Remixes seem to be a theme this week. It’s not intentional I promise!
Gillan – Double Trouble (Studio Side) Loving this intense and focused album. Let’s face it, if you’re going to open an album with a song called I’ll Rip Your Spine Out then it better be good. Interestingly, every time I hear the word “focused” in my head it’s Michael Schenker’s voice I hear saying it.
Whitesnake – Slide It In (US Remix) Hmm. I like the UK version of Slide It In and I like the US version. But which is better? There’s only one way to find out… FIGHT!!!
KISS – Monster Still enjoying this one. Having lived with it for a while, Take Me Down Below is a real grower (being the best song Slade never wrote). The only negatives here are the sub-Dictators chorus of Back to the Stone Age and the clunky “I Pledge Allegiance to the State of Independence” line in Freak. These are minor quibbles but… better out than in!
Twisted Sister – Under the Blade (80s Remix) Mike and Aaron’s record-shopping trip to Toronto turned up an LP of the remixed version of Twisted Sister’s debut album which got me wondering which version I actually have. Happily, it turned out I have both (having unwittingly downloaded the remix from Amazon). The remix tries to replicate the dumb, fun Glam Rock style that Twisted Sister hit paydirt with but I don’t feel the sound is a good fit for the songs whereas the original mix sounds gnarly and brutal like the underground Metal classic it is!
Manowar – The Lord of Steel (Hammer Edition) Manowar’s new album was released exclusively as part of a Metal Hammer fan-pack earlier in the year. It’s their best effort in years, a back-to-basics mix of classic Metal with a hint of Rock N’ Roll. Well, the album has since been subjected to further tinkering and remixing and now the “Retail Edition” has been unleashed on an unsuspecting world. I listened to the “Hammer Edition” this week so that it would be fresh in my mind when I got the new version. Stand and face The Lord of Steel! And clench your bum… the bass sound here is bowel-loosening!
Iron Maiden – Fear of the Dark LeBrain and KeepsMeAlive have both been doing great reviews of the Maiden catalogue from start to finish. I felt inspired to revisit this one as I realised I hadn’t listened to it for ages. There are a few songs in the second half that are better than I remember but, if I’m being honest, only the title-track would have earned a place on any of the Adrian Smith-era Maiden albums that came before and after.
Blackfoot – Strikes and Tomcattin’ Both of these are absolutely essential. Strikes is the band’s breakthrough album and features the classic Highway Song (every Southern Rock act needs a Freebird and this is Blackfoot’s). It’s a great late-night album of laid-back, bluesy Rock. With their next album, Tomcattin’, Blackfoot had Metallized their sound significantly and it’s far more hard-hitting. When you hear tracks like Warped, On the Run and Every Man Should Know (Queenie) it’s no surprise that this band won a strong following in the NWOBHM-obsessed UK of the early 80s.
SONG OF THE WEEK A new feature at HMO! I’m going to pick the stand-out track from the week and post it here for your delectation. This week it’s Blackfoot’s Warped. I loved going back to Tomcattin’ and this raucous opener is a standout song from an awesome album. Hope you like it… and keep an eye out for the Rock Candy reissues coming soon!
[Blackfoot – Warped]