KISS – Monster This album’s been a nice surprise and it’s a shoo-in for the year’s best list here at HMO Mission Control. Maybe not quite number one… but it’s up there anyway. There’s been a lot of competition this year. The track Long Way Down is certainly a candidate for song of the year, at least. I’d like to hear the band explore that style more.
Samson – Head On A bit of classic NWOBHM for you. This was the first Samson album to feature “Bruce Bruce” on vocals who later adopted the ridiculous moniker “Bruce Dickinson” when he went on to join Iron Maiden. This is a really fun album, hints of KISS and Gillan at points and it has some hilarious lyrics. Manwatcher and Take it Like a Man being particularly suspect!
Jethro Tull – Crest of a Knave The greatest Heavy Metal album of 1989? The Grammys thought so and awarded it the gong for Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Performance over Metallica’s …And Justice For All. Now, just to clarify, I really like Metallica but I never understood why everyone got so annoyed about this. While the decision was clearly ill-considered, Tull didn’t ask for the award and the pelters they received were unfair. While Crest wasn’t their best album by any means, neither was Justice Metallica’s best and it had no bass! The fact that Tull didn’t even bother turning up to the event makes them instantly more “Metal” than Metallica anyway.. At least it prompted Tull to put out their genius Billboard ad (below) and Metallica had the good humour to label future pressings of Justice with a sticker reading “Grammy award LOSERS”.
Gillan – Double Trouble (Studio Side) The half studio, half live album from Ian Gillan and band. A band which had only just acquired future Iron Maiden guitarist and stage-diver Janick Gers. I’ve never really paid enough attention to this period of Gillan and it turns out this is a storming album. Gers always seems more in his element as a lone guitarist and Gillan is in incredible voice here. It’s a more consistent and direct effort than previous Gillan albums but it does miss a bit of the gonzo chaos of the previous line-up with Bernie Tormé on guitar.
The Darkness – Hot Cakes Another contender for the HMO Album of the Year gong along with Monster, A Different Kind of Truth and… er… Crest of a Knave!
Manowar – Sign of the Hammer A stupendous blast of HM supremacy! Made all the more remarkable by the fact that is was recorded so quickly. Manowar realised, while recording their third album Hail to England for Music for Nations, that they were going to leave the label so they used the time and budget to sneakily record two albums! Brains and brawn! Hail would be given to Music for Nations and the band were able to shop around for a new label with an album already in the can. Happily, both the outgoing and incoming labels were gifted stone-cold Metal classics and saw that they were good.
Various Artists – Monsters of Rock The first compilation I’ve actually listened to since starting this blog. It also turns out I’m the proud owner of an album Mike Ladano didn’t know about! Haha. Anyhoo, you can read about it and look at it here.