CD Scavenger Hunt – Catching up again!

Here we go again, another update on my neverending CD hunting! As I mentioned in my last safari update, money is tight and the economy is getting worse so my disposable income for music has taken a huge hit. The good news is that I’m so far behind in listening to CDs that I have enough new music to last until 2009! There are a few albums I picked up when they came out that I haven’t updated you on and I went out today and picked up a few discs at the record store today. Here’s what I’ve had for a few weeks…..

Venom – Hell (2008) – $13: This came out back in August but got overshadowed by other new releases. I grabbed this at the sale price when I actually saw this in the record store’s main display! The store got 2 copies: one went to me and the other to the guy who runs the Metal section at the store. I remember him telling me that he figured I’d be in for it.

DragonForce – Ultra Beatdown (2008) – $17: I picked this up the same day as the venom CD and I ended up dropping the extra $4 for the album with the bonus DVD. The deluxe set also had two bonus tracks so I guess I made the extra 4 bucks worth it! I’ll be honest here, I’m not the biggest DragonForce fan in the world, I have VALLEY OF THE DAMNED (2003) but I never bothered to pick up the rest. With all the hype the band has received from their appearance in the video game Guitar Hero III with ‘Through The Fire And Flames’, I figured I’d pick up the new record and listen to the debut. For some reason, DragonForce reminds me of Rhapsody (now called Rhapsody Of Fire) but the music is very different.

Here’s what I picked up today…..

Tesla – Forever More (2008) – $9.99: Can’t pass up that price! FOREVER MORE came out last week and I forgot so when I saw the promo poster on the front door of the record store, I added it to my list. I had a short list anyway so I didn’t mind adding this one in. This album has been streaming online for a couple of months but I haven’t heard any of it, if it’s as good as INTO THE NOW (2004), I’ll be happy. It doesn’t seem like it’s been 4 years since the last Tesla studio album…..

Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force – Perpetual Flame (2008) – $12.88: This was the only album on my list today. I ran right out to pick this one up because I have to hear how Tim Owens does working with Yngwie and if this is going to be a train wreck of an album. I haven’t enjoyed an Yngwie album since 1997’s FACING THE ANIMAL (Mats Leven on vocals) but I seem to keep buying his albums. I checked on this when I got home from the hunt and it seems that I have every Yngwie album except for ATTACK!! (2002). I have that soft spot for Yngwie, he’s made some solid albums but everything after 1997 has bored me. I skipped ATTACK!! because I was unhappy with ALCHEMY (1999) and WAR TO END ALL WARS (2000) but I did pick up UNLEASH THE FURY (2005). The Metal guy at the record shop says it’s a good album, we’ll see…..

We Wish You A Metal Xmas And A Headbanging New Year (2008) – $9.99: A late addition to today’s buying! I had heard about this project featuring Lemmy, Geoff Tate, Dio, Alice Cooper and a whole bunch more. This is another one of those albums produced by Bob Kulick that features all these Heavy Metal heroes doing covers. Usually it’s for a tribute album but I’m getting sucked in to the Xmas albums. I’ve always been big into Trans-Siberian Orchestra, I changed my tune on the Twisted Sister Xmas album, and Helix has one coming out too! I figured for ten bucks it would be a cool holiday spin.

On to Ebay…..

Gothic Knights – Kingdom Of The Knights (1999) – $6: Finally! After 10 years I finally pick up this album! I have had this album in my favorite searches on Ebay for a long time and it always comes up, I just never pull the trigger. I was watching another album and I went to view the seller’s other items and this showed up at the top of the seller’s list. I ended up being the only bidder. Now I have to update this album’s WANTED.

Halloween – No One Gets Out (1991/2001 reissue) – $13.50: It certainly is the right time of year for buying Halloween albums! I’ve been meaning to pick up all of Halloween’s albums for a couple of years now, especially the band’s own reissues with bonus tracks. Unfortunately, this album is out of print and the band isn’t making anymore for sale at their website so I had to grab it. The price the band was selling it for was $15 so I saved $1.50, the shipping is also discounted because I bought the Gothic Knights CD from this seller too. (Total shipping is $4 for both discs, I didn’t include that in the price.)

