With Electric Toyz” by Pretty Boy Floyd … 4:07
8. “Bathroom Wall” by Faster Pussycat … 4:58
9. “Little Teaser” by Jetboy … 3:14
10. “Love Removal Machine” by Great White … 4:29
11. “Make It Go Away” by Michael Monroe … 3:01
12. “Tooth & Nail” Lynch Mob … 3:24
13. “Mean Street Machine” by King Kobra … 4:24
14. “River Gold” by Hurricane … 4:04
15. “Black Out” by Love/Hate … 2:56

Disc Two: LIVE & DANGEROUS
1. “Gypsy Road” by Cinderella … 3:39
2. “Kiss Me Deadly” by Lita Ford … 4:21
3. “Living Loving Maid (She’s Just a Woman)” by Great White … 2:38
4. “One More Reason” by L.A. Guns … 3:49
5. “(You Can Still) Rock in America” by Night Ranger … 5:37
6. “Hollywood” by Junkyard … 2:50
7. “Dressed Up Vamp” by Bang Tango … 4:30
8. “Around Again” by Union … 5:53
9. “Teas’n, Pleas’n” by Dangerous Toys … 4:41
10.  “Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love” by L.A. Guns … 2:18
11. “Wrathchild” by Paul DiAnno … 2:48
12. “Somebody Save Me” by Cinderella … 2:57
13. “Ramble On” by Great White … 4:36
14. “What You Say” by Saigon Kick … 3:49

Disc Three: POWER BALLADS
1. “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” by Bret Michaels … 4:49
2. “When the Children Cry” by White Lion … 6:17
3. “Headed for a Heartbreak” by Kip Winger … 2:56
4. “Ballad of Jayne” by L.A. Guns … 5:15
5. “House of Pain” by Faster Pussycat … 7:50
6. “Ready for Love” by Great White … 4:40
7. “Sometimes She Cries” by Warrant … 4:38
8. “Don’t Know What You’ve Got (‘Til It’s Gone)” by Cinderella … 5:39
9. “Dream On” by Ronnie James Dio & Yngwie Malmsteen … 4:28
10. “Sister Christian” by Night Ranger … 5:15
11. “Close My Eyes Forever” by Lita Ford … 5:02
12. “Lights” by Tuff … 3:11
13. “Still Lovin’ You” Steve Whiteman & George Lynch … 4:52
14. “Here I Go Again” by Bernie Shaw & Bernie Madsen … 4:01
15. ??? … 3:59

Oddball hair metal compilation that I picked up from FYE shortly after it’s release. I can’t remember how much I paid for it, but I don’t think it was too much. Maybe around $15 or so, which is a good thing because as you can expect from an indie hair metal compilation — these are not the original recordings. In some cases, not even the original artists are used! Ex-Dokken guitarist George Lynch and his band Lynch Mob sub for Dokken on “Tooth & Nail”, Bret Michaels stands in for his own band Poison and then there’s the odd inclusion of Great White’s cover of The Cult’s “Love Removal Machine” (this cover has apparently made its way around many a compilations). Another odd bit is that for some reason, Love/Hate’s “Black Out in the Red Room” is now simply called “Black Out”.

Back to the re-recordings, I actually like some of these versions better than the originals (though I think it’s also possible some of these songs were demos). Working on a small budget and stripped of the overproduction that was common in the ’80s, many of these songs sound fresh, raw and energetic compared to the originals. Disc One is nothing but studio recordings and Warrant’s re-recording of “Cherry Pie” is my favorite track and I think I actually like it better than the original version. Not all of Disc One is as enjoyable though– Joe Leste and Marq Torien struggle to hit their notes on “Someone Like You” and “Smooth Up”, respectively. Then there’s the awful industrialized version of “Bathroom Wall”. Look, why does this industrial garbage version of Faster Pussycat keep getting work on these hair compilations? If Taime Downe doesn’t want to represent the music in an accurate manner, I’m sure most hair metal fans would rather Faster Pussycat is not included at all.

