Breaker – “Get Tough!” (1987)

BreakerThis bit of coolness comes to us from Cleveland, Ohio circa 1987.  The cover art was fairly atypical for an eighties heavy metal release.  One could mistake Get Tough! for a punk, hardcore, or nineties alternative album based on the cover.  But nay, this is a straight shot of eighties metal right to your nut sack.

Released by Ohio’s premiere cult metal label, Auburn Records, Breaker sounded like a band primed for major label attention.  There’s little doubt that Breaker had the skill to excel further than they did, but I guess Lady Luck wasn’t on their side.  I’m particularly impressed by the smart lyrics on Get Tough!, which stay away from the usual metal conventions of the day, allowing the album to stand the test of time extremely well.  Breaker were a long way from Hollyweird, and in this case that’s a good thing.  Breaker’s lyrics were grounded in real life — feet to the street and nose to the grindstone.  True grit straight outta Cleveland.  Throw Jim Hamar’s excellent vocals into the mix, and you’ve got yourself a real winner.  Again, this album has aged remarkably well.

Prime cuts include Ten Seconds In, Get Tough, and my personal fave Black And White.  (Check out Black And White here.)  I have Get Tough! on cassette, which adds a heavy bonus cut called Touch Like Thunder.  My score: A-  


3 thoughts on “Breaker – “Get Tough!” (1987)

  1. Now you’re talkin’!

    This is bar none a Top 10 all-time American indie metal release. Best thing on Auburn. Best thing metal ever to come out of Ohio. I had – and loved! – the ’83 ‘Blood Money’ 7″ and was eagerly awaiting the album, which, sadly, didn’t come for another 4 years. But, damn, was it ever worth the wait! Every song is great but ‘Behind Enemy Lines’ just may be my fave, and the lead break in ‘Obsession’ is just fucking incredible – vintage Michael Schenker-style Cry Baby (that’s a guitar pedal, not an endorsement of child abuse!) flavored ripping! We are not worthy….! Really, this album is basically flawless – vocals (props to Jim Hamar – who else sounds like this guy?), musicianship (again, drool guitars! Great rhythm section, too!), songwriting (this is how you do it, kids!), style (very European influenced – Scorpions, MSG, UFO, Priest), and production (tight and crisp!). Should’ve been huge – BREAKER deserved it. Instead it’s become a cult fave that will be talked and raved about for years to come.

    P.S.: The 2-disc CD re-issue is an ABSOLUTE must!

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