Rogue Male – Animal Man (1986/2008 reissue)

Rogue Male – Animal Man (1986/2008 reissue, Metal Mind)

  1. Progress
  2. L.U.S.T.
  3. Take No Shit
  4. You’re On Fire
  5. The Real Me
  6. Animal Man
  7. Belfast
  8. Job Centre
  9. Low Rider
  10. The Passing
  11. Rough Tough (Pretty Too)*

(* bonus track)

Band Lineup:
Jim Lyttle – Vocals, Guitar
John Fraser Binnie – Guitar
Kevin Collier – Bass
Danny Fury – Drums

Producer: Steve James

Total Time = 50:16

Rogue Male unofficial MySpace page
Rogue Male at Encyclopedia Metallum: The Metal Archives
Listen to ANIMAL MAN at Vibrations Of Doom
Metal Mind Productions

With the fame and fortune predicted by Kerrang! magazine a false promise, Rogue Male regrouped in the U.K. at the end of 1985 to begin work on their new album. In order to capitalize on the buzz created from their tour supporting FIRST VISIT, the band quickly churned out the BELFAST E.P.

The E.P. contained three songs: ‘Belfast’, ‘Take No Shit’, and ‘Rough Tough (Pretty Too)’ of which the first two would be included on the new album.

By 1986, the whole Metal world was overcrowded with new bands coming from all over the world and the L.A. Glam scene was starting to take over. Obviously that had an effect of Rogue Male because one look at the ANIMAL MAN cover and you get some sort of scary Mad Max gone Glam concept. Take a look at Jim Lyttle and tell me he doesn’t look like Adam Ant! I remember seeing this record back in the day and comparing it to FIRST VISIT’s cover, I just knew that something changed. This also marked the debut of new drummer Danny Fury who is credited with playing the drums on ANIMAL MAN but they are really the work of an unnamed session drummer.

The Music:
The reissue contains the 10 song proper album plus ‘Rough Tough (Pretty Too)’ from the BELFAST E.P. Giving this album a spin for the first time since 1986, it’s hard to believe that this is the same band that made FIRST VISIT. Gone is the complete raw sound that made the debut so good and in is a mix of Pop-flavored Hard Rock with some Metal mixed in. Maybe the band’s lack of initial success made them re-think their direction and came up with a “more accessible” sound. Obviously the image got a little out of hand but so did the music. There was a direct NWOBHM influence on the debut and that’s all but gone on ANIMAL MAN, the songs all sound like a batch of different styles and are not cohesive together on the album. Where FIRST VISIT had a rawness to the production, ANIMAL MAN sounds too slick and loses it’s power. The drums sound awful and both the vocal and guitar levels vary in the mix, there’s also a non-existent bass sound. This CD is remastered and everything is clear but it is also subpar Metal music, take a listen to ‘The Passing’, it sounds like heavy New Wave at times! There are a few good songs, I like ‘Take No Shit’, ‘Belfast’, and the bonus track… surprise they were from a slightly earlier recording.

The Package:
Like the other reissues from Metal Mind, each reissue is limited to 2000 copies and numbered. Each CD comes in a full-color digipak and includes a color booklet with additional liner notes and lyrics. The music is remastered using 24-bit technology on a gold disc. The big thing is the bonus track, ‘Rough Tough (Pretty Too)’, from the rare BELFAST (1986) E.P. added on to the proper album.

Bottom Line:
Metal Mind has made another nice reissue but the album suffers from a lack of direction from the music made 22 years ago. It’s nice to have ANIMAL MAN alongside FIRST VISIT in the collection but I would suggest this as a “collector’s only” type of album. Getting the non-album track ‘Rough Tough (Pretty Too)’ as a bonus is cool so you don’t have to track down BELFAST to complete the Rogue Male recorded history but I’m not sure that is enough to want to give this CD regular listens. Comparing both albums, the debut beats ANIMAL MAN easily with more raw Metal. For collector’s, completists, and diehard Rogue Male fans only.

Rogue Male – First Visit reissue (1985/2008)

Rogue Male – First Visit (1985/2008 reissue, Metal Mind)

  1. Crazy Motorcycle
  2. All Over You
  3. First Visit
  4. Get Off My Back
  5. Dressed Incognito
  6. Unemployment
  7. On The Line
  8. Devastation
  9. Look Out
  10. The Real Me*
  11. All Over You*

(* bonus tracks)

Band Lineup:
Jim Lyttle – Vocals, Guitar
John Fraser Binnie – Guitar
Kevin Collier – Bass
Steve Kingsley – Drums

Producer: Steve James

Total Time = 46:46

Rogue Male unofficial MySpace page
Rogue Male at Encyclopedia Metallum: The Metal Archives
Listen to FIRST VISIT at Vibrations Of Doom
Metal Mind Productions

Rogue Male is one of those bands that came out of the U.K. in the early ’80s that is a lost piece in the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) puzzle. I remember reading Metal Forces back in the day and they had some articles about this cool new band coming out of Belfast and how they blended a futuristic theme with the energy and enthusiasm of the early roots of NWOBHM. I saw this album cover and thought that this was going to be cool band with the Mad Max/cyborg concept. Then Kerrang! started predicting superstardom for Rogue Male and that was the kiss of death, the band basically got lost in the crowded Metal world by the end of 1985. By late 1984, the NWOBHM movement was starting to phase out: the big bands were already signed to big labels a few years earlier and the newer bands kind of got lost in the shuffle…..very similar to the L.A. Sunset Strip scene from 1989-1991. Rogue Male survived a couple of years and released this album, the follow-up ANIMAL MAN (1986), and had a couple of E.P.s mixed in. Now they have basically earned cult band status as one of those “lost” early ’80s bands.