Disc Two is nothing but live songs. The quality (and performances) vary greatly. Disc Three is power ballads, re-recordings again, but there’s some live versions as well. On Disc Three, there is a 15th track that I cannot find any info on (my slipcase/jewel case are in storage), but the song definitely does not belong here. I’ve never heard it before and it sounds like some mellow acoustic rock/pop you’d hear on the pop stations. I’m sure there’s some hair metal connection, but sonically, it’s not there. Anyone know the song title and artist?

Personally, I wouldn’t really say “this is ’80s metal”. Not when there’s so many cover songs (by Great White alone!), re-recordings and original artists are missing. The inclusion of Union alone is enough to strike down that this is a tribute to the ’80s (they didn’t formed until 1997)! Basically, the album is hit-or-miss. It’s an inconsistent three disc set, but despite the shady marketing, I still think this is a decent collection for anyone who is heavily into the hair metal scene. There’s enough gems here to make up for having to dig through the garbage to get to them.

Highlights:
Disc One: “Cherry Pie”, “Pissed”, “Sex Action”, “Love Removal Machine”, “Tooth & Nail”, “Mean Street Machine”
Disc Two: “Gypsy Road”, “(You Can Still) Rock In America”, “Hollywood”, “Ramble On”
Disc Three: “When the Children Cry”, “Ready for Love”, “Dream On”, “Still Lovin’ You”

Buy THIS IS ’80s HAIR METAL at Amazon.com

FREAKSHOW – Freakshow

Freakshow – Freakshow (2009, Retrospect Records)

1. “Welcome to the Freakshow” … 3:27
2. “Everyone” … 2:53
3. “You Who Wins” … 2:35
4. “It’s Really Over” … 3:21
5. “Burning Me” … 2:58
6. “Four Leaf Clover” … 2:53
7. “Looking Back At Me” … 4:13
8. “Mindgame” … 2:51
9. “Mistreat Me” … 2:41
10. “Ripper” … 2:44
11. “Mistaken” … 2:48

Band:
Marcus Allen Christopher – Vocals, Guitar
Jeff LaBar – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Tony Franklin – Bass
Frankie Banali – Drums, Percussion

Produced by: Ronnie Borchert

Another outstanding release from Retrospect Records, which despite primarily being an 80s rock/metal reissue label, are proving themselves when it comes to new material as well (see Wildstreet).

Freakshow is a supergroup of sorts featuring M!SS CRAZY’s Marcus Allen Christopher, Cinderella’s Jeff LaBar, Quiet Riot’s Frankie Banali. Rounding out the group is Tony Franklin, who is no stranger to supergroups, having played in The Firm, a collaboration between Paul Rodgers and Jimmy Page. He also has been in Blue Murder, Whitesnake and played on Rehab, the final Quiet Riot album.

Given the band members, the sound of Freakshow is not what I expected. I was expecting a more classic rock/80s rock vibe and that sound is not entirely present here. In fact, the album very much has a fresh hard rock sound, just check out the incredibly infectious, mean and Zeppelinesque “It’s Really Over”. In a world that was fair and just, that song would be all over radio right now.

On the surface, the band looks like a bit of a mismatch. Marcus Allen Christopher sticks out like a sore thumb with his face paint that makes him look like he belongs in a Norwegian black metal band, but all that really counts is the music and the music is great. I also love his voice, which can really wail and sometimes reminds me of Robert Plant.

Hopefully, this isn’t just a one-off project of Christopher’s (he wrote all the songs), because this is one of the year’s best releases and I look forward to more Freakshow albums in the future.

Highlights: “Everyone”, “You Who Wins”, “It’s Really Over”, “Burning Me”, “Looking Back At Me”, “Mindgame”, “Mistreat Me”, “Ripper”

www.freakshowrox.com
www.myspace.com/freakshowrox
www.retrospectrecords.com

MONSTERS OF ROCK

Various Artists – Monsters of Rock (1998, Razor & Tie)

Track Listing:
1. “Cum on Feel the Noize” – Quiet Riot … 4:51
2. “Once Bitten Twice Shy” – Great White … 5:22
3. “Poison” – Alice Cooper … 4:30
4. “The Final Countdown” – Europe … 5:11
5. “Round and Round” – Ratt … 4:24
6. “Cherry Pie” – Warrant … 3:20
7. “Here I Go Again” – Whitesnake … 4:35
8. “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” – Poison … 4:20
9. “Seventeen” – Winger … 4:05
10. “Cult of Personality” – Living Colour … 4:54
11. “We’re Not Gonna Take It” – Twisted Sister … 3:39
12. “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin'” – Judas Priest … 5:08
13. “Nobody’s Fool” – Cinderella … 4:48
14. “Hold on Loosely” – .38 Special … 4:37
15. “Turn up the Radio” – Autograph … 4:34
16. “Sister Christian” – Night Ranger … 4:56

Ahh… The hair metal compilation that gave rise to all the rest of the imitators and countless sequels from Razor & Tie.

