Artist: Quiet Riot
Title: “Setlist: The Very Best Of Quiet Riot – Live”
Label: Sony Music
Release Date: 7/13/2010
Genre: Heavy Metal/Hard Rock
Historically speaking Quiet Riot was one of the first bands that I was able to see in concert on my own and don’t laugh because you know that each and every one of you went to a show or two with your parents standing safely in the shadows to observe the shenanigans. While I know that I am dating myself, it was back around the time when they had just released their “Metal Health” album and they were appearing at the long shuttered L’Amour’s in Brooklyn. At the show I was blown away by the bands delivery and skill and overall catchy tunes and that made listening to their “Setlist” live CD an absolute treat since we don’t really have too much of a representation of the band during its early years in the live sense. Some music historians will remember easily how the band once found Randy Rhoads among its number but this release focuses on what was musically established by the classic lineup of Kevin DuBrow, Frankie Banali, Rudy Sarzo and Carlos Cavazo. After reviewing a couple of these releases so far, I was happy to find the “Setlist” collections offering up the occasional unreleased tune or two, but the Quiet Riot edition must be lauded for its presenting 50% unreleased tracks from the band in concert. The album also primarily focuses on two years in the bands life (1983 and 1984) and with that comes off as very vintage in their history. The younger generation of fans today might need to look into the album collections of their older siblings or parents to find a copy of “Metal Health” and its recommended action to better absorb a band that helped build a music scene at the time. “Metal Health” is strongly celebrated on this collection and presents us with six of the albums original ten tracks. We get the classic Slade tune “Cum On Feel The Noize” and the title track along with my long time favorite “Run For Cover”. I would have liked to hear “Thunderbird” or “Breathless” but I will not complain with what we did get here since it was so satisfying. The band shows themselves to be a hungry Metal machine and DuBrow screams over blistering Cavazo guitar riffs and thunderous Banali drumming.
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Artist: Various Artists
Title: “We Wish You A Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year” Deluxe Edition
Label: Armoury Records
Release Date: 9/14/2010
Genre: Holiday Metal
A couple of years ago the folks over at Eagle Records gave the Metal fans a holiday album that was really something up their alley. Though not as much a story-telling enterprise as the Trans-Siberian Orchestra or as tongue in cheek a delivery as a Twisted Christmas, this really had some interesting and fun stuff to enjoy. Having reviewed the original CD and then its EP follow-up, I decided to combine and slightly rework those thoughts based on Eagle Records re-releasing these albums in time for the 2010 holiday season as one package.
“I’ve been a fan of the holiday juggernaut that is the Trans-Siberian Orchestra for several years now, but there was no way that my experience with that would have prepared me for how Twisted Sister would deliver their “Twisted Christmas” release. I bring them up as it originally hit me as one of the most absurd items in reviews to do pile but after several listens I found myself intrigued at just how well the conventional Metal vibe worked when crafted together with Holiday classics that they chose. It was an album that left you hungry for more and that made the arrival of the “We Wish You A Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year” release something I was eager to dig into. The players on this one are as vast as the Metal genre itself and as result finds legends like Alice Cooper and Ronnie James Dio performing along with the likes of diverse quality players like Steve Lukather and Ray Luzier and many, many more. The vibe of this release is rather heavy which was good and I admit it that it almost felt like a Motorhead track when Lemmy gave it a go at “Run Rudolph Run”. Shock master Alice Cooper and John 5 delivered the creepiest “Santa Claws Is Coming To Town” I’ve ever heard and believe me at the end of this one, the fact that he knows when you are sleeping and knows when you are awake will scare the Charles Dickens out of you. Winners come shining through during a few numbers like “Silver Bells” which has a powerful modern Metal drive to it and Geoff Tate singing and I felt the same way about the albums opening title track that gave us the magical voice of Jeff Scott Soto, a singer I have always been able to enjoy. Dio is at his ominous best with Mr. Iommi and company for “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and the best way to describe this one is as imagine the band Heaven And Hell doing the track. Weird huh, but it does work on some levels. I had to say that I was put off by the Death Metal growls of Chuck Billy and Thrash treatment given to “Silent Night”, as this is a track that I like to much to see given such a reworking. Of course there are some who might enjoy the chance to finally hit the circle pit to this one, so here you go folks. Former Judas Priest/Iced Earth front man extraordinaire Tim Owens hits it out of the park with “Santa Claus Is Back In Town” and he sounds like he is having a blast and the same can be said for King’s X vocalist Dug Pinnick during “Little Drummer Boy”. It wouldn’t be fair for me to ruin every single surprise on the album so I shall leave the remaining tracks to your own surprise as you unwrap this present with glee after you taking it from the spiked leather stockings that are hanging on your mantle. It does end with a rousing rendition of John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” and I love this tune and felt the guitarist/singer did a fantastic job of it. He is joined by Toto’s own Steve Lukather who can deliver the goods in any situation it seems.