WANTED: KISS – Jigoku Retsuden (2008)



KISS – Jigoku Retsuden (2008)

In August, KISS released JIGOKU RETSUDEN, a Japan-only greatest hits compilation. So why do I need another KISS greatest hits CD? The catch to this one is that all of the songs are re-recordings with the current lineup of Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Eric Singer, and Tommy Thayer. For me, that’s big news! It’s kind of like having brand new material even though it’s all the songs I already have, it would be interesting to hear how these songs sound with this lineup though. Other bands have done this with great success so I guess KISS is entitled to do it to. Re-recording some of these classics might also help in KISS getting some of these songs onto future editions of the Guitar Hero and Rock Star video game series.

Here’s the tracklisting:

Deuce, Detroit Rock City, Shout It Out Loud, Hotter Than Hell, Calling Dr. Love, Love Gun, I Was Made For Lovin’ You, Heaven’s On Fire, Lick It Up, I Love It Loud, Forever, Christine Sixteen, Do You Love Me?, Black Diamond, Rock And Roll All Nite

There are two versions: the regular CD & CD/DVD set. The bonus DVD is live footage from the KISSOLOGY DVD sets. I’m in the market for the single disc and that costs about $25, the 2 disc set is around $30, depending on where you buy it from.

Metal Mixtape – 10/12/08

Tale Of The Tape:
Dell DJ 30 (1st Gen)
4555 songs (385 albums)

One of the problems with taking a weekend off is that you need to take care of all the little things around the house that you let slip when you are working and doing all the things you need to do to keep life going. I had some chores around the house to do, bills to pay, a dog to walk and a house that needs it’s Halloween transformation. The only way to get through it is to put the headphones on, press SHUFFLE, and go about your business! Here’s the first 20 songs that played…..

  1. Tygers Of Pan Tang – ‘Badger Badger’ (1980)
  2. Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Angel Eyes’ (2008)
  3. Uriah Heep – ‘Tears Of The World’ (2008)
  4. Icarus Witch – ‘Queen Of Lies’ (2007)
  5. Alcatrazz – ‘God Blessed Video’ (1985)
  6. UFO – ‘Hunger In The Night’ (1988)
  7. Alice Cooper – ‘Yeah, Yeah, Yeah’ (1971)
  8. Extreme – ‘Slide’ (2008)
  9. Iron Maiden – ‘2 Minutes To Midnight’ (1984)
  10. Mogg-Way – ‘Totaled’ (1997)
  11. Motley Crue – ‘Down At The Whiskey’ (2008)
  12. Judas Priest – ‘Wheels Of Fire’ (2005)
  13. U.D.O. – ‘ The Devil Walks Alone’ (2007)
  14. Mogg-Way – ‘Death In The Family’ (1999)
  15. Krokus – ‘Shotgun Boogie’ (1990)
  16. Scorpions – ‘Mind Like A Tree’ (1999)
  17. Saxon – ‘Empty Promises’ (1986)
  18. Krokus – ‘Backstabber’ (1999)
  19. Balance Of Power – ‘No Place Like Home’ (2003)
  20. Black Sabbath – ‘Zero The Hero’ (1983)

Bonus Track: KISS – ‘Charisma’ (1979)

Weekend Playlist – 10/11 & 10/12

It’s been awhile since I had a long weekend off so I decided to do my best and relax, listen to some music and get back on track with the website. The good news is that the laptop is fixed, all it needed was a little compressed air into the fans and it works! So here’s what I’ve listened to this weekend and what I have on tap for late night tonight…….

Alice Cooper – Along Came A Spider (2008): Alice is one of my favorite artists but I really haven’t given this album much play since it’s release. I’m really not sure why because he has had an excellent track record with his last 4 records. I’ve been spinning this more than any album lately and I’m really starting to get into it. Alice is just creepy and this serial killer concept is great.

J.C. Cinel – Before My Eyes (2008): Very cool acoustic melodic rock from singer/songwriter J.C. Cinel. This is kind of light because it’s all acoustic and it has a lot of Country influences in it. It kind of has a Jon Bon Jovi/bret Michaels solo vibe to it but a lot better. I’m a sucker for good acoustic guitar and there’s plenty of it here!

