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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.

BILL & TED’S BOGUS JOURNEY – Music From The Motion Picture

Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey – Music From The Motion Picture (1991, Interscope Records)

1. “Shout It Out” – Slaughter … 4:20
2. “Battle Stations” – Winger … 4:02
3. “God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll to You II” – KISS … 5:23
4. “Drinking Again” – Neverland … 4:56
5. “Dream of a New Day” – Richie Kotzen … 3:17
6. “The Reaper” – Steve Vai … 3:20
7. “The Perfect Crime” – Faith No More … 4:26
8. “Go to Hell” – Megadeth … 4:36
9. “Tommy the Cat” – Primus … 4:14
10. “Junior’s Gone Wild” – King’s X … 3:09
11. “Showdown” – Love On Ice … 6:20
12. “The Reaper Rap” – Steve Vai … 4:27

Even though I already own “God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll to You II” and “Go to Hell” elsewhere, I bought this album basically just because it looked like a fun one and essentially an ’80s hair/heavy metal compilation. Some of these songs were written exclusively for this Bill & Ted sequel (“Go to Hell”, “Battle Stations”, “Shout It Out”, “The Reaper”) while other songs had appeared elsewhere or would be doing so shortly (“Drinking Again”, “God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll to You II”, “Tommy the Cat”).

It’s an interesting release that documents some of the final days of hair metal. It’s also interesting because it mixes Slaughter,Winger and KISS with Megadeth, Faith No More and Primus! Winger’s “Battle Stations” and Steve Vai’s “The Reaper” seem to be the two songs that get the most praise from this album and while I don’t necessarily think they are the soundtrack’s best songs, they are very good and definite highlights. Predictably, KISS and Megadeth are the best moments for me.

The title of the movie was originally going to be called Bill & Ted Go to Hell, so the movie studio specifically wanted Megadeth to write a song called “Go to Hell”. Which Dave Mustaine did, but then the title of the movie got changed and some people at the the time thought Dave was ripping off an Alice Cooper title or just plain doing a cover song. I for one thought it was a cover song (which would’ve been really cool) and was slightly disappointed years ago when I found out it was an original. It’s still a good song though. Another note about “Go to Hell” are these spoken words:

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the lord my soul to keep
If I should die before I wake
I pray the lord my soul to take

Sound familiar? Metallica would also use these same lines (granted, it’s from a prayer) a few months later for “Enter Sandman”. Dave of course flipped out but who knows? Maybe it was just a coincidence or maybe “Enter Sandman” was recorded first. Lyrics aside, I think the song even starts out similar sounding to “Enter Sandman”.

Overall, this is a decent disc to spin if you’re a fan of this type of ’80s rock/metal. Definitely worth the $0.79 or so I paid for it!

Highlights: “Battle Stations”, “God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll to You II”, “Drinking Again”, “The Reaper”, “Go to Hell”

VINNIE VINCENT INVASION – All Systems Go

Vinnie Vincent Invasion – All Systems Go (2003, Capitol Records)
Original Release: 1988, Chrysalis Records

1. “Ashes to Ashes” … 5:05
2. “Dirty Rhythm” … 3:38
3. “Love Kills” … 5:36
4. “Naughty, Naughty” … 3:30
5. “Burn” … 4:38
6. “Star Spangled Banner” … 5:31
7. “Let Freedom Rock” … 4:44
8. “That Time of Year” … 4:11
9. “Heavy Pettin'” … 4:38
10. “Ecstasy” … 3:56
11. “Deeper and Deeper” … 4:02
12. “Breakout” … 2:01
13. “The Meltdown” … 2:01
14. “‘Ya Know – I’m Pretty Shot” … 4:07

Band:
Mark Slaughter – Vocals
Vinnie Vincent – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Dana Strum – Bass, Backing Vocals
Bobby Rock – Drums

Producer: Vinnie Vincent

The original VVI album was decent. There were spurts of creativity, but Vinnie failed to check his ego at the door and rein in his own guitar playing. He was playing for himself and not for the songs. With this album, he does a bit of a better job, though there is still some directionless noodling to be heard.