Continue reading “We Wish You A Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year” (Deluxe Edition) by Various Artists
Artist: Quiet Riot
Title: “Metal Health” (remaster)
Label: Portrait/Epic Legacy
Release Date: 8/28/2001
Genre: Heavy Metal
Quiet Riot was originally founded as far back as 1975 by guitarist Randy Rhoads and singer Kevin DuBrow and the pair recorded two albums together, but while a Hollywood fan base found them popular, their fame and a US record deal was still many years away. Rhoads would leave the band to join Ozzy Osbourne’s group in 1979 and tragically die in a plane crash in 1982. It was following this tragedy that DuBrow would attempt to reform the band with a returning Rudy Sarzo on bass as well as guitar wizard Carlos Cavazo and drummer extraordinaire Frankie Banali. Their album “Metal Health” was unleashed to the world in 1983 and with it the music scene for Heavy Metal and Hard Rock would be dramatically transformed and propel the band into the stratosphere. There were a number of factors at play here and while I think that a large part of it was in the overall talent of the band who was definitely a Hollywood staple act, I also think that the growing scene in Los Angeles was set to overflow at any moment and had to peak at some point. It was not long after QR’s signing the deal that the rest of the world would be taking notice of the many bands that were on the Hollywood club circuit of the day. Quiet Riot as a band definitely delivered catchy songs with memorable guitar hooks and as result the album “Metal Health” was a fan favorite across the board. It might have frightened the more Doom Metal based followers of Sabbath and the like but you could not take away the fact that based on this album Heavy Metal music was considered a booming industry.
Continue reading “Metal Health” (remaster) by Quiet Riot
Artist: 3 Legged Dogg
Title: “Frozen Summer”
Label: Perris Records
Release Date: 10/17/2006
Genre: Hard Rock
While a VH1 “Reality” show used the name before the CD by this band was released I think it is pretty safe to say that the words “Super Group” apply best when you are teaming up former members of Dio, Quiet Riot, Lynch Mob and the David Lee Roth Band. By right the definition of such a term should be “music of heroic or epic proportions” and with that being said, this is exactly what the result is on this Hard Rocking Blues influenced quintet called “3 Legged Dogg”. Here’s why its so easy to stand by this statement; the bands core membership reads like a who’s who in “Big 80’s” Hard Rock and Metal with Vinny Appice (drums), Chas West (vocals, harmonica), Jimmy Bain (bass), Carlos Cavazo (guitar) and Brian Young (guitar). Singer Chas West (Bonham, Lynch mob) reminds me a lot of David Coverdale with a touch of Chris Cornell thrown in and behind him is air-slicing guitar riffs and thunderous drums that possess a quasi Led Zeppelin/Deep Purple finesse. The band is surprisingly fresh and catchy all around and a perfect band in a day where the old sound is sorely required once again. I felt this was also a great new vehicle for the players involved and allows us to see just how creative they are outside of the bands that we know them so well from. I had trouble finding preferential tracks here and I was pretty much just caught up in the overall groove that was happening but I did feel that “Rain On My Parade” had some moments where it really reminded me of Badlands and the late and lost too young Ray Gillen. “One Good Reason” crunches like old Whitesnake and I mean the really old stuff where it was much more Blues based while “Wasted Life” sounds like a tribute to Led Zeppelin or something you would have hoped that Audioslave would have come up with. The pairing of Young and Cavazo really worked and while we all know Carlos pretty well from QR, the world needs to see Mr. Young shine a little more since he is one incredible player and does not let you down on any of the tracks on the album. There is not much more to be said about Bain and Appice beyond the fact that they are probably the tightest Hard Rock rhythm section in the business and have proved this for years while working in Dio. With 3 Legged Dogg they merely remind us of this standing.
Continue reading “Frozen Summer” by 3 Legged Dogg