Uriah Heep – Wake The Sleeper (2008): I picked this up a couple of weeks ago and I didn’t tear the wrapping until today. Heep is one of those legendary bands that I always try to get into but I never buy their albums because I find something else. I read some reviews online and grabbed it. Too early to make a judgement after one spin.

Metallica – Death Magnetic (2008): I bought this the day it come out, listened to it a half dozen times and moved on. I really want to like this album but I haven’t been able to get into it.

Judas Priest – Jugulator (1997): I thought that this was a great album when it first came out. It’s very heavy and Tim Owens does a great job singing, even if the Halford comparisons are there. With all the news on Owens leaving Iced Earth and joining Yngwie Malmsteen for a new record, I decided to go back 11 years and hear how everything started. Some solid tunes here: ‘Burn In Hell’, ‘Jugulator’, ‘Cathedral Spires’…..the whole album is top notch, I just think people couldn’t get by the Owens vs. Halford debate.

‘Burn In Hell’

Two – Voyeurs (1998): Rob Halford + Trent Reznor + John 5 (John Lowery) = one big mess! I bought this in the hopes that Halford would answer Priest’s JUGULATOR but this ended up being one of the worst albums I’ve ever bought! I give Halford credit for trying something new but Industrial Metal isn’t his thing, he was trying to emulate Reznor’s Nine Inch Nails and failed miserably.

Round 1 to Judas Priest!

Halford – Resurrection (2000): A huge comeback! The Two project sucked and I think Rob Halford knew it so he went back to his Metal roots and made sure everyone knew it. The title track signals the return but ‘Silent Screams’ is a gem. I also really dig the duet with Bruce Dickinson on ‘The One You Love To Hate’.

Judas Priest – Demolition (2001): Priest was in the middle of making this album when Halford dropped his RESURRECTION bombshell, after hearing that comeback I just knew that Priest would have a tough time competing. Some good tracks here, ‘Feed On Me’ is the best, but the album feels disjointed. This doesn’t even compare to JUGULATOR so forget the comparison to RESURRECTION. When I went to get this album out I noticed that I have four copies: the promo advance, the regular U.S. CD, the Japanese pressing (1 bonus track) and the Australian Tour Edition (3 bonus tracks, one being the bonus from the Japanese release).

Round 2 to Halford!

Rose Tattoo – Blood Brothers (Special Tour Edition w/DVD) (2008): I only gave this one spin but it was good to hear Angry Anderson and the boys again. This one is on my list for late night listening.

Girlschool – Legacy (2008): This album is out out in a couple of weeks, in a month for the U.S. I always liked Girlschool, they came in with the NWOBHM and I always seem to acquire their albums. This is the album I’m holding for later tonight after the NFL game…..I’m betting it’s good.

What’s going on… update on where I am and what’s coming up

I hope everyone liked Live Album Week last week, I know I did. Unfortunately I was behind on publishing the posts because I was having trouble with my laptop. Actually, it’s my wife’s laptop. It was given to her at a previous job 6 years ago and she took it with her when she was laid off. It’s a wonder it lasted this long!

Anyway, the laptop died the other day and all of my posts were stuck inside on Microsoft Word. We have free wireless throughout the house so it was easier to work off the laptop with 2 kids and a dog creating havoc, it was just an Internet portal for family. So everything is locked inside and it won’t turn on so I started to re-write everything, putting me behind schedule. I had written everything in advance so I could write some more reviews in advance to keep the site going while my personal schedule went into overdrive. Unfortunately, everything was on hold for a few days.

So what’s coming up?

Not sure actually. My schedule is pretty hectic this time of year and I’m trying to cram everything in with only 4 hours of sleep each day. I’m sure you all know how it is: family, work, and activities all crammed into a small window of time called a day! Reviews are coming but getting them done is a little harder lately with less free time. I am listening to some interesting albums so there will be some cool features this month.

One thing I can promise is that I’m going to make one week each month a Band Week. October will have AC/DC Week to celebrate the release of their new record, BLACK ICE. I haven’t decided if it will be the 3rd or 4th week of the month yet. I’m leaning towards the 3rd week because BLACK ICE is released on the 10/20 and I’d like to do a few features for Halloween the following week.

Stay tuned…..