The Music:
The reissue contains the nine track FIRST VISIT album plus two bonus tracks from the ALL OVER YOU single: ‘The Real Me’ and the short version of ‘All Over You’ (NOTE – The 12″ single contained both of these songs along with the long version of ‘All Over You’). When you give this album a spin, you’ll hear a rough and ready band that is as raw as they are energetic. The influences here are early Motorhead, Saxon, Tank and Judas Priest. Jim Lyttle has the Lemmy influenced vocal down pretty well and each song has that “go for the throat” guitar intensity that early Saxon and Judas Priest had. Take a listen to many of the smaller NWOBHM bands and you get a very similar sound, everyone was trying hard to be raw and heavy and the production reflected that by not being too slick. Of course, the remastering by Metal Mind makes everything crystal clear but you still get that raw sound like Motorhead and Tank.

The Package:
Like the other reissues from Metal Mind, each reissue is limited to 2000 copies and numbered. Each CD comes in a full-color digipak and includes a color booklet with additional liner notes. The music is remastered using 24-bit technology on a gold disc. The big thing is the two bonus tracks from the rare ALL OVER YOU (1985) single.

Bottom Line:
I remember holding this vinyl in my hand staring at the album cover thinking how cool it was but I never bought it…..1985 was a busy time for Metal and a 13 yr. old’s money only went so far. I did get a copy on cassette from a tape trader but I ended up losing it years ago. I haven’t heard this album in at least 20 years and, thanks to Metal Mind, I can have the CD. The package is nice and the music is dated but it’s a fun listen. The bonus tracks are a nice addition because the single is extremely rare.

Favorite Songs: ‘Dressed Incognito’, ‘All Over You’, ‘Crazy Motorcycle’

Vacation is over! Back to work…..

Well, vacation is over and I’m heading back to work this afternoon. How depressing!

It was a nice quiet 7 days off from work with the family. We went to the shore a couple of times and did a few other things but the main thing was that I got to relax. I did some things around the house and spent time with the kids without being exhausted but the thing I did for myself was catch up on some music.

Here’s a few albums I listened to on vacation, I didn’t keep a list but I pulled out a ton from my collection:

The Who – Tommy (1969): A legendary band, a legendary album. I happened to hear a block of three TOMMY songs on one of the classic rock radio stations so I pulled this out for a few spins.

Billy Joel – The Stranger (1977/2008 deluxe reissue): More Classic Rock! I picked this up last Tuesday when it came out (more on that when I post a Hunt!) and I have been listening ever since. My wife and I went to the Billy Joel concert on July 3rd so I’m still on a bit of a Billy Joel kick.

Judas Priest – Nostradamus (2008): The album that will not go away! I keep listening and finding something new but it’s still a long listen at close to 2 hours over two CDs. I’m trying to get ready for a review but there is so much music, and Priest is my second favorite band, that I want to give the album a lot of time.

Motley Crue – Saints Of Los Angeles (2008): One of the biggest releases of the year and I’m definitely still listening. There’s plenty of good songs here but I’ve had to hit the “skip” button on a few songs.

Avantasia – The Scarecrow (2008): So far, my album of the year. Tobias Sammet has really created a masterpiece project with Avantasia, something that was supposed to be a side project that’s now as big as his main band, Edguy. Best song is the Alice Cooper sung ‘The Toy Master’.

Rogue Male – First Visit (1985) and Animal Man (1986): Both of these are reissues from Metal Mind Productions and I have been giving both CDs some serious time. I haven’t heard FIRST VISIT in about 20 years! Reviews coming…..

TKO – Let It Roll (1979) and In Your Face (1984): These two albums are officially reissued CDs from Tribunal Records with tons of bonus tracks. Another time travel back to my early days because I haven’t heard IN YOUR FACE in over 20 years too! I always meant to pick up the vinyl on Ebay but Tribunal has done a solid job with the reissues. Look for reviews soon…..

Temujin – 1000 Tears (2008): The band was nice enough to pass a copy along for review and I have to admit, I was surprised by the excellent music. I had never heard of Temujin but I know them now! The music is like MANDYLION-era and NIGHTTIME BIRDS-era The Gathering with a little Lacuna Coil in there.

Infernophonic – Spark It Up (2007): Another solid Hard Rock band i missed out on in 2007. Solid album, review soon.

Benedictum – Seasons Of Tragedy (2008): It’s a really good album but I think their frist record, UNCREATION (2006), is better. I’m still enjoying it though.

Gene Simmons – Asshole (2004): I was picking through my KISS related albums and I decided that this deserved it’s annual spin to see if it’s as bad as I remembered. Unfortunately, this is just a bad album with maybe one or two songs I like. This ties with Peter Criss – One For All (2007) as the worst KISS related album ever.

Paul Stanley – Live To Win (2006): I had to pull this out to compare it to Gene’s album…..light years better! I haven’t given this a spin in a while but it’s obvious who the true creative force is behind KISS.

Griffen – Linked In Eternity (2008): Just reviewed this one and I thought it was great. Only a 5 song demo but professionally done and very cool to listen to.

There were so many more albums that I pulled from my collection that I hadn’t heard fro a long time. I started to pull out different albums from Ratt, Dokken, Scorpions, Alice Cooper, Megadeth, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, UFO, ZZ Top, and Bruce Dickinson solo. I listened to a few live albums as well from KISS, Maiden, Priest, UFO, Sabbath, Royal Hunt, Motley Crue, Scorpions, Triumph because I want to do a “live album week” in the next couple of months.

It was a great week of music!