Quiet Riot – “Condition Critical” (1984)

With the momentum of 1983’s Metal Health behind it, Condition Critical went platinum very quickly.  However, relative to Metal Health, Condition Critical was considered a commercial and critical disappointment.  Today, Metal Health is certified 6x platinum and Condition Critical is still single platinum.  It seemed Quiet Riot’s fame was receding faster than Kevin DuBrow’s hairline.  (This was before DuBrow started wearing his “parliament” wig.)  There’s some irony there.  You see, Metal Health was one of the most important albums in commercial metal history.  Released in 1983, it was the perfect album at the perfect time.  Thanks to MTV and some damn good songs, Metal Health became a monster hit (reached #1 on Billboard).  The success of Metal Health ushered in a new era of commercial heavy metal.  But just one year later, in 1984, there were tons of bands competing for a piece of the pie.  Quiet Riot were no longer alone atop the mountain.  It also didn’t help that 1984 was (in my opinion) the greatest year of heavy metal, period.  Condition Critical was competing with commercial blockbuster albums by the likes of Twisted Sister (Stay Hungry), Ratt (Out Of The Cellar), Whitesnake (Slide It In), and tons more.  Many bands have Quiet Riot to thank for starting a commercial metal movement, and its ironic that Quiet Riot ended up getting squeezed right out of the picture.  DuBrow’s bad press also contributed the band’s wane in popularity.

Okay, so Condition Critical is about as dumb as a box of rocks, but it is a fun album.  The lyrics are ridiculous and DuBrow is a clown through and through.  Opening track Sign Of The Times is the album’s best track and a rousing party anthem.  Slade cover Mama Weer All Crazee Now comes up next.  It’s a dumb tune that tries to rehash the success of Metal Health‘s big hit Cum On Feel The Noize (also a Slade cover).  Two more fun (but entirely stupid) party tracks follow; Party All Night and Stomp Your Hands, Clap Your Feet.  Side one closes with a ballad so cheesy it would make Manowar blush, Winners Take All.  A guilty pleasure!  Side two shows a real drop-off in song quality.  Only the title track, though a bit cumbersome and plodding, deserves any attention.  The filler on side two seems to suggest that the album was rushed.  But hey, don’t hate on Quiet Riot.  Yeah, they fell from grace hard and fast, but they still achieved more success than 99.9% of the heavy metal bands of the day.  What have you done?  My score: B

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