— Steve

Judas Priest – Priest…Live! (1987)

Judas Priest – Priest…Live! (1987, Columbia)

  1. Out In The Cold
  2. Heading Out To The Highway
  3. Metal Gods
  4. Breaking The Law
  5. Love Bites
  6. Some Heads Are Gonna Roll
  7. The Sentinel
  8. Private Property
  9. Rock You All Around The World
  10. Electric Eye
  11. Turbo Lover
  12. Freewheel Burning
  13. Parental Guidance
  14. Living After Midnight
  15. You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’

Total Time = 1:14:01

Judas Priest official website

I know that putting PRIEST…LIVE! in the list of some of my favorite albums is going to spark some serious debate. Why? Judas Priest had already put out a classic live album with UNLEASHED IN THE EAST in 1979 and the TURBO (1986) album, and subsequent Fuel For Life Tour, had a more commercialized Pop Metal sound. I put this album in with my top live albums because I was 14 years old in 1987 and Judas Priest was my second favorite band (KISS being #1). The band was everywhere (radio, MTV, print) and I was along for the ride! I had been a Priest fan for a few years but the combination of the TURBO album, Metal hitting the mainstream, and the hype surrounding the band’s concerts June 4th (Providence, RI) & June 5th (Worcester, MA). I didn’t get to go to either of these local shows, my mom thought I was too young, so when the announcement of PRIEST…..LIVE! started to gain momentum in the media I was psyched! Finally I would get to hear what Judas Priest sounded like live in concert!

Taking a look at the tracklisting you’ll see that all of the songs date from 1980 onward including 5 songs from the TURBO record: ‘Out In The Cold’, ‘Private Property’, ‘Rock You All Around The World’, ‘Turbo Lover’ and ‘Parental Guidance’. Obviously, the band was on tour supporting TURBO so it’s obvious that a third of the album promotes it. Also not surprising is that 4 songs come from the album that came before, my personal favorite, DEFENDERS OF THE FAITH (1984). I lived and breathed DEFENDERS for two years as Heavy Metal doctrine so I was glad to see ‘Love Bites’, ‘Some Heads Are Gonna Roll’, ‘The Sentinel’ and ‘Freewheel Burning’ featured prominently. Then you spread out some classics like ‘Metal Gods’ and ‘Electric Eye’ and I knew that this would be a great live record even before I had listened to it.

I had a problem right away with ‘Out In The Cold’ opening the album. I had been to a few concerts (not sure why my mom thought I was too young for a Priest Show!) and all the bands opened with a fast, hard-charging song. For a Metal monster like Judas Priest to open with a guitar-synth ballad was an immeadiate letdown. ‘Out In The Cold’ was a single from TURBO, I heard it played on the local Rock station, but it opened Side 2 on the album! And where was ‘Locked In’? That was the first single/video and it’s surprising that it’s not included. Moving on to ‘Heading Out To The Highway’ (from 1981’s POINT OF ENTRY), I like this live version better than the studio version…..most likely due to the fact that this version gets played more. Even the band and label have decided to include this live version on various greatest hits and box set packages instead of the original, the song is more aggressive live. ‘Metal Gods’ and ‘Breaking The Law’ are staples of the band’s live repertoire to this day but my high point is the DEFENDERS triumvirate of ‘Love Bites’, ‘Some Heads Are Gonna Roll’ and ‘The Sentinel’. Nothing was better than hearing tracks from my favorite album live, especially ‘The Sentinel’…..a song that is a Metal feast.

TURBO tracks ‘Private Property’ and ‘Rock You All Around The World’ were cool back then but seem out of place now. My guess is that they were put in for the audience participation factor because I would have used ‘Locked In’ instead, I think ‘Locked In’ would have come off harder and more Metal. ‘Electric Eye’ is another concert staple for Priest so it’s a welcome intrusion to all the newer tracks but the live version of ‘Turbo Lover’ sounds too close to the studio version. It also sounds too light sandwiched between the driving ‘Electric Eye’ and the Speed Metal of ‘Freewheel Burning’, one of the album’s best tracks! I always liked ‘Parental Guidance’ so it gets a pass even with the audience participation and ‘Living After Midnight’ sounds a little faster and heavier live. Ending the record is the seminal closer ‘You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’ from SCREAMING FOR VENGEANCE (1982) and it’s a solid extended performance that still gives me chills when I hear it.

