This kind of stately Euro metal should be right up my street but In The Future To Come, the track that kicked off Europe’s career in 1983, doesn’t quite cut it for me. The regal riffing and ripping solo are impressive and it’s very melodic and listenable. But for all its proficiency, it’s just a bit too naïve and mild-mannered for my liking. When I listen to this kind of stuff I want blood and thunder. FIRE! Yowww. In The Future To Come doesn’t rouse enough of that manly passion for me to rate it as anything other than mildly pleasing.
He’s a phenomenally exciting guitar player and intense live performer but there are a disconcerting number of patchy studio albums to wade through in “Terrible Ted” Nugent’s discography. This 1975 album, his solo debut after ditching the Amboy Dukes band moniker, is as close to filler-free studio greatness as he ever got. Outside of a compilation or live album, this is the most classic Nuge songs that you’re going to find in one place.
And what classics! Stranglehold is an audacious and timeless opener: a moody, psychedelic workout that brilliantly showcases the excellent band, Nugent’s guitar chops and that superbly raunchy Gibson Byrdland tone. Motor City Madhouse is a gonzo rager and the stunning hard rockers Just What The Doctor Ordered and Stormtroopin’ are two of my all-time faves. The lesser-known Hey Baby and Snakeskin Cowboys are catchy, swaggering rock n’ rollers that hold their own among the hits.
But the patchy criticism still applies and Ted doesn’t always hit the target here, running out of steam with a brace of comparatively forgettable closing tracks. But this is still the most consistently brilliant studio album of his career and a great place for newbies to start. Like the “murder capital of the world” referenced in Motor City Madhouse, Ted Nugent is loaded with killers.