We’ve been pushing the most brutal and dark stuff lately and we’re really proud of our last couple outings, but for this episode we got carried away into something a bit more carefree. To the point where we have doom, punkish stuff, power metal, hard rock, blues and glam all mixed up, with handclaps and cowbell on top for good measure. Yep, it’s a mess. And we don’t care. We’re on party mode here. Take it and use it on your boring car trips or to help you break awkward silences and engage in social intercourse at parties. Like “Hey, did you hear about that tranny song by Scorpions? That was pretty crazy”. 100% guaranteed social skills improvement! Just PLAY IT LOUD!
We’ll be back with our usual fare of violence and destruction on January 30th.
Click for show notes and a complete tracklist.
We said we’re on party mode, so what better start than Cathedral’s supremely fun “Midnight Mountain”? There’s not just enough appreciation for Cathedral. What’s not to like? There’s that super cool “oh yeeaaahhh” from ex-Napalm Death’s grindcore-master- turned-disco doom-king Lee Dorrian right there at the opening minute, and then we have that a crushing riff, amazing groove, deliciously catchy skull-crushing hand-clapping. We don’t care how “cvlt” you are: if you don’t like this, well, we’re sorry for you, you humorless sober fuck.
We proceed in happy-go-lucky mode with Inepsy’s “Street City Kids”. Could belong right there in Motörhead’s pantheon of great metal punk songs.
Piledriver was a 2014 discovery for us and the 1984’s title track “Metal Inquisition” in particular is one fuck ugly track that we can totally get behind of. Not the best we’ve heard, but it has the right amount of cheese combined with the right amount of Exciter from Canada (Piledriver being a Canadian band as well). The songs are perhaps a little more straightforward then they should be (cult this is not), but the cool production and vocals really take it home. Now “Kublai Khan” is pretty much 100% 84-85 Megadeth, down to the vox. Not very usual to find a band sounding like Megadeth, but the Kublai Khan’s guitarist-vocalist Greg Handevidt was an early Megadeth member. Guess that explains a lot. Cool track and cool album. Very much underrated crude speed/thrash. Give a listen to “Liar’s Dice” from their 1987 sole LP as well. It’s the track that to our ears sounds the most like an early Megadeth song.
It’s easy to dispel Mötley Crüe as just one of those horrible MTV-metal bands from L.A.. Hell, most of the times, these guys are just a bunch of idiot asses, we’ll acknowledge that. Sometimes, though, they just nailed it. We’ll come clean with you and admit that we have a soft spot for early Mötley Crüe, when they sounded as rowdy and white trash as ever, but the shameless enthusiasm and cool sleaziness was there and it was fun. “Too Fast For Love” is a damn good glam metal album! Things started to change for the worse after “Shout At The Devil” (from 1983, the year when the whole L.A. scene started to take over radio waves) but there are still gems to be found here, like the “Looks that Kill” track we picked up for this episode (“Bastard” was also on the table. Go listen). It’s classic Headbanger’s Ball stuff, and we loved the video. Really: give their first couple of albums a go. Maybe you’ll be surprised.
Talking about surprises, we bet you wouldn’t expect Roky Erickson (from 13th Floor Elevators fame) to be featured here in a million years. If there’s one guy who can carry the flag of acid and psych rock it’s Roky. We’re talking about a guy who consumed drugs on a Syd Barret-epic scale level, ended up in jail because of one lousy joint, pleaded for insanity to avoid prison, getting himself in a hospital for the criminally insane in the process. While staying at the hospital, Roky was diagnosed as a schizophrenic and subjected to extensive electroshock therapy and lots of thorazine. Goddammit! It doesn’t end here, though. Because later on he signed a legal document stating that his body was occupied by an alien, turned into a homeless guy, was re-institutionalized and finally got back on his feet thanks to the kindness of strangers: people like R.E.M., Primal Scream, The Jesus and Mary Chain or Butthole Surfers (there’s a trend here) who helped him achieve a legendary comeback. Somehow, amidst all the madness, Roky penned amazing music and is a legendary blues rock performer. Think that probably Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath wouldn’t be the same without Roky and his 13th Floor Elevators and you’ll possibly start to understand how far reaching his influence is. Oh, and “Don’t Slander Me” is one hell of a song!