I really liked this live album back in my early teens but as I got older, and my musical tastes matured, I started to gravitate towards UNLEASHED IN THE EAST. PRIEST…LIVE! today sounds a little too commercial for my ears, it’s not as aggressive compared to the actual Judas Priest shows I’ve attended since. The TURBO songs don’t have that staying power today that they might have had back in the ’86-’88 era. It’s cool to hear them but when you compare them to heavy classics from UNLEASHED IN THE EAST, they fall flat. PRIEST…LIVE! is a nostalgia trip for me now, a way to reconnect with my teen years…..if I want an all out Metal assault, I look for other records.

This album was remastered and reissued in 2002 and it has 3 bonus tracks: ‘Screaming For Vengeance’ (recorded live in 1982), ‘Rock Hard Ride Free’ (recorded live in 1984) and ‘Hell Bent For Leather’ (recorded live in 1986). I wanted to review the original album, and that’s the ones I listened to again, but it is worthy to note that these songs are performed very well. All three were possibly in and out of the actual setlist on the Fuel For Life Tour but two of these tracks were recorded on past tours making their inclusion somewhat odd. I would rather hear these songs live from ’86 like ‘Hell Bent For Leather’, a song I think should have been on the original album maybe replacing a TURBO song.

UFO – Strangers In the Night (1979)

UFO – Strangers In The Night (1979, Chrysalis)

  1. Natural Thing
  2. Out In The Street
  3. Only You Can Rock Me
  4. Doctor Doctor
  5. Mother Mary
  6. This Kids
  7. Love To Love
  8. Lights Out
  9. Rock Bottom
  10. Too Hot To Handle
  11. I’m A Loser
  12. Let It Roll
  13. Shoot Shoot

Total Time = 1:09:13

UFO official website

UFO has been one of my favorite bands for a long time. Back when I was a kid, my local Rock radio station would play some UFO songs like ‘Lights Out’, ‘Doctor Doctor’, ‘Only You Can Rock Me’ and ‘Natural Thing’ so I was aware of who they were and what they sounded like in their classic era with Michael Schenker. I listened to MSG so I knew Schenker from there and back to UFO, I listened to Fastway and Waysted also so I knew bassist Pete Way with that connection. In the mid-80s, the same radio station would play the latest single from the band during a Rock Block or on Double-Shot Tuesday (they still have this) but they always paired it with a classic single. So when I finally got online in the middle of 1998, UFO was at the top of my list of bands to check out.

The Internet was brimming with plenty of UFO related news because the band had just released a reunion album, WALK ON WATER, in 1995 with Michael Schenker back on board. I had seen the ads in Rock magazines but I really didn’t pay them much attention. Most of the message boards and discussion lists I was on recommended starting with STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT to get a good overview of the Schenker era of the band. Every song on this album is a concert staple for the band and most are still in the setlist today! All of the songs are great and the performance is solid…..Schenker is at top form, Phil Mogg is one of the best on the mic, the Pete Way/Andy Parker rhythm section is solid and you’ve got Paul Raymond rounding out the sound on guitar and keyboards/organ. That’s the classic lineup doing a setlist from their U.S. tour that is like a greatest hits album.

For my money, it doesn’t get any better than ‘Natural Thing’, ‘Only You Can Rock Me’, ‘Too Hot To Handle’ and the 11 minute plus ‘Rock Bottom’ on this record. They are all done with a lot of energy and superb soloing from Schenker. Another great song is ‘I’m A Loser’ (originally on 1976’s NO HEAVY PETTING), a song that has become one of my all-time UFO favorites. You get the staples also in ‘Lights Out’, ‘Doctor Doctor’ and ‘Shoot Shoot’ but another true highlight is the power ballad ‘Love To Love’. I have no idea how this song wasn’t a hit single back in 1977, it has that classic bluesy balladeering style with a main riff that builds up as the song goes on.

After buying STRANGERS, I started to collect the rest of the band’s discography when all the albums were reissued on CD in Japan in 1999 and 2000. I also picked up the WALK ON WATER album, started diving back into the MSG catalogue, and saw the band live in concert twice. Basically, buying this live album turned me into a major UFO fan!

