Nitro – “O.F.R.” (1989)

NitroRidiculous!  How else can one describe Nitro’s O.F.R.?  Nitro took glam metal to the extreme, offering up what I can only assume was a tongue-in-cheek satire of heavy metal in the late eighties.  Everything Nitro did was preposterous and over the top.  In a way, Nitro did to glam what Manowar did to traditional metal — taking the tropes of their chosen genre and exaggerating them to a point of absurdity.  Their hair was out-f*ckin-rageous, their vocals were out-f*cking-rageous, and their guitar playing was out-f*cking-rageous.  In case you haven’t figured it out by now, O.F.R. stood for Out-F*cking-Rageous.

Of course, we can’t go any further without first discussing Jim Gillette’s dog whistle vocals.  The man possessed a jaw-dropping vocal range, much like King Diamond.  But just because you can hit glass-shattering high notes doesn’t mean you should do so all the time.  But Gillette does so about 90% of the time!  Like King Diamond, this becomes laughably idiotic about 30 seconds into the album.  And like K.D., when Gillette goes for the real low notes, he sounds cartoonishly awful.

As for guitarist Michael Angelo (Batio), the man could play insanely fast, and he was obviously a word-class shredder.  He sometimes played a special “quad-guitar”, too.  Check him out in this video for the song Freight Train.  His rhythm playing on O.F.R. was pretty straightforward, but his solos were awe-inspiring (even if they weren’t exactly “musical”).

An album like O.F.R. is pretty immune to any objective criticism because it shouldn’t be taken seriously in the first place.  The only thing I can do is ask myself whether I enjoy listening to it or not.  The answer, surprisingly, is “yeah”.  I particularly like the song Long Way From Home.  It is the closest thing we get to a legitimate song on the album.  The vocal harmonies are actually really cool!  Another song that kind of kicks ass is Shot Heard ‘Round The World.

You have to be in the right mindset to even attempt to listen to O.F.R., but when the mood strikes it can be a guilty pleasure.  Just make sure nobody overhears you listening to it.  That would be embarrassing.  My score: B-  

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3 thoughts on “Nitro – “O.F.R.” (1989)

  1. This album is everything you wrote. Based on your review I immediately listened to it on Spotify. It is mind-blowing. The vocals on Machine Gun Eddie are so impressive! Thanks for turning me on to tis.

  2. Michael Angelo Batio got completely lost in a massive ball of sludge called Nitro. But hey ma’ look at me now! His famous double “Jet” guitar is on permanent display at the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland OH. Jim Gillette was a complete tool just ask Lita Ford. Nitro- Steel Panther ? Not that far off, other than Bobby Rocks kicks but over Stix zadinia.

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