Razor & Tie initially pushed many of their compilations (love songs, country, 80s, etc.) through their 800 number. I remember many of these ads over on cable stations like TBS and WGN. I *think* there was even a 2-disc version of Monsters of Rock that was only available by ordering over the phone.

Anyway, tons of classics here, though I would argue the inclusion of .38 Special, Autograph, Night Ranger and Living Colour (I really hate “Cult of Personality” anyway). You can’t go wrong with these songs. Though I would eventually own all the albums that these songs were taken from, this was a great introduction for me to the genre when, up to that point, I had really only gotten heavy in GNR, Poison and Bon Jovi.

My fondest memory is playing this one constantly when my family moved from Virginia to Florida in June 1998. I had no friends and nowhere to go and this album received CONSTANT play in my room that summer. Also, Monsters of Rock gave me a great “I REMEMBER THAT SONG!” moment with Alice Cooper’s “Poison”. I had totally forgotten about that massive comeback hit for The Coop.

This album pretty much set the standard for pop metal comps and usually knockoff CDs basically just took this tracklisting and hit ‘shuffle’.

QUIET RIOT – Rehab

Track Listing:
1. “Free” … 4:06
2. “Blind Faith” … 3:25
3. “South of Heaven” … 5:44
4. “Black Reign” … 4:50
5. “Old Habits Die Hard” … 6:17
6. “Strange Daze” … 4:17
7. “In Harms Way” … 4:37
8. “Beggars and Thieves” … 6:38
9. “Don’t Think” … 4:58
10. “It Sucks to Be You” … 4:01
11. “Evil Woman” … 8:50

Band:
Kevin DuBrow – Vocals
Neil Citron – Guitar
Tony Franklin – Bass
Frankie Banali – Drums

Additonal Musicians:
Glenn Hughes – Vocals, Bass on “Evil Woman”

Produced by: Kevin DuBrow & Frankie Banali

I was really surprised by how good this album was when I picked it up. After hearing about how bad most QR albums had been post-Condition Critical, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had read many interviews leading up to this from Kevin DuBrow and Frankie Banali talking about the strong 70s rock influence on this album and they were right! They consciously avoid doing any type of party-metal anthems they made it big on and deliver a solid platter of classic sounding hard rock.

The 1970s influence is especially apparent on “Old Habits Die Hard” and obviously, the Spooky Tooth cover “Evil Woman”, which features a great duet between DuBrow and Glenn Hughes (who also co-wrote a few songs). Kevin’s voice, by the way, is as strong as ever throughout the whole album. He’s always been one of my favorite rock vocalists and matches his early 80s performances here.

Interesting to note that guitarist Neil Citron and bassist Tony Franklin played on the album, but soon after recording, both were out of the band and never played one of these songs live! They were replaced by returning QR members guitarist Alex Grossi (originally played with QR 2004-2005) and QR’s “Fifth Beatle”, bassist Chuck Wright (who has joined & exited the band numerous times since 1982).

Two unfortunate things tied to this album though:

First, the rest of the classic QR line-up, Rudy Sarzo and Carlos Cavazo, were not involved in this project (and hadn’t been involved with the band for a number of years). More important and tragic than that though is the passing of Kevin DuBrow on November 25, 2007, of an apparent accidental cocaine overdose. It makes the title of this album, the final Quiet Riot album, pretty creepy and sad.