Royal Hunt – Live 1996 (1996)

Royal Hunt – Live 1996 (1996, SPV)

CD 1

  1. Flight
  2. 1348
  3. Wasted Time
  4. Stay Down
  5. On The Run
  6. Stranded
  7. Keyboard solo
  8. Martial Arts
  9. Far Away
  10. Last Goodbye
  11. Land Of Broken Hearts
  12. Makin’ A Mess

CD 2

  1. Clown In The Mirror
  2. Guitar solo
  3. Step By Step
  4. Drum & Bass solos
  5. Running Wild
  6. Epilogue
  7. Age Gone Wild
  8. 10 To Life
  9. Legion Of The Damned
  10. Kingdom Dark
  11. Time

Total Time = 1:57:31

Royal Hunt official website

In the late ’90s, I used to shop at a record store 20 minutes from my home called 2 Guys Music. This shop was a small hole-in-the-wall store in a local shopping plaza that catered to fans of Rock, Classic Rock and Heavy Metal. They had a well-stocked CD section, large used CD section (“Buy 3 Get 1 Free”), and the Import section. I spent hours in that store twice week: new release Tuesday and Saturday mornings when all the CDs traded in for cash Friday night were on the racks! The guys behind the counter used to play all the newer bands on the stereo that I had never heard before, especially albums from the Import section, and that’s how I discovered Royal Hunt.

It was 1999 and I was buying up Metal CDs like crazy and the Import section at 2 Guys took a lot of my attention and money. All the new European and Japanese imports were usually there and higher in price but that didn’t stop me from taking a chance on a couple of Royal Hunt albums. I grabbed LIVE 1996 for $17.99, not bad for a double disc set, and MOVING TARGET (1995), the first album to feature lead vocalist D.C. Cooper. When I got to the car, I meant to put MOVING TARGET in the CD player but I ended up putting in the first CD of LIVE 1996 in by mistake. The cool thing is that by listening to LIVE 1996 first I ended up getting a sampling of Royal Hunt’s entire discography (3 albums & an E.P.) with 7 songs coming from the band’s first album LAND OF BROKEN HEARTS (1992), 6 songs from CLOWN IN THE MIRROR (1993), and 7 songs from MOVING TARGET.  LIVE 1996 was recorded on the band’s tour of Japan in the first week of June 1996. Royal Hunt was extremely popular in Japan at the time and winning many national awards for Album Of The Year for MOVING TARGET.

Royal Hunt is a Progressive Metal band kind of like Dream Theater but more melodic. The songwriting and musicianship is very strong and D.C. Cooper’s vocal range is amazing (he was up for the Judas Priest vocal slot to replace Rob Halford)! Over the course of two discs, Royal Hunt gives off a blistering performance of almost 3 full albums of material and they include 3 solo sections so they rest of the band can have center stage. The stars of the album is D.C. Cooper and his female backup singers, they just really make you stand up and take notice of the powerful vocals and lyrics. As far as individual songs, there are 20 songs here and they are all done extrememly well but some of my favorites are: ‘Land Of Broken Hearts’, ‘1348’, ‘Far Away’ (the band’s Japanese #1 single), ‘Step By Step’ and ‘Age Gone Wild’. I can honestly say that aside from the 3 solo sections and the instrumental ‘Martial Arts’, the entire live album is solid.

After buying LIVE 1996 and listening to it non-stop, it took me only a couple of weeks to update my Royal Hunt collection. I picked up the first two albums, 1997’s PARADOX (which came as a box set with a bonus CD of the album performed live called CLOSING THE CHAPTER), and D.C. Cooper’s 1999 solo album. What I didn’t know was that Royal Hunt’s original singer, Henrik Brockmann, is featured on the first two albums and that D.C. Cooper had left Royal Hunt sometime in 1998. I’ve listened to the first two albums with Brockmann on vocals and I prefer the live versions from the LIVE 1996 performance with D.C. Cooper…..Cooper has more range than Brockmann and can easily hit the higher registers. It also sounds like the band had tightened and evolved their sound with Cooper by the live album, making the older material much stronger. I listen to this album a lot to this day because the music is so melodic even with all the soloing and keyboard heavy songs.

