This will be the very debut post for the massive Vinyl Swarm section.
As previously mentioned, this secondary Vinyl review section was started due to the fact that there were so many releases coming out in the 80′s and we could not keep up — let alone cover all the promo product in Issue #1 of Demolish. The news spread like wildfire throughout the Demolish camp that the Editor in Chief was going crazy and slashing all said reviews in half (sometimes more).
This was especially troublesome to some of our writers (esp. for the fact that I took great pride in featuring rather large, in-depth reviews and encouraging them to “make em’ long”).
First writer “up to the plate” is Philip Cerreta Jr. from New York, who waxes poetically on a handful of 80′s Metal releases. Yes, this is the same cool guy who contributed lots of killer+ intricate fantasy-type drawings for our Artwork section here.
I especially like his full-on rant about a certain growling “death” Metal singer. That’s right folks, we are not going to “sugar-coat” any reviews around here. I am posting all reviews as-is, regardless of who wrote them and whether they loved them or hated them!
*I will try to dig up some rare promo pics and such to make the reviews more interesting.
ALICE COOPER – Raise Your Fist and Yell
(MCA Records) 1987
If Constrictor was Alice Cooper‘s return to supremacy, then Raise Your Fist and Yell only fortifies his stature as Metal’s “Reigning Splatter King”. Vocally sarcastic, lyrically twisted, tracks like “Freedom”, “Lock Me Up”, “Prince of Darkness” and the hauntingly superb trilogy of “Chop Chop Chop”, “Gail” and “Rose On The White Lace” fall into a division that is both anthemic and surging in intensity.
Perhaps even described as a hybrid of 80′s Metal, Raise Your Fist and Yell is a great record from and even greater legend —don’t miss this on tour!
LIZZY BORDEN – Visual Lies
(ENIGMA/METAL BLADE Records) 1987
Venturing within a realm that is a bit more commercial, Lizzy’s sixth release is one ripe with killer vocals, crunching rhythms, choruses that explode and well-written lyrics while complimented by a production that is both crisp and vibrant.
The albums best cuts include “Eyes of A Stranger”, “Shock” and the soon-to-be classic “Me Against the World” —a song, which if not Lizzy’s best, then certainly one of his top three! Track for track Love You To Pieces still ranks as Lizzy’s best LP, followed by 1986′s Menace to Society. But make no mistakes, Visual Lies is a fine record from a talent who is capable of nothing less.
BLACK SABBATH - The Eternal Idol
(Vertigo/Warner Brothers Records) 1987
Talk about your welcomed surprises! Unleashing what has to be the “comeback album of ’87″, Tony Iommi has somehow re-kindled the fire long-lost. Now fronted by Tony Martin, who’s vocals are nothing short of superb, Black Sabbath sojourn through nine epic tracks —including the likes of “Lost Forever”, a spell binding cut and one which weaves a web of both power and fury, “The Shining”, “Ancient Warrior” and the glorious title track.
Sound-wise, the LP is massive (digitally recorded) and truly beckons for increased volume. Classic Metal in every sense of the word, The Eternal Idol is an album even Ozzy would’ve been proud to be a part of.
CRIMSON GLORY – Crimson Glory
(PAR Records) 1986
Though originally released over a year ago, Crimson’s début is still one worth raving about. Fueled by Midnight’s Geoffe Tate-like vocals, Crimson Glory conjures images of grandeur. From the “Divinity of Azrael” to the eeriness of “Lost Reflection” and back again through cuts like “Valhalla”, “Heart of Steel” and “Dragon Lady”, the band’s début is one synonymous with class.
Musically the album is both well-executed and imaginative. Lyrically it is brilliant, touching upon themes ranging from insanity and deception to seduction and Norse mythology. Behold the power and majesty that is Crimson Glory —raise high the chalice in commendation!
*”On July 8th, 2009, founding member and original Crimson Glory front man Midnight passed away from long-term health complications with his family by his side. He was 47 years old. Despite the various issues and conflicts between Midnight and the rest of the band, it was a devastating loss in its truest form.”
BLESSED DEATH – Destined for Extinction (Roadracer Records) 1987
So you say you’re into Death Metal? Well, Blessed Death‘s break neck assault aims to deliver. The only problem (as is often the case), lies in the vocals. Larry Portelli’s “abrasive” voice just doesn’t cut it for me. If a “poser” is in fact one who pretends to be what one is not (in this case a vocalist), then Larry —along with Thrash Metal’s majority, should stand trial for crimes of crude impersonation and be found guilty in the third degree! In terms of talent, I’d say he’s a step above Tom G. Warrior and several staircases below David Defeis (Virgin Steele). Now, I’ll admit some of his screams rip, but they’re used far too often and in the end, they only serve to defeat their intended purpose.
As far as the lyrics go, the band has chosen to explore some interesting, yet heavily charted territory. From the horrors of nuclear annihilation, to war and death itself, but the track that caught my attention was one entitled “Alien Impregnation”, which takes a different outlook on man’s evolution but without the lyric sheet you’re lost. There is a glimmer of hope for Blessed Death but until they realize the importance of a singer —as opposed to a “screamer”, they may only be destined to remain shackled in the confines of obscurity.
**Can you tell Phillip was not a fan of Thrash or Death Metal -haha?
Phillip is one of our staff writers whose Metal taste revolves around great vocals and or melodic songs and well-written lyrics. Unfortunately his Top 25 for 1988 list is still missing. As a matter of fact, so is Phillip. So, if/when you read this please contact us – we miss you!
LEATHERWOLF – Leatherwolf
(Island Records) 1987
All those who own a copy of Leatherwolf‘s first LP (a re-issue of their ’84 EP with extra tracks) signify by raising your fist…just as I suspected —not a lot. That’s a shame (a damn shame) cause’ that record ripped with some of the “catchiest” Power Metal imaginable!
Well, this 1987 disk, also entitled Leatherwolf is equally powerful, equally lethal and equally as contagious. Though musically heavier, Leatherwolf remind me a lot of Kiss, for both bands really excel in their use of vocal harmonies and their ability to pen song upon killer song. Through the use of keyboards, Leatherwolf (also like Kiss), have really enhanced their sound while retaining their razor-like edge.
Also worth noting are the outstanding vocals of Michael Olivieri, who’s capable of almost any extreme. His voice should carry this pack far with songs like “Rise or Fall”, “Gypsies and Thieves”, “Rule the Night” and “The Calling”. Michael Olivieri (vocals), Carey Howe, (guitars), Geoffrey Gayner (guitars), Dean Roberts (drums), Richard Gibbs (keyboards) and Paul Carman (bass) prove and prove again that Metal can be forceful as well as commercial —savage as well as graceful. Visually exciting (as well as musically) Leatherwolf are indeed among the rare breed.
Give this band the chance they deserve!
Some of the “catchiest” Metal imaginable?
*This album is self-titled just like the band’s début but it is a completely different album.
*to transport you directly back to the 80′s (when these reviews were written -ed), we will continue to keep the language in the posts & reviews “present tense” even though this is 2010.