There is one vast improvement on this album though: the original singer Robert Fleischman is out and Mark Slaughter is in. Nothing against Fleischman, but Slaughter is a much better vocalist for an over the top glam metal band like this one. Fleischman’s voice is best suited for the AOR/melodic rock genre, which is where his roots are, having briefly sung for Journey. This band needed a squealer to match the squealing of Vinnie’s guitars and they that found that singer with Mark Slaughter.

The bottom line for this album is that if you love glam & hair metal, this is one of the essentials because it embodies the good and bad of those genres to the fullest. Of course, the band would split up not too long after this album and Dana Strum & Mark Slaughter went off to form the band Slaughter, which was even more successful than VVI.

As for Vinnie himself, barely a peep has been heard from the man in the last 20 years (outside of a lawsuit here or there and some co-writing for KISS’ Revenge album). The planned follow up to this album was Guitars From Hell (which, in demo bootleg form, is floating around) but it was canned by the record company. He did manage to squeeze out an EP called Euphoria in 1996 as a teaser to another album tentatively called Guitarmageddon, but that never arrived either for whatever reason. I guess he’s done with music, which is a true shame, because he’s extremely talented. Maybe he should form a new band with Ace, Bruce and Peter.

“The Meltdown” and “Ya Know – I’m Pretty Shot” are both instrumentals that were exclusive bonus tracks for the CD version.

Highlights: “Ashes to Ashes”, “Dirty Rhythm”, “Love Kills”, “Naughty Naughty”, “Burn”, “That Time of Year”, “Heavy Pettin'”

VH1: The Big 80’s Power Ballads

VH1: The Big 80’s Power Ballads (1999, Rhino Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Fly to the Angels” – Slaughter … (5:08)
2. “Something to Believe In”  – Poison … (5:30)
3. “Amanda”  – Boston … (4:17)
4. “I Want to Know What Love Is” – Foreigner 5:01
5. “Alone Again”  – Dokken … (4:22)
6. “House of Pain”  – Faster Pussycat … (5:47)
7. “The Search Is Over” – Survivor … (4:13)
8. “Is This Love” – Whitesnake … (4:43)
9. “We Belong” – Pat Benatar … (3:39)
10. “Don’t Close Your Eyes”  – Kix … (4:19)
11. “What Does It Take”  – Honeymoon Suite … (4:16)
12. “Missing You” – John Waite … (4:29)
13. “Miles Away” – Winger … (4:12)
14. “When the Children Cry” – White Lion … (4:07)
15. “Goodbye” – Night Ranger … (4:21)
16. “Fly High Michelle” – Enuff Z’nuff … (4:17)

The late 1990s and early 2000s were a time of 80s nostalgia. Clothes, movies, music. One of the biggest flagwavers of 80s retro was VH1, who scored with the popular Behind The Music show, Pop Up Videos, and tons of 1980s-centric specials.

Not surprisingly, they also released their own compilations of 80’s tunes in a series called The Big 80’s. The Monster series of hair metal compilations from Razor & Tie Records proved popular and one of their most popular entries was Monster Ballads, so it only made sense for VH1 to release their own CD of hair ballads and tie it all in with the Big 80’s series.

There are TONS of other power ballad comps out there on the market, but this one and Monster Ballads are the absolute best and the bonus is that the people at Rhino & VH1 must’ve been paying attention because there’s only three songs that appear on both compilations (“Something to Believe In”, “Is This Love” and “Don’t Close Your Eyes”).

Essentially, this *is* a hair ballad CD, though a few artists like Boston, Honeymoon Suite, Foreigner, Pat Benatar, Survivor and John Waite slip in, but the songs fit right in with the mood. Even if those artist aren’t hair metal acts, they certainly did produce hair metal ballads.
Power ballads are what got me into the hair scene in the first place (every hair metal act should have 2 or 3 great ones in their catalog), so this is right up there as one of my favorite albums. And yes, being the sap that I am, I would crank this during troubled relationship times when I was younger.
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