“In The Beginning, Good always overpowered the evils of all man’s sins…But in time the nations grew weak and our cities fell to slums while evil stood strong. In the dusts of hell lurked the blackest of hates, for he whom they feared awaited them… Now many, many lifetimes later, Lay destroyed, beaten, beaten down, only the corpses of rebels. Ashes of dreams and blood stained streets. It has been written “Those who have the youth Have the future” So come now, children of the beast be strong and Shout at the Devil”
That was how the album began and it grabbed you from the very first ominous second. It’s thirty years later and the shouting is louder than ever before and that is the best way that I can begin a reflection in my toast about Motley Crue’s sophomore effort “Shout At The Devil” and its reaching its thirtieth year. What a milestone this is and to be brutally honest for me this album maintains all the Heavy Metal relevance that it had when I first unwrapped the LP and started blasting it on my stereo. I guess that I could have been called a bit of a casual fan of Motley already when this had come out and that was based on some friends having jammed out to “Public Enemy Number One” in their band which I had just seen doing some kind of show. They didn’t do it all that good to my recollection but I did like the feel of the tune and borrowed my buddy’s tape of the release not long after the show. Don’t worry, he would get it back (eventually ?). So what of my first go at this eventual seminal body of Metal work? Well, my own first experience with this particular album by the Crue makes me reflect back on my days of not so errant musical youth. Back in 1983 I was working a part-time job at a brokerage firm and one of the people I got to know was a Rapper who had recently signed his group The Fearless Four to Elektra Asylum Records. One day I went up to the company’s office with him and the executive that he was meeting asked if I had liked the music that Motley Crue was doing and when I responded with a resounding “yes”, he handed me a copy of the brand new “Shout At The Devil” album which I don’t think was even in the public hands for another few weeks at the time. I had a little unsigned Metal band of my own so just being in a record executives office was an experience not easily handled with calm, cool collectiveness. Once home I opened the album up with hunger and intrigue because it had a very ominous black cover and a pentagram on it. Nothing else. If you wanted to see what The Crue looked like you had to open it up. Inside was a foldout and on either side of the LP were two members of the band. It was awesome. Take a look below at what my still young Metal self saw.
After the narration (that I used at the beginning of my posting), the riffs just blasted through my speakers and the solid drums over Vince’s wailing vocal just did it for me. For me it was a world of difference from the more-polished Van Halen stuff and of course less technically puzzling than Rush was so it was easy to get into The Crue. Plus they looked awesome in my eighteen year old eyes and rebelled against the authority of what was expected to be done in life. Okay so I was hardly any kind of delinquent myself but no one liked to be told what to do all the time. I fell into that model and was a growing musician who found some of the Motley songs easy to learn and practice along to. “Looks That Kill” was probably my first favorite track on the album and the video that was played all over MTV was nothing less than kick ass. It depicted the band as a no-nonsense kind of group with great skill and this appealed to those of us who appreciated these same ideals in KISS several years before. Oddly enough, KISS had recently reached a milestone of their own with the release of “Lick It Up”. An album that also had just hit the thirty year mark and was the first in a line of unmasked (or non makeup years) KISS albums but I digress. Continuing on with the “Shout” album, the other tracks that I remember standing out so much for me fell to “Bastard”, their version of The Beatles classic “Helter Skelter” and “Red Hot” based on its thunderous double bass drum parts. I think I mentioned I was a drummer somewhere here already but if not now you know and this was nothing less than a workout and a half for someone who was still learning the ropes on his instrument. I liked “Too Young To Fall In Love” a lot more after the video made its rounds and I recall having some appreciation for “Knock ‘Em Dead Kid” and “Ten Seconds To Love” in some sense but not as much as those other tracks. This kind of music was not too commonly heard on the radio but some of the stations would play Crue during Heavy Metal blocks or as part of the later evening programming. I guess this helped contribute to “Shout At The Devil” reaching the #12 spot on the Billboard charts. Not too shabby for this kind of album and a band that presented itself like this.
Clearly Mr. Neil, Sixx, Lee and Mars were onto something and literally kicking more ass than taking names in the circles that I hung out in. The funny thing about my being interested in Crue from this far gone time is that I would get to see them live until the album that followed this one which is 1985’s “Theatre Of Pain”. I do remember being one of the only Metal “kids” on the block and one who guided a lot of his friends in the things that were happening and after getting this release in my collection, the others in my circle would come down to the basement of my parents house and we would blast it until they flicked the lights on and off signaling us to turn it down or get out. Ahhh memories. While I have already stated that this was not my very first introduction to Crue music, it was this particular album that got the heaviest rotation on the turntable and was hence absorbed by my brain. Thirty years later I do still love this album very much and smile when it plays on the stereo, the laptop or other mobile device. Hopefully my younger readers hold this one as a little more special against the rest of the Crue output (especially the later years). The band is still active and touring in 2013 and so far do not seem like they will be stopping any time soon.
Track Listing: (Original Release)
1. In The Beginning
2. Shout At The Devil
3. Looks That Kill
5. God Bless The Children Of The Beast
6. Helter Skelter
7. Red Hot
8. Too Young To Fall In Love
9. Knock Em Dead, Kid
10. Ten Seconds To Love
Official Website: www.motley.com
I reviewed the remastered edition that I referenced briefly in the beginning of 2009 and in the event you wanted to check that out you can click HERE.
Since the original release on CD is likely harder to find at this point in time, I have only embedded a link to the remastered version. It’s been expanded so that is a little cooler at the end of the day.