The Saturday Metal Review

Guns N’ Roses

Lies

Geffen

Released on November, 29 1988

Sixteen months after Appetite For Destruction made its debut on the Billboard 100 and made Guns N’ Roses a household name, the rock band who would go on to become one of the biggest acts in the world released GN’R Lies. Whilst Appetite had been dripping with sleaze, liquor and decadence, Lies was a completely different beast.

The follow up record took many fans by surprise given that half of the 8 songs were acoustic numbers showing a different side to the untamed rockers. Lies was a response to an ever growing band that had scant material at the time to capitalize on Appetite’s success. With pressure mounting from record company Geffen to get some new material out there the band came up with a suggestion that made perfect sense.

Before Appetite For Destruction the bands very first release was the live EP titled: Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide which was originally released in December 1986. As per standard the EP contained four tracks which included three covers and one original song. “Reckless Life” known by many fans as a Guns song was indeed a Hollywood Rose creation. “Nice Boys” was a cover of Australian punk band Rose Tattoo of which Axl Rose was and still is a huge fan. “Move to the City” was the one original song co-written by long term friend Del James and the EP was rounded off by the Aerosmith classic “Mama Kin”.

The ‘Live’ EP was a little sneaky given that the record was actually recorded in a studio with pre-recorded fans screaming in the back ground. Note: Those fans making all of the noise were not Guns N’Roses ones, according to bassist Duff McKagan the screams were recorded from the then annual Texxas Jam in Dallas. With the EP being limited to just 10,000 copies the four track record started selling for serious money when Guns N’Roses made it big. It wouldn’t have been strange to see it change hands for over $100. Axl Rose who has always backed his fans over quality and content was outraged by this and suggested that these four tracks be available as part of an extended EP and thus GN’R Lies took shape.

To push the record to a near equilivant of a full album the band grouped together another four songs; “Patience”, “Used to Love her”, “You’re Crazy” and “One in a Million”. The songs were laced with beauty and….controversy. We couldn’t expect ‘the world’s most dangerous band’ to pull off a semi friendly acoustic record.

“Used to Love her” was seen by some critics as misogynistic with lyrics that included “I used to love her, but I had to kill her”. But guitarist Slash once commented that the song was not about a woman but about Axl’s dog! Most fans enjoyed the song and saw it for what it was black humour on the bands part. “You’re Crazy” had of course appeared on Appetite For Destruction but this version was a stripped down one. Producer Mike Clink who had a long association with the band described the recording of this song as one of the most beautiful experiences he had ever witnessed. “You’re Crazy” acoustic version became a regular set list song on the bands final leg of their Use Your Illusion tour some five years later.

But by far the most controversial song on the album was “One in a Million” which included lyrics such as: ‘Police and Niggers, that’s right get out of my way, don’t need to buy none of your gold chains today’. But it didn’t stop there as the song continued referencing in a negative form immigrants and gay people.

Inevitably the band came under fire from the press and from the music industry. Axl tried to defend the song, noting that he was not homophobic but was explaining his own life experiences. The song was played just two times before being retired in 1988 and has not been played live again. Such was the power of the band at that time that David Geffen who Guns N’ Roses were signed too and who was gay himself let it slide. The most ironic thing about the song is that without the lyrics it is a great tune, but was certainly pushing the envelope and not in the right way. The band tried to make amends a few years later when they played an historic gig at the Freddie Mercury Tribute at Wembley Stadium and Axl on more than one occasion teamed up with his hero Elton John.

Despite the controversy GN’R Lies also contained one of the epic rock songs of the 80s if not of all time. That song penned by guitarist Izzy Stradlin’ was “Patience”. It was a song that instantly gave the band from Los Angeles another million or so fans. Whilst some listeners were never going to get into tracks like “Out Ta Get Me”, “Patience” made the band way more accessible. The video for the song became a major hit and it was almost impossible not to have MTV on throughout the late 80s and not catch a glimpse of the video.

GN’R Lies then, was the bridge between Appetite and Use Your Illusion, a record that on reflection hinted at what would appear on the next album. The cover was a spoof of a newspaper tabloid- at the time the band were outraged about all of the media spin and lies about them, something they would experiment with more force on the Use Your Illusion albums with such songs as “Get in the Ring” and “Shotgun Blues”.

GN’R Lies spread like wildfire throughout 1989 when the band were mostly inactive, but the record kept them in the public’s eye until they ended that year having sold 5 million units of Lies and then supported their heroes The Rolling Stones to cap off a remarkable decade. After that they never looked back.

Written by David Bronstein

 

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The Saturday Metal Review

Kiss

Animalize

Mercury Records

Released Sept 13 1984

In 1984, bassist Gene Simmons was flirting with a career in acting, leaving Paul Stanley alone to produce the next Kiss album. Taking the reins completely was no easy task for Paul, especially since he had to find a replacement guitarist for Vinnie Vincent (who left the band previously). In comes the highly talented Mark St. John, who used the Rockman gear (designed by Boston’s Tom Scholtz) to allow him to plug directly into the mixer on the stage and in the studio. The end result was a ‘fat’ sound, boosting the leads and allowing Kiss to edge closely towards 80’s heavy metal. Some critics claimed the band was more glam rock at this stage in their careers, but Kiss was still in a commercial resurgence (starting on Lick it Up) and proved it further by watching Animalize go platinum; becoming their biggest-selling album since Dynasty in 1979.