We went on record some episodes ago stating that Jon Mikl Thor is the greatest. You know, in general. Perhaps you’ve listened to 1985’s “Only the Strong”. It’s one of power metal’s greatest moments. But that’s his first album. “Keep the Dogs Away” from 1977 is a completely different story. You know, general. It’s easy to hate it, which is probably its biggest strength haha keeps the boring people away, you know? So what we have here is a very freestyle album with a ton of genre mashing. Not an easy listen, but radio-friendly if that makes any sense. Just don’t come expecting some typical late 70’s heavy metal affair. It’s quite risible hard rock if nothing else. Just enough to deserve your worship. We went with “Tell Me Lies”, ‘cause, well… Cowbell!
Only one of us has the hots for Thunder Way. The same one that can’t help but to proudly display his full-on erection for ORGANIC power/speed very reminiscent of Helloween’s early stuff. This is 100% bulletproof, 200% glorious lo-fi, 80’s metal. From Albania of all places! Beautiful lead guitar work, epic compositions and generally complex song structures all amount to one damn fine album that demands your undying cultism.
The story that took Scorpions from 1977’s “He’s a Woman – She’s a Man” (a song about trans-sex) to 1991’s mushy, revolting “Wind of Change” and beyond is a long and tragic one, but we’ll not delve into it here. Let’s just preserve the memory that one day these Germans actually made great hard rock. Scorpions died in 1985 and that’s it. In memoriam.
And Dokken was another outfit who mostly sucks hard, but listen to “Back In The Streets” from their eponymous 1979 leaked demo EP (that’s right). It’s actually quite entertaining.
We can name at least two fundamental universal truths: we are going to die and the French had EXCELLENT heavy metal back in the 80s. So here are two French classics to wrap things up. Blaspheme’s “Jéhovah” assures everything is nice and well in the world with the most inspiring vocals this side of the fucking hemisphere, while Vulcain summons forth the spirit of Motörhead to surround us in an unrelentless wall of sheer metal sound.
Now that was fun!
- Midnight Mountain | Cathedral (UK) | The Ethereal Mirror, 1993 http://www.cathedralcoven.com/
- Street City Kids | Inepsy (CAN) | Rock ‘n’ Roll Babylon, 2003 http://www.facebook.com/INEPSYOFFICIAL
- Metal Inquisition | Piledriver (CAN) | Metal Inquisition, 1984 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Exalted-Piledriver/200259033325680
- Kublai Khan | Kublai Khan (USA) | Annihilation, 1987 http://www.discogs.com/artist/1177039-Kublai-Khan-2
- Looks That Kill | Mötley Crüe (USA) | Shout At The Devil, 1983 http://www.motley.com/
- Don’t Slander Me | Roky Erickson (USA) | Don’t Slander Me, 1986 http://www.rokyerickson.net/
- Tell Me Lies | Thor (CAN) | Keep the Dogs Away, 1977 http://www.thorcentral.com/
- The Last Warrior | Thunder Way (ALB) | The Order Executors, 1993 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Thunder-Way/228498993881575
- He’s a Woman – She’s a Man | Scorpions (GER) | Taken By Force, 1977 http://www.the-scorpions.com/
- Back In The Streets | Dokken (USA) | Back In The Streets, 1979 [demo EP] http://www.dokkencentral.com/
- Jéhovah | Blaspheme (FRA) | Blaspheme, 1984 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Blaspheme/107946465952752
- Blueberry Blues | Vulcain (FRA) | Desperados, 1985 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Groupe-Vulcain/142692999118467