Krokus – Alive & Screamin’ (1986)

Krokus – Alive & Screamin’ (1986, Arista)

  1. Long Stick Goes Boom
  2. Eat The Rich
  3. Screaming In The Night
  4. Hot Shot City
  5. Midnite Maniac
  6. Bedside Radio
  7. Lay Me Down
  8. Stayed Awake All Night
  9. Headhunter

Total Time = 41:59

Krokus official website

Krokus is one of those bands that I have been a big fan since the early ’80s and everyone else says, “Who?”. I got into Krokus back in late 1983 with the classic HEADHUNTER album and the two singles/videos ‘Screaming In The Night’ and ‘Eat The Rich’…..they were always on MTV. I had read about the band in Circus and the band was featured regularly so I had another new band to check out. I bought HEADHUNTER and sometime shortly after I picked up thier first three U.S. releases (METAL RENDEZ-VOUS, HARDWARE, ONE VICE AT A TIME) on vinyl in a cut-out bin. None of my friends knew about Krokus, or they thought they sucked, so these Swiss metallers became “my” band. I remember buying THE BLITZ (1984) on the sole basis of the single/video ‘Midnite Maniac’ but the album seemed a little less aggressive then the first four records. That’s when things started to go downhill…..

CHANGE OF ADDRESS was released in 1986 and the band had taken a more commercial Hard Rock sound. Songs like ‘Our Love’ and ‘Burning Up The Night’ were melodic Hard Rock songs trying to capitalize on the Sunset Strip Pop Metal scene, they changed their sound and image, and they became a different band from the one that released the molten Metal of HEADHUNTER 3 years before. I had bought CHANGE OF ADDRESS the week it came out at a local department store, Apex, and was disappointed big time when the first single was a cover of Alice Cooper’s ‘School’s Out’. (It should be noted that Krokus had a habit of including a cover tune on each album when they released ONE VICE AT A TIME in ’82). A few months after the new album’s release, I saw an ad in a magazine for a Krokus live album, I figured this was the last gasp for the band.

I gave Krokus one last shot and picked up ALIVE & SCREAMIN’ a couple of weeks after it came out at my town’s best mom & pop record store: Luke’s Record Exchange. I had walked over there, a little over a mile and a half, with my Walkman and picked it up. I played the tape on the walk back home and I felt a little better about the band. Looking at the tracklist, 4 out of 9 songs were off HEADHUNTER and there was only one track from CHANGE OF ADDRESS (‘Hot Shot City’). There was also a new song too called ‘Lay Me Down’ (that hasn’t appeared on any other album) and it sounded cool live…..there was hope! All the big singles were there from previous albums and it was like a cool greatest hits tape. All the songs sounded great, even ‘Hot Shot City’, so I took another less critical listen to CHANGE OF ADDRESS. Of all the live albums I had at the time, I think ALIVE & SCREAMIN’ was the one live album I carried in my backpack the most during the school year. I listened to it on the walk to and from school, at practice, on the way to friends houses… became a soundtrack to part of my freshman year of high school.

Listening to it 22 years after it’s initial release, I find the production a bit thin and the setlist too safe and short. There’s not really much bite to the rhythm section in the mix and Marc Storace is way uo front with the vocals on some songs. The keyboard fills during ‘Hot Shot City’ bothered me then and they still do today because it sounds like they were purposely pushed up to overshadow Fernando Von Arb’s guitar. It almost sounds like they were overdubbed because I don’t remember Krokus using any keyboards live in the concert reviews I read. The album is only 9 songs clocking in at 45 minutes so it’s regular album length when most of the live albums of the time were double albums. Krokus certainly had good material, and they had a new album to tour for, so I’m a little surprised the band didn’t do a couple more CHANGE OF ADDRESS tunes or any of the covers to lengthen the album. It’s sounds like an opening band’s set, not a headliner’s. Back in the mid-80s, everything had to be bigger, better, faster so I don’t understand why they band didn’t follow their peers’ lead. Despite the flaws I hear now, I still enjoy it today because it brings back some great memories of high school and afternoons spent with a bunch of Rock mags and my stereo.