Album Reviews (1982) vol. 2

More reviews from 1982…

Motorhead – Iron Fist

MotorheadComing off their chart topping success in the U.K. with the No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith live album, Motorhead found themselves as unlikely commercial contenders.  Their reign was short-lived, however, as the Iron Fist album found the band in full-on coast mode.  Ever since, Lemmy and Motorhead have soldiered on as reliable road warriors, known more for their consistency and stubborn resistance to change than for any hit songs or platinum albums.  Not a bad racket actually, as these are the attributes that earn you die-hard fans, and a legacy that surpasses anything chart topping albums can bring.  Hey, they sell Motorhead shirts at JCPenney, so I guess it ain’t all bad, eh?

Anyway, Iron Fist is a pretty lame effort by Motorhead.  Only the title track goes down as a legit Motorhead “classic” in my opinion.   America and (Don’t Need) Religion are also okay, but many of the songs just never really take off.  Heck, in 1982, the Motorhead-influenced band Tank totally mopped the floor with Iron Fist on their much more inspired Filth Hounds Of Hades opus.  After Iron Fist, Fast Eddie left Motorhead to form the pretty-cool Fastway, a much different animal than the grimy meth metal of Motorhead.  But there aren’t any Fastway shirts at JCPenney, are there?  My score: C+

April Wine – Power Play

April WineThis was an uneven follow-up to April Wine’s career defining Nature Of The Beast (1981).  I don’t think it was as much to do with complacency (see Motorhead review above) or a change in style as it was just a lack of any real “hit” worthy songs.  There are indeed a couple of stinkers here, chief among them being If You See Kay, a stupid lyrical gimmick (say the title out loud), and one that I think was far beneath April Wine.  I believe corporate puppet Britney Spears used a similar gimmick on one of her “songs”, which only goes to show you how retarded it is.  The best song is Enough Is Enough, maybe the only song here that lives up to the quality of anything on Nature of The Beast.  I think Power Play closes out fairly strong with a cover of The Beatle’s Tell Me Why and the cool Runners In The Night.  My score: B-

E.F. Band – Deep Cut

E.F. BandPrior to their second album, the Swedish trio E.F. Band added a new member, a Dutchman by the name of John Ridge.  Ridge relieved bassist Pär Ericcson of vocal duties, shoring up a major deficiency in the band that severely bogged down E.F. Band’s debut Last Laugh Is On You.  Ridge was no world-beater on the mic, but he was a major improvement over the guy-off-the-street style of Ericcson.  Deep Cut maintained E.F. Band’s rich seventies sound, but bolstered the hooks a notch — making this album more enjoyable than the scrappy debut, and the best album of E.F. Band’s three-record catalog.  Of the nine tracks on tap, two are Russ Ballard covers (both well done).  Band original Child Of Innocence is a personal fave, as is the quaint slow blues balladry of Sail Away, a poignant cut that reminds me of AC/DC’s less-is-more approach on the unforgettable Ride On.  My score: B

Grand Prix – There For None To See

Grand PrixThis was the second of three albums by Grand Prix.  During the recording of There For None To See, Grand Prix unceremoniously sacked their vocalist Bernie Shaw and replaced him with Irishman Robin McAuley.  There For None To See is a classy bit of rich melodic rock with a bit of pomp thrown in for good measure.  Keyboardist Phil Lanzon made his presence felt with plenty of synth embellishments.  Though polished, rich and full-bodied, the songs on There For None To See fall short of the celestial heights Grand Prix reached on their final album, the great Samurai of 1983.  Here, the hooks fall safely to earth, though Robin McAuley is a truly fine vocalist.  I really like the timbre of his voice and his elegant delivery.  AOR treasure hunters needn’t rush out and find There For None To See.  You would be much better served starting with the triumphant Samurai.  My score: B-

Mayday – Revenge

MaydayThe cover seems to imply hard rock or metal, but no.  This is pretty much guitar and synth based AOR, though a pretty solid effort (if bouncy, poppy AOR is your thing).  Mayday was a U.S. band that released two albums for A&M Records, but without success.  Revenge was their second album.  Mayday gets a bit of a lift in the edge department thanks to the mild grit in the voice of their vocalist Steve Johnstad.  Revenge is not really applicable to this website, but I came across the cassette real cheap, thought it looked like hard rock, and listened to it from start to finish a few times.  My conclusion being I really don’t have a good use for Revenge.  I don’t know, I’m just not well-versed enough in AOR to really put this album in context.  My score: C+

Leviticus – Stå Och Titta På

LeviticusThough I don’t necessarily subscribe to Leviticus’ overtly Christian word view, I still consider myself a fan of this endearing Swedish band.  Stå Och Titta På was Leviticus’ debut, a four-track “maxi” EP.  This one is entirely in the Swedish language, which is sure to limit its appeal.  Nevertheless, Leviticus tried to drive home their “message” behind a bit of archaic, but spirited, melodic metal.  Only one of the four tracks is a dud, the immensely boring finale Min Mastare.  This EP, in its entirety, was included as bonus material on the Magdalene Records CD re-issue of Leviticus’ 1985 LP The Strongest Power.  My score: C+

Hanoi Rocks – Oriental Beat

Hanoi RocksYoung, skinny, filthy and wasted, I give you the one and only Hanoi Rocks!  Mama’s fallen angels returned for album number two with Oriental Beat.  Though Finnish, Hanoi Rocks adopted London as their home, a place to plunge needles in their arms, and otherwise overindulge themselves upon the vices of the city’s underbelly.  Though not quite as good as Hanoi Rocks’ debut, Oriental Beat contains the same cocktail of glam, punk, oldies rock and hard rock that made Bangkok Shocks, Saigon Shakes, Hanoi Rocks such a fun listen.  Prime cuts include Motorvatin’ and Don’t Follow Me.  My score: B


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