Unfortunately, things would collapse quickly once St. John was forced to leave touring after the diagnosis of Reiter’s Syndrome. By November of that year, St. John was forced to leave for good putting the band in dire straits once more in the lead guitar position. To make matters worse, Gene Simmons began fighting with the band over his increased movie roles like Runaway and Trick or Treat and spending his time managing other bands (most notably Tommy Thayer’s Black ‘n Blue)

Despite all the trials and tribulations surrounding this period, the track “Heaven’s On Fire” became the biggest hit on the album and the music video was received in heavy rotation on MTV because of it. The band would persevere with the appointment of Bruce Kulick on lead, carrying the group for the next decade or so.

Favorite tracks: “Heaven’s On Fire”, “Burn Bitch Burn”, “Get All You Can Take” and “Thrills in the Night”.

I’m giving this a solid 8 out of 10

Knight of Tears

Knight of Tears released debut EP
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American Heavy/Thrash Metal band Knight of Tears released their debut 5-track self-titled EP. The release was recorded and mixed in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho at Quad Rocker Records by engineer Tom Hall, and mastered by John Cuniberti.

https://www.reverbnation.com/knightoftears

Knight of Tears formed in the summer of 2014 when Colin Burgeson and Seamus Gleason began playing original music together. Lead vocalist Scott Omeara joined in October and bassist Dave Swiecki joined a few weeks after.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/knight-of-tears-ep/id1108970980

knight of tears

The Saturday Metal Review

Motley Crue

Too Fast For Love

Leathur Records

Released Dec 15 1981

The first release from Motley Crue was said to be recorded in a week. The album had no real major label backing, but they gained popularity quickly through word of mouth. Everyone was just turning 20, except Mick Mars (who was a bit older) and boy could they command an audience; not to mention their outlandish stage presence. The bulk of the music and lyrics were actually written by Nikki Sixx and the album strives for that spontaneous, raw and ratty sound. You can really hear that punk rock/power-pop drive on “Piece of Your Action” and you know it’s magical when “Live Wire” roars into life for the very first time with that killer riff. The title track “Too Fast for Love” burns up in your brain, summing up the whole of being in the moment; being young and crazy. Those lyrics (courtesy of Sixx) prove that the band was young, and essentially out of their minds. This is the true spirit of rock ’n roll; switch blade in your pocket, drink in hand and a bundle of cocaine in your boot.

What’s not like with the Crue? They definitely tore the music scene apart in LA back in the early 80’s and to think they went on to sell 75 million albums over a career that spawned three decades of heavy/glam/hard rock.

Favorite tracks: “Live Wire”, “Piece of Your Action”, “Too Fast for Love” and “Public Enemy # 1”.  I’m giving this a solid 7 out of 10

 

The Lynch Mob returns to Toronto

lynch2016

Last year, at about this exact same time, I had the pleasure of seeing Lynch Mob, ex-Dokken guitarist George Lynch’s band (for only the last 26 years!) perform at The Rockpile club in my hometown of Toronto, Canada. It was a great show, and you can read all about it here.

Well, precisely one year later, the world renowned guitarist and his extremely talented bandmates returned to pack The Rockpile wall-to-wall with Lynch Mob fans from all over the GTA and beyond. This last time they rolled through town they played both Friday and Saturday at the club, giving fans a double dose of Lynch Mob and Dokken classics as well as new material from the current album of that time “Sun Red Sun” (which includes one my all time Lynch Mob faves “Believers of the Day“). The sound was impeccable during those performances and a great time was had by all.

Fast forward to June 4, 2016 and we get the same enthusiastic performance from the band, however the sound – particularly the vocal mix – was not of the caliber it was a year prior. Oni Logan’s vocals were so loud they were actually distorting, which is a shame because he is such a talented front man. That being said, the band performed to the very best of their bar-raising abilities, and if you weren’t directly in front of the main speakers they still sounded great. New material from “Rebel” was a welcome addition to their already impressive repertoire.

Sound issues aside, Lynch Mob shines in smaller venues like The Rockpile. Intimate settings provide great interaction with the audience and it’s a photographers’ dream to get this close to their subject matter.

The Toronto date only marks the third show of, what I understand is, a one month mini-tour. I highly recommend you catch them if they come anywhere near your neighborhood, the tickets are a steal for a band of this caliber!

-Rich Leggatt, HMS

The Saturday Metal Review

Tygers of Pan Tang

Wild Cat

MCA Records

Released August 23rd 1980

The Tygers were one band that caught the eye of a young Lars Ulrich many moons ago. In fact Lars would go on to say they partly inspired him to form Metallica, so that is something to be said in the grand scheme of things. It also showed how the NWOBHM impacted so many young bands in the States during the early to mid 80’s; especially how it also helped to shape the musical sense of the big four of American Thrash. The Tygers would also go one to release the seminal Wild Cat in 1980 and it contained 10 cuts of molten hard rock goodness starting with the bristling “Youthanasia” to get us going wild and then head diving into a series of killer tracks guaranteed to make your neck hairs stand-up on ends. Certainly you can hear echoes of Metallica’s Four Horsemen in a track like “Don’t Touch Me There” and Megadeth’s Devils Island in the track “Money”. The band obviously knew how to write riff-tastic songs thanks to the brilliance of lead guitarist Rob Weir.

The Tygers of Pan Tang would go on to perform until 1987 and then called it quits. Luckily the resurgence in their music convinced Rob to reform the band in 1999, updating the sound and surrounding himself with brand new members. They have since released Mystical (2001), Animal Instinct (2008) and Ambush (2012), proving the band still had life left in them.

Favorite tracks: “Youthanasia”, “Don’t Touch Me There”, “Money”, “Killers” and “Insanity”.

I’m giving this one a solid 8.5 out 10