I believe Frankie Banali is now the sole owner of the Quiet Riot rights and name. He had this to say in January 2008 about the future of the band without Kevin DuBrow:

“I have been approached to see if I would be interested in contacting Rudy Sarzo and Carlos Cavazo and to audition singers for Quiet Riot. I have also been approached to see if I would be interested in contacting and reforming the version of Quiet Riot that included Paul Shortino, Carlos Cavazo and Sean McNabb. Let me make this very simple and perfectly clear. While I am still actively involved in the business interests of Quiet Riot and will continue in that capacity, I reject any and all suggestions to have Quiet Riot continue as a live performing entity. My friendship, love and respect for [late Quiet Riot singer] Kevin DuBrow as well as my personal love and affection for Kevin’s mother and his family makes it inconceivable for me to ever entertain any ovation to reform or to continue Quiet Riot . Kevin was too important to go on without him. It would also be a disrespect to the fans who have supported Quiet Riot for nearly 25 years. I thank everyone for the wonderful and sometimes unpredictable adventure that I was able to share as a member of Quiet Riot . The only regret that I have is the loss of Kevin. May he rest in peace. I now begin life after Quiet Riot.”

With the passing of Kevin, the music world lost a great champion of rock and a great rock ‘n’ roll band. Quiet Riot was never going to have a hit album or single again, but they proved with Rehab they were still relevant to the hard rock scene, with a release that is almost universally accepted as being right behind Metal Health in their catalog, and I was hoping to hear many more new albums from them for years to come.

Highlights: “Free”, “Blind Faith”, “South of Heaven”, “Old Habits Die Hard”, “Strange Daze”, “Evil Woman”

www.frankie-banali.com
www.myspace.com/quietriotrehab

YOUTH GONE WILD: Heavy Metal Hits of the 80’s, Volume 1

YOUTH GONE WILD: HEAVY METAL HITS OF THE 80’S, VOLUME 1 (1996, Rhino Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Rock You Like a Hurricane” – Scorpions (4:12)
2. “Talk Dirty to Me” – Poison (3:45)
3. “The Last in Line” – Dio (5:47)
4. “Lay It Down” – Ratt (3:27)
5. “Never Enough” – L.A. Guns (4:14)
6. “Parental Guidance” – Judas Priest (3:26)
7. “Blind in Texas” – W.A.S.P. (4:22)
8. “Ace of Spades” – Motorhead (2:49)
9. “Balls to the Wall” – Accept (5:43)
10. “Street of Dreams” – Rainbow (4:28)
11. “Screaming in the Night” – Krokus (6:40)
12. “Summertime Girls [Studio Version]” – Y&T (3:28)
13. “We’re Not Gonna Take It” -Twisted Sister (3:40)
14. “Cum on Feel the Noize” – Quiet Riot (4:50)

Rhino was ahead of the curve by a few years when they started releasing 80s metal compilations as the hair metal renaissance really didn’t start picking up until around ’98 and ’99 with the arrival of sites like Metal Sludge, VH1 Behind the Music specials on bands like Poison & Def Leppard, and the countless hair band reunion and summer tours that sprung up.  The first three volumes of this series were all released on the same day and there was a fourth volume released in ’98 (don’t worry, I’ll be getting to all of them).

Of all the YGW releases, this is the most star-studded, with Krokus and Y&T being the only lesser-known bands (but any fan of the genre knows who those bands are). There are some glaring omissions from the whole series (Bon Jovi, Motley Crue, Guns N Roses, Def Leppard, Alice Cooper, etc.), but I’ll just assume they probably couldn’t afford to license any of those songs because with the exception of Cinderella, most of those acts remained big names even as the 90s rolled on.

Every song here is a classic with the exception of Priest’s “Parental Guidance”, which enters the Cheese Zone somewhat. There’s so many better Priest songs they could’ve chosen to represent them outside of the standard Priest “classics” (I’m assuming they were trying to avoid the obvious inclusions like “You Got Another Thing Comin'” and “Breaking the Law”).

This is the best volume of the series and probably one of the better 80s metal compilations you’re going to find as virtually every band is represented by their signature song. Even if you already own the albums these songs originally appeared on, this compilation makes for a great “mix” CD to go cruising around with.

Highlights: The whole freakin’ album. Even the weakest song (“Parental Guidance”) has some charm to it, as long as you take it in the context of “it was the 80s”. Bonafide classic tracks here.

Lowlights: None. A near perfect compilation.

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